You know how it is. You have an older computer, and you can’t run the latest software on it. Time to upgrade, right? Well, if you have been in this situation a very long time, [ryomuk] may have an answer for you. The emu8080on4004 project (Google Translate) offers a way to run 8080 code on a 4004 CPU. Finally!
The 4004 development board is a homebrew affair, and the emulator works well enough that an 8080 Tiny BASIC interpreter ran with very few changes to the source code. You can see it working in the video below. It would be cool to run CP/M, but we imagine that would be a little harder, especially resource-wise.
A few things are missing. For example, the DAA instruction doesn’t exist, and there are no provisions for interrupts. There’s only one I/O port, and using the IN instruction will block until you receive a serial port character. There is an option to implement the parity flag in the 8080 flags register, but its operation is untested.
Still, pretty impressive for a 4-bit CPU running at 740 kHz with very little memory. If you want to see more about the development board itself, check out the second video below. Want to know more about the chip that launched a family of processors that is still around? Read its biography. You can also read about the designer who put his signature on the die.
Continue reading “The 4004 Upgrade You’ve Been Waiting For”
These days we are blessed with multicore 64-bit monster CPUs that can calculate an entire moon mission’s worth of instructions in the blink of an eye. Once upon a time, though, the state of the art was much less capable; Intel’s first microprocessor, the 4004, was built on a humble 4-bit architecture with limited instructions. [Mark] decided calculating pi on this platform would be a good challenge.
It’s not the easiest thing to do; a 4-bit processor can’t easily store long numbers, and the 4004 doesn’t have any native floating point capability either. AND and XOR aren’t available, either, and there’s only 10,240 bits of RAM to play with. These limitations guided [Mark’s] choice of algorithm for calculating the only truly round number. Continue reading “Calculating Pi On The 4004 CPU, Intel’s First Microprocessor”
If you maintain an interest in vintage computers, you may well know something of the early history of the microprocessor, how Intel’s 4-bit 4004, intended for a desktop calculator, was the first to be developed, and the follow-up 8008 was the first 8-bit device. We tend to like simple stories when it comes to history, and inventions like this are always conveniently packaged for posterity as one-off events.
In fact the story of the development of the first microprocessors is a much more convoluted one than it might appear, with several different companies concurrently at the forefront of developments. A fascinating recent IEEE Spectrum piece from [Ken Shirriff] investigates this period in microprocessor design, and presents the surprising conclusion that Texas Instruments may deserve the crown of having created the first 8-bit device, dislodging the 8008 from its pedestal. Continue reading “The Surprising Story Of The First Microprocessors”
Developing for extremely old computers is a chore; not only are you limited by assembly or pure machine language, there’s also the issue of burning ROMs to actually run your programs. [Frank Buss] came up with a neat solution to developing for the venerable 4004 CPU – build a ROM emulator using a modern microcontroller.
The build started off with a ZIF socket for the 4004 CPU and a 256 byte 4001 ROM chip emulated on a PIC micro. The CPU looked a little lonely sitting in the ZIF socket all by its lonesome, so [Frank] updated his board to allow a 4002 RAM chip to be plugged in as well.
Because [Frank] chose a 4004 for his entry for this season’s retrochallenge competition, we need to point we’re offering a prize for loading our retro site with this CPU. Yes, it’s most likely impossible but nothing worth doing is easy.
You can check out a video [Frank]’s ROM emulator after the break.
Continue reading “4004 ROM Emulator Allows Fast Development On Slow Computers”
The silicon wizards at Flylogic have certainly posted an interesting chip this time around. The Intel 4004 was the first widely used microprocessor. The logic gates are much larger than you’d find in modern chips. The unique feature is that each gate is designed to make the most efficient use of the silicon instead of the standardized shapes you find now. They’ve uploaded a full image of the chip.
For an introduction to silicon hacking, we reccomend [bunnie]’s talk from Toorcon and [Karsten]’s talk from 24C3. You can find many more posts on the topic in our silicon tag.