The Age of Microprocessor

Santript Mehta
3 min readFeb 24, 2021

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Today, the whole world is running on semi-conductor material. We are all flanked by advanced technologies. And every machine or device is running and controlled by a small chip that is Microprocessor. There were many companies that developed different types of microprocessors at its revolutionize age. Likewise Intel, Fairchild, MOS Technology, Motorola, and so on.

The world’s first microprocessor, Intel 4004, was a 4-bit microprocessor that is a programmable controller. The 4004 instruction set contained only 45 instructions. It was fabricated with the then-current state-of-the-art P-channel MOSFET technology that only allowed it to execute instructions at the slow rate of 50 KIPs (Kilo-instruction per second). This was slow when compared to the 100,000 instructions executed per second by the 30-ton ENIAC computer in 1946. The main difference was that the 4004 weighed much less than an ounce.

At first, the 4-bit microprocessor debuted in early video game systems and small systems and small microprocessor-based control systems. The main problem with this early microprocessor was its speed, word width, and memory size. The 4-bit microprocessor’s evolution ended when Intel released the 4040, and updated version of the earlier 4004, The 4004 operated at a higher speed, although it lacked improvement in memory size and word width. Other companies, like Texas Instruments(TMS-1000), also produced 4-bit microprocessors. The 4-bit microprocessor still survives in a low-end application such as microwave ovens and small control systems and is still available from some microprocessor manufacturers. Most of the calculator is still based on a 4-bit microprocessor that processes 4-bit BCD(Binary Coded Decimal) codes.

Later in 1971, realizing that the microprocessor was a commercially viable product, Intel corporation released the 8008- an extended 8-bit version of the 4004 microprocessor. The 8008 addressed an expanded memory size and contained additional instruction that provided an opportunity for its application in more advanced systems.

As engineers developed more demanding uses for the 8008 microprocessor, they discovered that its somewhat small memory size, slow speed, and instruction set limited its usefulness. Intel recognized these limitations and introduced the 8080 microprocessor in 1973 — the first of the modern 8-bit microprocessors. About six months after Intel released the 8080 microprocessor, Motorola corporation introduced its MC6800 microprocessor. Soon, other companies began to introduce their own version of the 8-bit microprocessor.

Of these early Microprocessors producers, only Intel and Motorola(IBM also produces Motorola style microprocessors). Continue successfully to create a newer and improved version of the microprocessor. Motorola has sold its microprocessor division, and that company is now called Freescale Semiconductors.

source:- The intel microprocessors by barry B. Brey

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