The 11 Most Influential Microprocessors of All Time

September 1st, 2009 by Benj Edwards

The 11 Most Influential Microprocessors of All Time

Numbered lists, numbered lists. What would the Internet be without numbered lists? I’ll tell you: it would be a lonely, barren place. As much as they seem like a literary cop out, people love them. They go wild for them (or at them). Numbered lists slice and dice facts and figures into tantalizing nuggets of information, easy to consume and digest in today’s frenetically-paced world. It seems nobody has the time to read long-form prose anymore.

Some years ago, I realized that this seemingly lightweight article format is here to stay, so I might as well make the best of it. That’s why I’ve dedicated a portion of my career to writing the best numbered lists possible. I may not always succeed, but at least I try.

Exhibit A: The 11 Most Influential Microprocessors of All Time. The fine folks at PC World published my latest foray into the numbered-list genre late last night. It explores some of the most important microprocessors ever devised in a slideshow format, replete with nifty graphics.

As always, I’ll include a standard disclaimer that I include for any numbered list: your opinion my vary. Even though it probably will, you might learn something along the way. And perhaps, like me, you’ll be oddly invigorated by the quantification of something typically un-quantifiable. It’s an exciting weirdness that we can’t resist.

I hope you enjoy it.

7 Responses to “The 11 Most Influential Microprocessors of All Time”

  1. marimo Says:

    Excellent article. Good to see the ARM processor make your list, the only remaining trace of the company that introduced me to computers really left in the world.

    I’m among the last generation of school children in the UK to use BBCs in class and I inherited an Acorn Electron from a cousin’s boyfriend in 1993! The machine was already 10 years old by that point and completely obsolete, but I still loved that little computer. I’ve still got a machine that I use from time to time, mostly to play the classic space trading game Elite.

  2. arlandi Says:

    Benj, may we know the reason why you list “11” not 10 or 12 or even 20?

    it’s a dirty question, but someone has to ask it. 😀

  3. Benj Edwards Says:

    The truth is that I wanted only 10 at first, but I decided another processor was too important to leave out. So I made it 11.

    Also, I’ve done a few other odd-numbered lists lately, and it’s fun to break the status quo.

  4. Chris Cline Says:

    The 6510, a direct successor of the 6502 with a digital I/O port and a tri-state address bus, was the CPU utilized in the Commodore 64 home computer. (Commodore’s disk drive, the 1541, had a processor of its own—it too was the 6502.)
    I loved that machine…

  5. Synchead Says:

    Great article! My experience with computers began just as companies began shipping computers with 6502s in them. I started out with a commodore Pet with a 6502 processor and a buddy of mine had a TRS80 with a Z80 in it. My personal favorite was the Atari 800. While it did not have the expansion capabilities of the apple, it was an exceptional performer when it came to (of course) graphics and sound at a descent price point.

  6. Moondog Says:

    I was going to ask about the 6510, but figured it wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for the success of the 6502.

  7. anant Says:

    meet this guy bro

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