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Definition: hardware platform


Each hardware platform, or CPU family, has a unique machine language. All software presented to the computer for execution must be in the binary coded machine language of that CPU. Following is a list of the major hardware platforms that have been manufactured over the years. CISC and RISC are the two fundamental architectures of machine instructions (see CISC and RISC). See platform.

 PLATFORM  MANUFACTURER (USAGE)

 Current CISC

 x86       Intel, AMD, etc. (PC, Mac)

 IBM Z     IBM mainframes


 Current RISC

 ARM       ARM (phones, tablets, etc.)

 MIPS      Wave Computing

 SPARC     Oracle (originally Sun)


 Previous CISC

 Itanium   Intel

 68K       Motorola (earlier Macs)

 VAX       Digital's mini series

 S/360     IBM mainframe

 S/370     IBM mainframe

 S/390     IBM mainframe

 AS/400    IBM midrange/System i

 S/36      IBM old mini/System/36

 Non-Stop  Tandem (fault tolerant)

 Unisys    Unisys mainframes

 PDP/11    Digital's 1st mini


 Previous RISC

 88000     Motorola (DG, Encore)

 PA-RISC   HP workstations, servers

 Alpha     HP servers

 PowerPC   Apple, IBM, Motorola

 i860      Intel (Stratus)