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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 21st Nov 2021, 10:44 pm   #1
ortek_service
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Default Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

In case this had passed anyone by
- There didn't seem to be any mainstream media coverage, despite it being infamous as the World's first Commercial "Single-Chip" Microprocessor.

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us...html#gs.h6cea7

With rather more background info here: https://www.4004.com/ + https://www.howtogeek.com/766783/the...he-intel-4004/


Although it was quite-expensive (especially for it's original use in calculators etc. with aim to reduce development time of complex logic-gate circuitry, and where even today mass-produced ASIC's are still used for lower-cost in calculators). It seems it wasn't too long before they brought-out their 8008 first 8-bit processor - Although even-more expensive, and never seemed to get used too much. So it was some years later before Intel's '3rd' iteration more-powerful and even higher-cost 8080 really started to get more widespread use with the Altair Kit Computer and early CP/M Computers.

But later-on, much-cheaper ones like the MOS Tech 6502 & Zilog's Z80 ex-Intel 8080 designers, and compatible with, really started a Home Computer revolution (particularly in the UK)
And Intel's real processor success probably started when IBM used the later Intel 8088 in their first PC in 1981 - And crucially a lot of much-cheaper plus also faster clones making these affordable for home-use, eventually becoming the Industry standard over most others.
(But maybe the Acorn-originated ARM has now become the World's most popular processor family)


If you happen to have an Intel 4004 IC (/ Investment asset?) around, then you can simulate the rest of a system by connecting it to an Arduino: https://www.hackster.io/news/retrosh...r-42f500442f35
But if you can't afford what these now fetch, then there's an online emulator here: http://e4004.szyc.org/ and a Java download: https://www.4004.com/
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 2:19 am   #2
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Seeing this reminded me of something, so I went searching in the attic again.

I bought this set of chips years ago, but never got round to doing anything with them. I'm not even sure if they are genuine, they look too new !.

Can anyone correctly date and identify them ?. The second image is the back of the 4004.

Cheers,

Buzby
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 2:50 am   #3
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Well it seems you have a complete (MCS-4) chipset there, inc. the 4004 CPU !
So it seems you have a 4001 Mask-ROM as well as a couple of 4002 (40 Byte!?) SRAM's (of differing access speeds? unless the -1 & -2 suffixes meant something different back then).
And the 4003 is a 10-bit parallel output shift register for scanning keyboards, displays, printers, etc., to complete the system.
- Mostly according to original advert (that can just about read a zoomed-in saved image) etc here:
https://www.howtogeek.com/766783/the...he-intel-4004/
But a lot more info, here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_4004

Searching for Intel P4201A finds this is also a clock generator. And I spotted one being sold online with similar-looking 'batch number' to ones on your IC's. It seems it is for later 4040 CPU / chipset, but might work with the 4004 if it also needs a special clock drive.
Some of your IC's do have sensible date codes on top / underneath (I think Intel carried on making the MCS-4 IC's set into the early 80's), and the others must be batch codes. I doubt they are fakes, if you've had them for a while before 4004's (especially white ceramic / gold legs ones) became very collectable.

I picked-up a later 4040 set myself for a few pounds, some years ago, initially thinking it was the 4004. But the 4040 may be equally as rare

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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 6:16 am   #4
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

I was working in the development section of a gaming machine manufacturer when the Intel rep brought samples of the 4004 and there was lots of excitement about the possibility of using microprocessors to control the machines. Prior technology was relays and cam timers.

I can’t quite believe it was 50 years ago!
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 8:48 am   #5
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

For the 4002 the -1 and -2 are two different address options, hardwired in the 4002.

The 4201 includes a single step circuit for the 4040, I don’t think the 4004 supported single step.

The 4004 was originally intended for use with the 4001 mask rom, but there were also a couple of chips to allow use with standard memory, i forget the part number of this pair of chips, but there was a later 4289 that combined these into a single 40 pin dip to interface to 1702 or 2101/5101 ram. The 4040 has a few additional instructions that support a modified harvard architecture via the 4289.

A few years ago I built up a 4040 system with 4289, using the single step feature of the 4201 and toggle switches to write to a battery backed 6264, kind of like a 4040 based scrumpi. I’ll try and dig out the schematic.
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 1:15 pm   #6
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

An original MCS-4 chipset is a treasure, I would find a jewellery case of the right size, lay them out nicely on something other than corrosive foam and and keep them forever. Or maybe present them to Bletchley
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 1:41 pm   #7
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

A treasure ?. I think I paid thirty quid for them. It was a long time ago, 2001 if I remember right.

Nice shiny ceramic 4004s seem to attract silly money. I don't think my late issue plastic versions are in the same league.

But they are still an intesting relic from the dawn of an era.

I'll keep them a little longer.

Cheers,

Buzby
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 6:50 pm   #8
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

I remember reading as a teenager a series of articles in Practical Electronics (I think) detailing a computer based on the 4004 or 4040, it was very complex considering what it did. It wasn't long after that the first 8 bit micros starting making an appearance, so I'm guessing the article came out in the later days of its life when perhaps the chips were available cheaply.
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 10:55 pm   #9
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Are you thinking of Champ? I had recently been looking at trying to get the chipset to build one as I remembered it back in the day...

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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 1:38 am   #10
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slothie View Post
I remember reading as a teenager a series of articles in Practical Electronics (I think) detailing a computer based on the 4004 or 4040, it was very complex considering what it did. It wasn't long after that the first 8 bit micros starting making an appearance, so I'm guessing the article came out in the later days of its life when perhaps the chips were available cheaply.
I don't think any of these CPU's were that cheap back then - $60 for the 4004, then $120? for the 8008 and $300 for the 8080 (so I was surprised that appeared in electronics magazine DIY computer projects, when you convert that into today's equivalent price). It wasn't until much later in the 80's, when the (Only $25) 6502 forced the 6800's price to < $100 (especially as they'd originally made the 6501 6800 pin-compatible version, but legal-battle forced its withdrawal) and no doubt the 8080 to then be slashed in price.
I expect that at the end of the 70's, before eventual discontinuance, the now plastic packaged 4004 etc. were sold for much less than 6502's (also originally in white-ceramic packages) / Z80's, and what even plastic-package ones now fetch.
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 2:26 am   #11
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

I always wondered why the Altair 8800 was so popular / why it wasn't much different than the original $360 price of the 8080, even if it seems they didn't really make any profit on these base unit kits - only on I/O cards.

But I've just discovered, from this: http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~sedwards...sta-altair.pdf
- That they managed to get cosmetic 'B-grade' 8080's, for around 1/4 of the price!

There's also a slightly-better resolution Intel 4004 Ad in that pdf, from 2018, which compares costs with modern-day price.
- Although still struggling to find a fully-readable non low-resolution copy of that advert, from Goggle image searching (Even Intel's webpage is rather low-res)
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 2:34 am   #12
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Attached very untidy schematic of my toggle switch programmed 4040.

Operation is similar to scrumpi, the processor generates the address and the toggle switches can write data to ram.

One of the challenges was the mix of voltages for the different technology.

Display was driven as multiplexed array of LEDs from the 4040 bus, there was quite a lot of ghosting due to very slow logic of the 4040 chip set, but I was able to adjust the timing to get it useable.

As the 4040 is 4 bit data, 8 bit code, and I used bytewide RAM instead of 5101/2101 type, so I used a bus hold circuit to allow updates of 4 bits of code without changing the other 4 bits.

4040 supports two 4K pages of code, intended to use two of 4289 memory interface, but instead I added extra logic to select the two pages of the 6264.
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 2:39 am   #13
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbucus View Post
Are you thinking of Champ? I had recently been looking at trying to get the chipset to build one as I remembered it back in the day...

Attachment 246400
Thanks for posting that - You can get the whole magazine pdf etc from: https://worldradiohistory.com/UK/Pra...cs-1977-09.pdf

Although if the 4040 is quite close to the 4000, then maybe the Arduino 4004 retro-shield is a rather lower-cost way of getting a 4040 running to start with if you've got one but not the rest of the vintage support / memory IC's etc.

It's surprising they were using the 4040 4bit CPU as late as Sep'1977, with quite a few 8-bit ones being around at reasonable cost by then - Although quite a few decided to use the SC/MP later than this, even when the 6800, 6502 & Z80 had been released and probably weren't much-different in price.

But maybe the UK Electronics magazines weren't as much at the leading-edge of microprocessors as many USA ones back then, with those in competition over publishing an 8008 Mk8 then the Altair 8800 ones using the 8080.
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 8:44 am   #14
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

I found that what I'd bought for 3 (knocked them down from 5) at Harwell Radio Rally back in 2013, was the MCS-40 Chipset (P4040 CPU + P4265 PIO + P4201 Clock Gen), and also a 2112 256 x 4bit SRAM
- Plus included the MCS-40 User's Manual (3rd Ed. Mar'1976) Intel DataBook

So I will have to see what I can do with these (I think I had to repair a broken leg (rotted?) with some soldered on Tinned Copper Wire on one IC, so it had probably lost some value due to that!

Without the proper special SRAM IC's, it looks like needing some address-counter registers to interface to conventional parallel address SRAM's. The same for the ROM addressing.
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 10:37 am   #15
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Yes, it was the Champ. Looking at the following (oct 77) edition it appears the 9 main ICs required were being sold for 49 (it required a dozen or so other TTL chips) which considering the same issue advertises the 8080 for 10 (which would require support chips though) or the SC/MP for 13 shows it wasn't a "cheap" option. I suspect that the time taken to develop the system and prepare the article for publication may have been long enough for technology to overtake them, considering the pace of change at the time
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Old 23rd Nov 2021, 4:02 pm   #16
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Default Re: Intel 4004 -50th Birthday (Was 15th Nov 2021)

Hi Owen, the starting point is probably to set up a nop test using the 4201 and 4040, I think that should be fairly easy.

Power supply is a little unusual, +5v and -10v. I used a 15v laptop supply with a 7905, -5v regulator to generate the 0v. Watch out in the specs for any power supply sequence requirements.

If I remember correctly the logic is inverted, high voltage for logic 0 and low voltage for logic 1. Also active pullup to 5v by pmos outputs and passive pull down to -10v. I don’t think the output levels are correct for 15v cmos off the +5/-10 supply.

If you are using the single step circuit of the 4201 the 4040 will still be cycling the bus, continuously reading the same program address.
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