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Chapter 37

Intel Microprocessors: 8008 to 80861

Stephen P. Morse / Bruce W Ravenel / Stanley Mazor / William B. Pohlman

I. Introduction

"In the beginning Intel created the 4004 and the 8008."

A. The Prophecy

Intel introduced the microprocessor in November 1971 with the advertisement, "Announcing a New Era in Integrated Electronics." The fulfillment of this prophecy has already occurred with the delivery of the 8008 in 1972, the 8080 in 1974, the 8085 in 1976, and the 8086 in 1978. During this time, throughput has improved 100-fold, the price of a CPU chip has declined from $300 to $3, and microcomputers have revolutionized design concepts in countless applications. They are now entering our homes and cars.

Each successive product implementation depended on semiconductor process innovation, improved architecture, better circuit design, and more sophisticated software, yet upward compatibility not envisioned by the first designers was maintained. This paper provides an insight into the evolutionary process that transformed the 8008 into the 8086, and gives descriptions of the various processors, with emphasis on the 8086.

B. Historical Setting

In the late 1960s it became clear that the practical use of large-scale integrated circuits (LSI) depended on defining chips having

In 1968, Intel Corporation was founded to exploit the semiconductor memory market, which uniquely fulfilled these criteria. Early semiconductor RAMs, ROMs, and shift registers were welcomed wherever small memories were needed, especially in calculators and CRT terminals, In 1969, Intel engineers began to study ways of integrating and partitioning the control logic functions of these systems into LSI chips.

At this time other companies (notably Texas Instruments) were exploring ways to reduce the design time to develop custom integrated circuits usable in a customer's application. Computer-aided design of custom ICs was a hot issue then. Custom ICs are making a comeback today, this time in high-volume applications which typify the low end of the microprocessor market.

An alternate approach was to think of a customer's application as a computer system requiring a control program, I/O monitoring, and arithmetic routines, rather than as a collection of special-purpose logic chips. Focusing on its strength in memory, Intel partitioned systems into RAM, ROM, and a single controller chip, the central processor unit (CPU).

Intel embarked on the design of two customer-sponsored microprocessors, the 4004 for a calculator and the 8008 for a CRT terminal. The 4004, in particular, replaced what would otherwise have been six customized chips, usable by only one customer, Because the first microcomputer applications were known, tangible, and easy to understand, instruction sets and architectures were defined in a matter of weeks. Since they were programmable computers, their uses could be extended indefinitely.

Both of these first microprocessors were complete CPUs-on-a-chip and had similar characteristics. But because the 4004 was designed for serial BCD arithmetic while the 8008 was made for 8-bit character handling, their instruction sets were quite different.

The succeeding years saw the evolutionary process that eventually led to the 8086. Table 1 summarizes the progression of features that took place during these years.

II. 8008 Objectives and Constraints

Late in 1969 Intel Corporation was contracted by Computer Terminal Corporation (today called Datapoint) to do a pushdown stack chip for a processor to be used in a CRT terminal. Datapoint had intended to build a bit-serial processor in TTL logic using shift-register memory. Intel counterproposed to implement the entire processor on one chip, which was to become the 8008. This processor, along with the 4004, was to be fabricated using the then-current memory fabrication technology, p-MOS. Due to the long lead time required by Intel, Computer Terminal proceeded to market the serial processor and thus compatibility constraints were imposed on the 8008.

Most of the instruction-set and register organization was specified by Computer Terminal. Intel modified the instruction set so the processor would fit on one chip and added instructions to make it more general-purpose. For although Intel was developing the 8008 for one particular customer, it wanted to have the option of selling it to others, Intel was using only 16- and 18-pin packages in those days, and rather than require a new package for what was believed to be a low-volume chip, they chose to use 18 pins for the 8008.

1Intel Corporation, copyright 1978.


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