At the COMDEX this year, Intel announced a new 80486 CPU which they said would be commercially available in Q4 1989. Intel also introduced a version of its 386 chip that operates at 33 megahertz, up from the 25 Mhz that had been its previously fastest version.
Intel also said the integrated FPU unit will be significantly faster than the 80387 per cycle.
The chip packs 1.2 million transistors on one piece of silicon, compared with some 275,000 on the lucrative 80386 model. Capable of handling 15 million instructions per second, or MIPS, it offers as much as four times the processing power of the 80386.
But at $950 each, the 80486 is also nearly three times as costly as the 80386. While chip prices routinely drop sharply over time, the high initial price tag is expected to limit the near-term 80486 market to high-end applications where customers are willing to pay a premium for performance.
Right now the 80386 is very popular with performance desktop machines. Low cost 8088 motherboards with CPU have been selling for $99 lately. Motherboards with the 80286 CPU are selling for about $160 lately.