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Intel's 4004 Microprocessor Turns 40

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the will-never-amount-to-anything dept.

Intel 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 V3.co.uk, 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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126 comments

Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38059966)

Oh wait, that was something else...

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060184)

This story tells me something. It tells me ... this must be a slow news day.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060542)

And where in the world is the name Federico considered "fantastic"?
Were they just playing with the alliteration for no good reason, or trying to avoid making fun of Faggin?

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060686)

Go back to the Occupy thread where your ilk belongs.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (4, Funny)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060544)

Dude, even if you are too tone deaf to notice the difference, I totally sample my music at 740 kHz - it's the only way to go in order to get clean sound. 16b / 44.1 kHz is for the poor soiled masses, and 24b / 96 kHz is for studio jerk-offs.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (2)

BobNET (119675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060812)

740kHz? Sounds great if you're making eMPty3's for your iPod.

I use at least 1.48MHz, 256-bit. And even then I can tell it's digital. It just doesn't have the warmth and rich sound of vinyl or that mix tape I made in 1993.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (2)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061784)

1.48 MHz?, 256-bit? Wow! I can't believe you can hear anything through the distortion and aliasing at that rate!

I sample with at least 2.4GHz and 2048-bit accuracy. And maybe, just maybe, I can get a basic approximation to what I get from my 1928 Victrola. Now, maybe that lack of sound quality is because I'm only using Monster cables for my monitors right now. The good news is that I'm on a waiting list to sell a kidney so I can get these [avland.co.uk] - a bargain at $21K for 3 meters! But I have to believe that the sample rate has something to do with it, too.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062532)

Steve Martin would just tell you to do googolphonic sampling using a moon-rock needle.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (0)

MrRobahtsu (8620) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066676)

Sounds like shit.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067972)

Dude! I was about to purchase those but your post caused a /. effect and now they're out of stock... :(

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38062044)

Pff. Sissies. If it's not binaural and floating-point with proper A/Ds and D/As with wave shape rebuilding, plus speakers and amplifiers that have a uniform frequency response, whatâ(TM)s the point of it anyway?
It's like that XKCD comic with the $5 wrench.
.
.
Wait, I'm not supposed to state things that *actually* make sense, am I? ;)

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (4, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061744)

Dude, even if you are too tone deaf to notice the difference, I totally sample my music at 740 kHz - it's the only way to go in order to get clean sound. 16b / 44.1 kHz is for the poor soiled masses, and 24b / 96 kHz is for studio jerk-offs.

There's actually a sane reason for 95kHz sampling - filtering.

Before any ADC, you need to put in an analog filter (anti-aliasing filter - basically it ensures that the signal going to the ADC is bandlimited below the Nyquist frequency).

The problem with filters is that it's very hard to get the desired characteristics (flat response in frequency band, narrow transition band) without doing a ton of work (lots of parts, etc).

Using 44kHz or 48kHz sampling, it means if you want to capture to 20kHz, your filter must "brickwall" in the 2-4kHz region between 20kHz and 22/24kHz. This is extremely hard to do, and the eng result is you usually get rolloff around 16kHz or so. Or the frequency response gets wilder and definitely not flat.

Using 96kHz or even 192kHz means the anti-aliasing filter can be much gentler and designed with more stuiable characteristics. When you can have rolloff start at 20kHz and extend all the way out to 48/96kHz, you can make some very nice filters indeed - flat from 20Hz-20kHz, very little phase distortion, etc.

The other end benefits as well - the antialiasing filter on the DAC side can be a lot nicer as well.

And of course, the more bandwidth you have to play with, it means the filters are also much cheaper and simpler (and that also means less distortion).

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38065738)

Using 44kHz or 48kHz sampling, it means if you want to capture to 20kHz, your filter must "brickwall" in the 2-4kHz region between 20kHz and 22/24kHz. This is extremely hard to do

Huh? A simple bandpass filter does the trick. Higher sampling rate, higher frequency filter. You realize that there are radio frequency filters, which are far higher frequencies than sound?

The higher your sampling rate, the less aliasing you get. At 44.1 sample rate has only three data points to describe a 15 kHz wave's shape. That's not nearly enough. I'd guess that if you quadrupled the sampling rate (and raised the number of stored bits) you could sample an analog high quality studio-produced audio tape and nobody would be able to tell the difference between the two.

Oh, BTW, the GP was joking.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067014)

Huh? A simple bandpass filter does the trick. Higher sampling rate, higher frequency filter. You realize that there are radio frequency filters, which are far higher frequencies than sound?

The maximum achievable dynamic range of an ADC is determined by the bit depth of the converter. In practice, this dynamic range is limited by the steepness of the roll-off of the anti-aliasing filter - you can have a 16 bit converter, which implies 16*6 = 96 dB of dynamic range, but if your low pass filter only rolls off 12 dB before you hit the Nyquist frequency, your dynamic range will be limited to 12 dB. The OP is working under the assumption that the "final" sample rate, as indicated by the information on the .WAV file, for example, is the sample rate used throughout the entire ADC system. This is not how modern audio ADCs work. The input signal is oversampled, an analog lowpass filter is applied (based on the Nyquist frequency being k*F_s/2, where k is the oversampling amount.) The signal is then converted to digital, a _digital_ filter is then applied, and the signal is then decimated back down to the "final" sampling rate. In fact the ADC block in the system for most audio converters is of the sigma-delta type, which are only "1 bit" converters and have their own interesting properties, but the same basic principle applies.

The higher your sampling rate, the less aliasing you get. At 44.1 sample rate has only three data points to describe a 15 kHz wave's shape. That's not nearly enough. I'd guess that if you quadrupled the sampling rate (and raised the number of stored bits) you could sample an analog high quality studio-produced audio tape and nobody would be able to tell the difference between the two.

Oh, BTW, the GP was joking.

I don't know why you say that three data points isn't nearly enough, as the whole point of Nyquist's theorem is that it is, if the signal is perfectly bandlimited. If you mean that it's probably not enough to reproduce a 15 kHz wave accurately given the imperfections of most consumer 44.1 kHz ADC or DAC systems, I think I'd agree with that.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067130)

Just noticed that you didn't specify what type of 15 kHz wave we're talking about, I assumed sine. Obviously a 44.1 kHz rate can't reproduce any arbitrary wave shape at 15 kHz, because by Fourier theory that arbitrary wave shape could contain frequency components well above Nyquist - even a 4 times greater sampling rate probably wouldn't be enough to reproduce a nice-looking square wave at 15 kHz, as you'd only be getting the fundamental and the first square wave Fourier term (3rd harmonic.)

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

bitrex (859228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066416)

Almost all modern audio ADCs use oversampling to relax the requirements on the input analog anti-aliasing filter, regardless of what the final sample rate is going to be. The digital anti-aliasing filter still has to roll off before the Nyquist frequency of the final sample rate, but since it's much easier to construct good filters with sharp stop bands in the digital realm, I'd think what sonic advantages you get from brickwalling between 20kHz and 24khz vs. 44 to 48 khz would be debatable.

Re:Who could ever need more than 740KHz? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068344)

In the early days of CDs, a brick-wall analog filter was relatively cheap compared to doubling the bitrate of the laser... of course, that's all turned on its head now.

Um, First? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38059990)

First?

Re:Um, First? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060822)

You would have been if your computer didn't run a 4004 microprocessor.

Cue Kurzweil... (1, Redundant)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060014)

If we've come this far in 40 years, where will we be in 40 more?

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060076)

Nearly 70 and doing everything I can to avoid a computer for my entire retirement?

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060192)

Nearly 70 and doing everything I can to avoid a computer for my entire retirement?

You miss the Kurzweil reference, if medical progress keeps pace, 70 will be young.

I think the half-way mark 1991 makes an interesting reference point: in 1991, my desktop PC at work cost 2 months salary, it was a 16MHz 386 with a 640x480 resolution 15" color monitor. My desktop PC at work today cost about 3 days pay and is a 2+GHz i5 with two 1920x1080 24" flat panels.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060680)

Good thing you got that raise!

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060800)

Good thing you got that raise!

More like, my boss in 1991 believed in the value of cutting edge hardware (more than the value of paying people anything above minimum market rate...) Today I work for a startup that supplies us from the lower end of the Dell catalog. Not that I'm complaining, the hardware is no longer the limiting factor, although I could use a third screen....

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060402)

Nearly 70 and doing everything I can to avoid a computer for my entire retirement?

Hah. You clearly do not understand the septuagenerian at all.

Remember that most of the 70+ geriatrics don't have to work for a living anymore. They have lots of free time to buy computers at least when they aren't driving far below the speed limit or running homeowner's associations or voting the way AARP tells them to vote.

The 70 year old wouldn't avoid a computer. He would buy a computer. Maybe he'd buy two. Then he would refuse to read any documentation that came with it. And refuse to ever glance at a FAQ or a search engine. Then he would call up tech support and waste as much of their time as possible for tasks as basic as possible. This is because his grandchildren no longer visit him and he's lonely; instead of admitting that and seeking honest companionship he looks for a captive audience who cannot refuse interaction because he's also bitter about this.

When you expect him to draw a distinction between a left-click and a right-click he will yell at you complaining that he is not a computer expert. The idea that he should remember any passwords he himself created will seem absurd to him. The idea that the electrical device works better when you plug it in will require expert advice for him to grasp. But one way or another he would not avoid a computer. That would be too big-hearted of him.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060556)

Be glad you got to know your grandparents... some people miss out on that experience entirely.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066098)

No, you'll be avoiding some tech that will be indespensible to modern life that we don't have yet.

My dad is one of those guys, he's 80. "I lived eighty years without a computer and cell phone and I don't need one now." My maternal grandfather was the same way about indoor plumbing! Even after my uncle installed a bathroom in Grandpa's house, Grandpa still used the outhouse.

I'm hopeful I haven't inherited the "get off my lawn" gene. At least I don't have a nice yard so far (and don't give a damn if someone walks on it)

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060096)

where will we be in 40 more?

Regardless of age, creed or background, we'll all be dead most likely.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060202)

Feel sorry for all the 50 and below people on this site.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060126)

Predicting that the new ten billion core processors will usher in the year of Linux on the desktop and IPv6 finally overtaking IPv4.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060180)

Hmm probably 80 years.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060664)

Well, at this rate the last die shrink will be in the 2020s as we're down to single atoms, no more magic computers that get faster every year. The rest is a bit like that flying car, even 40 years ago that 4004 would have been a helluva human coprocessor for math but progress on any real cyborg functionality has never materialized. And if it does, it'll have almost nothing to do with CPU development as such.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067452)

"no more magic computers that get faster every year."

When and/or if commodity CPUs stop getting faster, due to physical limitations, there is plenty of speed to be had from using co-processors to execute in hardware tasks currently relegated to software.

As an example, malloc() and friends, a binary tree, a hash map, etc. An intelligent memory co-processor with these data structures in silicon would provide 100 if not 1,000 times execution speed when compared to current software implementations. Throw some content addressable memory in the mix, and you'll have a bang up fast box on the same if not lower power budget.

PC's will still be able to get faster ... they'll just have to get smarter to do it.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060936)

Laughing at pictures with people who are using the huge bulky iPhones. Or... Huddled around the fire trying to keep warm.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061270)

Dead

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061548)

http://singinst.org/overview/whatisthesingularity/ [singinst.org]

The question is, will the "smarter than human intelligence" see any reason to improve human lifespan?

Visions of the powercells in the Matrix just popped to mind....

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38062214)

You should be thinking "Terminator" rather than "the Matrix". Any post-human intelligence will have absolutely no survival-related need for humans, any more than you need chimpanzees to exist. At best, our post-singularity overlords will show compassion for their predecessors and give us space to live while they go off and do whatever it is they feel like doing. At worst, they will view us as a pest (we could certainly cause a lot more trouble than chimps could) to eliminate.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061278)

We'll be in 2051.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (3, Insightful)

TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062432)

If we've come this far in 40 years, where will we be in 40 more?

CMOS process shrinks will probably poop out around 2020. Intel claims to have things figured out until 8nm. When the CMOS process shrinks cease there will be no more massive numbers of "free" transistors every year. Intel and other will likely start playing with gallium arsenide and other stuff to try to squeeze more performance out of stagnated process sizes. Once those tricks are played out it could very well be the end until radical new alternative technology is developed.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (2)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063958)

Although it's nice to call it CMOS, and indeed both N and P channel devices are used, all the fastest silicon processors use N channel devices for the logic path. CMOS runs about 1/4 the speed on NMOS.

My understanding of gallium arsenide MOS (and I could easily be wrong) is that its speed advantage for logic started running out at about the 0.35 micron (350 nm) node, which is where Vitesse gave up and very nearly went out of business. The future might not be silicon, but there's little change of it being GaAs.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38064030)

Egads, I've must be more careful. 1/4 the speed of NMOS

little chance of it being GaAs.

Sorry

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38065996)

If we've come this far in 40 years, where will we be in 40 more?

I'll be dead. At least I hope I'll be dead, I have no wish to live to be a hundred. Like my grandmother said at age 95, "I don't know why everybody wants to live to be a hundred. It ain't no fun bein' old."

But man, look at how far things have progressed. Forty years ago the pot was only 1/4th as potent (and 1/20th the price); there were no flat screen TVs, no microwave ovens, no VCRs, self-opening doors were brand new, there were no cell phones (not even pagers), no ABS or air bags in cars. The fastest computer in the world then was less powerful than an iPhone.

The difference in medical tech is really astounding. Medicine was PRIMITIVE back then -- I mean REALLY primitive. No CrystaLens implants, no soft contact lenses, no Viagra, no Naproxin, they used ether to put you under for surgery, no digital readouts of body functions.

I'm sure there are a lot of things I didn't have that I'd sorely miss if I didn't have them now that I haven't thought of. The wonders you guys will see in the next 40 years are as unimaginable as the internet was before it existed Here's [google.com] a short science fiction story written in 1946 that AFAIK came closest to the internet, Murray Leinster's A Logic Named Joe. It's actually humorous seeing it from the 21st century.

I live in a sci-fi world with wonders nobody dreamed of when I was young.

Re:Cue Kurzweil... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38068306)

I was four in 1971... you could still get lead in your gasoline, you could dream of being an astronaut when you grew up, you could imagine surviving an all out thermonuclear war, jet travel was still expensive for most people, and nobody had the faintest idea what caused ulcers...

I mentioned Kurzweil mostly because he's pushing the idea that, due to exponential progress, people will live forever, real soon now. He is kinda quiet about how much money (power, whatever) you're going to need to do it. Personally, I think this sums up the future a little better:

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2009-02-24/ [dilbert.com]

Technological progress vs monetary policy (-1, Offtopic)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060090)

"On November 15th 1971, Intel introduced the 4004 ......

We canâ(TM)t find the original list price, but one source indicates that it cost around $5 to manufacture, or $26 in todayâ(TM)s money."

So the value of dollar went down by over factor of 5 since 1971.

Of-course today it wouldn't cost $26 to manufacture 4004, because the technology is so much more advanced, it would cost much less than that, but if it's true, that the cost would be $26 to manufacture one today, then the value of dollar went down even more.

Apple I cost $666.66 USD in 1976 and it was $475 in 1977. - So that's the improvement in efficiency and economy of scale allowing the drop the prices in one year by over 29%.

If the same rate of price reduction could be applied to 4004, then without inflation in today's money 4004 would have cost literally 0. With inflation it's less than 0, but that makes no sense (here is a 4004 and and over 132K USD, just take it off my hands!)

--

Our progress is being destroyed by our monetary policy.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060162)

If the same rate of price reduction could be applied to 4004, then without inflation in today's money 4004 would have cost literally 0. With inflation it's less than 0, but that makes no sense

I think you need to work on your compound interest.... if year 1 is 26 and year 2 = year1*0.71, then year 40 is four thousandths of a cent.

Which is probably a fair price, compared to the cost/performance ratio of something like a pic 10f220 series chip.

One thing economists are remarkably poor at understanding, is something that cannot go on forever, eventually stops.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060230)

Yes, obviously it's a tiny number, in one thousands of one percent. It's zero for all purposes.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

udachny (2454394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060212)

Hey, stay on topic. They didn't mention anything about money in the story...

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.

oh wait, they did.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060244)

Obligatory:

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of zero cost 4004s....

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060334)

Imagine emulating the Beowulf cluster on one medium-sized FPGA... ;-)

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (2)

rrhal (88665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060726)

So the value of dollar went down by over factor of 5 since 1971.

In 1971 the US Dollar was pegged to gold at $35 per Oz Its ~$1700 today. I don't remember exactly when during the Nixon administraion the US decoupled the dollar from gold but I think it was after the election in 1972. At any rate an oz of gold would about buy a 4004 in 1971 and a ~3.5GHz 6-core Xeon today.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

QRDeNameland (873957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066252)

I don't remember exactly when during the Nixon administraion the US decoupled the dollar from gold but I think it was after the election in 1972.

Actually it was August 15, 1971, three months prior to the release of the 4004. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixon_Shock [wikipedia.org]

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060750)

Our progress is being destroyed by our monetary policy.

Money is nothing more than some arbitrary magnetic patterns on some mainframe disk drive. Don't waste your time obsessing over it.

You don't keep money around for decades; It's a short-term medium used to buy real investments.

In the meantime, if you want progress, quit whining and start working towards progress.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061332)

It's a short-term medium used to buy real investments.

Yeah you try eating your illiquid assets one day when you're in a pinch. The more money you have, the more wealth you have to keep around as cash. And that's when inflation bites you in the ass.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061394)

Try eating your money.

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

rrhal (88665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063592)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Hebrews 13:5

Re:Technological progress vs monetary policy (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066566)

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

I claim breach of contract.

And that's Word Wang! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060206)

Wait, would that be Word Wang? The sequel to the off season hit Number Wang?

Link to 35th Anniversary site (5, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060228)

http://www.4004.com/ [4004.com]

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

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060554)

Better yet:
How fast would the 4004 be if manufactured using a 32nm process?
How many 4-bit cores would fit on a die?
How big would a model of an i7 be if made at the same scale as the mock-up?

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (5, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (2)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061880)

The original 4004 was about 12 mm^2 on a 10micron process, 2300 transistors. To make it work 3 other chips of about the same size are needed. The linear shrink factor would be 312.5, and the original die was about 3.5 mm, so a 4004 at 32nm would be about 11 microns on a side, (just larger than the original line width!), or 22 microns with the other chips included. The clock speed is not easy to figure, but with such a small circuit should be on the order of 1-10GHz. Figuring 7.4 GHz (10000x faster) and 25,000 times smaller (including all 4 chips) and 70,000 IPS for the original, 1 cm^2 of these should deliver 1.4E14 IPS using about 200,000 4004s.

Actually doing such a shrink would involve a complete redesign, some extra area would be needed to replace external passive components, and the circuitry needed to allow communication among a such a large array of processors could easily take more area than the processors themselves. The actual performance could be over 100 times lower than calculated, but should still be over 1 TIPS/cm^2.

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062208)

If the 4004 was actually 12 mm square rather than 12 square mm, then the above numbers need to be adjusted by a factor of 12.

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (1)

Savantissimo (893682) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062172)

"How big would a model of an i7 be if made at the same scale as the mock-up?"

The working replica appears to be about 56cm on a side, (50,000x what it would be on a 32nm process) an i7 is about 15mm on a side, so 15mm x 50000 = 750m

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063686)

Football field? Nah....probably bigger.

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067602)

From the above post, about a quarter of a square mile.

Re:Link to 35th Anniversary site (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063648)

Even more interesting is Faggin's own website where he explains some of the details of his relationship with Intel. This man literally changed Intel into a microprocessor company!! Without his development of the 4004 Intel would have probably died on the vine as a memory manufacturer. http://www.intel4004.com/ [intel4004.com]

As a guy who's been on a desert island for years (0, Flamebait)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060430)

Hey, what happened to all the Apple fans saying the Motorola chips where better?

FIXED THAT FOR YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060462)

Hey, what happened to all the Apple fans saying the Motorola chips "were" better?

FIXED THAT FOR YOU (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060482)

Hey, what happened to all the Apple fans saying the Motorola chips were better?

Re:FIXED THAT FOR YOU (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38064180)

For a long time, they were. Things changed. Freescale (Motorola spinoff) and IBM started devoting themselves to embedded systems, game consoles, big iron -- rather than tailoring their chips to Apple's needs. Notably, the G5 was too hot and power-hungry for notebooks and IBM just didn't care to fix it. It was wise to jump ship at that point.

Re:As a guy who's been on a desert island for year (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060578)

Hey, what happened to all the Apple fans saying the Motorola chips where better?

I don't know, but this is surely cool:

http://www.visual6502.org/ [visual6502.org]

Programmable Calculator (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060524)

I still have a Radio Shack EC-4004 programmable calculator floating around that uses one of these. Fun little calculator for its time.

Re:Programmable Calculator (2)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063760)

Yeah, but do you have a girlfriend?

Re:Programmable Calculator (3, Funny)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38066194)

Yes, he does. Her name is Radio Shack EC-4004.

Interesting typo* (1, Interesting)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Interesting typo* (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38060672)

It's not poorly worded. The history of AMD is poorly understood (by you, not them).

Re:Interesting typo* (4, Informative)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060834)

There *is* an unbroken chain of compatibility from the latest AMD processors back to the 8008, which was Intel's first 8-bit microprocessor (the design of which was actually started before the 4004 design, IIRC). So they were indeed "predecessors".

Not to mention that AMD got its start in the PC business by being an officially licensed 2nd source for Intel's 8086 chips.

Re:Interesting typo* (2, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061616)

There *is* an unbroken chain of compatibility from the latest AMD processors back to the 8008

Actually, AMD processors are not 100% compatible. There are differences in behavior.

For example, everyone knows an x86 resets at FFFF:0000. But an AMD processor will throw an exception if somewhere along the line, it doesn't encounter a branch and ends up wrapping to 0000:0000. An Intel processor doesn't generate the exception. (This is because way back when, instead of putting ROM at the end of memory, designers could put it at the beginning and have the processor basically NOP its way through the 16 bytes).

It's one of the well-known well-publicized things that broke the original Xbox.

Of course, practically speaking, AMD's behaviour is probably "more correct" security wise, but Intel's is pure legacy.

Re:Interesting typo* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38066414)

Oh hell no, never in a general purpose PC would this be done - the interrupt table starts at the low end of the address space, and the divide-by-zero vector has to be valid code then. Of course you could fit a branch in this first vector, but then why did you want ROM there to begin with? If the first 4 bytes are ROM, chances are the rest of the 1KB vector table are ROM as well, and why? You'd have to give yourself a lobotomy and smoke a crack rock the size of your fist to think this is a good idea.

The only place you could ever reasonably do this is on a ramless system that has to handle interrupts. Remember, smoke the whole thing or you won't get high enough for this to be a good idea. Why the hell would you use x86 and all its stack dependency on a ramless system?

If you want to talk about address space differences at the 1M mark, Intel already fucked that up with the 286 when they needed an external mechanism to disable A20 for better real mode compatibility.

AMD64 (1)

DragonHawk (21256) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062896)

There is an unbroken chain of compatibility from the latest AMD processors back to the 8008...

Of course, no discussion about Intel vs AMD compatibility would be complete without some jerk* remarking that with x86-64, Intel is actually cloning AMD's 64-bit extensions to x86. One of the more ironic twists in that race, to be sure.

* Today's jerk being played by DragonHawk

Still Kickin' (2)

stuffduff (681819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38060718)

Still available, although I believe they are made in Malaysia. The whole chip-set was not very expensive.

Failed cuz.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38061180)

It mostly failed because it was put in a 16-pin package, meaning that all the addresses and data had to be shuffled out and in through a narrow bus. This is a slow process. That also means you had to surround the chip with a lot of decoders and latches and buffers to hold the memory and I/O addresses and shuffle the data in and out. Same downside to the 8008. You needed like 30 chips around the CPU chip just for the very basics of generating an actual memory address and data bus.

Re:Failed cuz.... (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061364)

But, you missed the business model. They already had (and sold) decoders and latches and buffers that "digital designers" were using for other purposes. This was the one chip to rule them all, one chip to find them, one chip to bring them all and in the darkness require them (thus driving sales...)

PCs waited until 8bits came out couple years later (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061374)

8008, 6800, and 8086

Re:PCs waited until 8bits came out couple years la (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38061538)

Don't forget the 6502 and Z80!

Re:PCs waited until 8bits came out couple years la (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061652)

And the 6809! Everybody forgets the 6809. ;_;

What was the largest number that it could handle? (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061628)

Could it handle at least 16-bit numbers?

Re:What was the largest number that it could handl (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38061800)

Wrong question. I've seen 32-bit PCs handle arbitrary precision (with some appropriate library of course), not only 32 bits. Okay, there is a limit of the size of available RAM ...

Re:What was the largest number that it could handl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38061842)

Please look at the full white paper [intel.com] here.

While it looks like most of the instructions were one word instructions, it does seem to have a few two word instructions. So, to answer your questions, yes, in some cases, it could handle some 16-bit processing (though most instruction codes are 8-bit).

Re:What was the largest number that it could handl (2)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062494)

You are thinking the wrong way.

It was used in calculators.
4bit is enough to encode 0-9. The rest was done in software (using arbitrary precission math, although for very limited values of "arbitrary", given past constrains...

Re:What was the largest number that it could handl (2)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38063590)

Corrrect. It's probably better to describe the 4004 as BCD (Binary Coded Decimal) rather than as "four bit." Storing a number larger than 9 requires eight bits, the first four store the first digit, and the second four store the second digit. The bit patterns 0xA through 0xF were actually special patterns used for various things (like marking negative numbers).

Since the original purpose of the 4004 was a calculator, this system makes a lot of sense. It might not be the most efficient use of bits (an eight-digit decimal number uses 32 bits in BCD, but requires only 27 bits when in binary), but it makes the translation to and from human-readable formats very easy.

This is exactly how most circuits using discrete logic operated, and for the exact same reason. In fact, I'm working on a project right now that uses only discrete logic -- encoding in BCD makes the whole thing possible. Using BCD on the first microprocessor makes lots of sense as an incremental improvement on what people already did.

Re:What was the largest number that it could handl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38067214)

Ah, yes... the classic EE major freshman year calculator project.

You might not realize.... (2)

surfdaddy (930829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062180)

...that we landed on the MOON before the invention of microprocessors! Now that's scary.

Re:You might not realize.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38064010)

The R&D needed for the moon landing actually unleashed a whole lot of new stuff which shaped the tech scene for the years to come

Re:You might not realize.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38065820)

In a lot of ways, its been all downhill since.

RISC or CISC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38062582)

I think we're all missing the more interesting question here, and that is: is the 4004 RISC or CISC?

HTTP Error? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38062972)

I clicked on the link and only saw a 4004 ;)

Top Gun had it earlier... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38063458)

http://www.firstmicroprocessor.com/

Now what?

Like Printing Money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38065070)

Only $26 to make one!? Have you seen what an Intel 4004 is going for on eBay *right now*? Whoever restarts the fab will become filthy rich!

DIY (1)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38067690)

The 4004 is too expensive, but I was thinking about getting an 8008 and a bunch of ttl to make a little computer... maybe next April.
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