Feb 24 2017

The Computer Chronicles – Microchip Technology (1983)

In this very early episode of the Computer Chronicles, we take a look at computer chip technology in 1983. 34 years ago 8 and 16 bit CPU’s were dominant, RAM was measured still in the Kilobytes, sometimes megabytes for larger systems, and CMOS was an “emerging technology.” Thousands of transistors on a chip the size of your house key (today it’s billions upon billions), blazing away at speeds measured in millions of cycles per second (today the processor in your phone does a few billion cycles per second, with over a thousand fold data efficiency per cycle over those processors of old).

Still, at the core is the same logic, the same basic design concepts, and the same core materials used to physically form the integrated circuit we know as the microchip. In this episode you even get a nice tour of a microprocessor which, when compared to a modern CPU, is so different yet still so very similar.

Fair warning, this is another old, somewhat dry and boring episode, but for raw informational value of the state of computing at the time, this episode does its job well. Concerns such as heat buildup, clock speed and miniaturization techniques and more, all seen as limitations back in 1983, were long ago surpassed as if they were nothing.

A trip back in time this episode, if any, is. Enjoy.

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