We are used to talking about a computer’s CPU with the term “microprocessor”, even though it is correct, the microprocessor is something more complex that includes several CPUs inside the same part.
We call a microprocessor a chip, a complex integrated circuit whose interior houses one or more CPU cores. It may eventually include other components.
In the latter case, we are generally talking about a SoC (System-on-a-Chip), which incorporates the GPU/s, a GPU ( graphics control unit , for its acronyms in English) and/or an I/O controller, among others possible functions.
A SoC is used in electronic devices that are space-constrained, such as smartphones, tablets, or ultra-portable computers.
The microprocessor by itself cannot do anything, but it needs to be interrelated with the rest of the world, something it does through peripherals and software
To carry out this interaction, the microprocessor is connected to the so-called “motherboard”, which is the element through which peripherals are connected.
Microprocessors, like the rest of computer chips and other electronic devices, are made by a semiconductor called Silicon, a chemical that can be found in nature.
The history of commercial use of this material began in the 50s of the last century, but it was around the 70s that it solidified as the first microprocessor in history, the 4-bit Intel 4004.
From this moment on, microprocessors have been evolving, being increasingly miniaturized, adding more features and increasing their raw calculation capacity , thus reaching their current situation, where in each microprocessor we can find several execution cores (in practice, there are several CPUs) , several threads (including more than one per core) and adding more features every day.
Before the appearance of the first microprocessor, computers were made up of a set of several chips with more specific tasks
Hence the term “microcomputer”, since the first microprocessors were less powerful than existing chipsets to date and, being smaller in size, also resulted in smaller computers.
Although in the early times there was a series of architectures for the manufacture of microprocessors, currently, only two dominate the commercial landscape: the x86 and the ARM.
Technically, microprocessors can only perform simple mathematical operations.
The most complex and operational ones can be performed by decomposing the operation into more basic operations, just as it is possible to decompose a multiplication into successive additions
Although many define a microprocessor as a general – purpose chip , what is certain is that there are also special-purpose microprocessors, such as DSP’s (digital signal processors, for their acronyms in English), microcontrollers or video processors.
In this regard, in the latter case, as technology advances, it makes it possible to use graphics processors in general tasks, although not in all cases.