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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Vintage Computer - 8008 Intel microprocessor

Intel Corporation Logo
Intel Corporation Logo
It seems like I am always locating an interesting find in our museum warehouse. I have been spending a lot of time choosing  equipment to display in our expanded viewing area at the museum. A bag of (34) Intel 8008 chips  just said HI FRIEND to me.

                    A very short story about the 8008
The 8008 was the first 8 bit microprocessor by Intel Corporation and  introduced in April of 1972 for $120. This chip was commissioned by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) and was originally  labeled 1201. CTC designed the 'Datapoint 2200 Programmable Terminal' with TTL logic that  contained the logic of a tiny computer. The idea was to have the computer logic put on a single chip as a microprocessor. The engineers at CTC
Intel 8008 Microprocessor
8008 microprocessor
approached Intel and Robert Noyce agreed to produce a design for $50,000 in 1970. CTC also went to Texas Instruments as a second source.  Interestingly it is reported that Robert Noyce thought it was a dumb idea to do a single chip design for this purpose--- saying a single chip would hurt chip sales--- of course the reality was microprocessors took of like a rocket in just a few years and became the major source of income for Intel.

The 1201 chip was slow to be developed and did not work as intended. CTC gave up the intellectual rights to the 1201 and did not pay the $50,000. Intel went on to use the ideas of the 1201 to develop the 8008 microprocessor.  The 8008 is an 18 pin chip and needed several external chips to use the 14-bit address bus & control signals. It still proved that microprocessors were a real product and Intel quickly developed the 40 pin 8080 microprocessor.  The 8080 proved to be a great product and microprocessors as the heart of a microcomputers were out of the gate. Now they are invading the world as smart devices by the billions.

Some of this information is from  wikipedia Intel_8008

Today I located the 2200 Data point terminal in the Bugbook Computer Museum warehouse and will put it on display at our museum in Floyd Virginia. 4-4-14

Click on photos to enlarge 
8008 Microprocessor
8008 Microprocessor

A close look at one of the 8008 microprocessor chips in the group of 34 in the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Musuem" warehouse.

8008 Microprocessor
8008 Microprocessor

Here is the whole group - in the plastic holders. I have not tested these chips and hope they are all functional.

8008 manual
8008 microprocessor manual

The manual for the 8008 microprocessor development systems made by Intel Corporation.   We have both the systems as shown on the cover in our museum display.

Intel 8008 Development system
Intel 8008 development system in our museum

This is one of the first Intel 8 bit microprocessor development systems as it resides in our "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"

CTC 2200
CTC 2200 
The 'Datapoint 2200 Programmable Terminal' made by  Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC). We have several of these in the museum warehouse and will put one on display in the new expanded museum. This programmable data terminal was the start of the 8008 microprocessor development.
Today I located the 2200 Data point terminal in the Bugbook Computer Museum warehouse and will put it on display at our museum in Floyd Virginia. 4-4-14

Here is the 2200 Data Point terminal  pulled off the shelf in the warehouse and still in the museum wrap. This is inventory number 92A so it was very early addition to the our warehouse.  I set it on top of an ASR 33 teletype for the photo and will get it out an get better photo when moved to our Computer Museum in Floyd Virginia.

MARK 8 microcomputer
MARK 8 microcomputer 

The Mark 8 by John Titus.  John was not the first to use the 8008 microprocessor in a computer however he was the first to build and publish a construction article on how to build your very own computer. This was published in Radio Electronics in June 1974. The computer in this photo is the one he build for the article and is on display at the Smithsonian. More info here "CLICK"

Way back in the 70/80's I worked with John Titus in a small group of 4 called "The Blacksburg Group". This article which was the last column John wrote for "Direct Design" before he retired. He mentions that early work together in a very complementary way. Sure makes me pleased John was helped by our relationship.

David G Larsen
I am always amazed when I visit our museum what  45 years of collecting and saving microcomputers for historical purposes has become for me. We have the inventory on a professional museum database "Past Perfect" and there are over 10,000 entries -- of course only a small part of this number are computers however it is still a hard for me to wrap my mind around all these items. Some day we will have a really complete microcomputer historical museum - here in the little Blue Ridge mountain community of Floyd Virginia. If you would like to know a bit more about Floyd take a look at this very good video that was just published about Floyd Virginia.