A microchip is a mini micro tech, and in words of its world, even smaller things can lead to significant creations. A chip is one such thing, like with the Intel 8088 microprocessor, which created a technological uprising.
A microchip is smaller than a fingernail in size (smallest microchip) and comprises of computer circuitry that is known as Integrated Circuit (IC). The invention of the IC is one of the significant devices in the history of humankind. The pioneers famous inventing the microchip technology includes Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce.
What Is a Microchip?
A microchip is made from semiconducting material like silicon or germanium. The chips are used to construct the logic parts of a computer, also known as the computer’s microprocessor, for use in computer memory, which is also called RAM chips. A microchip is a group of interconnected electronic parts like transistors, resistors as well as capacitors that are formed into a small, wafer-like thin disk.
There have been multiple microchips that were created and wrote history. Some had a cutting-edge design, some futuristic, some out of the box- but all these gave humanity much technological advancement and created a new dimension altogether.
Best Microchips in Existence That Changed The World includes:
Fairchild Semiconductor μA741 Op-Amp
This microchip was designed and created by Dave Fullagar in the year 1968. It is the successful predecessor of LM 101 IC, with the sole difference of the two being the incorporation of a 30pF internal compensation capacitor that was added in 741 IC. But, this incorporation made the IC an evergreen chip and is still in use and manufactured worldwide. This chip is used for planar epitaxial processes and mostly in integrators, summing amplifiers, high voltage follower, and other regularly used applications.
Signetics NE555 Timer
The 555 timer IC is a microchip used in timers, pulse generation devices, and oscillator appliances. It worked as a timer or oscillator and became the best seller in analog semiconductors devices, wending up in use in kitchen appliances, various toys, and spacecraft essentials, among others. The microchip was Introduced in the year 1972 by Signetics, and it is still widely used because of the low price, ease of usage, and stability qualities. The chip is presently used by companies dealing with bipolar and in low-powered CMOS technological devices. The 555 has emerged as the most popular microchip manufactured
Mostek MK4096 4-Kilobit DRAM
The Mostek’s 4-kilobit DRAM microchip introduced a major revolution it addressed multiplexing. The chip uses the same micro pins to access the rows and columns located in the memory through the multiplexing process in the signals. This resulted in the chip requiring fewer pins, and the memory density increased gradually. The 4096, as well as its successors, ruled the DRAM for years.
MOS Technology 6502 Microprocessor
The microchip 6502, which was an 8-bit microprocessor developed by the MOS Technology, became the core brain for computers like Apple II, Commodore PET as well as BBC Micro. It was also used in gaming systems like Nintendo as well as Atari. The 6502 can single-handedly make the price of other processors drop and also led the launch of the PC revolution. There are specific embedded systems that still use this chip.
Texas Instruments TMC0281 Speech Synthesizer
This was the first single-microchip speech synthesizer embedded in the Texas Instruments’ Speak & Spell learning toy game. Developed in the year 1978, these microchips continued to be developed and sold for years, though the speech department was dissolved in late 2001. In 2001, TI sold the microchip line to Sensory, which further discontinued it in late 2007.
Texas Instruments TMS32010 Digital Signal Processor
Texas Instruments created the TMS32010 digital signal processor chip. It was the fastest microchip and can compute a multiply calculation in 200 nanoseconds! The microchip can also execute instructions from two applications, the on-chip ROM and off-chip RAM. On its launch, the chip sold at $500 per piece with 1000 units.
Smallest Microchip in Existence
Intersil ICL8038 Waveform Generator
This microchip was an IC designed to generate sine, square, and triangular waveforms. This method is based on bipolar monolithic technology. The microchip is a voltage control backed oscillator and can produce frequencies of anything between a millihertz and 100kHz. The chip has been discontinued for use by Intersil in the year 2002.
Acorn Computers ARM1 Processor
Acorn Computers created this 32-bit microchip named Acorn RISC Machine, or the ARM. The ARM was small in size, needed low power, and was easy to program. In the year 1990, Acorn launched its ARM division, and the ARM creation became the pioneering 32-bit embedded processor. More than 10 billion ARM cores have been used till now in gadgets like iPhone by Apple.
Chips & Technologies AT Chip Set
By the year 1984, when IBM launched the 80286 AT line of PCs, IBM was already the leader in desktop technology. But the Big Blue’s plans were foiled a small company named Chips & Technologies, located in California. C&T introduced five chips that were the duplicate functionality of premier AT motherboard that worked with the use of around 100 chips. To ensure the five chips were compatible with IBM PCs, engineers at C&T played games for weeks. The C&T chips led Acer to launch cheaper PCs and also the invasion of different PC clones. Intel later bought C&T in the year 1997.
Kodak KAF-1300 Image Sensor
The Kodak, which was launched in the year 1991, needed just one thing- a thumbnail-size microchip that will capture many images at a resolution of 1.3 megapixels. These images would be enough for a sharp 5-by-7-inch print. The chip, which is a two-phase charge-backed device, became the foundation for future CCD sensors, and it brought a digital photography revolution.
Toshiba NAND Flash Memory
Masuoka-san of Toshiba engaged four engineers in the year 1980 to handle a project of designing a microchip that can store enormous data and would also be affordable. The team introduced an EEPROM variation, which featured an efficient memory cell comprising a single transistor. During that period, the EEPROM required two transistors each cell. In the year 1984, Masuoka-san presented a paper on the design at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting held in San Francisco. This led Intel to start the development of a flash memory worked on NOR logic gates. In the year 1988, Intel launched the 256-kilobit microchip that is used in vehicles, massive computers, and various mass-marketing items.
This took Toshiba to consider Masuoka’s design. He launched the flash chip powered on NAND technology. The microchip gave substantial storage capacities, and the first NAND flash fro Toshiba hit the market. With this microchip, digital photography became a booming industry, and Toshiba emerged as the key player in the market. Presently, NAND flash is used in different gadgets like cellphones, digital cameras, music systems, and USB drives.
Small Microchips in Existence (world’s smallest microchip)
Microchip Technology PIC 16C84 Microcontroller
The PIC 16C84 was developed by Microchip, which incorporated a different kind of memory called the EEPROM. This is for the electrically erasable and programmable ROM and doesn’t need UV light to be successfully erased. The 16C84 is used in smart cards, various remote controls, and wireless car keys. Around 6 billion units of the microchip have been sold so far. The chip has been used in things like the industrial controllers, uncrewed good aerial vehicles, digital pregnancy scans, chip-controlled fireworks, LED led jewelry, as well as in a septic-tank monitor that is named Turd Alert.
IBM Deep Blue 2 Chess Chip
Deep Blue’s microchip comprised of 1.5 million transistors that are successfully arranged into a functional block look like generator logic array. These chips together in the processor would churn through around 200 million chess positions each second.
Transmeta Corp. Crusoe Processor
The Crusoe is a group of microchip processors that is developed by Transmeta and was introduced in the year 2000. Instead of an instruction backend architecture, Crusoe runs a different software abstraction layer or better a virtual machine that is known as the Code Morphing Machine or the CMS. The CMS converts the machine coding instructions into well-read native instructions for the processor.