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There are several different types of semiconductors, which vary in terms of how they make transistors out of silicon. The differences between them are highly technical so I won't go into it in detail. The process used to manufacture the chips has an impact on the following:
Most processors today are created using what is called a CMOS process. CMOS stands for "complementary metal oxide semiconductor" and refers to a particular method of making transistors in silicon. Older processors used older technology; the original 8088s for example using NMOS. The Pentium processor uses BiCMOS which is "bipolar CMOS" and has certain advantages and disadvantages over CMOS. Intel has returned to CMOS as the standard today because it allows for faster processor speeds at low voltages, to keep power use down to a manageable level.
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