Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » I »

Intel microprocessors

Microprocessors made by Intel Corporation form the foundation of all PCs.

Models after the 8086 are often referred to by the last three digits (for example, the 286, 386, and 486 ). Many of the microprocessors come in different varieties that run at various clock rates. The 80486 architecture, for example, supports clock rates of from 33 to 66 MHz. Because Intel discovered that it couldn't trademark its CPU numbers, it shifted to a naming scheme, starting with the Pentium processors. Intel's latest and sixth-generation chip is called the Pentium Pro.

All Intel microprocessors are backward compatible, which means that they can run programs written for a less powerful processor. The 80386, for example, can run programs written for the 8086, 8088, and 80286. The 80386 and later models, however, offer special programming features not available on previous models. Software written specifically for these processors, therefore, may not run on older microprocessors. The common architecture behind all Intel microprocessors is known as the x86 architecture.

Until the late 80s, Intel was essentially the only producer of PC microprocessors. Increasingly, however, Intel is facing competition from other manufacturers who produce "Intel-compatible " chips. These chips support the Intel instruction set and are often less expensive than Intel chips. In some cases, they also offer better performance. Two of the leading manufacturers of Intel-compatible chips are Cyrix and AMD.







TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Small Business Marketing's Greatest Hits

The following compilation of small business marketing tips highlights some of the expert advice published over at Small Business Computing. Read More »

Taking Ownership through Digital Governance

Taking ownership of our own misjudgments or simple forgetfulness takes a healthy amount of humility and some honest self-assessment. Yet sometimes... Read More »

Have We Become a World of Addicts?

It's hard to imagine our lives without smartphones. But people who suffer separation anxiety when they don't have their phones nearby may be in... Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
5 Best Cloud Storage Services

With cost and security in mind, we look at five cloud storage options that will suit the needs of most home and SMB owners. Read More »

Windows 10 Tips for Desktop PC

Five basic tips to help you customize Windows 10 on your desktop PC. Read More »

29 Free Android Apps for Cash-Strapped Students

From wacky alarm clocks to lecture hall tools and after class entertainment, these Android apps are a good fit for a student's life and budget. Read More »