On November 15, 1971, Intel released its 4004 processor. Its release marks one of the key foundations of the modern computer era. Some core concepts of this processor exist in almost every technology today. Without it, we might still be playing board games or relying on pigeons for communication. Well, not really.
4004 is the first commercial microprocessor, it is definitely a groundbreaking technology. It combines different functions on a single silicon chip, with high operating frequency and transistor density, far ahead of any product available at the time. It also uses cutting-edge manufacturing technology.
Before 1971, Intel mainly focused on semiconductor memory and lacked the expertise to produce general-purpose processors. Then, in 1969, the Japanese computer company approached Intel to design a processor for it. Busicom 141-PF printing calculatorIntel recommends a four-chip design, one of which can be programmed for various tasks. Electronic products will never be the same. In order to achieve these design goals, it hired Italian chip designer Fredrico Faggin. There is no doubt that Faggin’s expertise has helped Intel achieve the dominant position it enjoys today. Interestingly, every corner of the 4004 chip contains a tiny FF.
Some of the key specifications of the 4004 include a 740 KHz clock speed, 10 micron (10000nm) lithography, and a total of 2300 transistors. Comparing this with a modern CPU of approximately 4.5 GHz, 7-nanometer lithography, and billions of transistors, it is clear that we have come a long way.
The prototype of the original Busicom calculator is in Computer History Museum In Mountain View, California. This not-so-young geek hopes to go there one day.
The technology and expertise that Intel learned from designing these early chips eventually led to the release of the 8086 processor in 1978, which was the processor used in IBM’s original PC. With this, the modern personal computer was born. The origin of our game console can be traced back to the early days. Where will we be in 50 years? Maybe Star Citizen will have a release date by then.
You will not be able to get 4004 on our Black Friday CPU trading page, but one of its great, great, great and grandchildren is worth a look.