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Intel C4004 microprocessor
|Produced||From late 1971 to 1981|
|Max. CPU clock rate||108 kHz to 740 kHz|
|Min. feature size||10μm|
|Instruction set||4-bit BCD oriented|
|Application||Busicom calculator, arithmetic manipulation|
|Successor||Intel 4040, Intel 8008|
The Intel 4004 was a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU) released by Intel Corporation in 1971. It was the first complete CPU on one chip, and also the first commercially available microprocessor. Such a feat of integration was made possible by the use of then-new silicon gate technology allowing a higher number of transistors and a faster speed than was possible before.
The first public mention of 4004 was an advertisement in the November 15, 1971 edition of Electronic News, though unconfirmed reports put the date of first delivery as early as March 1971. Packaged in a 16-pin ceramic dual in-line package, the 4004 was the first commercially available computer processor designed and manufactured by chip maker Intel, which had previously made semiconductor memory chips. The chief designers of the chip were Federico Faggin and Ted Hoff of Intel, and Masatoshi Shima of Busicom (later of ZiLOG, founded by Faggin).
Federico Faggin, the sole chip designer among the engineers on the MCS-4 project, was the only one with experience in MOS random logic and circuit design. He also had the crucial knowledge of the new silicon gate process technology with self-aligned gates, which he had created at Fairchild in 1968. At Fairchild in 1968, Faggin also designed and manufactured the world's first commercial IC using SGT, the Fairchild 3708. As soon as he joined the Intel MOS Department he created a new random design methodology based on silicon gate, and contributed many technology and circuit design inventions that enabled a single chip microprocessor to become a reality for the first time. His methodology set the design style for all the early Intel microprocessors and later for the Zilog’s Z80. He also led the MCS-4 project and was responsible for its successful outcome (1970–1971). Ted Hoff, head of the Application Research Department, contributed only the architectural proposal for Busicom working with Stanley Mazor in 1969, then he moved on to other projects. When asked where he got the ideas for the architecture of the first microprocessor, Hoff related that Plessey, "a British tractor company", had donated a minicomputer to Stanford, and he had "played with it some" while he was there. Shima designed the Busicom calculator firmware and assisted Faggin during the first six months of the implementation. The manager of Intel's MOS Design Department was Leslie L. Vadász. At the time of the MCS-4 development, Vadasz's attention was completely focused on the mainstream business of semiconductor memories and he left the leadership and the management of the MCS-4 project to Faggin.
The Japanese company Busicom had designed their own special purpose LSI chipset for use in their Busicom 141-PF calculator with integrated printer and commissioned Intel to develop it for production. However, Intel determined it was too complex and would use non-standard packaging and so it was proposed that a new design produced with standard 16-pin DIP packaging and reduced instruction set be developed. This resulted in the 4004, which was part of a family of chips, including ROM, DRAM and serial to parallel shift register chips. The 4004 was built of approximately 2,300 transistors and was followed the next year by the first ever 8-bit microprocessor, the 3,500 transistor 8008 (and the 4040, a revised 4004). It was not until the development of the 40-pin 8080 in 1974 that the address and data buses would be separated, giving faster and simpler access to memory.
The 4004 employed a 10 µm process silicon-gate enhancement load pMOS technology and could execute approximately 92,000 instructions per second; a single instruction cycle was 10.8 microseconds. The original clock speed design goal was 1 MHz, the same as the IBM 1620 Model I.
The Intel 4004 was designed by physically cutting sheets of Rubylith into thin strips to lay out the circuits to be printed, a process made obsolete by current computer graphic design capabilities.
When Federico Faggin designed the MCS-4 family, he also christened the chips with distinct names: 4001, 4002, 4003, and 4004, breaking away from the numbering scheme used by Intel at that time which would have required the names 1302, 1105, 1507, and 1202 respectively. Had he followed Intel's number sequence, the idea that the chips were part of a family of components intended to work seamlessly together would have been lost. Intel's early numbering scheme for integrated circuits used a four-digit number for each component. The first digit indicated the process technology used, the second digit indicated the generic function, and the last two digits of the number were used to indicate the sequential number in the development of the component. The 8008 microprocessor was originally called 1201, per Intel’s naming conventions. Before its market introduction, the 1201 was renamed 8008, following the new naming convention started with the 4001/2/3/4.
The 4004 was part of the MCS-4 family of LSI chips that could be used to build digital computers with varying amounts of memory. The other members of the MCS-4 family were memories and input/output circuits, which are necessary to implement a complete computer. The 4001 was a ROM (read-only memory) with four lines of output; the 4002 was a RAM (random access memory) with four lines of input/output. The 4003 was a static shift register to be used for expanding the I/O lines, for example, for keyboard scanning or for controlling a printer.
The 4004 included control functions for memory and I/O, which are not normally handled by the microprocessor.
Numerous versions of the Intel MCS-4 line of processors were produced. The earliest versions were ceramic and used a Zebra pattern of white and gray on the back of the chips. The next generation of the chip was plain white ceramic. Current versions of MCS-4 family are produced with plastic. Collectors of these chips have peaked in recent years due to the significance that is associated with this achievement.
The first commercial product to use a microprocessor was the Busicom calculator 141-PF.
Here are my opinions from [the] study [I conducted for the patent case]. The first microprocessor in a commercial product was the Four Phase Systems AL1. The first commercially available (sold as a component) microprocessor was the 4004 from Intel.— 
A popular myth has it that Pioneer 10, the first spacecraft to leave the solar system, used an Intel 4004 microprocessor. According to Dr. Larry Lasher of Ames Research Center, the Pioneer team did evaluate the 4004, but decided it was too new at the time to include in any of the Pioneer projects. The myth was repeated by Federico Faggin himself in a lecture for the Computer History Museum in 2006.
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