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The first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004, was introduced in 1971. Although it couldn"t do much -- it could only add and subtract four bits at a time -- it powered one of the first portable calculators.
Computer chips are small pieces of silicon onto which transistors are etched. Much of the microprocessor-producing industry is located in the San Francisco Bay Area in Southern California and has earned the nickname of "Silicon Valley.
The smallest wire on a chip is measured in microns. Current chips have wires that are less than one micron wide, while a human hair is about 100 microns thick.
Although CPUs have many complicated tasks to run, they do three basic things: perform mathematical operations, move data between memory locations and follow sets of instructions. The job of starting up the computer specifically involves the bootstrap loader.
Address and data buses, which send addresses and data to memory, and read and write lines, which tell the memory whether it wants to set or get an addressed location, can connect to either ROM or RAM and generally connects to both.
ROM stands for read-only memory. Unlike RAM (random access memory), ROM chips are programmed with a set of bytes that can"t change.
When the microprocessor starts up, it looks towards the BIOS for several instructions. Among other things such as storing the boot sector in RAM after it"s read, BIOS instructions check the machine"s hardware for errors and then load the operating system
Computer chip designers create language instructions that the microprocessor reads. What part of the computer can translate the words from the instructions into bit patterns the chip can understand?
Because humans aren"t very good at remembering complex bit patterns, the assembler translates semantic instructions developed by designers into a language the CPU can use.
While 32-bit microprocessors can only address between 2 and 4 gigabytes of RAM, 64-bit microprocessors can address as much as one billion gigabytes of RAM if needed. Although that may seem excessive for something like home computers, such extra space may be necessary in the future for overloaded servers.
It was one of the first 16-bit processors.The 8086 popularized 16-bit technology, which helped make it the first of an influential series of CPU chips.
the rate at which it can execute instructionsThe clock speed indicates how quickly the CPU can execute instructions. The frequency is measured in megahertz or gigahertz
cache memoryCache memory is faster than system memory. It stores copies of the most needed data for easy access by the CPU.
the fineness of the manufacturing techniqueProcess size refers to how finely the CPU components are etched on to the chip. In 2012, the process size for chips had reached 22 nanometers.
run at a speed faster than that for which it"s ratedTurbo boost increases the power and speed of a CPU when more processing power is needed
dissipate heatGetting rid of heat is important to keeping a CPU running. Passive heat sinks or fans are the most common methods.
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16-bitThe original PC, introduced in 1981, used an 16-bit processor, but it only had an 8-bit bus to carry the data.
a programmable business calculatorIntel Corp. created its 4004 programmable chip for calculators in 1971