A computer platform whose processor is based on the Intel 386 architecture microprocessor. The x86, or Intel, platform is one of the two processor platforms supported by Microsoft Windows NT (the other being the Alpha platform) and the only processor platform supported by Microsoft Windows 2000. Intel-based systems have essentially caught up with Alpha in terms of speed and functionality and are used for everything from mobile laptop computers to desktop workstations to high-performance symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) servers.
The x86 family is based on the 386 processor and includes the 486, Pentium, Pentium Pro, Pentium II, and Pentium III processors. Intel processors are based on the CISC (complex instruction set computing) architecture, which uses a large set of basic processor instructions to simplify code compilation. The CISC architecture differs from the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture of the Alpha platform, which uses fewer processor instructions and offers better performance.