History of Computing Hardware (1960s–present) - Microprocessor and Cost Reduction

Microprocessor and Cost Reduction

The minicomputer ancestors of the modern personal computer used integrated circuit technology, which reduced size and cost compared to discrete transistors. Processing was carried out by circuits with large numbers of components arranged on multiple large printed circuit boards. Minicomputers were consequently physically large and expensive to produce compared with later microprocessor systems. After the "computer-on-a-chip" was commercialized, the cost to produce a computer system dropped dramatically. The arithmetic, logic, and control functions that previously occupied several costly circuit boards were now available in one integrated circuit which was very expensive to design but cheap to produce in large quantities. Concurrently, advances in developing solid state memory eliminated the bulky, costly, and power-hungry magnetic core memory used in prior generations of computers.

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