A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.
The integration of a whole CPU onto a single chip or on a few chips greatly reduced the cost of processing power, increasing efficiency. Integrated circuit processors are produced in large numbers by highly automated processes, resulting in a low per-unit cost. Single-chip processors increase reliability because there are many fewer electrical connections that could fail. As microprocessor designs improve, the cost of manufacturing a chip (with smaller components built on a semiconductor chip the same size) generally stays the same according to Rock's law.
Before microprocessors, small computers had been built using racks of circuit boards with many medium- and small-scale integrated circuits. Microprocessors combined this into one or a few large-scale ICs. Continued increases in microprocessor capacity have since rendered other forms of computers almost completely obsolete (see history of computing hardware), with one or more microprocessors used in everything from the smallest embedded systems and handheld devices to the largest mainframes and supercomputers.
The internal arrangement of a microprocessor varies depending on the age of the design and the intended purposes of the microprocessor. The complexity of an integrated circuit (IC) is bounded by physical limitations on the number of transistors that can be put onto one chip, the number of package terminations that can connect the processor to other parts of the system, the number of interconnections it is possible to make on the chip, and the heat that the chip can dissipate. Advancing technology makes more complex and powerful chips feasible to manufacture.
A minimal hypothetical microprocessor might include only an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) and a control logic section. The ALU performs operations such as addition, subtraction, and operations such as AND or OR. Each operation of the ALU sets one or more flags in a status register, which indicate the results of the last operation (zero value, negative number, overflow, or others). The control logic retrieves instruction codes from memory and initiates the sequence of operations required for the ALU to carry out the instruction. A single operation code might affect many individual data paths, registers, and other elements of the processor.
As integrated circuit technology advanced, it was feasible to manufacture more and more complex processors on a single chip. The size of data objects became larger; allowing more transistors on a chip allowed word sizes to increase from 4- and 8-bit words up to today's 64-bit words. Additional features were added to the processor architecture; more on-chip registers sped up programs, and complex instructions could be used to make more compact programs. Floating-point arithmetic, for example, was often not available on 8-bit microprocessors, but had to be carried out in software. Integration of the floating point unit first as a separate integrated circuit and then as part of the same microprocessor chip sped up floating point calculations.
Occasionally, physical limitations of integrated circuits made such practices as a bit slice approach necessary. Instead of processing all of a long word on one integrated circuit, multiple circuits in parallel processed subsets of each data word. While this required extra logic to handle, for example, carry and overflow within each slice, the result was a system that could handle, for example, 32-bit words using integrated circuits with a capacity for only four bits each.
The ability to put large numbers of transistors on one chip makes it feasible to integrate memory on the same die as the processor. This CPU cache has the advantage of faster access than off-chip memory and increases the processing speed of the system for many applications. Processor clock frequency has increased more rapidly than external memory speed, except in the recent past, so cache memory is necessary if the processor is not delayed by slower external memory.
A microprocessor is a general-purpose entity. Several specialized processing devices have followed from the technology:
32-bit processors have more digital logic than narrower processors, so 32-bit (and wider) processors produce more digital noise and have higher static consumption than narrower processors. Reducing digital noise improves ADC conversion results. So, 8- or 16-bit processors can be better than 32-bit processors for system on a chip and microcontrollers that require extremely low-power electronics, or are part of a mixed-signal integrated circuit with noise-sensitive on-chip analog electronics such as high-resolution analog to digital converters, or both.
Nevertheless, trade-offs apply: running 32-bit arithmetic on an 8-bit chip could end up using more power, as the chip must execute software with multiple instructions. Modern microprocessors go into low power states when possible, and an 8-bit chip running 32-bit calculations would be active for more cycles. This creates a delicate balance between software, hardware and use patterns, and costs.
When manufactured in a similar process, 8-bit microprocessors use less power when operating and less power when sleeping than 32-bit microprocessors.
However, a 32-bit microprocessor may use less average power than an 8-bit microprocessor when the application requires certain operations such as floating-point math that take many more clock cycles on an 8-bit microprocessor than on a 32-bit microprocessor, so the 8-bit microprocessor spends more time in high-power operating mode.
Thousands of items that were traditionally not computer-related include microprocessors. These include large and small household appliances, cars (and their accessory equipment units), car keys, tools and test instruments, toys, light switches/dimmers and electrical circuit breakers, smoke alarms, battery packs, and hi-fi audio/visual components (from DVD players to phonograph turntables). Such products as cellular telephones, DVD video system and HDTV broadcast systems fundamentally require consumer devices with powerful, low-cost, microprocessors. Increasingly stringent pollution control standards effectively require automobile manufacturers to use microprocessor engine management systems to allow optimal control of emissions over the widely varying operating conditions of an automobile. Non-programmable controls would require complex, bulky, or costly implementation to achieve the results possible with a microprocessor.
A microprocessor control program (embedded software) can be easily tailored to different needs of a product line, allowing upgrades in performance with minimal redesign of the product. Different features can be implemented in different models of a product line at negligible production cost.
Microprocessor control of a system can provide control strategies that would be impractical to implement using electromechanical controls or purpose-built electronic controls. For example, an engine control system in an automobile can adjust ignition timing based on engine speed, load on the engine, ambient temperature, and any observed tendency for knocking—allowing an automobile to operate on a range of fuel grades.
The advent of low-cost computers on integrated circuits has transformed modern society. General-purpose microprocessors in personal computers are used for computation, text editing, multimedia display, and communication over the Internet. Many more microprocessors are part of embedded systems, providing digital control over myriad objects from appliances to automobiles to cellular phones and industrial process control.
By the late 1960s, designers were striving to integrate the central processing unit (CPU) functions of a computer onto a handful of very-large-scale integration metal-oxide semiconductor chips, called microprocessor unit (MPU) chipsets. Building on an earlier Busicom design from 1969, Intel introduced the first commercial microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel 4004, in 1971, followed by its 8-bit microprocessor 8008 in 1972. In 1969, Lee Boysel, based on b8-bit arithmetic logic units (3800/3804) he designed earlier at Fairchild, created the Four-Phase Systems Inc. AL-1, an 8-bit CPU slice that was expandable to 32-bits. In 1970, Steve Geller and Ray Holt of Garrett AiResearch designed the MP944 chipset to implement the F-14A Central Air Data Computer on six metal-gate chips fabricated by AMI.
The first microprocessors emerged in the early 1970s and were used for electronic calculators, using binary-coded decimal (BCD) arithmetic on 4-bit words. Other embedded uses of 4-bit and 8-bit microprocessors, such as terminals, printers, various kinds of automation etc., followed soon after. Affordable 8-bit microprocessors with 16-bit addressing also led to the first general-purpose microcomputers from the mid-1970s on.
Since the early 1970s, the increase in capacity of microprocessors has followed Moore's law; this originally suggested that the number of components that can be fitted onto a chip doubles every year. With present technology, it is actually every two years, and as a result Moore later changed the period to two years.
Three projects delivered a microprocessor at about the same time: Garrett AiResearch's Central Air Data Computer (CADC), Texas Instruments' TMS 1000 (September 1971) and Intel's 4004 (November 1971, based on an earlier 1969 Busicom design). Arguably, Four-Phase Systems AL1 microprocessor was also delivered in 1969.
In 1968, Garrett AiResearch (who employed designers Ray Holt and Steve Geller) was invited to produce a digital computer to compete with electromechanical systems then under development for the main flight control computer in the US Navy's new F-14 Tomcat fighter. The design was complete by 1970, and used a MOS-based chipset as the core CPU. The design was significantly (approximately 20 times) smaller and much more reliable than the mechanical systems it competed against, and was used in all of the early Tomcat models. This system contained "a 20-bit, pipelined, parallel multi-microprocessor". The Navy refused to allow publication of the design until 1997. For this reason the CADC, and the MP944 chipset it used, are fairly unknown. Ray Holt's autobiographical story of this design and development is presented in the book: The Accidental Engineer. 
Ray Holt graduated from California Polytechnic University in 1968, and began his computer design career with the CADC. From its inception, it was shrouded in secrecy until 1998 when at Holt's request, the US Navy allowed the documents into the public domain. Since then people have debated whether this was the first microprocessor. Holt has stated that no one has compared this microprocessor with those that came later. According to Parab et al. (2007),
The scientific papers and literature published around 1971 reveal that the MP944 digital processor used for the F-14 Tomcat aircraft of the US Navy qualifies as the first microprocessor. Although interesting, it was not a single-chip processor, as was not the Intel 4004 – they both were more like a set of parallel building blocks you could use to make a general-purpose form. It contains a CPU, RAM, ROM, and two other support chips like the Intel 4004. It was made from the same P-channel technology, operated at military specifications and had larger chips – an excellent computer engineering design by any standards. Its design indicates a major advance over Intel, and two year earlier. It actually worked and was flying in the F-14 when the Intel 4004 was announced. It indicates that today's industry theme of converging DSP-microcontroller architectures was started in 1971.
The Four-Phase Systems AL1 was an 8-bit bit slice chip containing eight registers and an ALU. It was designed by Lee Boysel in 1969. At the time, it formed part of a nine-chip, 24-bit CPU with three AL1s, but it was later called a microprocessor when, in response to 1990s litigation by Texas Instruments, a demonstration system was constructed where a single AL1 formed part of a courtroom demonstration computer system, together with RAM, ROM, and an input-output device.
In 1971, Pico Electronics and General Instrument (GI) introduced their first collaboration in ICs, a complete single chip calculator IC for the Monroe/Litton Royal Digital III calculator. This chip could also arguably lay claim to be one of the first microprocessors or microcontrollers having ROM, RAM and a RISC instruction set on-chip. The layout for the four layers of the PMOS process was hand drawn at x500 scale on mylar film, a significant task at the time given the complexity of the chip.
Pico was a spinout by five GI design engineers whose vision was to create single chip calculator ICs. They had significant previous design experience on multiple calculator chipsets with both GI and Marconi-Elliott. The key team members had originally been tasked by Elliott Automation to create an 8-bit computer in MOS and had helped establish a MOS Research Laboratory in Glenrothes, Scotland in 1967.
Calculators were becoming the largest single market for semiconductors so Pico and GI went on to have significant success in this burgeoning market. GI continued to innovate in microprocessors and microcontrollers with products including the CP1600, IOB1680 and PIC1650. In 1987, the GI Microelectronics business was spun out into the Microchip PIC microcontroller business.
The Intel 4004 is generally regarded as the first commercially available microprocessor, and cost US$60 (equivalent to $371.19 in 2018). The first known advertisement for the 4004 is dated November 15, 1971 and appeared in Electronic News. The microprocessor was designed by a team consisting of Italian engineer Federico Faggin, American engineers Marcian Hoff and Stanley Mazor, and Japanese engineer Masatoshi Shima.
The project that produced the 4004 originated in 1969, when Busicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer, asked Intel to build a chipset for high-performance desktop calculators. Busicom's original design called for a programmable chip set consisting of seven different chips. Three of the chips were to make a special-purpose CPU with its program stored in ROM and its data stored in shift register read-write memory. Ted Hoff, the Intel engineer assigned to evaluate the project, believed the Busicom design could be simplified by using dynamic RAM storage for data, rather than shift register memory, and a more traditional general-purpose CPU architecture. Hoff came up with a four-chip architectural proposal: a ROM chip for storing the programs, a dynamic RAM chip for storing data, a simple I/O device and a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU). Although not a chip designer, he felt the CPU could be integrated into a single chip, but as he lacked the technical know-how the idea remained just a wish for the time being.
While the architecture and specifications of the MCS-4 came from the interaction of Hoff with Stanley Mazor, a software engineer reporting to him, and with Busicom engineer Masatoshi Shima, during 1969, Mazor and Hoff moved on to other projects. In April 1970, Intel hired Italian engineer Federico Faggin as project leader, a move that ultimately made the single-chip CPU final design a reality (Shima meanwhile designed the Busicom calculator firmware and assisted Faggin during the first six months of the implementation). Faggin, who originally developed the silicon gate technology (SGT) in 1968 at Fairchild Semiconductor and designed the world’s first commercial integrated circuit using SGT, the Fairchild 3708, had the correct background to lead the project into what would become the first commercial general purpose microprocessor. Since SGT was his very own invention, Faggin also used it to create his new methodology for random logic design that made it possible to implement a single-chip CPU with the proper speed, power dissipation and cost. The manager of Intel's MOS Design Department was Leslie L. Vadász at the time of the MCS-4 development but Vadász's attention was completely focused on the mainstream business of semiconductor memories so he left the leadership and the management of the MCS-4 project to Faggin, who was ultimately responsible for leading the 4004 project to its realization. Production units of the 4004 were first delivered to Busicom in March 1971 and shipped to other customers in late 1971.
Gilbert Hyatt was awarded a patent claiming an invention pre-dating both TI and Intel, describing a "microcontroller". The patent was later invalidated, but not before substantial royalties were paid out.
The Intel 4004 was followed in 1972 by the Intel 8008, the world's first 8-bit microprocessor. The 8008 was not, however, an extension of the 4004 design, but instead the culmination of a separate design project at Intel, arising from a contract with Computer Terminals Corporation, of San Antonio TX, for a chip for a terminal they were designing, the Datapoint 2200—fundamental aspects of the design came not from Intel but from CTC. In 1968, CTC's Vic Poor and Harry Pyle developed the original design for the instruction set and operation of the processor. In 1969, CTC contracted two companies, Intel and Texas Instruments, to make a single-chip implementation, known as the CTC 1201. In late 1970 or early 1971, TI dropped out being unable to make a reliable part. In 1970, with Intel yet to deliver the part, CTC opted to use their own implementation in the Datapoint 2200, using traditional TTL logic instead (thus the first machine to run "8008 code" was not in fact a microprocessor at all and was delivered a year earlier). Intel's version of the 1201 microprocessor arrived in late 1971, but was too late, slow, and required a number of additional support chips. CTC had no interest in using it. CTC had originally contracted Intel for the chip, and would have owed them US$50,000 (equivalent to $309,326 in 2018) for their design work. To avoid paying for a chip they did not want (and could not use), CTC released Intel from their contract and allowed them free use of the design. Intel marketed it as the 8008 in April, 1972, as the world's first 8-bit microprocessor. It was the basis for the famous "Mark-8" computer kit advertised in the magazine Radio-Electronics in 1974. This processor had an 8-bit data bus and a 14-bit address bus.
The 8008 was the precursor to the successful Intel 8080 (1974), which offered improved performance over the 8008 and required fewer support chips. Federico Faggin conceived and designed it using high voltage N channel MOS. The Zilog Z80 (1976) was also a Faggin design, using low voltage N channel with depletion load and derivative Intel 8-bit processors: all designed with the methodology Faggin created for the 4004. Motorola released the competing 6800 in August 1974, and the similar MOS Technology 6502 in 1975 (both designed largely by the same people). The 6502 family rivaled the Z80 in popularity during the 1980s.
A low overall cost, small packaging, simple computer bus requirements, and sometimes the integration of extra circuitry (e.g. the Z80's built-in memory refresh circuitry) allowed the home computer "revolution" to accelerate sharply in the early 1980s. This delivered such inexpensive machines as the Sinclair ZX81, which sold for US$99 (equivalent to $272.83 in 2018). A variation of the 6502, the MOS Technology 6510 was used in the Commodore 64 and yet another variant, the 8502, powered the Commodore 128.
The Western Design Center, Inc (WDC) introduced the CMOS WDC 65C02 in 1982 and licensed the design to several firms. It was used as the CPU in the Apple IIe and IIc personal computers as well as in medical implantable grade pacemakers and defibrillators, automotive, industrial and consumer devices. WDC pioneered the licensing of microprocessor designs, later followed by ARM (32-bit) and other microprocessor intellectual property (IP) providers in the 1990s.
Motorola introduced the MC6809 in 1978. It was an ambitious and well thought-through 8-bit design that was source compatible with the 6800, and implemented using purely hard-wired logic (subsequent 16-bit microprocessors typically used microcode to some extent, as CISC design requirements were becoming too complex for pure hard-wired logic).
A seminal microprocessor in the world of spaceflight was RCA's RCA 1802 (aka CDP1802, RCA COSMAC) (introduced in 1976), which was used on board the Galileo probe to Jupiter (launched 1989, arrived 1995). RCA COSMAC was the first to implement CMOS technology. The CDP1802 was used because it could be run at very low power, and because a variant was available fabricated using a special production process, silicon on sapphire (SOS), which provided much better protection against cosmic radiation and electrostatic discharge than that of any other processor of the era. Thus, the SOS version of the 1802 was said to be the first radiation-hardened microprocessor.
The RCA 1802 had a static design, meaning that the clock frequency could be made arbitrarily low, or even stopped. This let the Galileo spacecraft use minimum electric power for long uneventful stretches of a voyage. Timers or sensors would awaken the processor in time for important tasks, such as navigation updates, attitude control, data acquisition, and radio communication. Current versions of the Western Design Center 65C02 and 65C816 have static cores, and thus retain data even when the clock is completely halted.
The Intersil 6100 family consisted of a 12-bit microprocessor (the 6100) and a range of peripheral support and memory ICs. The microprocessor recognised the DEC PDP-8 minicomputer instruction set. As such it was sometimes referred to as the CMOS-PDP8. Since it was also produced by Harris Corporation, it was also known as the Harris HM-6100. By virtue of its CMOS technology and associated benefits, the 6100 was being incorporated into some military designs until the early 1980s.
Other early multi-chip 16-bit microprocessors include one that Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) used in the LSI-11 OEM board set and the packaged PDP 11/03 minicomputer—and the Fairchild Semiconductor MicroFlame 9440, both introduced in 1975–76. In 1975, National introduced the first 16-bit single-chip microprocessor, the National Semiconductor PACE, which was later followed by an NMOS version, the INS8900.
Another early single-chip 16-bit microprocessor was TI's TMS 9900, which was also compatible with their TI-990 line of minicomputers. The 9900 was used in the TI 990/4 minicomputer, the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A home computer, and the TM990 line of OEM microcomputer boards. The chip was packaged in a large ceramic 64-pin DIP package, while most 8-bit microprocessors such as the Intel 8080 used the more common, smaller, and less expensive plastic 40-pin DIP. A follow-on chip, the TMS 9980, was designed to compete with the Intel 8080, had the full TI 990 16-bit instruction set, used a plastic 40-pin package, moved data 8 bits at a time, but could only address 16 KB. A third chip, the TMS 9995, was a new design. The family later expanded to include the 99105 and 99110.
The Western Design Center (WDC) introduced the CMOS 65816 16-bit upgrade of the WDC CMOS 65C02 in 1984. The 65816 16-bit microprocessor was the core of the Apple IIgs and later the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, making it one of the most popular 16-bit designs of all time.
Intel "upsized" their 8080 design into 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. The 8088, a version of the 8086 that used an 8-bit external data bus, was the microprocessor in the first IBM PC. Intel then released the 80186 and 80188, the 80286 and, in 1985, the 32-bit 80386, cementing their PC market dominance with the processor family's backwards compatibility. The 80186 and 80188 were essentially versions of the 8086 and 8088, enhanced with some onboard peripherals and a few new instructions. Although Intel's 80186 and 80188 were not used in IBM PC type designs, second source versions from NEC, the V20 and V30 frequently were. The 8086 and successors had an innovative but limited method of memory segmentation, while the 80286 introduced a full-featured segmented memory management unit (MMU). The 80386 introduced a flat 32-bit memory model with paged memory management.
The 16-bit Intel x86 processors up to and including the 80386 do not include floating-point units (FPUs). Intel introduced the 8087, 80187, 80287 and 80387 math coprocessors to add hardware floating-point and transcendental function capabilities to the 8086 through 80386 CPUs. The 8087 works with the 8086/8088 and 80186/80188, the 80187 works with the 80186 but not the 80188, the 80287 works with the 80286 and the 80387 works with the 80386. The combination of an x86 CPU and an x87 coprocessor forms a single multi-chip microprocessor; the two chips are programmed as a unit using a single integrated instruction set. The 8087 and 80187 coprocessors are connected in parallel with the data and address buses of their parent processor and directly execute instructions intended for them. The 80287 and 80387 coprocessors are interfaced to the CPU through I/O ports in the CPU's address space, this is transparent to the program, which does not need to know about or access these I/O ports directly; the program accesses the coprocessor and its registers through normal instruction opcodes.
16-bit designs had only been on the market briefly when 32-bit implementations started to appear.
The most significant of the 32-bit designs is the Motorola MC68000, introduced in 1979. The 68k, as it was widely known, had 32-bit registers in its programming model but used 16-bit internal data paths, three 16-bit Arithmetic Logic Units, and a 16-bit external data bus (to reduce pin count), and externally supported only 24-bit addresses (internally it worked with full 32 bit addresses). In PC-based IBM-compatible mainframes the MC68000 internal microcode was modified to emulate the 32-bit System/370 IBM mainframe. Motorola generally described it as a 16-bit processor. The combination of high performance, large (16 megabytes or 224 bytes) memory space and fairly low cost made it the most popular CPU design of its class. The Apple Lisa and Macintosh designs made use of the 68000, as did a host of other designs in the mid-1980s, including the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.
The world's first single-chip fully 32-bit microprocessor, with 32-bit data paths, 32-bit buses, and 32-bit addresses, was the AT&T Bell Labs BELLMAC-32A, with first samples in 1980, and general production in 1982. After the divestiture of AT&T in 1984, it was renamed the WE 32000 (WE for Western Electric), and had two follow-on generations, the WE 32100 and WE 32200. These microprocessors were used in the AT&T 3B5 and 3B15 minicomputers; in the 3B2, the world's first desktop super microcomputer; in the "Companion", the world's first 32-bit laptop computer; and in "Alexander", the world's first book-sized super microcomputer, featuring ROM-pack memory cartridges similar to today's gaming consoles. All these systems ran the UNIX System V operating system.
The first commercial, single chip, fully 32-bit microprocessor available on the market was the HP FOCUS.
Intel's first 32-bit microprocessor was the iAPX 432, which was introduced in 1981, but was not a commercial success. It had an advanced capability-based object-oriented architecture, but poor performance compared to contemporary architectures such as Intel's own 80286 (introduced 1982), which was almost four times as fast on typical benchmark tests. However, the results for the iAPX432 was partly due to a rushed and therefore suboptimal Ada compiler.
Motorola's success with the 68000 led to the MC68010, which added virtual memory support. The MC68020, introduced in 1984 added full 32-bit data and address buses. The 68020 became hugely popular in the Unix supermicrocomputer market, and many small companies (e.g., Altos, Charles River Data Systems, Cromemco) produced desktop-size systems. The MC68030 was introduced next, improving upon the previous design by integrating the MMU into the chip. The continued success led to the MC68040, which included an FPU for better math performance. The 68050 failed to achieve its performance goals and was not released, and the follow-up MC68060 was released into a market saturated by much faster RISC designs. The 68k family faded from use in the early 1990s.
Other large companies designed the 68020 and follow-ons into embedded equipment. At one point, there were more 68020s in embedded equipment than there were Intel Pentiums in PCs. The ColdFire processor cores are derivatives of the 68020.
During this time (early to mid-1980s), National Semiconductor introduced a very similar 16-bit pinout, 32-bit internal microprocessor called the NS 16032 (later renamed 32016), the full 32-bit version named the NS 32032. Later, National Semiconductor produced the NS 32132, which allowed two CPUs to reside on the same memory bus with built in arbitration. The NS32016/32 outperformed the MC68000/10, but the NS32332—which arrived at approximately the same time as the MC68020—did not have enough performance. The third generation chip, the NS32532, was different. It had about double the performance of the MC68030, which was released around the same time. The appearance of RISC processors like the AM29000 and MC88000 (now both dead) influenced the architecture of the final core, the NS32764. Technically advanced—with a superscalar RISC core, 64-bit bus, and internally overclocked—it could still execute Series 32000 instructions through real-time translation.
When National Semiconductor decided to leave the Unix market, the chip was redesigned into the Swordfish Embedded processor with a set of on chip peripherals. The chip turned out to be too expensive for the laser printer market and was killed. The design team went to Intel and there designed the Pentium processor, which is very similar to the NS32764 core internally. The big success of the Series 32000 was in the laser printer market, where the NS32CG16 with microcoded BitBlt instructions had very good price/performance and was adopted by large companies like Canon. By the mid-1980s, Sequent introduced the first SMP server-class computer using the NS 32032. This was one of the design's few wins, and it disappeared in the late 1980s. The MIPS R2000 (1984) and R3000 (1989) were highly successful 32-bit RISC microprocessors. They were used in high-end workstations and servers by SGI, among others. Other designs included the Zilog Z80000, which arrived too late to market to stand a chance and disappeared quickly.
The ARM first appeared in 1985. This is a RISC processor design, which has since come to dominate the 32-bit embedded systems processor space due in large part to its power efficiency, its licensing model, and its wide selection of system development tools. Semiconductor manufacturers generally license cores and integrate them into their own system on a chip products; only a few such vendors are licensed to modify the ARM cores. Most cell phones include an ARM processor, as do a wide variety of other products. There are microcontroller-oriented ARM cores without virtual memory support, as well as symmetric multiprocessor (SMP) applications processors with virtual memory.
From 1993 to 2003, the 32-bit x86 architectures became increasingly dominant in desktop, laptop, and server markets, and these microprocessors became faster and more capable. Intel had licensed early versions of the architecture to other companies, but declined to license the Pentium, so AMD and Cyrix built later versions of the architecture based on their own designs. During this span, these processors increased in complexity (transistor count) and capability (instructions/second) by at least three orders of magnitude. Intel's Pentium line is probably the most famous and recognizable 32-bit processor model, at least with the public at broad.
While 64-bit microprocessor designs have been in use in several markets since the early 1990s (including the Nintendo 64 gaming console in 1996), the early 2000s saw the introduction of 64-bit microprocessors targeted at the PC market.
With AMD's introduction of a 64-bit architecture backwards-compatible with x86, x86-64 (also called AMD64), in September 2003, followed by Intel's near fully compatible 64-bit extensions (first called IA-32e or EM64T, later renamed Intel 64), the 64-bit desktop era began. Both versions can run 32-bit legacy applications without any performance penalty as well as new 64-bit software. With operating systems Windows XP x64, Windows Vista x64, Windows 7 x64, Linux, BSD, and macOS that run 64-bit natively, the software is also geared to fully utilize the capabilities of such processors. The move to 64 bits is more than just an increase in register size from the IA-32 as it also doubles the number of general-purpose registers.
The move to 64 bits by PowerPC had been intended since the architecture's design in the early 90s and was not a major cause of incompatibility. Existing integer registers are extended as are all related data pathways, but, as was the case with IA-32, both floating point and vector units had been operating at or above 64 bits for several years. Unlike what happened when IA-32 was extended to x86-64, no new general purpose registers were added in 64-bit PowerPC, so any performance gained when using the 64-bit mode for applications making no use of the larger address space is minimal.
In 2011, ARM introduced a new 64-bit ARM architecture.
In the mid-1980s to early 1990s, a crop of new high-performance reduced instruction set computer (RISC) microprocessors appeared, influenced by discrete RISC-like CPU designs such as the IBM 801 and others. RISC microprocessors were initially used in special-purpose machines and Unix workstations, but then gained wide acceptance in other roles.
The first commercial RISC microprocessor design was released in 1984, by MIPS Computer Systems, the 32-bit R2000 (the R1000 was not released). In 1986, HP released its first system with a PA-RISC CPU. In 1987, in the non-Unix Acorn computers' 32-bit, then cache-less, ARM2-based Acorn Archimedes became the first commercial success using the ARM architecture, then known as Acorn RISC Machine (ARM); first silicon ARM1 in 1985. The R3000 made the design truly practical, and the R4000 introduced the world's first commercially available 64-bit RISC microprocessor. Competing projects would result in the IBM POWER and Sun SPARC architectures. Soon every major vendor was releasing a RISC design, including the AT&T CRISP, AMD 29000, Intel i860 and Intel i960, Motorola 88000, DEC Alpha.
In the late 1990s, only two 64-bit RISC architectures were still produced in volume for non-embedded applications: SPARC and Power ISA, but as ARM has become increasingly powerful, in the early 2010s, it became the third RISC architecture in the general computing segment.
A different approach to improving a computer's performance is to add extra processors, as in symmetric multiprocessing designs, which have been popular in servers and workstations since the early 1990s. Keeping up with Moore's law is becoming increasingly challenging as chip-making technologies approach their physical limits. In response, microprocessor manufacturers look for other ways to improve performance so they can maintain the momentum of constant upgrades.
A multi-core processor is a single chip that contains more than one microprocessor core. Each core can simultaneously execute processor instructions in parallel. This effectively multiplies the processor's potential performance by the number of cores, if the software is designed to take advantage of more than one processor core. Some components, such as bus interface and cache, may be shared between cores. Because the cores are physically close to each other, they can communicate with each other much faster than separate (off-chip) processors in a multiprocessor system, which improves overall system performance.
In 2001, IBM introduced the first commercial multi-core processor, the monolithic two-core POWER4. Personal computers did not receive multi-core processors until the 2005 introduction, of the two-core Intel Pentium D. The Pentium D, however, was not a monolithic multi-core processor. It was constructed from two dies, each containing a core, packaged on a multi-chip module. The first monolithic multi-core processor in the personal computer market was the AMD Athlon X2, which was introduced a few weeks after the Pentium D. As of 2012, dual- and quad-core processors are widely used in home PCs and laptops, while quad-, six-, eight-, ten-, twelve-, and sixteen-core processors are common in the professional and enterprise markets with workstations and servers.
High-end Intel Xeon processors that are on the LGA 775, LGA 1366, and LGA 2011 sockets and high-end AMD Opteron processors that are on the C32 and G34 sockets are DP (dual processor) capable, as well as the older Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9775 also used in an older Mac Pro by Apple and the Intel Skulltrail motherboard. AMD's G34 motherboards can support up to four CPUs and Intel's LGA 1567 motherboards can support up to eight CPUs.
Modern desktop computers support systems with multiple CPUs, but few applications outside of the professional market can make good use of more than four cores. Both Intel and AMD currently offer fast quad, hex and octa-core desktop CPUs, making multi-CPU systems obsolete for many purposes. The desktop market has been in a transition towards quad-core CPUs since Intel's Core 2 Quad was released and are now common, although dual-core CPUs are still more prevalent. Older or mobile computers are less likely to have more than two cores than newer desktops. Not all software is optimised for multi-core CPUs, making fewer, more powerful cores preferable.
AMD offers CPUs with more cores for a given amount of money than similarly priced Intel CPUs—but the AMD cores are somewhat slower, so the two trade blows in different applications depending on how well-threaded the programs running are. For example, Intel's cheapest Sandy Bridge quad-core CPUs often cost almost twice as much as AMD's cheapest Athlon II, Phenom II, and FX quad-core CPUs but Intel has dual-core CPUs in the same price ranges as AMD's cheaper quad-core CPUs. In an application that uses one or two threads, the Intel dual-core CPUs outperform AMD's similarly priced quad-core CPUs—and if a program supports three or four threads the cheap AMD quad-core CPUs outperform the similarly priced Intel dual-core CPUs.
Historically, AMD and Intel have switched places as the company with the fastest CPU several times. Intel currently leads on the desktop side of the computer CPU market, with their Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge series. In servers, AMD's new Opterons seem to have superior performance for their price point. This means that AMD are currently more competitive in low- to mid-end servers and workstations that more effectively use fewer cores and threads.
Taken to the extreme, this trend also includes manycore designs, with hundreds of cores, with qualitatively different architectures.
In 2002, less than 10% of all the CPUs sold in the world were 32-bit or more. Of all the 32-bit CPUs sold, about 2% are used in desktop or laptop personal computers. Most microprocessors are used in embedded control applications such as household appliances, automobiles, and computer peripherals. Taken as a whole, the average price for a microprocessor, microcontroller, or DSP is just over US$6 (equivalent to $8.36 in 2018).
In 2003, about US$44 (equivalent to $59.93 in 2018) billion worth of microprocessors were manufactured and sold. Although about half of that money was spent on CPUs used in desktop or laptop personal computers, those count for only about 2% of all CPUs sold. The quality-adjusted price of laptop microprocessors improved −25% to −35% per year in 2004–2010, and the rate of improvement slowed to −15% to −25% per year in 2010–2013.
About 10 billion CPUs were manufactured in 2008. Most new CPUs produced each year are embedded.
[...] the first silicon was run on April 26th 1985.
… compared with -25% to -35% per year over 2004-2010, the annual decline plateaus around -15% to -25% over 2010-2013.
In computer architecture, 32-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 32 bits (4 octets) wide. Also, 32-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 32-bit microcomputers are computers in which 32-bit microprocessors are the norm.Bit slicing
Bit slicing is a technique for constructing a processor from modules of processors of smaller bit width, for the purpose of increasing the word length; in theory to make an arbitrary n-bit CPU. Each of these component modules processes one bit field or "slice" of an operand. The grouped processing components would then have the capability to process the chosen full word-length of a particular software design.
Bit slicing more or less died out due to the advent of the microprocessor. Recently it's been used in ALUs for quantum computers, and has been used as a software technique (e.g. in x86 CPUs, for cryptography.)Bonnell (microarchitecture)
Bonnell is a CPU microarchitecture used by Intel Atom processors which can execute up to two instructions per cycle. Like many other x86 microprocessors, it translates x86 instructions (CISC instructions) into simpler internal operations (sometimes referred to as micro-ops, effectively RISC style instructions) prior to execution. The majority of instructions produce one micro-op when translated, with around 4% of instructions used in typical programs producing multiple micro-ops. The number of instructions that produce more than one micro-op is significantly fewer than the P6 and NetBurst microarchitectures. In the Bonnell microarchitecture, internal micro-ops can contain both a memory load and a memory store in connection with an ALU operation, thus being more similar to the x86 level and more powerful than the micro-ops used in previous designs. This enables relatively good performance with only two integer ALUs, and without any instruction reordering, speculative execution or register renaming. A side effect of having no speculative execution is invulnerability against Meltdown and Spectre.
The Bonnell microarchitecture therefore represents a partial revival of the principles used in earlier Intel designs such as P5 and the i486, with the sole purpose of enhancing the performance per watt ratio. However, Hyper-Threading is implemented in an easy (i.e. low-power) way to employ the whole pipeline efficiently by avoiding the typical single thread dependencies.Broadway (microprocessor)
Broadway is the codename of the 32-bit Central Processing Unit (CPU) used in Nintendo's Wii video game console. It was designed by IBM, and was produced using a 65 nm SOI process.
According to IBM, the processor consumes 20% less power than its predecessor, the 180 nm Gekko used in the Nintendo GameCube video game console.Broadway was produced by IBM at their 300 mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, New York. The bond, assembly, and test operation for the Broadway module is performed at the IBM facility in Bromont, Quebec. Very few official details have been released to the public by Nintendo or IBM. Unofficial reports claim it is derived from the 486 MHz Gekko architecture used in the GameCube and runs 50% faster at 729 MHz.The PowerPC 750CL, released in 2006, is a stock CPU offered by IBM and virtually identical to Broadway. The only difference is that the 750CL came in variants, ranging from 400 MHz up to 1000 MHz.Cell (microprocessor)
Cell is a multi-core microprocessor microarchitecture that combines a general-purpose Power Architecture core of modest performance with streamlined coprocessing elements which greatly accelerate multimedia and vector processing applications, as well as many other forms of dedicated computation.It was developed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM, an alliance known as "STI". The architectural design and first implementation were carried out at the STI Design Center in Austin, Texas over a four-year period beginning March 2001 on a budget reported by Sony as approaching US$400 million. Cell is shorthand for Cell Broadband Engine Architecture, commonly abbreviated CBEA in full or Cell BE in part.
The first major commercial application of Cell was in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console. Mercury Computer Systems has a dual Cell server, a dual Cell blade configuration, a rugged computer, and a PCI Express accelerator board available in different stages of production. Toshiba had announced plans to incorporate Cell in high definition television sets, but seems to have abandoned the idea. Exotic features such as the XDR memory subsystem and coherent Element Interconnect Bus (EIB) interconnect appear to position Cell for future applications in the supercomputing space to exploit the Cell processor's prowess in floating point kernels.
The Cell architecture includes a memory coherence architecture that emphasizes power efficiency, prioritizes bandwidth over low latency, and favors peak computational throughput over simplicity of program code. For these reasons, Cell is widely regarded as a challenging environment for software development. IBM provides a Linux-based development platform to help developers program for Cell chips. The architecture will not be widely used unless it is adopted by the software development community. However, Cell's strengths may make it useful for scientific computing regardless of its mainstream success.Intel 4004
The Intel 4004 is a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU) released by Intel Corporation in 1971. It was the first commercially available microprocessor by Intel, and the first in a long line of Intel CPUs.
The chip design started in April 1970, when Federico Faggin joined Intel, and was completed under his leadership in January 1971. The first commercial sale of the fully operational 4004 occurred in March 1971 to Busicom Corp. of Japan for which it was originally designed and built as a custom chip. In mid-November of the same year, with the prophetic ad "Announcing a new era in integrated electronics", the 4004 was made commercially available to the general market. The 4004 was the first commercially available monolithic processor, fully integrated in one small chip. Such a feat of integration was made possible by the use of the then-new silicon gate technology for integrated circuits, originally developed by Faggin (with Tom Klein) at Fairchild Semiconductor in 1968, which allowed twice the number of random-logic transistors and an increase in speed by a factor of five compared to the incumbent MOS aluminum gate technology. Faggin also invented the bootstrap load with silicon gate and the “buried contact”, improving speed and circuit density compared with aluminum gate.The 4004 microprocessor, the 4001 ROM, 4002 RAM, and 4003 Shift Register constituted the 4 chips in the Intel MCS-4 chip-set. With these components, small computers with varying amounts of memory and I/O facilities can be built.Intel 80386
The Intel 80386, also known as i386 or just 386, is a 32-bit microprocessor introduced in 1985. The first versions had 275,000 transistors and were the CPU of many workstations and high-end personal computers of the time. As the original implementation of the 32-bit extension of the 80286 architecture, the 80386 instruction set, programming model, and binary encodings are still the common denominator for all 32-bit x86 processors, which is termed the i386-architecture, x86, or IA-32, depending on context.
The 32-bit 80386 can correctly execute most code intended for the earlier 16-bit processors such as 8086 and 80286 that were ubiquitous in early PCs. (Following the same tradition, modern 64-bit x86 processors are able to run most programs written for older x86 CPUs, all the way back to the original 16-bit 8086 of 1978.) Over the years, successively newer implementations of the same architecture have become several hundreds of times faster than the original 80386 (and thousands of times faster than the 8086). A 33 MHz 80386 was reportedly measured to operate at about 11.4 MIPS.The 80386 was introduced in October 1985, while manufacturing of the chips in significant quantities commenced in June 1986. Mainboards for 80386-based computer systems were cumbersome and expensive at first, but manufacturing was rationalized upon the 80386's mainstream adoption. The first personal computer to make use of the 80386 was designed and manufactured by Compaq and marked the first time a fundamental component in the IBM PC compatible de facto standard was updated by a company other than IBM.
In May 2006, Intel announced that 80386 production would stop at the end of September 2007. Although it had long been obsolete as a personal computer CPU, Intel and others had continued making the chip for embedded systems. Such systems using an 80386 or one of many derivatives are common in aerospace technology and electronic musical instruments, among others. Some mobile phones also used (later fully static CMOS variants of) the 80386 processor, such as BlackBerry 950 and Nokia 9000 Communicator.Intel 8086
The 8086 (also called iAPX 86 ) is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released. The Intel 8088, released July 1, 1979, is a slightly modified chip with an external 8-bit data bus (allowing the use of cheaper and fewer supporting ICs), and is notable as the processor used in the original IBM PC design, including the widespread version called IBM PC XT.
The 8086 gave rise to the x86 architecture, which eventually became Intel's most successful line of processors. On June 5, 2018, Intel released a limited edition CPU celebrating the anniversary of the Intel 8086, called the Intel Core i7-8086K.MOS Technology 6502
The MOS Technology 6502 (typically "sixty-five-oh-two" or "six-five-oh-two") is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by a small team led by Chuck Peddle for MOS Technology. When it was introduced in 1975, the 6502 was, by a considerable margin, the least expensive microprocessor on the market. It initially sold for less than one-sixth the cost of competing designs from larger companies, such as Motorola and Intel, and caused rapid decreases in pricing across the entire processor market. Along with the Zilog Z80, it sparked a series of projects that resulted in the home computer revolution of the early 1980s.
Popular home video game consoles and computers, such as the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit family, Apple II, Nintendo Entertainment System, Commodore 64, Atari Lynx, BBC Micro and others, used the 6502 or variations of the basic design. Soon after the 6502's introduction, MOS Technology was purchased outright by Commodore International, who continued to sell the microprocessor and licenses to other manufacturers. In the early days of the 6502, it was second-sourced by Rockwell and Synertek, and later licensed to other companies. In its CMOS form, which was developed by the Western Design Center, the 6502 family continues to be widely used in embedded systems, with estimated production volumes in the hundreds of millions.Microcomputer
A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal input/output (I/O) circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board. Microcomputers became popular in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of increasingly powerful microprocessors. The predecessors to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger and more expensive (though indeed present-day mainframes such as the IBM System z machines use one or more custom microprocessors as their CPUs). Many microcomputers (when equipped with a keyboard and screen for input and output) are also personal computers (in the generic sense).The abbreviation micro was common during the 1970s and 1980s, but has now fallen out of common usage.Microcontroller
A microcontroller (MCU for microcontroller unit, or UC for μ-controller) is a small computer on a single integrated circuit. In modern terminology, it is similar to, but less sophisticated than, a system on a chip (SoC); an SoC may include a microcontroller as one of its components. A microcontroller contains one or more CPUs (processor cores) along with memory and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form of ferroelectric RAM, NOR flash or OTP ROM is also often included on chip, as well as a small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications consisting of various discrete chips.
Microcontrollers are used in automatically controlled products and devices, such as automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, toys and other embedded systems. By reducing the size and cost compared to a design that uses a separate microprocessor, memory, and input/output devices, microcontrollers make it economical to digitally control even more devices and processes. Mixed signal microcontrollers are common, integrating analog components needed to control non-digital electronic systems. In the context of the internet of things, microcontrollers are an economical and popular means of data collection, sensing and actuating the physical world as edge devices.
Some microcontrollers may use four-bit words and operate at frequencies as low as 4 kHz, for low power consumption (single-digit milliwatts or microwatts). They generally have the ability to retain functionality while waiting for an event such as a button press or other interrupt; power consumption while sleeping (CPU clock and most peripherals off) may be just nanowatts, making many of them well suited for long lasting battery applications. Other microcontrollers may serve performance-critical roles, where they may need to act more like a digital signal processor (DSP), with higher clock speeds and power consumption.Motorola 6800
The 6800 ("sixty-eight hundred") is an 8-bit microprocessor designed and first manufactured by Motorola in 1974. The MC6800 microprocessor was part of the M6800 Microcomputer System that also included serial and parallel interface ICs, RAM, ROM and other support chips. A significant design feature was that the M6800 family of ICs required only a single five-volt power supply at a time when most other microprocessors required three voltages. The M6800 Microcomputer System was announced in March 1974 and was in full production by the end of that year.The 6800 has a 16-bit address bus that can directly access 64 kB of memory and an 8-bit bi-directional data bus. It has 72 instructions with seven addressing modes for a total of 197 opcodes. The original MC6800 could have a clock frequency of up to 1 MHz. Later versions had a maximum clock frequency of 2 MHz.In addition to the ICs, Motorola also provided a complete assembly language development system. The customer could use the software on a remote timeshare computer or on an in-house minicomputer system. The Motorola EXORciser was a desktop computer built with the M6800 ICs that could be used for prototyping and debugging new designs. An expansive documentation package included datasheets on all ICs, two assembly language programming manuals, and a 700-page application manual that showed how to design a point-of-sale computer terminal.The 6800 was popular in computer peripherals, test equipment applications and point-of-sale terminals. It also found use in arcade games and pinball machines. The MC6802, introduced in 1977, included 128 bytes of RAM and an internal clock oscillator on chip. The MC6801 and MC6805 included RAM, ROM and I/O on a single chip and were popular in automotive applications.Motorola 68000
The Motorola 68000 ("'sixty-eight-thousand'"; also called the m68k or Motorola 68k, "sixty-eight-kay") is a 16/32-bit CISC microprocessor, which implements a 32-bit instruction set, with 32-bit registers and 32-bit internal data bus, but with a 16-bit data ALU and two 16-bit arithmetic ALUs and a 16-bit external data bus, designed and marketed by Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector. Introduced in 1979 with HMOS technology as the first member of the successful 32-bit Motorola 68000 series, it is generally software forward-compatible with the rest of the line despite being limited to a 16-bit wide external bus. After 39 years in production, the 68000 architecture is still in use.P5 (microarchitecture)
The first Pentium microprocessor was introduced by Intel on March 22, 1993. Dubbed P5, its microarchitecture was the fifth generation for Intel, and the first superscalar IA-32 microarchitecture. As a direct extension of the 80486 architecture, it included dual integer pipelines, a faster floating-point unit, wider data bus, separate code and data caches and features for further reduced address calculation latency. In 1996, the Pentium with MMX Technology (often simply referred to as Pentium MMX) was introduced with the same basic microarchitecture complemented with an MMX instruction set, larger caches, and some other enhancements.
The P5 Pentium competitors included the Motorola 68060 and the PowerPC 601 as well as the SPARC, MIPS, and Alpha microprocessor families, most of which also used a superscalar in-order dual instruction pipeline configuration at some time.
Intel's Larrabee multicore architecture project uses a processor core derived from a P5 core (P54C), augmented by multithreading, 64-bit instructions, and a 16-wide vector processing unit. Intel's low-powered Bonnell microarchitecture employed in early Atom processor cores also uses an in-order dual pipeline similar to P5.Intel discontinued the P5 Pentium processors (which had been downgraded to an entry-level product since the Pentium II debuted in 1997) in 1999 in favor of the Celeron processor which also replaced the 80486 brand.Pentium D
The Pentium D brand refers to two series of desktop dual-core 64-bit x86-64 microprocessors with the NetBurst microarchitecture, which is the dual-core variant of Pentium 4 "Prescott" manufactured by Intel. Each CPU comprised two dies, each containing a single core, residing next to each other on a multi-chip module package. The brand's first processor, codenamed Smithfield, was released by Intel on May 25, 2005. Nine months later, Intel introduced its successor, codenamed Presler, but without offering significant upgrades in design, still resulting in relatively high power consumption. By 2004, the NetBurst processors reached a clock speed barrier at 3.8 GHz due to a thermal (and power) limit exemplified by the Presler's 130 watt thermal design power (a higher TDP requires additional cooling that can be prohibitively noisy or expensive). The future belonged to more energy efficient and slower clocked dual-core CPUs on a single die instead of two. The final shipment date of the dual die Presler chips was August 8, 2008, which marked the end of the Pentium D brand and also the NetBurst microarchitecture.Pentium II
The Pentium II brand refers to Intel's sixth-generation microarchitecture ("P6") and x86-compatible microprocessors introduced on May 7, 1997. Containing 7.5 million transistors (27.4 million in the case of the mobile Dixon with 256 KB L2 cache), the Pentium II featured an improved version of the first P6-generation core of the Pentium Pro, which contained 5.5 million transistors. However, its L2 cache subsystem was a downgrade when compared to the Pentium Pro's.
In 1998, Intel stratified the Pentium II family by releasing the Pentium II-based Celeron line of processors for low-end workstations and the Pentium II Xeon line for servers and high-end workstations. The Celeron was characterized by a reduced or omitted (in some cases present but disabled) on-die full-speed L2 cache and a 66 MT/s FSB. The Xeon was characterized by a range of full-speed L2 cache (from 512 KB to 2048 KB), a 100 MT/s FSB, a different physical interface (Slot 2), and support for symmetric multiprocessing.
In February 1999, the Pentium II was replaced by the nearly identical Pentium III, which only added the then new SSE instruction set.Pentium III
The Pentium III (marketed as Intel Pentium III Processor, informally PIII) brand refers to Intel's 32-bit x86 desktop and mobile microprocessors based on the sixth-generation P6 microarchitecture introduced on February 26, 1999. The brand's initial processors were very similar to the earlier Pentium II-branded microprocessors. The most notable differences were the addition of the SSE instruction set (to accelerate floating point and parallel calculations), and the introduction of a controversial serial number embedded in the chip during the manufacturing process.
Even after the release of the Pentium 4 in late 2000, the Pentium III continued to be produced until March 2003.Processor design
Processor design is the design engineering task of creating a processor, a component of computer hardware. It is a subfield of computer engineering (design, development and implementation) and electronics engineering (fabrication). The design process involves choosing an instruction set and a certain execution paradigm (e.g. VLIW or RISC) and results in a microarchitecture, which might be described in e.g. VHDL or Verilog. For microprocessor design, this description is then manufactured employing some of the various semiconductor device fabrication processes, resulting in a die which is bonded onto a chip carrier. This chip carrier is then soldered onto, or inserted into a socket on, a printed circuit board (PCB).
The mode of operation of any processor is the execution of lists of instructions. Instructions typically include those to compute or manipulate data values using registers, change or retrieve values in read/write memory, perform relational tests between data values and to control program flow.Xeon
Xeon ( ZEE-on) is a brand of x86 microprocessors designed, manufactured, and marketed by Intel, targeted at the non-consumer workstation, server, and embedded system markets. It was introduced in June 1998. Xeon processors are based on the same architecture as regular desktop-grade CPUs, but have some advanced features such as support for ECC memory, higher core counts, support for larger amounts of RAM, larger cache memory and extra provision for enterprise-grade reliability, availability and serviceability features responsible for handling hardware exceptions through the Machine Check Architecture. They are often capable of safely continuing execution where a normal processor cannot due to these extra RAS features, depending on the type and severity of the Machine Check Exception. Some also support multi-socket systems with two, four, or eight sockets through use of the Quick Path Interconnect bus.
Some shortcomings that make Xeon processors unsuitable for most consumer-grade desktop PCs include lower clock rates at the same price point (since servers run more tasks in parallel than desktops, core counts are more important than clock rates), usually an absence of an integrated GPU, and lack of support for overclocking. Despite such disadvantages, Xeon processors have always had popularity among desktop users (primarily gamers, and extreme users), mainly due to higher core count potential, and higher performance to price ratio vs. the Core i7 in terms of total computing power of all cores. Since most Intel Xeon CPUs lack an integrated GPU, systems built with those processors require a discrete graphics card or a separate GPU if computer monitor output is desired.Intel Xeon is a distinct product line from the similarly-named Intel Xeon Phi. The first-generation Xeon Phi is a completely different type of device more comparable to a graphics card; it is designed for a PCI Express slot and is meant to be used as a multi-core coprocessor, like the Nvidia Tesla. In the second generation, Xeon Phi evolved into a main processor more similar to the Xeon. It conforms to the same socket as a Xeon processor and is x86-compatible; however, as compared to Xeon, the design point of the Xeon Phi emphasizes more cores with higher memory bandwidth.