system-on-a-chip (SoC)

A system-on-a-chip (SoC) is a microchip with all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a  given system, such as a smartphone or wearable computer, on a single integrated circuit (IC).  Basically its a fully functional mini computer that that has all the parts of a full PC contained in one, or a few microchips.  Examples of SoC's include iPods, iPhones, Galaxy Phones and any small device that has many functions running on only a few microchips.  In the last few years, SoC's systems have gotten much more powerful with multiple CPU cores and more RAM allowing them to be used in data centers and other higher processing uses.

An SoC for a sound-detecting device, for example, might include an audio receiver, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), a microprocessor, memory, and the input/output logic control for a user - all on a single chip.

System-on-a-chip technology is used in small, increasingly complex consumer electronic devices. Some such devices have more processing power and memory than a typical 10-year-old desktop computer.

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