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Intel releases first CPU schematics

35 years later, it's outside
Wed Nov 15 2006, 07:15
PREMIER maker of chips, Intel, is to celebrate its 35th birthday by releasing the schematics, maskworks, and users' manual of its first chip.

On November 15, Intel's Museum will show off an interactive exhibit featuring a fully functional 130 times scale replica of the 4004 microprocessor. The mock up will run the first software ever written for the 4004.

The display required some clever reverse-engineering to build the 4004 schematics and the Busicom software which ran on it.

Its re-drawn and verified schematics and an animated 4004 simulator has been written in Java and can be found at the 4004 web site, here.

The first 2,300-transistor 'micro-programmable computer on a chip' was first mentioned by Intel in Electronic News on November 15, 1971.

Intel spinners made much hay out of the technology and claimed that it would be a 'new era of integrated electronics'. While it may have been true, it was also the start of some very weird product numbering from Intel. Why was the first chip numbered 4004?

It was also the birthday of the first Intel roadmap, an esoteric document designed to conceal more than it ever reveals.

More birthday news here. µ

 

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