Intel has announced that they are starting to develop a new CPU to replace the 8088/8086 and 80286 processors. Intel said that they are designing the new CPU to be able to 32-bit capable while still being able to run MS-DOS.

Intel said that the 80386 has a new virtual 86 mode to support running multiple MS-DOS sessions.

The 80386 also features a new 32-bit protected mode with a flat address space of up to 4GB. Given most machines today have 1MB and maybe expanded memory etc, the idea of 4GB of RAM is mind boggling.

Prices for the 8088 CPU have fallen to under $30 each now making MS-DOS machines much more affordable already. Given prices are falling it’s likely in a few years to be able to get a 80386 for $30. Most cheap clone machines are using 8088 processors with 640KB of memory for $500 plus monitor.