1985: Intel exits the dynamic RAM business to focus on microprocessors, and it brings out the 80386 processor, a 32-bit chip with 275,000 transistors and the ability to run multiple programs at once.
1986: Compaq Computer leapfrogs IBM with the introduction of an 80386-based PC.
1987: VIA Technologies is founded to sell x86 core logic chip sets.
1989: The 80486 is launched, with 1.2 million transistors and a built-in math co-processor. Intel predicts the development of multicore processor chips some time after 2000.
Late 1980s: The complex instruction set computing (CISC) architecture of the x86 comes under fire from the rival reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures of the Sun Sparc, the IBM/Apple/Motorola PowerPC and the MIPS processors. Intel responds with its own RISC processor, the i860.
1990: Compaq introduces the industry's first PC servers, running the 80486.
1993: The 3.1 million transistor, 66-MHz Pentium processor with superscalar technology is introduced.
1994: AMD and Compaq form an alliance to power Compaq computers with Am486 microprocessors.
1995: The Pentium Pro, a RISC slayer, debuts with radical new features that allow instructions to be anticipated and executed out of order. That, plus an extremely fast on-chip cache and dual independent buses, enable big performance gains in some applications.
1997: Intel launches its 64-bit Epic processor technology. It also introduces the MMX Pentium for digital signal processor applications, including graphics, audio and voice processing.
1998: Intel introduces the low-end Celeron processor.
1999: VIA acquires Cyrix and Centaur Technology, makers of x86 processors and x87 co-processors.
2000: The Pentium 4 debuts with 42 million transistors.
2003: AMD introduces the x86-64, a 64-bit superset of the x86 instruction set.
2004: AMD demonstrates an x86 dual-core processor chip.
2005: Intel ships its first dual-core processor chip.
2005: Apple announces it will transition its Macintosh computers from PowerPCs made by Freescale (formerly Motorola) and IBM to Intel's x86 family of processors.
2005: AMD files antitrust litigation charging that Intel abuses "monopoly" to exclude and limit competition. (The case is still pending in 2008.)
2006: Dell announces it will offer AMD processor-based systems.