A chip is that truly amazing and remarkably tiny piece of silicon that has an entire integrated electronic circuit embedded within it. Chips are what make the computer. Chips are the computer. A tiny chip is one of the biggest pieces of human-made magic on earth. There are different kinds of chips, the most common being the microprocessors which run the whole computer, and memory chips, in which the computer holds and works with your information until you send it to a disk.
The chip that runs many pcs, the 80486, has the equivalent electronic power-in its baby-fingernail sized wafer-of one of those room-sized mainframe computers from twenty years ago. The 80486 can be manufactures for just a couple hundred dollars; the mainframes of twenty years ago cost several million dollars. The impact on civilization and humankind of this mass-produced, inexpensive technology is going to be comparable to the impact of the technology of mass-produced, inexpensive books in the fifteenth century.