The Chip Hall of Fame
July 14, 2017 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to the IEEE's Chip Hall of Fame. With such estimable entries as the KAF-1300 Image Sensor, the world's first commercial CCD image sensor, TI's famous TMC0281 Speech Synthesizer or the heart of nearly ever 80's 8-bit computer, the MOS Technology 6502. The building blocks of this modern electronic world.
posted by GuyZero (25 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I was brought up on the 6502. Technically my first was the Z80, but the 6502 was the one I fell in love with. The first big program I wrote in basic was a assembler for 6502 so I wouldn't have to hand assemble anymore.

Check out this BIG 6502 by EMSL. I almost want one.

Great post for us types sentimental over almost nothing, but a great chip will get us every time.
posted by Bovine Love at 2:54 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]

Cool site. Perhaps missing the 7400N as a placeholder for the entire family of 7400 series TTL logic chips. And the Signetics 555 timer.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:01 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]

They have the 555!
posted by GuyZero at 3:06 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]

Somewhat fascinated by the Sh-Boom processor which I had indeed not heard of; Google doesn't help much.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 3:18 PM on July 14

Sh-Boom is maybe US5809336
posted by GuyZero at 3:22 PM on July 14

And some Sh-Boom info here:

In 1985 he designed the Sh-boom processor with Russell H. Fish III. This was a 32-bit stack processor, though with 16 general purpose registers, that was again designed with Forth in mind. It was capable of running much faster then the rest of the system so Moore designed a way to run the processor faster then the rest of the board, and still keep things in sync, innovative at them time, and now standard practice. The Sh-Boom was not a particularly wide success and was later licensed by Patriot Scientific through a company called Nanotronics, which Fish had transferred his rights to the Sh-Boom to in 1991. Patriot rebranded and reworked the Sh-Boom as the PSC1000 and targeted it to the Java market. Java byte code could be translated to run in similar fashion as Forth on the PSC1000 and at 100MHz, it was quick. In the early 2000’s Patriot again rebranded the ShBoom and called the design IGNITE. Patriot no longer makes or sells processors, concentrating only on Intellectual Property (Patent licensing).
posted by GuyZero at 3:24 PM on July 14

They have the 555!

Ah! Missed it.

I made a lovely little breadboarded circuit that used the 555 and and two 7493 counters (I think) to illuminate 8 LEDs that counted to 255 in binary. Good times.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 3:28 PM on July 14

You can crow about 6502s and Z-80s, but it's the completely mundane NE555s and uA741s are the things that built the electronics world.

And the ICL8038 is a lot of fun to play with.
posted by kjs3 at 4:29 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]

A guy named Peddle sold the 6502 at its first trade show, and the chip's co-creator was named Mensch. Sometimes life is too good to come out of a David Foster Wallace story.
posted by ardgedee at 4:37 PM on July 14

I've spent quality time with this 741 but the charms of the 555 were list on me. But now I'd just use a tiny85 instead of a 555. The 6502 was hugely pivotal in the emergence of microprocessors
posted by Bovine Love at 4:58 PM on July 14

6502 was the first instruction set that I learned, using a basic program to 'poke' the machine codes and then execute them on my C64

I was sad to find out that so many of the younger engineers I work with weren't required to take an assembly language class to get a CS degree. It's not like you need to know that stuff to do most coding jobs these days unless you go into embedded programming but it's cool to understand how your JavaScript ultimately gets executed.
posted by octothorpe at 6:00 PM on July 14

That Sh-boom sounds an awful lot like Transmeta.
posted by k5.user at 6:05 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]

I guess the 6809 didn't make the cut on account of the 68k already being a Motorola nominee, but it's a shame nonetheless, considering that its ISA is maybe the most elegant of its generation.
posted by invitapriore at 7:03 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]

Hooray for the 68000!
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:10 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]

Invalid! Missing the Cosmac 1802!
posted by cosmac at 7:20 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]

Awesome selection, but sadly missing die shots. Get decapping, IEEE!

come to think of it i know someone who does the photo work for ieee spectrum, i should ask them about that
posted by phooky at 7:39 PM on July 14

While plugging in 1/4 of a million dollar juniper router parts this week the person I was working with was chatting about how 5V VLSI was the pinnacle, emitter coupled logic was for speed, and CMOS was just low-power. (to make all the connections in the Juniper I had to cut loose a strip of plastic, shove it in between the optical interface and the daughter card so the metal connector would slide past then pull the plastic out)

Then I spotted the ROCK64 from the pine64 people. 4 core, 4 gig of dram, 4k video, $44. Think about this System On a Chip when you look at the stuff on the chip hall of fame.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:11 PM on July 14

Of course the 6502 was the heart of nearly every home computer only if you consider "nearly every" to only include the Commodore machines (with the C64 actually using the 6510 to get those sweet extra I/O lines) and the Apple II. In the US this probably was true, but the truth is though that the Z80 was the processor on 8-bit micros. Most notably it was used in ZX Spectrums, Amstrads and the MSX line of machines as well as a huge amount of also-rans that nobody remembers anymore. Sharp MZ-700? You bet. VTech Laser 128? Hell yeah. Even Commodore stuck a Z80 on the C128 just so they could say it can run CP/M.

This is not to say that the 6502 doesn't deserve recognition. It was the first processor a huge amount of people cut their assembler teeth on, me included. I'm especially greatful that it forced young programmers to learn how to cobble together 16-bit arithmetic out of 8-bit registers pretty quickly since it didn't have the luxury of 16-bit data/address registers like the Z80 did.
posted by Soi-hah at 12:15 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]

"Of course the 6502 was the heart of nearly every home computer only if you consider "nearly every" to only include the Commodore machines (with the C64 actually using the 6510 to get those sweet extra I/O lines) and the Apple II."
And the Acorn Atom, BBC Micro, the Atari 400/800 & 600XL/800XL/1200XL, Oric 1 & Atmos, etc, etc. Not to mention most of everything on the east side of the Iron Curtain…
posted by Pinback at 3:21 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]

No GPUs?

Also the AMD Sledgehammer (Opteron / Athlon 64), the first 64-bit x86 processor, totally deserves a place in there.
posted by floatboth at 6:51 AM on July 15

You can crow about 6502s and Z-80s, but it's the completely mundane NE555s and uA741s are the things that built the electronics world.

For some reason I've ended up working on a bunch of low power all-analog projects recently and to solve some sneaky problems I've had to dive into articles from the 60s and 70s. One of them (from 1967) was followed by an Analog Devices ad with the copy:

"You can stock a bunch of Model 111 [operational] amplifiers in a corner of a desk drawer, just like you keep assorted transistors for breadboarding purposes... At $13 [!!!], Model 111 costs less than an hour of your design time. But it gives you a complete circuit ready to play."

Look, I've worked with this stuff for a long time, I talk with my students about the evolution of electronics integration from vacuum tubes to microcontrollers, I hand out Forrest Mims notebooks as prizes, and STILL I don't think I properly appreciated how exponentially revolutionary early integrated circuits were until I read this ad. That you'd reach a point in prototyping and think "Oh, I need an op-amp, guess I'll build one from discrete transistors" -- holy crap, that's nuts. I literally cannot imagine how slow things would move in my life if I was constantly stopping to do that.

So yeah, 6502, etc - they're amazing and foundational. But I definitely headed straight for the 555 and 741 to make sure grandma and grandpa got their due.
posted by range at 6:57 AM on July 15 [2 favorites]

The MOS 6502 was a nice chip, with good architecture and performance. But for soul, or nostalgia, it can't beat the MOS 6518.
posted by foobaz at 3:21 PM on July 15

a) the Z80 is on the list people, sheesh. No one is slighting your favourites.
b) The 6502 was also in the NES and as the Commodore 64 remains the best selling single computer of all time I think it certainly gave the Z80 a run for its money.
posted by GuyZero at 6:22 PM on July 15

Also as it says right on the top of the page:

New inductees will be added every year. If you think you know of a chip that can stand alongside these titans, tell us about it and we’ll consider it for the next class.
posted by GuyZero at 6:26 PM on July 15

the charms of the 555 were list on me.

I assume you mean 'lost'. How so?

But now I'd just use a tiny85 instead of a 555.

A tiny85 is, what, at least 10 times as expensive as an ne555? 100 times more complex? Has to be programmed? Sometimes that's justified; sometimes simple, reliable and cheap is a virtue.
posted by kjs3 at 6:20 PM on July 16

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