An IC (integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic
circuits on one small flat piece (or "chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon. The integration of
large numbers of tiny transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller,
cheaper, and faster than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production
capability, reliability and building-block approach to circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of
standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors.
ICs have two main advantages over discrete circuits: cost and performance. Cost is low because the
chips, with all their components, are printed as a unit by photolithography rather than being
constructed one transistor at a time. Packaged ICs use much less material than discrete circuits.
Performance is high because the IC's components switch quickly and consume comparatively little
power because of their small size and close proximity.