[vcf-midatlantic] Working on a historical microprocessor exhibt

Jeffrey Jonas jeffrey.scott.jonas at gmail.com
Tue Feb 11 08:35:00 EST 2020

My animated reply to Chris Liendo:

> Sun Microsystems SPARC Processor
> Using an unproven new architecture, this processor put Sun Microsystems on the map

I believe the HP Spectrum RISC chip came first:
Citing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PA-RISC

The architecture was introduced on 26 February 1986,
when the HP 3000 Series 930 and HP 9000 Model 840 computers were launched
featuring the first implementation, the TS1

> Microchip Technology PIC 16C84 Microcontroller
> Adding easily reprogrammable onboard memory
> to store software revolutionized microcontrollers

I worked at General Instruments' Hicksville facility around 1982.
Here are some mementos
such as info about the first PIC chips

They were VERY EXPENSIVE to use,
requiring a cross assembler and development tools,
programmer, emulator for debugging, etc.
They were ROM only. The UV-EPROM ones came later.

I'd say the flash/eeprom ones REALLY made things hobbyist friendly.
No more pulling the chip to UV erase it,
program it using a dedicated programmer,
inserting it into the circuit only to find a program debug
and repeat the entire cycle.

Wikipiedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PIC_microcontrollers
links to https://www.eetimes.com/microchip-offering-flash-at-otp-prices/#

Microchip offering flash at OTP prices
By Darrell Dunn  08.31.2001

Having established itself as a major supplier in the microcontroller market
over the past decade by pioneering the use of one-time-programmable
(OTP) devices,
Microchip Technology Inc. today hopes to usher in a new era
with devices based on a new process technology
the company believes will provide the advantages of flash memory at OTP prices.

"We're trying to move flash into mainstream applications," said Greg Robinson,
product marketing manager at Microchip in Chandler, Ariz.
"We changed the entire paradigm of the 8-bit market with OTPs
and now with our new cell we can bring flash into consumer types of applications
as we eliminate the traditional flash disadvantages of cost and
programming time."

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