Lexikon's History of Computing

Intel Microprocessors

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Brief descriptions of some of the early popular Intel microprocessors used in microcomputer systems.

Intel 4004* Microprocessor Chip

In 1969, Intel Corporation began work on a project to develop a set of chips for a series of high-performance programmable calculators for Busicom, a Japanese company. Marcian E. "Ted" Hoff, who had joined Intel in 1968, is assigned to the project. Ted Hoff, along with Federico Faggin, Stan Mazor and others developed a design that included four chips.

The four chip combination included a central processing unit chip (CPU), a read-only memory chip (ROM), and a random access memory chip (RAM), and a shift-register chip for input and output (IO). This design was the first microprocessor chip, which Intel named the 4004.

The Intel 4004 was one-eighth of an inch wide by one-sixteenth of an inch long and contained 2300 metal-oxide semiconductor transistors (MOS). Its computing power was equal to the giant 18,000 vacuum tube ENIAC built in 1946.

The Intel 4004 could execute 60,000 operations per second. Masatoshi Shima, of Busicom, designed the logic for the chip. Shima later joined Intel. Intel sold Busicom the processor design for $60,000, but later bought back the design rights when Stan Mazor and Ted Hoff lobbied for the many other potential uses of the 4004 chip.

Intel 8008* Chip and the Intel 8080* Chip

The 8008 was an 8-bit microprocessor chip and was introduced in April 1972. Designers were Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin, Stan Mazor and Hal Feeney.

An even greater achievement was the 8080 chip, introduced in 1974. The 8080 had 10 times the performance of the 8008 chip and could execute 290,000 instructions per second. It had 64 bytes of addressable memory, and sold for $360 per chip. It quickly became an industry standard. Designers included Mazor, Faggin and Masatoshi Shima.

Intel 8748* Microcontroller

Intel Corporation introduced the 8748 microcontroller in 1976. The 8748 is essentially a computer on a chip, containing its own central processor, EPROM, data memory, on-chip peripherals and input/output functions.

The 8748 "microcontroller" is designed to control events in real-time, while a "microprocessor" is designed to manipulate large amounts of data. The 8748 project team included Hank Blume, Gene Hill, Mark Holler, Mike Melloch, Dave Stamm, Dave Budde, Howard Raphael and Bob Wickersheim. The 8748 became the most widely accepted 8-bit microcontroller architecture in the world.

Intel 8086* Microprocessor

The 8086, announced by Intel Corporation in 1978, had 10 times the performance of the 8080 chip announced in 1974.

The 8086 established a new 16-bit software architecture. The project team included Bill Pohlman, Bob Koehler, John Bayliss, Jim Mckevitt, Chuck Wildman, Steve Morse and others. Motorola introduced the 68000 chip a year later, which directly competed with the 8086. By 1984, however, the 8086 chip was outselling the 68000 by approximately 9 to 1. The 8088 chip was released in 1981.

Intel 80286* Microprocessor

In 1982, Intel Corporation released the 80286 microprocessor chip. At the time of its introduction, the 80286 microprocessor has three times the performance of any other 16-bit chip on the market. The 80286 offered on-chip memory management, making it suitable for multitasking operations. Intel's project leader for the 286 is Gene Hill. Intel also released the 80186 chip, which was an improvement over earlier Intel chips. The 80186 design team was lead by Dave Stamm.

Intel 80386* Microprocessor chip

The Intel 80386 is a 32-bit microprocessor containing over 275,000 transistors on a single chip. The 80386 (commonly known as the "386 chip") could handle four million operations per second and handle memory up to four gigabytes (4,294,967,296). The 386 was also compatible with Intel's earlier processor line for the IBM PC and compatibles and could run software designed for those processors as well. The 386 chip brought desktop personal computing power to a new level. John Crawford was the architecture manager for the Intel 386 and the Intel 486 microprocessors, and co-manager of Pentium microprocessor development.

Intel 80486* Microprocessor chip

In 1989, Intel Corporation announced the 80486 chip, a highly integrated 32-bit microprocessor combining 80386 compatibility, RISC-style CPU, 80387 math co-processor compatibility, 8-Kilobyte on-chip cache and built- in multiprocessing support. The 80486 has a reported capability of holding 1.16 million transistors and is about four times faster than the 80386 processor. Initial uses of the 80486 chip will be for LAN servers and high- end workstations.

John Crawford was the architecture manager for the Intel 386 and the Intel 486 microprocessors, and co-manager of the Pentium microprocessor development. The most common varieties of the 80486 chip are the 486SX (25Mhz), 486DX (33Mhz), and the 486DX2 (66Mhz).

Intel PentiumMicroprocessor

In 1993, Intel announced the Pentium chip. The word "Pentium" comes from the Greek root word "pentas" meaning "five." The Pentium is the 80586 chip.

The Pentium is a 32-bit chip with superscalar design, and is estimated to be two times faster than the 486DX2 (66MHz) chip. The Pentium uses dual pipelines to allow it to process two separate instructions in a single cycle. The Pentium has a 64 bit bus interface, an eight bit code cache, an eight bit data cache, and branch prediction memory bank. Don Alpert was the architecture manager of the Pentium, John Crawford was co-manager. The Pentium is a CISC-based (complex instruction set computer) chip containing 3.3 million transistors.

In November 1995, Intel released new and faster Pentium Pro microprocessor, with speeds of over 150 MHz to 200 MHz

By 1996, 200 Mhz microcomputer systems were available on the market.

By 1999, 700 Mhz and above became available.

In March 2000, Intel announced the 1GHz microprocessor.

See Microprocessor Table: Intel

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