Skip to content » IGCSE Computer Science Course » Integrated Circuits

Integrated Circuits


Integrated Circuits

When computers were first invented each component had to be made and fitted by hand. This mean that computers were hugely expensive, very large (the size of a room or larger), and prone to bugs.

All this changed in 1961 with the invention of the integrated circuit and it paved the way for a revolution in computer design and manufacturing.

Integrated circuits are electronic circuits formed from a single silicon wafer. Onto this wafer thousands, millions or even billions of components (such as diodes, resistors and transistors)  are individually etched, using a highly precise computerised manufacturing process.

This wafer is then mounted into a housing that includes legs, allowing the chip to be fitted into a large device. Most modern computers contain 100s of integrated circuits.

How ICs are made


Advantage of integrated circuits

  • They are much cheaper than if you were to make the circuits out of individual components
  • They can be mass produces very quickly and accurately
  • The are millions of times smaller than non-integrated circuits.
  • They can be replaced easily