What is a Microprocessor: Generations and Its Types

Do you really know how computers work? How is a computer able to execute the commands that you input? The answer is simple. It is through the computer’s microprocessor.

 In this blog, we are going to discuss the basics of Microprocessors in detail.

What is a Microprocessor?

A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit (CPU) wrapped inside a small chip. It communicates with the other devices attached to it and performs Arithmetic Logical Unit (ALU) operations. It is a single Integrated Circuit that combines numerous functions.

Microprocessors are not designed for a single purpose, but they are useful in situations when tasks are complex and difficult, such as the development of software, games, and other applications that demand a lot of memory and have undefined input and output.

Types of Microprocessors

Important types of Microprocessors are

  • Complex Instruction Set Microprocessors
  • The Application Specific Integrated Circuit
  • Reduced Instruction Set Microprocessors
  • Digital Signal Multiprocessors (DS

History of Microprocessor

Here, are the important landmark from the history of microprocessors

  • Fairchild Semiconductor invented the first IC (Integrated Circuit) in 1959.
  • In 1968, Robert Noyce, Gordan Moore, and Andrew Grove found their own company Intel.
  • Intel grew from 3 man start-up in 1968 to an industrial giant by 1981.
  • In 1971, INTEL created the first generation Microprocessor 4004 that would run at a clock speed of 108 kHz
  • From 1973 to 1978, second-generation 8-bit microprocessors were fabricated like Motorola 6800 and 6801, INTEL-8085, and Zilog’s-Z80.
  • In 1978, Intel 8008 third-generation process came into the market.
  • In the early 80s, Intel released fourth-generation 32-bit processors.
  • In 1995, intel was released in fifth-generation 64-bit processors.

A microprocessor is the most significant component of a computer system, as it is in charge of processing the system’s unique set of instructions and operations. A microprocessor is a computer processor that performs logical and computational activities such as addition and subtraction, interprocess and device communication, input/output management, and so on. A microprocessor is made up of thousands of transistors in integrated circuits, the number of which is determined by its computational power.

Microprocessors are generally classified according to the number of instructions they can process within a given time, their clock speed measured in megahertz, and the number of bits used per instruction.

Components of the Microprocessor

Components of this processor are ALU, Control unit, Input-output devices, and Register array.

  • The Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) is a processor that can do both arithmetic and logical operations. Addition, subtraction, multiplications, and divisions, as well as logical operations like NOR, AND, NAND, OR, XOR, NOT, XNOR, and others.
  • The Control unit is in charge of controlling the instructions and generating the signals that allow the other components to function.
  • The Register array consists of registers. General-purpose registers are used by the programmer to store arbitrary data, while reserved registers are used by the programmer to store data but are not used by the programmer to store data. The word length of the computer is the length of the register.
  • Input-output devices are used to transfer data between microcomputers and external devices.

How Does a Microprocessor Work?

The instruction is executed by the CPU in the following order: Fetch, Decode, and Execute.

The instructions are initially placed in the computer’s storage memory in sequential order. The microprocessor retrieves those instructions from memory, decodes them, and executes them until the STOP instruction is received. The result is then sent to the output port in binary format. The register stores temporary data in between these procedures, and the ALU (Arithmetic and Logic Unit) executes the computations.

Features of Microprocessor

  • Low Cost – Due to integrated circuit technology microprocessors are available at a very low cost. It will reduce the cost of a computer system.
  • High Speed – Due to the technology involved in it, the microprocessor can work at a very high speed. It can execute millions of instructions per second.
  • Small Size – A microprocessor is fabricated in a very less footprint due to very large scale and ultra large scale integration technology. Because of this, the size of the computer system is reduced.
  • Versatile – The same chip can be used for several applications, therefore, microprocessors are versatile.
  • Low Power Consumption – Microprocessors are using metal oxide semiconductor technology, which consumes less power.
  • Less Heat Generation – Microprocessors use semiconductor technology which will not emit much heat as compared to vacuum tube devices.
  • Reliable – Since microprocessors use semiconductor technology, therefore, the failure rate is very less. Hence it is very reliable.
  • Portable – Due to the small size and low power consumption microprocessors are portable.
400419714-bit1 KB16750 kHzFirst Microprocessor
808519768-bit64 KB403-6 MHzPopular 8-bit Microprocessor
8086197816-bit1 MB405-8 MHzWidely used in PC/XT
80286198216-bit16MB real, 4 GB virtual686-12.5 MHzWidely used in PC/AT
80386198532-bit4GB real, 64TB virtual132 14X14 PGA20-33 MHzContains MMU on chip
80486198932-bit4GB real, 64TB virtual168 17X17 PGA25-100 MHzContains MMU, cache and FPU, 1.2 million transistors
Pentium 199332-bit4GB real,32-bit address,64-bit data bus237 PGA60-200 MHzContains 2 ALUs,2 Caches, FPU, 3.3 Million transistors, 3.3 V, 7.5 million transistors
Pentium Pro199532-bit64GB real, 36-bit address bus387 PGA150-200 MHzIt is a data flow processor. It contains second-level cache also,3.3 V
Pentium II199732-bit233-400 MHzAll features Pentium pro plus MMX technology,3.3 V
Pentium III199932-bit64GB370 PGA600 MHz-1.3 GHzImproved version of Pentium II; 70 new SIMD instructions
Pentium 4200032-bit64GB423 PGA733 MHz-1.3 GHzImproved version of Pentium III
Itanium200164-bit64 Address line423 PGA733 MHz-1.3 GHz64-bit EPIC Processor
  • PGA – Pin Grid Array
  • MMX – MultiMedia eXtensions
  • EPIC – Explicitly Parallel Instruction Computing
  • SIMD – Single Instruction Multiple Data
  • ALU – Arithmetic and Logic Unit
  • MMU – Memory Management Unit
  • FPU – Floating Point Unit

Basic Terms used in Microprocessor

Here is a list of some basic terms used in microprocessor:

  • Instruction Set – The group of commands that the microprocessor can understand is called an Instruction set. It is an interface between hardware and software.
  • Bus – Set of conductors intended to transmit data, address, or control information to different elements in a microprocessor. A microprocessor will have three types of buses, i.e., data bus, address bus, and control bus.
  • IPC (Instructions Per Cycle) – It is a measure of how many instructions a CPU is capable of executing in a single clock.
  • Clock Speed – It is the number of operations per second the processor can perform. It can be expressed in megahertz (MHz) or gigahertz (GHz). It is also called the Clock Rate.
  • Bandwidth – The number of bits processed in a single instruction is called Bandwidth.
  • Word Length – The number of bits the processor can process at a time is called the word length of the processor. 8-bit Microprocessor may process 8 -bit data at a time. The range of word length is from 4 bits to 64 bits depending upon the type of the microcomputer.
  • Data Types – The microprocessor supports multiple data type formats like binary, ASCII, signed, and unsigned numbers.

Advantages of Microprocessor

  • The microprocessor is that these are general purpose electronics processing devices that can be programmed to execute a number of tasks
  • Compact size
  • High-speed
  • Low power consumption
  • It is portable
  • It is very reliable
  • Less heat generation
  • The microprocessor is very versatile
  • The microprocessor is its speed, which is measured in basically Hertz. For instance, a microprocessor with a measured speed of 3 GHz, shortly GHz is capable of performing 3 billion tasks per second
  • The microprocessor is that it can quickly move data between the various memory location

Disadvantages of Microprocessor

  • The main disadvantages are it’s overheating physically
  • It is only based on machine language
  • The overall cost is high
  • The large size of the PCB is required for assembling all components
  • The physical size of the product is big
  • Overall product design requires more time
  • A discrete component is used, the system is not reliable
  • Most of microprocessor does not support floating-point operations
  • The processor has a limitation on the size of the data
  • This processor should not contact with the other external devices
  • The microprocessor does not have any internal peripheral like ROM, RAM, and other I/O devices

Applications of Microprocessor

Microprocessor-based systems can now be found in a wide range of applications, including automatic product testing, motor speed control, traffic light control, communication equipment, television, satellite communication, home appliances such as microwave ovens and washing machines, gaming controllers, industrial controllers, and even specialized applications such as military applications.

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