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(iAPX 432) Intel's first 32-bit CPU, which comprised three chips and was therefore technically not a microprocessor. Introduced in 1981, the i432 was designed to replace the x86 architecture, which at the time embodied the 8088 chip used in the IBM PC as well as the 8086. Taking six years to develop, the i432 had a complex design that included built-in fault tolerance and support for object-oriented programming. Subsequent I/O and memory control chips were developed to enable the i432 to function in multiprocessing clusters of up to 63 nodes.

Just Too Slow
Due to hardware design choices and very faulty compilers, the i432 ran so slow that it was a complete failure. To meet IBM's requirement for the next-generation PC, Intel rushed the 286 chip to market and stayed with the x86 architecture for years to come. The "APX" moniker stood for "Advanced Processor Ar-chi-tecture," the X being the Greek "chi" character. See x86.


(1) x86 generally refers to definition #2 below; however, the term may also be used to differentiate 32-bit hardware and software from their 64-bit counterparts in Windows PCs (see x64). See Program Files x86.

(2) The world's predominant personal computer CPU platform. Used in Windows and Linux PCs, Macs and Chromebooks, the x86 line was developed by Intel and includes the Core, Xeon, Pentium, Atom and earlier 286, 386 and 486 models (hence, the "86").

AMD is also a manufacturer of x86 CPUs with brands such as Athlon, Sempron and Opteron. Although Intel and AMD are the primary sources, x86 chips are made by others, and x86 CPUs are used in embedded systems, not just desktop and laptop computers. See x86 compatible, x86 chip platform and embedded system.

x86 Lineage
The x86 architecture, which has been enhanced numerous times, comes from the Intel 8088, the CPU in the first IBM PC in 1981. The 8088 was a slower version of the 8086, which begat the 80186, 286, 386, 486, Pentium and subsequent CPU families. See 8088, Pentium, Intel Core and x64.

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