[vcf-midatlantic] Working on a historical microprocessor exhibt

Tony Bogan thebogans at mac.com
Wed Feb 12 16:55:47 EST 2020

My take on a potential CPU exhibit.

Knowing where we would likely put this in the museum, the space available, and more importantly who the bulk of our potential "customers" will be (visitors to the museum) this needs to be fairly straight forward, easily explained in a short amount of time, and illustrative without much or any explanation in order to be of value (available space vs. impact vs. other items that could be displayed in that space)

What I envision (and I am but one voice of 5 on the SC and one of many in the group) is to start with the earliest ones, and spread out as different directions were taken.

Show a few interesting and historical offshoots.

End with modern might, stopping along the way to point out the stalwarts across time.
(6502, 8088, Z80, 68k, Pentium, PowerPC, from micros to name a few plus others that have been mentioned in this discussion)

One of the easiest things to show people is the economy of scale. "The number of transistors in a 6502 vs. an Intel Xeon"

One time I went to the Air & Space museumon the mall in DC oh so many years ago had one thing in particular I still remember. Second floor, the walkway are where you were staring at the X1 hanging from the ceiling...in that area. Embedded in the wall was a tall glass tube (it was a tall rectangle...tube....whatever) filled with transistors. It showed the number (or approximation/portion of) the number of transistors in the Apollo spacecraft if memory serves (lunar module? one of those) 

Next to it was a coin and a microprocessor of the current era (90s) with a small sign showing that the number of transistors in the tube was in the tens of thousands, the spacecraft in the hundreds of thousands, and the chip the size of a coin in the millions.

Simple, basic, to the point, and holy $h1t moment!!

We have a great poster in the hallway that has been mentioned on this list already. A simplified version of the processors on that poster would be pretty cool, especially with that poster displayed above/next to the processors themselves.

That’s my take on it.


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