Keep your cool Malboro man : ).
Unix freak, as explained x86 speak about intel cpu's. Why is it not written on your cd's? As it's the main line of cpu's sometimes it's assumed yours is intel compatible and then not written on it.
Some distribution like ... heu ... Débian run on a lot of platform, than we have to tell on wich the cd (or iso image) will run.
For your other question, the diff between mandrake 9.1 and further is mainly version of programs and better installer, more drivers, easier tools. You spoke about using OpenOffice.Org. Latest release are really improving quality of filters and easy use.