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-compatiblechips. 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.

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

What are the 5 Generations of Computers?

UPDATED: This article was updated on April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments...

Random Access Memory (RAM)...

UPDATED: This article Updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   Random Access Memory (RAM)...

OEM – original equipment...

UPDATED: This article was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster OEM (pronounced as...

Best ERP Software for...

UPDATED: This page was updated April 6, 2021 by Web Webster   Enterprise resource planning...