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Introduction to 8086 Microprocessor

In this article, we are going to discuss the 8086 microprocessors. We will first define this microprocessor, its features and will explain its working. While doing so we are going to discuss the number of bits it functions on, the amount of memory it carries and about the different components it consists of.
Submitted by Monika Sharma, on July 06, 2019

The 8086 microprocessor was developed to overcome the drawbacks of the 8085 microprocessor. It means that the 8086 is a successor of the 8085 microprocessor in the Intel series. Here, the number 8086 denotes the IC number of this microprocessor.

Features of 8086 microprocessor

  1. The 8086 microprocessor is a 16-bit microprocessor. What this means is that the ALU and the internal registers work with 16 bit of binary data at a time.
  2. It has 16 bits of the data bus. Because of this, the 8086 can read or write either 16 bit or 8 bit of data at a time.
  3. The 8086 microprocessor has 20 bits of address lines that can access 220 address locations.
  4. Each memory location is a byte-addressable memory location.
    Therefore, the total amount of memory that the 8086 microprocessor contains = 220 bytes = 1 MB
    Therefore, the 8086 can access up to 1 MB of memory.
  5. It works in the frequency range of about 5-10 MHz. (There are 3 versions of the 8086 microprocessor and each of them works in a different frequency range.)
  6. The 8086 microprocessor works in 2 modes:
    • Maximum mode
    • Minimum mode
  7. The instruction queue of the 8086 microprocessor is of 6 bytes of length. Therefore, the 8086 microprocessor can pre-fetch up to 6 instructions from the memory and queue them in order to speed up the instruction execution.
  8. The 8086 microprocessor can perform only fixed-point arithmetic instructions. It means that the floating-point operations cannot be performed by it. This is a drawback of the 8086 which was later eliminated in the further series of Intel processors.

Components of 8086 microprocessor

  • The 8086 microprocessor consists of two main blocks:
    1. Bus Interface Unit (BIU)
    2. Execution Unit (EU)
  • The Bus Interface Unit (BIU) consists of the following components:
    1. Instruction Queue
    2. Segment Registers
    3. Instruction Pointer (IP)
  • The Execution Unit (EU) consists the following:
    1. Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU)
    2. Control Unit
    3. General Purpose registers
    4. Index registers and pointers (except IP)
    5. Flags and Operands





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