Many of the improvements in the speed and computing ability of today’s PCs and embedded systems can be traced to the microprocessor, which has evolved from the 4-bit devices in the early 1970s to today’s 64-bit devices and multi-core processors. Microprocessors, which contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry required to perform the functions of a computer's central processing unit, have benefitted from trends such as greater chip integration and the implementation of multiple-core architectures. Microprocessors have enabled the dramatic leaps in high-speed PCs, servers for vast communications networks, and are driving applications in artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The companies that have played a part in the microprocessor revolution are a who’s who in electronics history, including Texas Instruments, Intel, AMD, and Motorola.
The following gallery traces some key milestones in the rich history of the microprocessor.
Spencer Chin is a Senior Editor for Design News covering the electronics beat. He has many years of experience covering developments in components, semiconductors, subsystems, power, and other facets of electronics from both a business/supply-chain and technology perspective. He can be reached at [email protected]