The CPU in question was the venerable 80286. Originally introduced in 1984, this CPU was the main operating system during the middle of the Reagan administration. It introduced multitasking abilities to the lowly PC and could address more memory than was ever conceived a mere five years ago.
It was also the chip that was condemned by some PC pundits as being "brain dead" because of the way it switched into Protected Mode and then wouldn't come back.
This article was dated September 13, 1988. You can see the same themes and arguments made in that article that people talk about today when discussing dual and quad-core CPUs.
You can see the full article on the New York Times's Web site.