Updated: 06/30/2017 by Computer Hope

x86 is an Intel CPU architecture that originated with the 16-bit 8086 processor in 1978. Today, the term "x86" is used generally to refer to any 32-bit processor compatible with the x86 instruction set.

In its 40 years of existence, the x86 architecture has added many new features while remaining almost entirely backward-compatible, which is a remarkable achievement.

Modern 64-bit processors are generally referred to as x86_64, although they may also be referred to as amd64. The amd64 label is in reference to AMD being at the forefront of 64-bit processing technology in the early 2000s. Regardless of the label, these processors (and the software compiled for them) is based upon, and compatible with, Intel's x86 architecture.

Platform, CPU terms, RISC