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-An [Acronym] for
Complex Instruction Set Computing
+An [Acronym] for (or chip?)
Describes a [CPU] that has a large number of machine level instructions hard-coded into it. The most well-known example is the [Intel] [x86] family - each revision has introduced new instructions (for example, MMX extensions) so that the number of instructions in the chip is now well over several hundred.
Compare with [RISC] (R = reduced)
See http://www.arstechnica.com/cpu/4q99/risc-cisc/rvc-1.html for a more in-depth discussion.