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I know that my machine hardware name is i686 and processor type is i686 due to my Linux output. But I have no idea why they are the same. I want to know what's the difference between machine hardware name and processor type.

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  • Please clarify your question. At the moment you seem to be asking why i686 is the same as i686. What exactly do you mean by "machine hardware name"?
    – terdon
    Oct 14, 2013 at 13:48
  • OK, you mean in the output of uname?
    – terdon
    Oct 14, 2013 at 13:58
  • I want to know what machine hardware name is.
    – yayun
    Oct 14, 2013 at 14:03

2 Answers 2

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This is explained more clearly in info uname:

`-m'
`--machine'
     Print the machine hardware name (sometimes called the hardware
     class or hardware type).

`-p'
`--processor'
     Print the processor type (sometimes called the instruction set
     architecture or ISA).  Print `unknown' if the kernel does not make
     this information easily available, as is the case with Linux
     kernels.

So, the hardware name is the CPU architecture, while the processor type is the name of the instruction set used. To quote from wikipedia:

Instruction set architecture is distinguished from the microarchitecture, which is the set of processor design techniques used to implement the instruction set. Computers with different microarchitectures can share a common instruction set. For example, the Intel Pentium and the AMD Athlon implement nearly identical versions of the x86 instruction set, but have radically different internal designs.

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You can also use dmidecode to get some more information about your system and hardware.

sudo dmidecode -s STRING-KEYWORD

With the following list of keywords:

bios-vendor
bios-version
bios-release-date
system-manufacturer
system-product-name
system-version
system-serial-number
system-uuid
baseboard-manufacturer
baseboard-product-name
baseboard-version
baseboard-serial-number
baseboard-asset-tag
chassis-manufacturer
chassis-type
chassis-version
chassis-serial-number
chassis-asset-tag
processor-family
processor-manufacturer
processor-version
processor-frequency

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