The History of Intel Processor


The Intel processor went thru a rapid evolution beginning in the early seventies. Intel founders Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce invented the microprocessor in 1971. Microprocessors were created to handle large amounts of data at the microscopic level while microcontrollers were computers on chips made to control real time events. Intel shifted its focus to microprocessors in the early 1980s. Since then, it has maintained its image as maker of the world's fastest chips.

Moore's Law

  • Gordon Moore, published his view about chip development in 1965. "Moore's Law" projected that the number of transisitors that could be placed on an integrated circuit would double every 18 months. Three years later, he and Noyce launched Intel.


  • In 1971, the 4004 marked the beginning of microprocessors built on a single central processing unit. Instead of different functions for different chips working together, the 4004 was the introduction of consolidating all functions on one chip. This discovery made Intel the early leader of the microprocessor industry.


  • The 8008 came out a year after the 4004 as the number of transistors per chip jumped from 2,250 to 3,500 and clock rate went from .1 Mhz to .2 Mhz.


  • The 8080 was released in 1974 with 5,000 transistors per chip. It became the foundation of many popular video games that appeared in arcades. With the arrival of the 8080, other computer companies could not keep up with Intel's development, marking a shift from all in one computer companies to companies that specialized in hardware or software.


  • The 8086 was issued in 1978 and was an industry milestone as the chip proved to be ten times faster than the 8080. The 8086 contained 29,000 transistors with a clock rate of 5 Mhz.


  • Intel succeeded with a series of faster chips in the 1980s, emerging as the leader of the semiconductor industry. In 1982, the 80286, became the fastest chip of the 16 bit market, housing 120,000 transistors on one chip. Three years later, the 80386 was used in IBM's PC line. By 1989, Intel's 10486 DX processor was 32-bit with over a million transistors.


  • Intel introduced the Pentium processor in 1993, and the chip contained over 3 million transistors with a clock rate of 60 Mhz. The Pentium II came out 4 years later with 7.5 million transistors and a clock rate that nearly quadrupled that of the first Pentium. The Pentium III was issued in 1999 followed by the Pentium 4 in 2000, which held 42 million transistors on a chip with a clock rate of 1500 Mhz.

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  • Photo Credit "New Server" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: DeclanTM (Declan Jewell) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
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