The Intel 80286 microprocessor, commonly referred to as the 286 or i286, was first released in 1982 and quickly replaced the 8086 as a widely-used personal computer component. It featured protected mode which allowed multiple programs to run simultaneously while improving operating system security.
The 80286 featured a 16-bit data bus that could address 16 MB of memory. It ran at 6 MHz to 12 MHz clock speed, significantly faster than its predecessor the 8086. Furthermore, its enhanced string and floating point processing capabilities made it ideal for engineering and scientific applications.
In addition to its improved performance, the 80286 introduced new instructions for improved multitasking and virtual memory support. Numerous personal computers such as the IBM PC/AT and Compaq Portable relied on it.
Although the 80286 was a groundbreaking advancement in microprocessor technology when it was released, more recent and faster processors have since overtaken it. Nonetheless, some legacy systems and older computers still make use of it today.