Like its predecessor, the X1, the X8 system included core memory, 27-bit word length with 15-bit addressing, and drum memory as secondary storage (not as primary storage). The X8 included an independent peripheral processor called CHARON (Centraal Hulporgaan Autonome Regeling Overdracht Nevenapparatuur, or Central Coprocessor Autonomous Regulation Transfer Peripherals) which handled I/O. Other features included up to 48 input/output channels designed for low speed devices such as paper tape, plotters and printers. Unlike the X1, the arithmetic unit of the X8 included floating point arithmetic, with a 40-bit mantissa and 11-bit exponent.
- E.W.Dijkstra, Documentatie over de communicatie apparatuur aan de EL X8, EWD140, undated. 
- E.W.Dijkstra, Globale beschrijving van de drijvende arithmetiek van de EL X8, EWD145, 6 December 1965. 
- E.W. Dijkstra, "The structure of the 'THE' multiprogramming system", Communications of the ACM 11(5):341–346, 1968. Dijkstra's manuscript EWD196 Full text (subscription)