Slideshow: The 11 most influential microprocessors ever

In the wide field of microprocessors, some chips have stood out for the influence they've had technologically, culturally, and economically. They aren't necessarily the most successful, the best selling, or the most powerful, but they each started an important and persistent trend - an architecture, a marketing concept, or a whole new use for computing.

7. AMD Opteron 240 (2003)

Breakthrough application: IBM server hardware

Developing computing technology is as much about change as anything else. So when it came time to move from the 32-bit world to the 64-bit world, Intel tried its hand with Itanium, a 64-bit processor that had 32-bit support. Unfortunately, the Itanium ran existing 32-bit code slowly.

Meanwhile, AMD was busy extending Intel's existing x86 instruction set to incorporate 64-bit support without any performance cost on 32-bit software. Known as "x86-64" or "AMD64," this instruction-set design premiered in the AMD Opteron 240. The design was so effective that Intel adopted it as well, incorporating the instruction set into all of the x86 processor lines except Itanium.

All desktop-PC microprocessors manufactured today use Opteron's x86-64 instruction set, and the standard will likely persist for many years to come.

Photos:, AMD

1 of 11

Comments on this image

There are currently no comments for this image.

Post new comment

Users posting comments agree to the PC World comments policy.

Login or register to link comments to your user profile, or you may also post a comment without being logged in.

Related Slideshows

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?