Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fourth Generation - 1971-Present: Microprocessors

The microprocessor brought the fourth generation of computers, as thousands of integrated circuits we rebuilt onto a single silicon chip. A silicon chip that contains a CPU. In the world of personal computers,the terms microprocessor and CPU are used interchangeably. At the heart of all personal computers and most workstations sits a microprocessor. Microprocessors also control the logic of almost all digital devices, from clock radios to fuel-injection systems for automobiles.
Three basic characteristics differentiate microprocessors:
  • Instruction Set: The set of instructions that the microprocessor can execute.

  • Bandwidth: The number of bits processed in a single instruction.

  • Clock Speed: Given in megahertz (MHz), the clock speed determines how many instructions per second the processor can execute.

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