Reference STATE OF THE ART Stan Augarten

ISBN 0-89919-195-9

Photo of
The First General-Purpose Microprocessor
The 8-bit 8080


A turning point in the fast-moving history of the IC, the 8080 was the first real general-purpose microprocessor, and a great leap beyond the first and second microprocessors, the Intel 4004 (p. 30) and 8008 (p. 12). (Electrons move three times as fast as holes through silicon.) The switch to electron-doped transistors was an important turning point in IC technology - one that greatly enhanced the performance of almost all ICs.

  The 8080, which was designed by Masatoshi Shima, Ted Hoff, Stan Mazor, and Frederico Faggin, quickly became an industry standard, widely emulated - and sometimes plagiarized - by other firms. More than half a dozen companies make the 8080 under "second-source" licenses from Intel. (Second-sourcing is a widespread practice in the semiconductor industry, freeing IC buyers from monopolistic supply situations and bolstering a chip's overall position in the market.) It was innovative ICs like the one on the right that helped propel Intel from a slow start in 1969 to an industrial giant in 1981, with 20,000 employees and revenues of $788 million.

One of the most innovative and widely used of all microprocessors, the 8080 can add two 8-bit numbers in as little as 2.5 millionths of a second. Like the 4004 and 8008, this IC multiplies by repeated addition. The grids at the top are occupied by registers; most of the rest of the chip by logic circuits. Actual size: 0.165 x 0.191 inches.\ Photo of


©Copyright Stan Augarten
This book is provided for general reference. The National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution make no claims as to the accuracy or completeness of this work.

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