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Introduction date
Introduction speed
Maximum speed
Transistor count
Manufacturing process

: Intel
: Intel
: April 1974
: 2 Mhz
: 3 Mhz
: -
: 6000
: 6 micron

Intel started the x86 business a long time ago in 1971 with the 4004. This processor was designed for Nippon Calculating Machine Corporation. It ran at a speed of 0.108 KHz and had a 4 bit design. This processor was slow even in that time, but it was cheap to manufacture. At a point Intel bought the rights for design of the 4004 back from NCMC. They could now sell the 4004 to other parties and develop the design further.

The next processor Intel designed was the 8008. This micro processor ran at 0.5 MHz and was, like the 4004, designed esspecially for a customer. The 8008 was to be used in a server from Computer Terminals Corporation, but CTC decided that the chip was to slow. Intel then marketed chip themselves and continued to enhance the design.

But the processor that really started the Personal Computer business was the 8080! Four people designed the chip in about 1 year. Ted Hoff and Stan Mazor were responsible for the instruction set, and Federico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima were responsible for the circuit layout. The processor had 78 instructions and the 8080A ran at 2 MHz. At that speed this cpu was about 10 times faster than the 8008. Unlike the 4004 and the 8008, Intel did not design the chip for a special customer. Strengthend by the succes of the 8008 they believed they could market the chip themselves, and they succeeded.

Soon after the introduction, the 8080 became a huge succes and was implemented in a wide variety of products. A big contribution to the popularity of the processor was made by the Altair8800 who used the 8080 micro processor. The Altair8800 is generally seen as the first PC. Because of the overnight succes of the Altair other manufacturers wanted a piece of the succes and also based their product on the Intel made 8080. Products like the IMSAI 8080 but also Terminals and according to the Intel website even traffic light controllers used the 8080 micro processor!

The 8080 was essentially an enhanced version of the 8008. It had more signal inputs and outputs and was therefor faster. It was however backwards compatible with the 8008, so software written for the 8008 could be run on an 8080. The chip had an 8 bit design and was packaged in a 40 pin CERDIP or DIP module.

This processor was in demand and cheap to manufacture, many other IC manufacturers copied the design and manufactured 8080's. Mitsubishi, Siemens, National Semiconductors, AMD and Texas Instruments all produced 8080's. Many without the consent of Intel, only Siemens, and later AMD, were authorised by Intel to do so. 8080's manufactured by AMD were named AM9080, National Semiconductors named them INS8080 and Mitsubishi M5L8080.

Intel enhanced the 8080 further and marketed the enhanced version of the chip as the 8085. This micro processor had 6.500 transistors and was manufactured at 3 microns. The design changes allowed for a higher speed, it ran at up to 6 MHz. The 8085 was software compatible with the 8080 but not pin compatibel.

Processor type Speed
8080 2MHZ
8080A-1 3.125MHZ
8080A-2 2.67MHZ

All 8080 pictures


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