Intel’s 8080, 8086 and 8088 might ring a few bells for some readers, but how many remember the 4-bit 4004 that started it all 40 years ago. SemiAccurate takes a quick trip down memory lane, recalling the VIC-20 which was powered by Motorola’s 6500, the 16-bit TMS9900 that was inside the Texas Instruments 99/4(A) and other chips which have taken us from 740kHz to the multi-gigahertz chips of today. It isn’t just speed that has improved, think of the 16 address values of the 4-bit processors and compare it to the 264 addresses available now (18,446,744,073,709,551,616). It can be argued the F-14 Tomcat’s Central Air Data Computer did beat the 4004 by a year, but as it was not publicly available and indeed classified until the late 90’s it was never really in the competition. The same would go doe calculators and industrial control units which were purpose built and not capable of general processing.
"This fall it is exactly 40 years since the first microprocessor saw the day of light. Intel has of course provided us with a press kit that we will make good use of, but complement it with additional information."
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