Ex Eighty Six

Processor family developed by IntelCorporation, and now made by Intel and numerous competitors, which has historically powered the PeeCee (IbmPc?) line of computers for the 20+ years that it has existed. Usually referred to as the x86 architecture, in reference to the original (pre-Pentium) numbering scheme. Also called the "IA-32" (Intel Architecture 32-bit) line; for the 32-bit members of the family (not including the 80286 and older; nor including the 64-bit versions).

The processor family consists of LittleEndian processors, with register widths ranging from 16 to 64 bits. Originally a ComplexInstructionSetComputer architecture; modern variants are ReducedInstructionSetComputer devices with an external system which translates the CISC-ish instruction set into a RISC core. Notoriously register-poor (only 8 general purpose registers). Often criticized for being a kludgy architecture (it carries 'round 20 years worth of backwards-compatibility baggage, plus source-level up-compatibility with the original 8-bit 8080), and for the immense amount of power consumed and heat generated.

Notable members of the line has included:

This is not true. I owned one of these in the early 90s (i technically still do even if i doubt i would be able to locate all the parts). I think it was called Monroe System 2000 and ran "Monroe DOS 2.0" (which was pretty much identical to MS/PC-DOS 2.0 but impossible to upgrade to anything 3.x).

Around this time, Intel lost its trademark infringement suit with AMD, on the grounds that numbers could not be trademarked. So rather than calling the next major change in the family the 80586; it was rechristened the Pentium (a name Intel could trademark). Subsequent versions have been Pentium-n for some n; Intel has yet to release a Hexium or a Heptium (and likely never will).

I'll let someone fill in the history of Pentium's; my knowledge of ancient history is more solid than my knowledge of recent history.


In 2005, AppleComputer announced that the AppleMacintosh line of computers would migrate from the PowerPc architecture to the ExEightySix architecture.

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