Updated: 11/12/2023 by Computer Hope

IC may refer to any of the following:

Integrated Circuit or IC

1. Alternatively known as a bare chip, monolithic integrated circuit, or microchip, IC is short for integrated circuit or integrated chip. The IC is a package containing silicon with many circuits, logic gates, pathways, transistors, and other components working together to perform a specific function or series of functions. Integrated circuits are the building blocks of computer hardware.

The picture shows an example of several integrated circuits. Because the IC is fragile, it's often encased in a plastic package with metal pins extending to connect to a circuit board. An IC may be packaged as SIP (single in-line package), DIP (dual in-line package), PLCC (plastic leaded chip carrier), or another type.

When was the IC first created?

The integrated circuit was first a concept by British radar engineer Geoffrey Dummer on May 7, 1952. Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce later created IC technology and successfully demonstrated it on September 12, 1958.

Where are chips placed?

Chips are placed (installed) onto a PCB (printed circuit board). For example, chips are on the motherboard and expansion cards inside a computer.


Those designing new devices may first place chips on a breadboard to make it easier during the design phase.

Integrated circuit generations

Since their creation, many generations of integrated circuits have increased the number of transistors and logic gates per chip. Below are early IC generations and the approximate capacity of each chip.

  • SSI (small-scale integration) - 1 to 10 transistors and 1 to 12 logic gates.
  • MSI (medium-scale integration) - 10 to 500 transistors and 13 to 99 logic gates.
  • LSI (large-scale integration) - 500 to 20,000 transistors and 100 to 9,999 logic gates.
  • VLSI (very-large-scale integration) - 20,000 to 1,000,000 transistors and 10,000 to 99,999 logic gates.
  • ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration) - over 1,000,000 transistors and 100,000 logic gates.

These terms rarely describe today's ICs since they now contain billions of transistors.

What devices use ICs today?

Because integrated circuits are so versatile, they are incorporated in most electronic devices today, including:

  • Computers and peripherals, like keyboards and mice.
  • Headphones, speakers, and microphones.
  • Smartphones and tablets.
  • Wearables, like smartwatches.
  • Smart speakers, like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
  • Digital photo and video cameras.
  • Video game consoles and controllers.
  • Infotainment systems in vehicles.
  • Smart home LED (light-emitting diode) lights or wall outlets.

2. In role-playing games, IC is short for in character. IC describes a player acting out their character's role in the game and not discussing things unrelated to the game.

3. In chat rooms, IC is shorthand for I see. It may also be abbreviated as OIC, which is short for Oh I See. Below is an example of how this could be used in chat.

User1: What does CPU mean?
User2: Central Processing Unit
User1: OIC

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