Image: Intel

Intel has shared an editorial celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 4004 microprocessor. This CPU is a genuine treasure among computing circles, as it represents the first commercially produced microprocessor that paved the way to the countless devices and technologies used by the modern world. The Intel 4004 debuted in 1971 with a maximum clock rate of 740 to 750 kHz and a data width of 4 bits.

Intel on the 4004’s early history:

[…] it all started with a calculator. In 1969, Japanese manufacturer Nippon Calculating Machine Corp. approached Intel to design a set of integrated circuits for its engineering prototype calculator, the Busicom 141-PF. Original plans called for 12 custom chips, but Intel employees Marcian “Ted” Hoff, Stan Mazor and Federico Faggin adapted the design into a set of four chips, including the 4004 central processing unit (CPU), which was officially unveiled in November 1971.

Prior to the fingernail-size 4004 microprocessor, the only way to achieve the equivalent processing power was with computers that filled entire rooms – hardly practical or an effective use of space.

“The 4004 was so revolutionary that it took about five years for Intel to educate engineers about how to build new products based on microprocessors,” says co-inventor Mazor. “Intel was ultimately very successful in this endeavor, and the rest is history.”

An infographic shared by Intel illustrates the massive advancements in chip technologies that have been achieved since the development of the 4004. Transistor counts have gone from a relatively paltry 2,300 to billions, while clock frequencies have jumped from 750 kHz to 5.2 GHz.

Image: Intel

Source: Intel

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2 Comments

  1. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 43875, member: 96″]
    …I like how with the slight bit of tarnish it kinda looks like wood.
    [/QUOTE]
    Oh snap, it does!

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