Microprocessor

What is Microprocessor?

A microprocessor refers to the processor or CPU that comes with millions of small transistors, registers, accumulator, and diodes.

It also contains the ALU and a control unit that controls the flow of data and performs the arithmetical and logical operations respectively.

In simple words, a microprocessor is the logic chip mounted on a single Integrated Circuit which forms the central unit of the computer system.

Understanding Microprocessor

What is Microprocessor

In a computer, the central unit is the microprocessor. This actually refers to the single IC or Integrated Circuit on which the CPU is built.

Factors for Classification

The classification of the microprocessors is usually done on the basis of a few specific factors such as:

Tasks Performed

A microprocessor is mainly built on a silicon microchip and is more advanced in architectural design which helps it to perform several tasks which includes and are not limited to:

Working Process

The working process of the microprocessors typically follows three specific steps. These are:

Generations

The microprocessor has come a long way and has evolved significantly.

Their evolution also helps in categorizing them into different groups. Here is the brief history of their evolution.

First Generation:

The microprocessors of this era are usually called the 4-bit microprocessors.

The first generation of microprocessors came into existence in 1971-1972 and was introduced by Stanley Mazor & Ted Hoff forIntel Corporation. Since these were 4-bit microprocessors, these were named Intel 4004 or Intel 4040.

These were processors on a single chip and could perform tasks including simple arithmetic and logical operations like addition, subtraction, Boolean OR and Boolean AND with a clock speed of 740 KHz.

There were about 2300 transistors, 16 pins, and could process 60K instructions per second.

Second Generation:

The second generation microprocessors were called the 8-bit microprocessors and were introduced by Intel in 1972-1973.

These processors could perform arithmetic and logical operations in 8-bit words and therefore were called Intel 8008.

The 8008 could handle 50K instructions per second at a clock speed of 500 KHz.

The other versions were more improved and introduced as 8080, 8085 and more.

The 8080, introduced in 1974 came with a clock speed of 2 MHz and could handle 60K instructions per second.

The transistors of this transistor literally performed at a speed which was 10 times higher in comparison to that of Intel 8008.

The 8085 microprocessor, on the other hand, was introduced in 1976 and came with 6500 transistors, a clock speed of 3 MHz, 40 pins, and could handle 769230 instructions per second.

Third Generation:

Referred to as 16-bit microprocessors, Intel introduced them in 1978 as Intel 8086, Zilog Z800 and 80286.

These microprocessors could perform just like a minicomputer with a clock speed varying between 4 MHz and 10 MHz usually of the 29000 transistors that could handle 2.5 million instructions per second using just 40 pins.

Further, in 1982, 80186 and 80188 microprocessors were invented that came with a clock speed of 6 MHz.

The 80286 microprocessor also came into existence after that with a clock speed of 8 MHz, 134000 transistors, 68 pins and could handle as many as 4 million instructions per second.

Fourth Generation:

The 4th generation microprocessors are called 32-bit microprocessors and there were several companies that produced them.

However, the most significant one among all is the 80386 of Intel which was introduced in 1986.

This processor came with a clock speed ranging between 16 MHz and 33 MHz and with 275000 transistors and 132 pins.

This year also saw the release of the Intel 80486 microprocessor that had a clock speed ranging between 16 MHz and 100 MHz, a total of 1.2 million transistors and 168 pins.

Fifth Generation:

The 5th generation microprocessors came into existence in 1995 and the current microprocessors belong to this generation.

These microprocessors are called 64-bit microprocessors.

This era saw the release of 80856, Intel Pentium, Intel Pentium Pro and other microprocessors that allowed multiprocessing in a single system.

The core 2 microprocessor was invented by Intel in 2006 with a clock speed ranging between 1.2 GHz to 3 GHz.

These processors had as many as 291 million transistors.

Then there were the Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 microprocessors with clock speeds ranging between 2 GHz and 3+ GHz.

Other 64-bit processors were also improved in this period such as Celeron, dual-core, quad-core, and octa-core processors.

At present there aren’t any mainstream 128-bit microprocessors available because it is still a long time to exhaust the 64-bit address space.

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Being used at a steady rate of about 2 bits in every 3 years, only 48 bits of it has been used.

So, it will take some time for the 128-bit microprocessors to become mainstream.

List of Different Microprocessors

Here is the list of microprocessors manufactured by different companies in an alphabetical order.

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Adapteva are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Ambric is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by AMD are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Atmel are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Broadcom is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Centaur Technology is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Clearspeed is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Cray Inc are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Cypress Semiconductor is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Cyrix are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Digital Equipment Corporation are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Exponential Technology is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Fujitsu are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by General Instrument are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by HAL Computer Systems are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Hitachi is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by HP are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by IBM are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Intel are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by MediaTek is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by MIPS Technologies are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by MOS Technology are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Motorola are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by National Semiconductor are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by NexGen is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Phytium are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Qualcomm are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Quantum Effect Devices are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Rapport is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Ross Technology is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by SGI are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Sun Microsystems are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Sunway or ShenWeiare:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Tesla (Czech) is:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Transmeta are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Western Design Center are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Western Digital are:

The microprocessors developed and marketed by Zilog are:

Basic Terms

There are a few basic terms that are used in microprocessors which are also good to know. These are:

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Characteristics

Ideally, there are three major characteristics of a microprocessor. These are:

Design

The microprocessors come with several tiny components that work together to perform a given functions. These are:

The most important part of the microprocessor is the CPU of the Central Processing Unit. It processes data and instructions and also performs several calculations and other tasks.

The CPU is also called the main processor or central processor which comes with the following subparts:

Some of the other parts of a microprocessor include a decoder which decodes the High Level Language instructions to Machine Language before passing them on to the CPU as well as an Instruction Register to store the instructions to be executed currently.

The microprocessor also comes with a bus architecture which helps in communication.

It is actually a collection of wires that use electric signals to transmit data and information.

Bus architecture consists of different types of buses as said above such as:

There is a memory as well in a microprocessor which also comes in different parts such as:

Types of Microprocessors

There are different types of microprocessors available today though you may only find a few of them dominating the market.

CISC microprocessor:

The Complex Instruction Set Computer or CISC microprocessors help in simplifying the code and to make the instruction set shorter.

This reduces memory requirement.

The program size is reduced by using complicated addressing node which also reduces the memory cycle and execution time of a program.

The architecture of this processor includes special-purpose circuits that carry instructions at a very high speed. These instructions can be either very simple or very complex.

The complex instructions take longer time to be executed and are specified at the assembly language level. The compiler changes it from higher level to assembly.

The most significant benefits offered by the CISC microprocessors are reduced memory usage and time consumption.

It can perform several low-level operations such as loading from and storing into memory, an arithmetic operation by using very few registers and more.

A few examples of CISC microprocessors are:

RISC microprocessor:

This is one of the major microprocessors that are considered to be an alternative to the CISC processors and come with simple instruction sets and addressing modes.

The RISC or Reduced Instruction Set Computer processors are faster and take less time to operate as they execute each instruction in only one clock cycle.

One of the special features of the RISC processors is that it allows increasing the register set by the users as well as the internal parallelism.

However, it usually has a fixed length of 32-bit of instruction.

The main downside of the RISC processors is that direct memory to memory transfer is not allowed and therefore it is hard to process complex addressing modes and instructions.

These processors are mainly used in modern electronic gadgets.

A few examples of RISC microprocessor are:

EPIC microprocessor:

The EPIC or Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing microprocessors use compilers to carry out instructions in parallel without needing to use higher clock frequencies.

The instruction is encoded into 128-bit bundles, each of which consists of 3 instructions encoded in 41 bits each along with a 5-bit template field such as the IA-64 or Intel Architecture-64.

Superscalar microprocessor:

These processors are fast enough to handle multiple tasks easily and produce the results without delay.

The superscalar microprocessors come with an extensive architecture structure that enables them to handle multiple instructions sets during a clock cycle.

There are several execution units in them that help in feeding different pipelines.

A few examples of superscalar microprocessors are:

You will also get a few special function microprocessor variants based on their working operations. These are:

Read Also:  What is Superscalar? Works, Example, Pros, Cons & More

Features of Microprocessor

Some of the most significant features of the microprocessor are:

Where are Microprocessors Used?

Due to the useful features as mentioned above, you will see microprocessors being used is several electronic devices which includes and are not limited to:

You will also see microprocessors are used in several different devices used in the industries to monitor and do different things such as:

Microprocessors are also used to:

Moreover, the microprocessors are used in a lot of devices that are specifically used in military applications and also in space research.

In short, the microprocessors are found in almost any device you use today that helps in doing your home and office jobs in a much better and faster manner and also stay connected with the rest of the world.

Why is the Microprocessor Important?

A microprocessor is important because without it the computer will not be able to perform any task that you want it to.

It takes the data input and processes it by performing different arithmetic and logical operations to produce the desired output.

The microprocessor helps the computer add and subtract, multiply and divide, compare and transfer numbers from one place to another.

In short, it is the central part of the computer without which the system will be ‘brain dead,’ with all puns intended.

Advantages

There are several benefits of using a microprocessor and it is all due to the design and functionality of these processors.

To be very specific, the use of microprocessors in the systems in an industry helps in a lot of ways such as:

In general, the microprocessors in a computer helps in performing multiple tasks very fast because it helps in moving data very quickly between different memory locations and devices.

Disadvantages

Just like a coin has two faces, the microprocessors also come with some disadvantages.

Therefore, when you look at the flip side, the significant downsides of the microprocessors are:

Most importantly, it is required to ensure that it does not come in contact with any other external devices.

Conclusion

Ideally, the microprocessors of today have really revolutionized modern computing.

And, thanks to this article, now you know what it is, how it works, as well as the specific reasons as to why it has become an integral part in the development process of everyday technology.