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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | The Processor | Roots of the Processor: Digital Logic and the Semiconductor ]

Very Large Scale Integration

As time progressed after the invention of LSI integrated circuits, the technology improved and chips became smaller, faster and cheaper. Building on the success of earlier integration efforts, engineers learned to pack more and more logic into a single circuit. This effort became known as very large scale integration (VLSI). VLSI circuits can contain millions of transistors.

Originally, the functions performed by a processor were implemented using several different logic chips. Intel was the first company to incorporate all of these logic components into a single chip. This was the first microprocessor, the 4004, introduced by Intel in 1971. All of today's processors are (highly advanced!) descendants of this original 4-bit CPU.

Next: Hard-Wired vs. Programmable Logic


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