Worlds First Microprocessor Turns 40 Today – The Intel 4004
Today we celebrate a special birthday and while it may go largely unnoticed, you wouldn’t be reading this very news article without it. Yes blame It for this website! Without it not much of anything that we take for granted today would be possible. It is of-course the Microprocessor. The first commercial microprocessor celebrates it’s 40th Birthday today. Can you believe it? Well I personally wasn’t around then, but still I’m told it was long ago. In those days people barely had electricity and they lived in constant fear of being eaten by dinosaurs. So the intel 4004 really helped them out.
The story started when Japan’s Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation asked intel to create some chips for a calculator. Apparently some super-smart people at intel thought they could reduced the chips needed if the could create better chips, a CPU. When they realised they had something rather amazing on their hands, they said they would provide NCNC with the chips cheaper if they were allowed to keep the
Some truer “fun” facts about the processor:
In 1971, the Intel 4004 processor held 2,300 transistors. In 2010, an Intel Core processor that includes a 32nm processing die with second-generation High-k metal gate silicon technology holds 560 million transistors.
The Intel 4004 microprocessor circuit line width was 10 microns, or 10,000 nanometers. Today Intel’s microprocessors have circuit features of 45 or 32 nanometers. By comparison, an average human hair is 100,000 nanometers wide.
More facts over at intel, plus a lovely diagram about the history of the microprocessor over at the inquirer.