Intel 4004 turns 50 | Gadgets News

Intel 4004 celebrates its 50th anniversary today, which considered the world’s first commercially available single-chip microprocessor (Wikipedia). He has an area of ​​12 mm2, 2.25 thousand transistors, clock frequency 740 kHz, 4-bit data bus, 10-µm technical process and performance from 60 thousand to 93 thousand instructions per second. By comparison, a 30-ton tube computer ENIAC (1946) performed 357 multiplications, or 5000 additions per second. The price of Intel 4004 in various sources is indicated from $ 60 to $ 200, which is now equivalent to $ 405 – $ 1350.

The Intel 4004 marks a milestone in the history of computing. Computers were originally mechanical – not counting Antikythera mechanism and some unknown devices, the very first among them were invented in 1623 by the German scientist Wilhelm Schickard counting hourswho know how to perform four arithmetic operations on six-digit numbers. Serial production of mechanical adding machines began only two centuries later, in 1820 (Thomas adding machine, based on the ideas of Leibniz). In the 1930s, electromechanical computers based on switches and relays appeared, in the 1940s – tube computers, and just a few years later – transistor computers. At first, transistors were field-effect and bipolar, but already in the early 1950s, semiconductor transistors appeared, which at the end of the decade engineers learned to combine into integrated circuits – that is, silicon wafers. In the 1960s, computing devices were assembled on several integrated circuits, until finally a Japanese company ordered twelve microcircuits from Intel (which then had about a hundred employees) for its calculator. Intel managed to keep within four microcircuits, one of which was our hero of the day, who served as a central processor. The descendants of 4004 were first its 8-bit version (8008), and then 8080 from 8086 (1978) – from which the era of x86 processors began.

Intel celebrates the 50th anniversary of its brainchild with six desktop processors of the latest Alder Lake family, the senior representative of which told Gadgets News yesterday. Here’s how the characteristics of processors have changed over half a century:

the change Core
date of release November 4, 2021 November 15, 1971
Price $590 $405 — $1350
Energy consumption x 251 up to 241 watts 1 watt
Crystal area x 18 215.25 mm2 (20.5 × 10.5 mm) 12 mm2 (4 × 3 mm)
Technical process x 1000 0.01 µm (10 nm) 10 µm
Number of transistors x 9.6 million 21.7 billion 2.25K
Bit depth x 16 Page 64 Page 4
Number of cores (threads) x 16 (24) 16 (24) 1 (1)
Clock frequency x 70 up to 5.2 GHz up to 740 kHz
Performance x 1.6-2.4 mln 145 thousand MIPS 1 60-93 thousand
operations per second

1 Millions of integer operations per second when decompressing files with the 7-Zip application. Direct comparison with the performance of 4004 is not entirely correct, but it gives a general idea of ​​the scale of progress.

The x86 architecture has dominated the server, desktop and laptop markets for the past couple of decades, but recently ARM has begun to squeeze it out. Apple’s proprietary laptops have demonstrated performance levels that are at least comparable to the best. in the same segment with Intel processors – but with much lower power consumption. So far, this does not pose a big threat to Intel – Apple products are a closed ecosystem with a relatively modest share of the PC and laptop market. At the same time, the current mobile chips Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, MTK and, more recently, Google, not only noticeably inferior to the A-family of Apple (from which the M-family actually traces its pedigree), but also do not have such a trump card as their own desktop operating system (not counting the niche Chrome OS). Therefore, there is still no reason to assume that in the coming years, a massive transition of Windows computers to ARM processors will begin. But by the next anniversary of Intel 4004, in ten years, the situation may change.

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Intel 4004 turns 50 | Gadgets News