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Strategies to the Prediction, Mitigation and Management of Product Obsolescence by Michael G. Pecht, Peter Sandborn, Ulrich Ermel, Bjoern Bartels

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5.4 MICROPROCESSORS

This section presents the application of the life cycle algorithm to forecast the life cycle stage and the years to obsolescence of microprocessors. A microprocessor is a computer processor on a microchip. A microprocessor is designed to perform arithmetic and logic operations that make use of small number-holding areas called registers. There is a clear difference between microprocessors and microcomputers. Microcomputers offer on-chip memory and can execute programs directly. In comparison, the microprocessor requires additional components (such as memory).

A microprocessor typically consists of the following (Harper, 1999):

1. Arithmetic logic unit (ALU) to perform integer operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

2. Floating point unit (FPU) to perform the same operations on floating-point numbers.

3. Numeric processors to perform trigonometric, exponential, and double-precision calculations.

4. Graphic processors to display input, output, and images on the screen.

5. Memory in the form of cache and registers.

6. Interface logic and communication on the bus.

In 1971, Texas Instruments invented the single-chip “calculator on chip,” later called the first microcomputer (Texas Instruments, 2010a). In the same year, Intel Corporation introduced the first single-chip microprocessor, the 4004 device, under a contract with a calculator company. Since then, microprocessors have become the basis of the world’s most powerful computers. ...

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