How-To Geek

The Evolution of the Microprocessor [Infographic]

While the burly CPU gets the press releases and the glory, the tiny microprocessor is the unsung hero of the technological revolution.

The first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, was born in 40 years ago in 1971. Since then it’s made appearances in everything from washing machines to children’s toys; scarcely a single facet of our technology-saturated lives would look the same without that original microprocessor and its descendants. Check out the infographic above to see some of the milestones in the history of microprocessor usage or hit up the link below to read more.

Happy 40th Anniversary Microprocessor! [Intel via Daily Inforgraphic]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/2/11

Comments (13)

  1. keltari

    What a horrible infographic. The designer couldnt think of any devices other than PCs or laptops that contain microprocessors?

  2. 127kmph

    ipad guy’s eyes closed. Lol subliminal message from intel
    I’m sure they didn’t mean people just close their eyes and buy whatever apple offers

  3. david

    It’s an infomercial by Intel. A lot of important milestones e.g. the Motorola 68000 family and RISC CPUs are missing (Intel is suffering to this day from this ignorance, see ARM).

  4. bbirdy


  5. LunaticNeko

    Looks nice, but lacks so much message. Where’s the embedded technology? ARM?

  6. bobro

    I thought CPUs where microprocessors… if they are not then what are they?

    @David – why is Intel suffering from their ignorance? They based their chips on risc archatecture for years and don’t they have their atom processors to rival the arm ones?

    Agreed this is a bad infomercial..

  7. Alendra

    And what about transistors ?! :)

  8. G

    that thing is missing so many more important steps.. that was just a waste..

  9. Stephen Mann

    Odd, too, is that no mention of the Intel 4004 and 4040 processors that predated their first image. Also, the image for the Commodore PET is actually a drawing of the original IBM PC. The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was the prototype of Deep Thought. (

  10. Ninad

    Hey have you forgotten Macbook Air that was years before Ultra-book came to existence
    this post is just Intel Advertisement

  11. Doc

    If this infographic is by Intel, why is it there are British English words (democratise, revitalised); also, the Apple ][ was also released in 1977, and sold *many* more units than the Commodore PET, which isn’t even pictured correctly (it’s shown as a stylized IBM PC XT; I’ve had my hands on a CBM PET, and it doesn’t look like that; the distinctive slope-sided monitor was its “trademark.” )

    Intel also fails to mention the Commodore 64, the best-selling PC of all time…

  12. Steve-O-Rama

    Ugh. This is utterly useless! Whoever came up with this should have their Christmas bonus taken away, and given a piece of coal instead. Then a good back-hand slap from the nearest geek, just to cement their disgrace to our community.

    I hope to goodness that it wasn’t done by any of Intel’s employees, but by some obscure, clueless ad agency (whose name should be released so that we can all blacklist it or send hate mail).

  13. MikeSL8

    Strange and humorous that in history of microprocessors, Apple 2+ and IBM are absent, while Commodore, Osborne and Washing Machine are present! I’d love an answer to that.

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