Why does x86 mean 32-bit?

This confuses the f*** out of me! For 64-bit, it's simply x64 but for 32-bit, it's x86...why 86, why not just x32 and keep it simple?

7 Answers

  • Din
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Technically x86 simply refers to a family of processors and the instruction set they all use. It doesn't actually say anything specific about data sizes.

    x86 started out as a 16-bit instruction set for 16-bit processors (the 8086 and 8088 processors), then was extended to a 32-bit instruction set for 32-bit processors (80386 and 80486), and now has been extended to a 64-bit instruction set for 64-bit processors. It used to be written as 80x86 to reflect the changing value in the middle of the chip model numbers, but somewhere along the line the 80 in the front was dropped, leaving just x86.

    Blame the Pentium and it's offspring for changing the way in which processors were named and marketed, although all newer processors using Intel's x86 instruction set are still referred to as x86, i386, or i686 compatible (which means they all use extensions of the original 8086 instruction set).

    x64 is really the odd man out here. The first name for the 64-bit extension to the x86 set was called x86-64. It was later named to AMD64 (because AMD were the ones to come up with the 64-bit extension originally). Intel licensed the 64-bit instruction set and named their version EM64T. Both instruction sets and the processors that use them are all still considered x86.

    Source(s): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IA-32 -- IA-32, Intel's 32-bit architecture. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86-64 -- Read more about x86-64 here.
  • 4 years ago

    Is X86 32 Bit

  • 1 decade ago

    Because the architecture originally traces its roots to the 80x86 CPUs (8086, 80286, 80386, and so on). Hence its instruction set is called "x86" for short.

    It couldn't have been called x32 because it was originally a 16-bit architecture. It would have been even more confusing if a 32-bit architecture was called "x32". It just so happened that the x86 architecture split after it became a 32-bit architecture.

    The term "x64" really should only be used to refer to Itanium's 64-bit architecture. The 64-bit evolution of the x86 architecture (sometimes called AMD64 or EM64T) should really be called x86-64, since it's a 64-bit extension of the x86 architecture.

  • 4 years ago

    What Does X86 Mean

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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why does x86 mean 32-bit?

    This confuses the f*** out of me! For 64-bit, it's simply x64 but for 32-bit, it's x86...why 86, why not just x32 and keep it simple?

    Source(s): x86 32 bit: https://biturl.im/0cS0l
  • 1 decade ago

    Because the architecture is x86. Intel started out with it very early. 8086, 286, 386, 486, and then the Pentium. However, since the Pentium was still based on the same architecture, it got the x86 moniker that has stuck around until today.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    the computer is identified by its processor whether it is 32 bit or 64 bit its other matter that mother board determines which processor is supported by it. the 64 bit processor have better graphics and better ALU,MU,CU for better and energy efficient process other than the 32 bit.

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