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What is the history of the microprocessor?

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The CPU is known as the central processing unit, and this term is synonymous with microprocessor. The microprocessor is considered the brain of the computer, and Intel invented the term in 1971. There was a previous 8-bit chip developed in 1969 known as the Four-Phase AL1; however, Intel invented a better component and coined the term microprocessor.

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In 1971, Intel’s first microprocessor generated an equal amount of processing power as the world's most-powerful computer at that time. This computer was known as the ENIAC, and it was large enough to fill an entire room. The first commercially available microprocessor was known as the Intel 4004, followed by the 8008. In 1978, Intel developed the 16-bit 8086 processor, followed by the 8088 processor a year later. The 8088 processor integrated technology that offered backward-compatibility with previous 8-bit chips. This chip was selected by IBM to power the original IBM PC.

During the early 1990s, Intel developed a more-powerful processor known as the i386. The i386 was the first 32-bit microprocessor available for commercial use. This microprocessor offered multitasking capabilities on personal desktop computers. The i486 microprocessor was the successor to the i386, and it offered memory cache, a math co-processor and improved data transfer.

Intel developed the Pentium processor in 1993, and this was the first microprocessor capable of performing two instructions during each clock cycle. The microprocessors released later in the Pentium line revolutionized the way data was stored and transferred on chips. As of 2014, Intel offers multi-core, 64-bit chips that eclipse the power of previous chips.

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