What is Microcomputer?

A microcomputer is a computer which uses a microprocessor for its central processing unit. Computers, in their early stages, were unlike what they are today. Instead of occupying a desk-top, they needed large halls to house. This was because they used large and bulky vacuum tubes or electronic valves. In the late sixties, with the advent of semiconductor materials like germanium and silicon, small, effective, cheaper and robust micro-devices like the transistors and the chip were developed.

A typical chip, of the size of a thumbnail, contained a number of transistors, diodes, varistors, etc. This chip not only reduced the size of the computers but also enhanced the power of the computer to a great extent. This development of computers from a room size to pocket-size took place in different stages of integration and miniaturization of electronic components. These different stages of integration are popularly known as SSI, VLSI and ULSI (small-scale, very-large-scale and ultra-large-scale integration respectively) in the electronic industry.

A microcomputer consists of a microprocessor, input or output devices, memory unit and typical connecting links called system buses.