A chip is also called an integrated circuit. Generally it is a small, thin piece of silicon onto which the transistors making up the microprocessor have been etched. A chip might be as large as an inch on a side and can contain tens of millions of transistors.
A microprocessor (alsoknown as CPU) is a complete computationenginethatisfabricatedon a single chip. Thefirstmicroprocessorwasthe Intel 4004, introduced in 1971. Allitcould do wasadd and subtract. Itcouldonlyworkwith 4 bits at a time. Thisisthe Intel 8080, thefirstmicroprocessorfor a home computer. Itwasintroduced in 1974 and couldworkwith 8 bits at a time.
A microprocessordoesthreethings:- Usingits ALU (Arithmetic/LogicUnit) themicroprocessor can performmathematicaloperationslikeaddition, subtraction, multiplication and division.- A microprocessor can move data fromonememorylocationtoanother.- A microprocessor can makedecisions and jumptoanother set of instructionsbasedonthosedecisions.
Thisis a ROM chip. On a PC the ROM chip iscalledthe BIOS (Basic Input Output System). Whenthecomputerstarts, themicroprocessorexecutestheinstructionsitfinds in the BIOS. Thisis a RAM chip. RAM contains bytes of informationthatthemicroprocessor can readorwrite. Oneproblemwithtoday’s RAM chips isthattheyforgeteverything once thepowergoes off. Thatiswhythecomputerneeds ROM.
Whenyoutakethe case off of a computeryou can see a piece of equipmentthattiesallthecomponentstogether. It’sthemotherboard, thatallowsalltheparts of thecomputertoreceivepower and communicatewithoneanother. Thisis a graphiccard. Likethemotherboard,itis a printedcircuitthathouses a processor and a RAM.