↑ Return to Microprocessor Chips

By Introduction Date

Almost all chip collectors have some microprocessors in their collections. I suspect that most collectors are primarily interested in microprocessors. Certainly beginning collectors start there. Microprocessors are the rock stars of chips. They are the brains of the computer.

Some say they are the easiest chips to explain their function, maybe so. I think the advertising of Intel and AMD have had the greatest impact on the awareness of these kind of chips. Explaining the function of a memory chip is easy. Describing the data paths/widths, addressing modes, address decoding, direct memory access, dynamic address translations, etc. to use them is not.

These chips can do so much, are so complex, and differ architecturally, I find them difficult to explain, once you get past the brain analogy, especially when comparing one to another. I admit I live in the weeds, I know more details than any normal person would want to know, hear. You, however, do not need to be so maniacal to have fun collecting chip (you might check out my page on the types of collectors).

The Early Years 1971-1974

The first microprocessors were very different from each other. Although constrained by similar chip making technologies and transistor counts. The architectures of the first microprocessors were very different. Since these first devices were relatively simple, due to limitations in transistors available on the chip, they were more built for specific applications. The first single chip …

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The Explosion 1975-1976

1975 and 1976 saw the introduction of many new microprocessor designs. Updated 4-bit microprocessors were still being introduced. 8-bit devices were common, and 16-bit designs were in work. Various designs used registered differently, or not at all. Bit-slice microprocessors were introduced. These were very exciting times.   Year Qtr AMD DG EA Essex Fairchild GI …

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Pre-IBM PC 1977-1979

By the late seventies, it was becoming clear to all chip makers that microprocessors were a big deal. At first, even Intel didn’t take microprocessors seriously, they were a memory maker. They sold millions of memory chips. How many microprocessors could their be a market for? Well, the answer was a lot. Electronics designers were …

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Early IBM PC Era 1980-1982

With the introduction of the IBM PC, a phrase came into being that began to chill innovation in new microprocessor designs, “IBM compatible”. IBM was such a dominant force in the computer industry that its entry into the PC space caused many awesome microprocessors, buses, and device standards to shoved into the back corner, almost …

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IBM PC Era 1983-1989

While IBM and Intel, and Microsoft dominated the PC industry, the beginnings of discontent were starting. “RISC” microprocessors were being introduced. Viewed a niche market, RISC began to grow in popularity.   Year Qtr AMD ARM (Acorn) DEC/Alpha Intel IBM PowerPC MIPS   1983 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q   1984 1Q MIPS I* (R2000) 2Q …

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RISC Rising 1990-1999

The last decade of the century saw tremendous change. The Internet moved from government and academic shadows into public awareness. Internet startups were everywhere. RISC was becoming the platform of choice for the Internet generation. Open standards began moving the Microsoft and IBM defacto standards out of the way. IBM looked like it was on …

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The Battle for Share 2000-2006

The start of the new century saw a significant shift in computing industry in general. The previous century had been dominated by IBM mainframes, and then the IBM PC. By 2000, Unix and its variants were establishing themselves in a big way on RISC based machines. The Internet dom com bubble was bursting, but mainstream …

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Modern Era 2007 and On…

Since my site is dedicated to antique chips, I’ll wait until 2017 to cover the 2007-2011 period. In the mean time, Wikipedia is a great resource for researching modern chips.   Prev: The Battle for Market Share 2000-2006

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