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  • The term x86 denotes a family of backward compatible instruction set architectures based on the Intel 8086 CPU. The 8086 was introduced in 1978 as a fully 16-bit extension of Intel's 8-bit based 8080 microprocessor, with memory segmentation as a solution for addressing more memory than can be covered by a plain 16-bit address. The term x86 derived from the fact that early successors to the 8086 also had names ending in "86". Some years after the introduction of the 8086 and 8088, Intel added some complexity to its terminlogy: The "iAPX" of the ambitious but ill-fated Intel iAPX 432 processor was then tried on the successful 8086 family of chips, applied as a system-level prefix. An 8086 system, including system and support chips such as 8087 and/or 8089, was thereby described as an iAPX 86 system There were also iRMX, for operating systems, iSBC, for single board computers, and iSBX, for multimodule boards. All together under the heading Microsystem 80. This was quite temporary however, lasting a few years during the early 1980s. Many additions and extensions have been added to the x86 instruction set over the years, almost consistently with full backward compatibility. The architecture has been implemented in processors from Intel, Cyrix, AMD, VIA and many other companies; there are also open implementations, such as the Zet SoC platform. Wikipedia

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