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Intel Hardware Technology

Intel's 4004 Microprocessor Turns 40 126

harrymcc writes "On November 15th 1971, Intel introduced the 4004 — the first single-chip microprocessor. Its offspring, needless to say, went on to change the world. But first, Intel tried using the 4004 in a bunch of products that were interesting but often unsuccessful — like a pinball machine, an electronic vote-counting machine, and Wang's first word processor. Technologizer's Benj Edwards is celebrating the anniversary with an illustrated look back at this landmark chip." Here's another nostalgic look back at, and one at The Inquirer. And an anonymous reader points out another at ExtremeTech, from which comes this snippet: "Designed by the fantastically-forenamed Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor, the 4004 was a 4-bit, 16-pin microprocessor that operated at a mighty 740KHz — and at roughly eight clock cycles per instruction cycle (fetch, decode, execute), that means the chip was capable of executing up to 92,600 instructions per second. We can’t find the original list price, but one source indicates that it cost around $5 to manufacture, or $26 in today’s money."
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Intel's 4004 Microprocessor Turns 40

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  • by Megane ( 129182 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @11:41AM (#38060228) Homepage []

    In particular, that fully-functional 4004 mock-up someone made by using 1G TTL chips on a large circuit board is absolutely awesome.

  • Interesting typo* (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hipp5 ( 1635263 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @12:08PM (#38060596)

    From the technologizer article:

    as Intel churned out more powerful chips throughout the rest of the 1970sâ"the predecessors of the ones inside every current Windows PC and Mac.

    Really? I was pretty sure my computer has an AMD inside.

    *Well, not really a typo but more of a poorly considered sentence.

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2011 @01:25PM (#38061710)

    In 1971, an Intel 4004 had 2300 transistors, on a die size 12mm square (144mm^2).

    In 2011, an Intel i7 had 560,000,000 transistors on a die size 296mm^2

    Going by those dimensions, you could get 24378 4004's into the die size of an i7. Or the i7 mockup would be 24000 times the area of the 4004 mockup. If you were to build the i7 with the same brass and copper technology as a Diffference Engine, it would probably fill Manhattan.

    For comparison, an Intel 80386 had 275000 transistors, and an 80486 had 1,180,000 transistors.

    For those CPU's, you could get 2000 80386's into the die size of an i7, and 474+ 80486's into the same die size.

    I'd guess in reality that would be less because you would need cache management for all those processors.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs