A microprocessor (abbreviated as ÁP or uP) is an electronic computer central processing unit (CPU) made from miniaturized transistors and other circuit elements on a single semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) (aka chip). Before the advent of microprocessors, electronic CPUs were made from discrete (separate) transistors; and before that, from vacuum tubes. There have even been designs for simple computing machines based on mechanical parts such as gears, shafts, levers, etc. Leonardo DaVinci made one such design, although none were possible to construcct using the manufacturing techniques of the time.

The evolution of microprocessors have been known to follow Moore's Law when it comes to steadily increasing performance over the years.

Table of contents
1 Summary history
2 Microprocessors and architectures
3 External links

Summary history

The world's first commercial microprocessor was the 4-bit 4004, released on November 15, 1971, invented by Marcian Ted Hoff. The 4004 was later followed by the 8008. These processors are the precursors to the very successful Intel 8080, Zilog Z80, and derivative Intel 8-bit processors. The competing Motorola 6800 architecture was cloned and improved in the MOS Technologies 6502, rivaling the Z80 in popularity during the 1980s.

The 8080 is the ancestor of the 16-bit Intel 8086, the first member of the x86 family which powers most modern PC type computers. Intel introduced the 8086 as a cost effective way of porting software from the 8080 lines, and succeeded in winning much business on that premise. Following up their 8086 and 8088, Intel released the 32-bit 80386 in 1985, cementing Intel's PC dominance with its processor family's backwards compatibility.

Examples of other 16-bit microprocessor families include the Motorola 68000, used in early Apple Macintosh computers; and the Zilog Z8000.

this page needs updating with "modern" (i.e. post-1985) summary ÁP history

See also:

Microprocessors and architectures

  1. Intel 4004, 4040
  2. Intel 8080, 8085, Zilog Z80
  3. Intel 8086, 8088, 80186, 80188, 80286, 80386, 80486, x86
  4. AMD K5,  K6, K6-2, Duron, Athlon, Opteron
  5. Intel Pentium, Pentium Pro, Celeron, Pentium II, Pentium III, Pentium 4
  6. Intel Itanium, Xeon, i860, i960
  7. Motorola 6800,  MOS Technologies 6502, Motorola 6809
  8. Motorola 68000 family, 88000, ColdFire
  9. 320xx microprocessor
  10. Inmos Transputer
  11. PowerPC family, G4, G5
  12. PA-RISC family
  13. ARM family, StrongARM
  14. DEC Alpha
  15. MIPS architecture
  16. Atmel AVR architecture
  17. OpenCores OpenRISC architecture
  18. CDP1802

External links