Intel 4004 turns 50 – the world’s first commercial microprocessor

On November 15, 1971, what became the world’s first commercialized microprocessor was launched, the first stacking step towards today’s modern processors. The name was Intel 4004 and unlike today’s processors, it was not developed by hundreds or thousands of engineers, but is a work of mainly four people.

[Looking back at] 1970, it was clear that microprocessors would change the way that we design systems, switching from using hardware to software instead. But the speed with which microprocessors developed over time and were adopted by the industry was really surprising – Federico Faggin, tidigare Intel-ingenjör som tillsammans med Tedd Hoff och Stan Mazor designade Intel 4004

The first are the American electrical engineers Stanley “Stan” Mazor and Tedd Hoff, who are considered to be the creators of the first microarchitecture. However, they were not directly involved in the processor, but it was Federico Faggin, who at his previous client Fairchild Semiconductor was the first to manufacture silicon-based MOS transistors.

The fourth was Masatoshi Shima, who worked for Intel’s partner Busicom and helped with both the design and writing of the software for the first product with the Intel 4004 – the Busicom 141-PF calculator. However, he was not alone, but even here on the software front, Stan Mazor was involved in making the Intel 4004 a commercial reality.


The Intel 4004 consisted of 2,300 transistors


Intel 4004 became commercial in the Busicom 141-PF calculator

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 4004 chip. Think of how much we’ve accomplished in the past half-century. This is a sacred moment for technology. This is what made computing really take off! – Pat Gelsinger, VD på Intel

Intel 4004 was a 4-bit processor and was manufactured on a 10-micrometer technology, which is equivalent to 10,000 nanometers, and had a clock frequency between 500-750 kHz (0.75 MHz). The latter can be compared to Intel’s latest consumer processor Core i9-12900K whose maximum clock frequency is 5,200,000 kHz (5,200 MHz).

Were you there when the Intel 4004 saw the light of day 50 years ago?

Source: SweClockers by

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