The CPU has defined modern technology. It was foreshadowed back in the First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, written by John von Neumann and published on June 30, 1945. This report describes the concept of a stored-program computer.
Before the EDVAC report, computers, like the ENIAC, were hardwired to their task; and needed rewiring when introducing new tasks. This limitation gave these systems the name fixed-programs computers.
The first prototype of a stored-program computer, called the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, ran its first program on June 21, 1949. This concept allowed tasks to be stored in the memory; therefore, eliminating the need for rewiring.
Intel has been the dominant CPU manufacturer. In the 1980s, Intel was given a contact by IBM to produce CPUs for their upcoming IBM PCs: This was the beginning of intel’s hold on the CPU’s manufacturing market.
Many manufacturers came and went; but, one competitor that stood the test of time is Advanced Micro Devices, also known as AMD. Up until the mid-1990s, Intel’s and AMD’s chips were identical; meaning, they can be used interchangeably on the same motherboards. This was a consequence of a contract that Intel signed with AMD, back in the 1980s, giving AMD the rights to their designs. But after a long legal battle, a settlement was reached and AMD stopped using Intel’s designs; because of this change, the two manufacturers’ chips are no longer interchangeable.