in digital electronics,what does MSI stand for and mean?

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 10, 2012
Hi just wondering what MSI stands for and means in digital electronics

Imassuming its something to do with encoding,decoding and 7 segment displays?

Some basic definitions are greatlyappreciated along with more detailed links and articles

Thank you and all the best

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 10, 2012
ok great thank you. Can it have any other meanings or does it only have that meaning n electronics? Just sounds a bit strange in the context of digital encoders, decoders and 7 segment displays. Ive come across it in that context


Joined Oct 2, 2009
Time-Line of Integrated Circuits

1906 - Vacuum tube invented by Lee De Forest.
1946 - The ENIAC digital computer built, 18 feet high x 80 feet long, with 17,000 tubes.
1947 - Transistor invented by William Shockley.
1955-1965 - Discrete transistor usage increases.
1958 - Integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby.
1960 - ICs proliferate
SSI - Small Scale Integration - >10 transistors (1 to 30 gates)
MSI - Medium Scale Integration - >100 transistors (10 to 300 gates)
LSI - Large Scale Integration - >1000 transistors (100 to 3000 gates)
1971 - Intel 4004 microprocessor, with 2,250 transistors.
1978 - VLSI - Very Large Scale Integration, >10,000 transistors (1000 - 30,000 gates)
1979 - Motorola 68000 microprocessor, 70,000 transistors.
1985 - ASICs (application-specific ICs) appear with >100,000 gates.
1995 - CPU, memory functions available in ASICs with >1 million gates.

The terms SSI, MSI, LSI and VLSI are directly related to the development and evolution of integrated circuits. As one would expect, these terms were not used during the development but came about after the fact, at least with the first three terms.

The first transistor amplifiers were built using discrete transistors. When the first integrated circuits were fabricated the circuitry would have consisted of just a few transistors. Thus in hindsight these can now be labelled as SSI circuits.

With the advent of more complex digital logic circuits such as decoders, flip-flops and counters, these required transistor counts getting into the hundreds. An IC with 50 to 300 transistors may be classified as MSI and most digital ICs fall into this category.

The first digital calculator and microprocessor ICs began to push the total count into thousands of transistors leading to LSI circuits.

Beyond that the sky is the limit and we have VLSI.
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