Chip

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What Does Chip Mean?

In electronics, a chip is comprised of semiconductor material cut from a larger wafer of material that is only a few millimeters on one side. On this chip, a transistor or integrated circuit may be etched but only occupy one-thousandth of an inch of the chip’s surface.

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The terms chip, microchip, integrated circuit (IC) and silicon chip are synonymous.

Techopedia Explains Chip

Most of a chip’s integrated circuits contain digital logic functions. Some are analog-only, while others are mixed-mode analog and digital. Digital chips are used for computer processors, memory and other logic and information processing functions.

A single chip may contain a handful or thousands of transistors, and measure only 1/16 square inch x 1/30 square inch in thickness. Larger, postage stamp-sized chips may contain millions of transistors. An entire computer may reside on one single chip (i.e., RAM, ROM, clock, the I/O control unit and CPU).

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.