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Slideshow: A History of Intel x86 in 20 CPUs

From 1971 to 2012, the chips that built the PC revolution

Intel Pentium 4

Would there have been a PC revolution had Intel decided in the late 1960s to stick to making memory chips and turn its back on microprocessors? Almost certainly, but the company did get into CPUs and IBM chose its 8088 chip to build into its first Personal Computer, the 5150.

The 8088 and its sibling, the 8086, evolved from the work done through the 1960s and 1970s on the 4004, 8008 and 8080, and paved the way for the great x86 CPUs, the 286, 386 and 486.

Seeking to build a brand out of its products, part of a marketing strategy to put the Intel name at the forefront of buying decisions, Intel dropped the x86 numbering scheme - though the name was retained for the chips' instruction set - and adopted the name Pentium in 1995, a brand it applied to its primary desktop and mobile chips through to 2006 when it was replaced by Core.

By then, the Celeron and Xeon names had been coined and trademarked - Atom followed in 2008. No doubt, Intel would rather we didn't mention Itanium, absent from the die pics it send us...

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How far back does your usage of Intel chippery go? Or did you long abandon them for x86 rivals like AMD, VIA Centaur, Cyrix or other makers of compatible processors? The comments page awaits...

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