Intel’s X86: Approaching 40 and Still Going Strong

Intel introduced the first x86 microprocessor in 1978. Through discipline, imagination and the advancement of Moore’s Law, Intel continues to enhance its x86 instruction set architecture.

Source: Intel’s X86: Approaching 40 and Still Going Strong

It was 40 years ago today that Intel developed the 8086 CPU and soon after that IBM used the 8088 version with 8 bit IO. We used to call it WINTEL because it was Windows and Intel CPUs that clone companies used to compete with IBM and their OS/2 in the 1990s. 80186, 80286, 80386, 80486, then when Intel found they could not patent numbers they went with Pentium where Penta means Five.

AMD, Centaur, Cyrix, NEC and others made X86 clone chips, and then AMD invented 64 bit or X64 mode that it licensed and shared with Intel.

There have been many attempts to beat Intel with Apple, Motorola (Now Freescale) and IBM making the PowerPC chip alliance. Once video game consoles used PPC chips Apple had to switch to Intel X86/X64 chips as Intel outdid the PowerPC chips with faster clock speeds, more hyperthreads, more cores, etc.

MIPS, S4, SPARC, etc chips tried to make them better than Intel and failed. Microsoft made a version of Windows NT for those systems but then dropped it.  Intel had CISC chips and the others were RISC chips which were supposed to have reduced instructions to run faster but ended up adding more instructions than the Intel chips had.

Happy 40th Birthday to The X86 series chips and Intel!

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