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Definition: 286


The second generation of the Intel x86 family of CPU chips. The term may refer to the chip or to a PC that used it. Introduced in 1982, it was the successor to the 8088/8086 chips used in the first PCs. The 286 broke the infamous one-megabyte memory barrier, but although faster than the previous generation, it was never capable of supporting Windows and other graphics-based applications. See AT class and x86.

Technical Specs
The 286 was a 16-bit CPU with fifteen 16-bit registers and 134,000 transistors in a 68-pin PGA, PLCC or LCC package. Real Mode performed as an 8086 CPU that addressed 1MB of RAM, while Protected Mode addressed 16MB of physical RAM and 1GB of virtual memory.