Intel celebrates 40th anniversary of the first x86-processor
- 1 More modern apps for PC
- 2 Improved visualization and rendering “complex” worlds in real-time
- 3 Improving the user experience and optimize streaming over the Internet
- 4 Performance improvements and SIMD
- 5 Increased scalability and system management tools
- 6 Optimization encryption
- 7 Security enhancements
- 8 High-performance memory
Almost 40 years ago, Intel introduced its first microprocessor in the x86 architecture of Intel 8086. Since its release, the microprocessors 8086 became the basis for the first IBM personal computers, is changing our world. Following the Moore’s law and its creative potential, Intel continues to develop the technology and with each new generation of processors to introduce new improvements in the instruction set architecture x86. Intel has enabled the company to achieve commercial success and become one of the market leaders.
Over these 40 years, Intel was able to achieve different developments in the field of computing technologies and to provide benefits for consumers, businesses and industries.
More modern apps for PC
One of the first improvements in the instruction set, the x86 ISA was the MMX technology, introduced in 1996.
“This extension command set enabled to speed up the calculations necessary for what was called at the time “multimedia experience” and included the sound, 2D and 3D graphics, video synthesis and speech recognition as well as algorithms for transmission of data. This allowed software developers to create even richer and more interesting apps for the PC”, said Alex Peleg, researcher at Intel and one of the inventors of Intel MMX.
Improved visualization and rendering “complex” worlds in real-time
Presented at the 1999 extension to the Streaming SIMD Extensions include specialized commands for applications that work with large volumes of floating point numbers single precision such as 3D geometry, 3D rendering, video encoding and decoding.
“The production increase due to the expansion of the instruction set SIMD-FP ISA for computing a single precision has allowed to improve image quality in 3D real-time applications, and thus to increase visual quality on the PC, allowing the rendering of complex worlds real-time,” said Mohammed Abdullah, a researcher at Intel and one of the inventors of Intel SSE.
Improving the user experience and optimize streaming over the Internet
The instruction set extensions Streaming SIMD Extensions 2, which is yet another improvement of the SIMD technology was presented in microprocessors Pentium 4 and Intel Xeon processors with SSE2 extension. The SSE2 extension includes 144 new 128 bit SIMD instructions, which allow to improve the performance of multimedia applications, optimize content creation, scientific and engineering applications.
“Expanding Intel SSE2 and Intel NetBurst microarchitecture, implemented in Pentium 4 processors, helped to improve the user experience when working with Internet audio and streaming video, image processing, creation of video content for the task of speech recognition, 3D applications and games, multimedia applications and multitasking user environments,” said Glenn Hinton, senior researcher at Intel that was responsible for developing micro-architecture for Pentium 4 processors, as well as one of the inventors of the technology SSE2.
Performance improvements and SIMD
In subsequent years, Intel has continued to improve SIMD capabilities of their processors, presenting extensions SSE3, SSSE3 and SSE4, which increase the performance in multimedia tasks, in applications for imaging and 3D graphics. Starting with the 2011 Intel processors appeared extensions Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX), AVX2 and AVX-512, which have helped to improve the performance of systems in such applications and workloads like scientific modeling, financial data analysis, artificial intelligence/deep learning, 3D modeling and analysis, image processing, audio and video, encryption, and data compression.
Increased scalability and system management tools
Extension Intel Virtual-Machine Extensions enabled to run on the platform multiple virtual systems, each of which could run its own operating system and run applications on a separate partition. To achieve better performance and ease of use, Intel introduced the extension Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions.
Intel introduced an extension AES New Instructions – a set of instructions intended to improve performance of Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm and accelerating data encryption on Intel processors. This gives organizations faster and more accessible mechanism for data protection, with a higher level of security. Similarly, Intel SHA extension contained a set of instructions to improve performance of the cryptographic hash algorithm the Secure Hash Algorithm, which is actively used for message authentication in digital signatures and for data integrity.
Intel introduced the Intel Memory Protection extensions Extensione designed to better protect software from malicious attacks using buffer overflow. Among other security improvements in the instruction set architecture x86, you can highlight the extension of the Intel Safer Mode Extensions, which was created with the goal to provide the most complete control over the running of the system software that creates a protected environment for itself and any additional software that may be running in that environment. The latest achievement in the field of security is the expansion of the Intel Software Guard Extensions is a tool to protect certain code and data from disclosure or modification through the use of protected memory for their execution.
Recently, Intel introduced patented improvements in the instruction set architecture to support Intel Optane, including XPoint 3D, its newest solution for working with memory, which can minimize delays and enhance system performance while executing workloads, which places special demands on capacity and speed of storage system.
So, in honor of the 40-year anniversary of the x86 architecture, Intel continues to work on its development, adding with every generation new processor extensions to achieve new results.