Intel 4004 turned 50 years old. The first processor for everyone

Maybe you are a fan of AMD, what Apple is doing with the arm architecture, etc. But one thing is certain, Intel has completely changed the world of computing and with it our future. What are we talking about From the Intel 4004, the first processor designed for the consumer. The first CPU designed for everything and everyone.

Intel 4004 turned 50 years old. The first processor for everyone

Intel 4004

For example, the Intel 4004 hit the market 50 years ago, on November 15, 1971. But the story of this tiny processor began a few years earlier when Nippon Calculating Machine Corp ordered a series of new integrated circuits to breathe life into a new computer called Busicom 141-PF.

This of course resulted in 4 chips, including the innovative CPU 4004. To get a feel for the development, which at the time offered the same performance as the new 4004, I needed a computer the size of a living room.

All in all, the Intel 4004 was a 4-bit chip based on a 10 ┬Ám process. At that time that meant 2300 transistors and a maximum frequency of 740 KHz. Compared to what we find on the market today, we are talking about 2,300 transistors versus “billions” in the most modern processors.

While it may seem so out of date today, technological advances were so significant back then that it took Intel engineers about five years to understand how to create new products that could realize that potential.

This was just the beginning!

After the Intel 4004, the industry quickly jumped on the microprocessor bandwagon, and there we are when comparing processors like the Intel Core i9-12900K or the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X with billions of transistors and computing power, which we take for granted today, but back then it was just a dream.

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