i386 - what does it mean?

By Spike
Jun 19, 2005
  1. I've noticed for a long time (but never really cared) that a lot of software/OS's are designated as i386, i486, i586 etc (not sure about i486 - I seem to remember seeing it though).

    What I want to know is what it means and what the difference is.

    I have assumed it's something to do with the architecture an application/OS is designed to work with, knowing that CPU's are based on an architecture steeming from the old 8086 chips (80186, 80286, 80386 and 80486 corresponding to their respective AT computers back in the 80's)

    If I've gotten that much right (and I may well not have), what bugs me is what the letter 'i' represents, and what the first number means.

    Does anybody know?
  2. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,512

    Intel's 3rd generation of the x86 line...

    And after a little search, you can learn more here...
    But hey, I remembered correctly :D
  3. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 2,168

    Ah! thanks for that. It's been bugging me for a little while.

    I can't beleive I didn't work out that the i stands for Intel though! lol
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