Write to Byte
Editorial Calendar

Previous Editions

BYTE Forums
Java Resources
History Of Byte

BYTE Humor
Ian Shoales' Page

Print Archives

About Us
Byte Editorial Staff
Advertise with Byte
Privacy Policy

Free E-mail Newsletter from Update
Text only

Visit the home page Browse the four-year online archive Download platform-neutral CPU/FPU benchmarks Find information for advertisers, authors, vendors, subscribers Request free information on products written about or advertised in BYTE Submit a press release, or scan recent announcements Talk with BYTE's staff and readers about products and technologies

ArticlesProgress and Pitfalls

December 1996 / Cover Story / Birth of a Chip / Progress and Pitfalls

Progress and Pitfalls

1971 Intel 4004 First "computer-on-a-chip" Arithmetic , i.e. Busicom calculator Limited resources
1972 Intel 8008 8-bit bus width; first to implement interrupts Dumb terminals, calculators, bottling machines Interrupts worked poorly
1972 Texas Instruments
TMS 1000
On-chip memory Low-cost embedded applications Programmers couldn't add external memory
1974 Intel 8080 10x performance of the 8008; separate address and data buses Altair computer (first PC); traffic light controller Difficult to program
1978 Intel 8086 16-bit bus width Desktop and portable computing Convoluted addressing scheme
1979 Motorola 68000 16-/32-bit chip powerful enough to handle advanced graphics Apple Lisa ('83), Unix workstations, home videogame machines Integer unit and ex-ternal data bus only 16 bits wide
1979 Intel 8088 16-bit internal architecture with 8-bit external bus IBM PCs and clones Same convoluted addressing scheme as the 8086
1982 Intel 80286 Added memory protection; 16 MB of addressable memory; 1GB of virtual memory Standard PC CPU Couldn't do page faults, lacked virtual memory
1985 Intel 386 DX 64 terabytes of virtual memory; 32-bit bus; 4-GB addressable memory Desktop PCs Didn't yet have an on-chip FPU or on-chip cache
1986 MIPS Computer Systems
First motherboard-level RISC chip for workstations Unix workstations; later, midrange computers Difficult to program; incompatible with PC software
1987 Sun Microsystems
An open RISC architecture Laptops to workstations to supercomputers Required multiple chips due to pair of CMOS gate arrays and external FPUs
1989 Intel i486 First x86 with on-chip cache, FPU, and pipelined instructions Desktop PCs, CAD Lacked advanced techniques of some RISC chips
1989 Intel i960CA First superscalar chip Primarily embedded applications Fairly expensive
1992 Digital Equipment Corp.
Alpha 21064
200-MHz clock Workstations and servers Ran hot; expensive
1993 IBM and Motorola
PowerPC 601
First out-of-order execution microprocessor Apple Macintoshes, desktop PCs, servers Programs not usually written for out-of-order execution
1993 Intel Pentium Dynamic branch prediction; 64-bit external data bus and 32-bit address bus Desktop PCs and network servers Ran very hot
1995 Digital Equipment Corp.
Alpha 21164
First to execute four instructions per cycle and the first with three on-chip caches High-end desktop PCs, workstations, and servers Runs hot; expensive
1995 Intel Pentium Pro Has CPU chip and cache chip in same package High-end desktop computers, graphics workstations, servers Expensive

Up to the Cover Story section contentsGo to previous article: Progress and PitfallsGo to next article: Microprocessing's EdselSearchSend a comment on this articleSubscribe to BYTE or BYTE on CD-ROM  

Click Here!

  Save $10 on DDJ CD_ROMs!