These manuals are now called “Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer Manuals”, and the current version is 71. What was the original name of this manual and when was it released?

  • This is by far not the first x86 development manual. Did you mean something like x86-64, and Intel-specific? Mar 2, 2020 at 16:41
  • The first of the “Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer Manuals”. The question title may be a little confusing, but I think it is okay if you read it as the manuals whose title contains "Software Development Manual". Mar 2, 2020 at 16:45

2 Answers 2


Raffzahn’s answer lists the early manuals in the history of x86 documentation.

To answer more specifically concerning version 71 of the Intel ® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual, see order number 252046, Documentation Changes: version 1 of the manual was released in 2002, to document the first 64-bit x86 Intel CPUs. It replaced the IA-32 Intel Architecture Software Developer’s Manual which was first published in 1997.

  • :) that's about the time when less new manuals entered my shelf.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 17:50
  • Was unaware of the Document Changes manual. The current SDM has a copyright starting at 1997, which also suggests the start of this collection of manuals. The ordering of the early manuals given in Raffzahn's answer is helpful to know also. Mar 2, 2020 at 13:55

It started out as a single manual covering hard and software, the

The 8086 Family User's Manual.

Before that there were only data sheets and manuals about single components, software tools and development boards as well as premade components (iSBC computer boards) (*1).

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After that it became the iAPX 86,88 User's Manual.

The 80286 manuals (*2) were the first to add specific software writing (*3) manuals with the 1983 manuals:

iAPX 286 Programmer's Reference Manual

iAPX 286 Operating Systems Writer's guide

*1 - At that point it's important to keep in mind, that despite the 8086 being introduced in August 1978, documentation beside data sheets didn't show up until the 1979 data books.

*2 - Well, that and the 186 manuals of the same time.

*3 - There have been others before on the topic of software related items, like the 80130/150 Operating System Processors, but they are strictly about application of their embedded software blocks.

  • Minor correction: before the iAPX 86, 88 manual there was the iAPX 88 manual. Mar 1, 2020 at 16:19
  • @StephenKitt You're right, I got an 81 edition of that book here. But it is more about only one specific CPU, isn't it? I understand the question being about generic architecture/family manuals.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 17:43
  • @StephenKitt Hihi, I just pulled out the iAPX 88 Book and noted that the supplement contains ratehr detailed benchmarks comparing the 8088 with Z80 and 6809. Great material. Complete forgot about them.
    – Raffzahn
    Mar 1, 2020 at 21:22
  • 1
    Yes, it’s quite an interesting manual ;-). Mar 1, 2020 at 21:31
  • 1
    And yes, it’s a bit of an oddball in the sequence of manuals, coming after a family manual (which even has details of the 8089) and with a very specific title — or perhaps its 8-bit focus explains the inclusion of comparisons with the Z80 and 6809... So there would be a “x86 sequence” with the family manual and “86, 88” manual, and separately a “8088 in an 8-bit context” manual. Mar 1, 2020 at 21:56

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