What is an x86 CPU? – IoT Design Support


An x86 CPU has been the cornerstone of personal computing since 1978, with the introduction of the original 8086 from Intel, a 16bit extension of Intel’s previous 8bit 8080 microprocessor. The label ‘x86’ was derived from the fact that successors to the 8086 all had labels ending in “86”

Over the years the architecture has been improved exponentially, following Moore’s Law and today sees us with multiple core, billion transistor behemoths. The two giants of the x86 industry, Intel and AMD, have competed heavily over the years and both now stake their claim in the Desktop, Laptop, Netbook and of course, embedded marketplace.

DSL’s own focus in the embedded market place was historically x86, though over time has introduced ARM architecture to its ranks. ARM whilst lacking in raw processing performance typically offering substantially lower power, making it ideal for mobile applications – especially mobile phones!

More recently, DSL’s manufacturing partner, DM&P produced their own range of embedded CPUs, enabling them to offer previously unheard of longevity by retaining full control over the CPU – additionally permitting the inclusion of specifically embedded features, often necessarily peripheral on mainstream CPU families.


If you’re unsure what CPU is right for your embedded project, just ask one of DSL’s technical engineers who’ll be happy to guide you!