Intel 8080

Last updated

Intel 8080
KL Intel i8080 Black Background.jpg
An Intel C8080A processor variant with white ceramic, a gold heat spreader, and gold pins.
ProducedFrom April 1974;45 years ago (1974-04) to 1990;29 years ago (1990) [1]
Marketed by Intel
Designed byIntel
Common manufacturer(s)
  • Intel
Max. CPU clock rate 2 MHz to 3.125 MHz
Min. feature size 6 µm
Instruction set 8080
Cores 1
Data width 8-bit
Address width 16-bit
Predecessor Intel 8008
Successor Intel 8085

The Intel 8080 ("eighty-eighty") was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. [2] It is an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility. The initial specified clock rate or frequency limit was 2  MHz, and with common instructions using 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11 cycles this meant that it operated at a typical speed of a few hundred thousand instructions per second. A faster variant 8080A-1 (Sometimes called the 8080B) became available later with clock frequency limit up to 3.125 MHz.

In computer architecture, 8-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 8 bits wide. Also, 8-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 8-bit is also a generation of microcomputers in which 8-bit microprocessors were the norm.

Microprocessor Computer processor contained on an integrated-circuit chip

A microprocessor is a computer processor that incorporates the functions of a central processing unit on a single integrated circuit (IC), or at most a few integrated circuits. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock driven, register based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic. Microprocessors operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.

Intel American semiconductor chip manufacturer

Intel Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Santa Clara, California, in the Silicon Valley. It is the world's second largest and second highest valued semiconductor chip manufacturer based on revenue after being overtaken by Samsung Electronics, and is the inventor of the x86 series of microprocessors, the processors found in most personal computers (PCs). Intel ranked No. 46 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.


The 8080 needs two support chips to function in most applications, the i8224 clock generator/driver and the i8228 bus controller, and it is implemented in N-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic (NMOS) using non-saturated enhancement mode transistors as loads [3] [4] thus demanding a +12  V and a −5 V voltage in addition to the main transistor–transistor logic (TTL) compatible +5 V.

NMOS logic implements logic gates and other digital circuits

N-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic uses n-type MOSFETs to implement logic gates and other digital circuits. These nMOS transistors operate by creating an inversion layer in a p-type transistor body. This inversion layer, called the n-channel, can conduct electrons between n-type "source" and "drain" terminals. The n-channel is created by applying voltage to the third terminal, called the gate. Like other MOSFETs, nMOS transistors have four modes of operation: cut-off, triode, saturation, and velocity saturation.

In field effect transistors (FETs), depletion mode and enhancement mode are two major transistor types, corresponding to whether the transistor is in an ON state or an OFF state at zero gate–source voltage.

Volt SI derived unit of voltage

The volt is the derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference (voltage), and electromotive force. It is named after the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745–1827).

Although earlier microprocessors were used for calculators, cash registers, computer terminals, industrial robots, [5] and other applications, the 8080 became one of the first widespread microprocessors. Several factors contributed to its popularity: its 40-pin package made it easier to interface than the 18-pin 8008, and also made its data bus more efficient; its NMOS implementation gave it faster transistors than those of the P-type metal-oxide-semiconductor logic (PMOS) 8008, while also simplifying interfacing by making it TTL-compatible; a wider variety of support chips was available; its instruction set was enhanced over the 8008; [6] and its full 16-bit address bus (versus the 14-bit one of the 8008) enabled it to access 64 KB of memory, four times more than the 8008's range of 16 KB. It became the engine of the Altair 8800, and subsequent S-100 bus personal computers, until it was replaced by the Z80 in this role, and was the original target CPU for CP/M operating systems developed by Gary Kildall.

Calculator electronic device used to perform operations of arithmetic

An electronic calculator is typically a portable electronic device used to perform calculations, ranging from basic arithmetic to complex mathematics.

Cash register mechanical or electronic device for registering and calculating transactions at a point of sale

A cash register or till is a mechanical or electronic device for registering and calculating transactions at a point of sale. It is usually attached to a drawer for storing cash and other valuables. A modern cash register is usually attached to a printer that can print out receipts for record-keeping purposes.

Computer terminal computer input/output device; an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying data from, a computer or a computing system

A computer terminal is an electronic or electromechanical hardware device that is used for entering data into, and displaying or printing data from, a computer or a computing system. The teletype was an example of an early day hardcopy terminal, and predated the use of a computer screen by decades.

The 8080 was successful enough that compatibility at the assembly language level became a design requirement for the Intel 8086 when its design began in 1976, and led to the 8080 directly influencing all later variants of the ubiquitous 32-bit and 64-bit x86 architectures.

Assembly language Low level programming language

An assembly language, often abbreviated asm, is any low-level programming language in which there is a very strong correspondence between the instructions in the language and the architecture's machine code instructions. Assembly language may also be called symbolic machine code.

Intel 8086 16-bit central processing unit

The 8086 is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released. The Intel 8088, released July 1, 1979, is a slightly modified chip with an external 8-bit data bus, and is notable as the processor used in the original IBM PC design.

In computer architecture, 32-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 32 bits wide. Also, 32-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 32-bit microcomputers are computers in which 32-bit microprocessors are the norm.


Programming model

i8080 microarchitecture Intel 8080 arch.svg
i8080 microarchitecture
Intel 8080 registers
15141312111009080706050403020100(bit position)
Main registers
AFlagsProgram Status Word
HLH (indirect address)
Index registers
SPStack Pointer
Program counter
PCProgram Counter
Status register
  S Z - AC - P - C Flags

The Intel 8080 is the successor to the 8008. It uses the same basic instruction set and register model as the 8008 (developed by Computer Terminal Corporation), even though it is not source code compatible nor binary code compatible with its predecessor. Every instruction in the 8008 has an equivalent instruction in the 8080 (even though the opcodes differ between the two CPUs). The 8080 also adds a few 16-bit operations in its instruction set. Whereas the 8008 required the use of the HL register pair to indirectly access its 14-bit memory space, the 8080 added addressing modes to allow direct access to its full 16-bit memory space. In addition, the internal 7-level push-down call stack of the 8008 was replaced by a dedicated 16-bit stack-pointer (SP) register. The 8080's large 40-pin DIP packaging permits it to provide a 16-bit address bus and an 8-bit data bus, allowing easy access to 64  KB of memory.

Intel 8008 byte-oriented microprocessor

The Intel 8008 is an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It is an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16 KB of memory. Originally known as the 1201, the chip was commissioned by Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC) to implement an instruction set of their design for their Datapoint 2200 programmable terminal. As the chip was delayed and did not meet CTC's performance goals, the 2200 ended up using CTC's own TTL-based CPU instead. An agreement permitted Intel to market the chip to other customers after Seiko expressed an interest in using it for a calculator.

In computer architecture, a processor register is a quickly accessible location available to a computer's central processing unit (CPU). Registers usually consist of a small amount of fast storage, although some registers have specific hardware functions, and may be read-only or write-only. Registers are typically addressed by mechanisms other than main memory, but may in some cases be assigned a memory address e.g. DEC PDP-10, ICT 1900.

Source-code compatibility (source-compatible) means that a program can run on computers, independently of binary-code compatibility and that the source code is needed for portability.


The processor has seven 8-bit registers (A, B, C, D, E, H, and L), where A is the primary 8-bit accumulator, and the other six registers can be used as either individual 8-bit registers or as three 16-bit register pairs (BC, DE, and HL, referred to as B, D and H in Intel documents) depending on the particular instruction. Some instructions also enable the HL register pair to be used as a (limited) 16-bit accumulator, and a pseudo-register M can be used almost anywhere that any other register can be used, referring to the memory address pointed to by the HL pair. It also has a 16-bit stack pointer to memory (replacing the 8008's internal stack), and a 16-bit program counter.

Stacks in computing architectures are regions of memory where data is added or removed in a last-in-first-out (LIFO) manner.

Program counter processor register that indicates the location of the currently-executing program instruction

The program counter (PC), commonly called the instruction pointer (IP) in Intel x86 and Itanium microprocessors, and sometimes called the instruction address register (IAR), the instruction counter, or just part of the instruction sequencer, is a processor register that indicates where a computer is in its program sequence.


The processor maintains internal flag bits (a status register), which indicate the results of arithmetic and logical instructions. Only certain instructions affect the flags. The flags are:

  • Sign (S), set if the result is negative.
  • Zero (Z), set if the result is zero.
  • Parity (P), set if the number of 1 bits in the result is even.
  • Carry (C), set if the last addition operation resulted in a carry or if the last subtraction operation required a borrow
  • Auxiliary carry (AC or H), used for binary-coded decimal arithmetic (BCD).

The carry bit can be set or complemented by specific instructions. Conditional-branch instructions test the various flag status bits. The flags can be copied as a group to the accumulator. The A accumulator and the flags together are called the PSW register, or program status word.

Commands, instructions

As with many other 8-bit processors, all instructions are encoded in one byte (including register numbers, but excluding immediate data), for simplicity. Some of them are followed by one or two bytes of data, which can be an immediate operand, a memory address, or a port number. Like larger processors, it has automatic CALL and RET instructions for multi-level procedure calls and returns (which can even be conditionally executed, like jumps) and instructions to save and restore any 16-bit register pair on the machine stack. There are also eight one-byte call instructions (RST) for subroutines located at the fixed addresses 00h, 08h, 10h, ..., 38h. These were intended to be supplied by external hardware in order to invoke a corresponding interrupt service routine, but were also often employed as fast system calls. The most sophisticated command is XTHL, which is used for exchanging the register pair HL with the value stored at the address indicated by the stack pointer.

8-bit instructions

Most 8-bit operations can only be performed on the 8-bit accumulator (the A register). For 8-bit operations with two operands, the other operand can be either an immediate value, another 8-bit register, or a memory byte addressed by the 16-bit register pair HL. Direct copying is supported between any two 8-bit registers and between any 8-bit register and an HL-addressed memory byte. Due to the regular encoding of the MOV instruction (using a quarter of available opcode space), there are redundant codes to copy a register into itself (MOV B,B, for instance), which were of little use, except for delays. However, what would have been a copy from the HL-addressed cell into itself (i.e., MOV M,M) is instead used to encode the halt (HLT) instruction, halting execution until an external reset or interrupt occurs.

16-bit operations

Although the 8080 is generally an 8-bit processor, it also has limited abilities to perform 16-bit operations: Any of the three 16-bit register pairs (BC, DE, or HL, referred to as B, D, H in Intel documents) or SP can be loaded with an immediate 16-bit value (using LXI), incremented or decremented (using INX and DCX), or added to HL (using DAD). The XCHG [7] instruction exchanges the values of the HL and DE register pairs. By adding HL to itself, it is possible to achieve the same result as a 16-bit arithmetical left shift with one instruction. The only 16-bit instructions that affect any flag are DAD H/D/B, which set the CY (carry) flag in order to allow for programmed 24-bit or 32-bit arithmetic (or larger), needed to implement floating-point arithmetics, for instance.

Input/output scheme

Input output port space

The 8080 supports up to 256 [8] input/output (I/O) ports, accessed via dedicated I/O instructions taking port addresses as operands. This I/O mapping scheme was regarded as an advantage, as it freed up the processor's limited address space. Many CPU architectures instead use so-called memory-mapped I/O (MMIO), in which a common address space is used for both RAM and peripheral chips. This removes the need for dedicated I/O instructions, although a drawback in such designs may be that special hardware must be used to insert wait states, as peripherals are often slower than memory. However, in some simple 8080 computers, I/O was indeed addressed as if they were memory cells, "memory-mapped", leaving the I/O commands unused. I/O addressing could also sometimes employ the fact that the processor would output the same 8-bit port address to both the lower and the higher address byte (i.e., IN 05h would put the address 0505h on the 16-bit address bus). Similar I/O-port schemes were used in the backward-compatible Zilog Z80 and Intel 8085, and the closely related x86 microprocessor families.

Separate stack space

One of the bits in the processor state word (see below) indicates that the processor is accessing data from the stack. Using this signal, it is possible to implement a separate stack memory space. However, this feature was seldom used.

The internal state word

For more advanced systems, during one phase of its working loop, the processor set its "internal state byte" on the data bus. This byte contains flags that determine whether the memory or I/O port is accessed and whether it is necessary to handle an interrupt.

The interrupt system state (enabled or disabled) is also output on a separate pin. For simple systems, where the interrupts are not used, it is possible to find cases where this pin is used as an additional single-bit output port (the popular Radio-86RK computer made in the Soviet Union, for instance).

Example code

The following 8080/8085 assembler source code is for a subroutine named memcpy that copies a block of data bytes of a given size from one location to another. The data block is copied one byte at a time, and the data movement and looping logic utilizes 16-bit operations.

                      1000 1000 1000  78 1001  B1 1002  C8 1003  1A 1004  77 1005  13 1006  23 1007  0B 1008  78 1009  B1 100A  C2 03 10 100D  C9 
; memcpy --; Copy a block of memory from one location to another.;; Entry registers;       BC - Number of bytes to copy;       DE - Address of source data block;       HL - Address of target data block;; Return registers;       BC - Zeroorg1000h;Origin at 1000hmemcpypublicmova,b;Copy register B to register Aorac;Bitwise OR of register A and register C into register Arz;Return if the zero-flag is set high.loop:ldaxd;Load A from the address pointed by DEmovm,a;Store A into the address pointed by HLinxd;Increment DEinxh;Increment HLdcxb;Decrement BC   (does not affect Flags)mova,b;Copy B to A    (so as to compare BC with zero)orac;A = A | C      (set zero)jnzloop;Jump to 'loop:' if the zero-flag is not set.   ret;Return

Pin use

The address bus has its own 16 pins, and the data bus has 8 pins that are usable without any multiplexing. Using the two additional pins (read and write signals), it is possible to assemble simple microprocessor devices very easily. Only the separate IO space, interrupts, and DMA need added chips to decode the processor pin signals. However, the processor load capacity is limited, and even simple computers often contained bus amplifiers.

The processor needs three power sources (−5, +5, and +12 V) and two non-overlapping high-amplitude synchronizing signals. However, at least the late Soviet version КР580ВМ80А was able to work with a single +5 V power source, the +12 V pin being connected to +5 V and the −5 V pin to ground. The processor consumes about 1.3  W of power.

The pin-out table, from the chip's accompanying documentation, describes the pins as follows:

Pin numberSignalTypeComment
1A10OutputAddress bus 10
3D4BidirectionalBidirectional data bus. The processor also transiently sets here the "processor state", providing information about what the processor is currently doing:
  • D0 reading interrupt command. In response to the interrupt signal, the processor is reading and executing a single arbitrary command with this flag raised. Normally the supporting chips provide the subroutine call command (CALL or RST), transferring control to the interrupt handling code.
  • D1 reading (low level means writing)
  • D2 accessing stack (probably a separate stack memory space was initially planned)
  • D3 doing nothing, has been halted by the HLT instruction
  • D4 writing data to an output port
  • D5 reading the first byte of an executable instruction
  • D6 reading data from an input port
  • D7 reading data from memory
11−5 VThe −5 V power supply. This must be the first power source connected and the last disconnected, otherwise the processor will be damaged.
12RESETInputReset. The signal forces execution of commands located at address 0000. The content of other processor registers is not modified. This is an inverting input (the active level being logical 0)
13HOLDInputDirect memory access request. The processor is requested to switch the data and address bus to the high impedance ("disconnected") state.
14INTInputInterrupt request
15φ2InputThe second phase of the clock generator signal
16INTEOutputThe processor has two commands for setting 0 or 1 level on this pin. The pin normally is supposed to be used for interrupt control. However, in simple computers it was sometimes used as a single bit output port for various purposes.
17DBINOutputRead (the processor reads from memory or input port)
18WROutputWrite (the processor writes to memory or output port). This is an inverted output, the active level being logical zero.
19SYNCOutputActive level indicates that the processor has put the "state word" on the data bus. The various bits of this state word provide added information to support the separate address and memory spaces, interrupts, and direct memory access. This signal is required to pass through additional logic before it can be used to write the processor state word from the data bus into some external register, e.g., 8238-System Controller and Bus Driver.
20+5 VThe + 5 V power supply
21HLDAOutputDirect memory access confirmation. The processor switches data and address pins into the high impedance state, allowing another device to manipulate the bus
22φ1InputThe first phase of the clock generator signal
23READYInputWait. With this signal it is possible to suspend the processor's work. It is also used to support the hardware-based step-by step debugging mode.
24WAITOutputWait (indicates that the processor is in the waiting state)
25A0OutputAddress bus
2812 VThe +12 V power supply. This must be the last connected and first disconnected power source.
29A3OutputThe address bus; can switch into high impedance state on demand

Support chips

A key factor in the success of the 8080 was the broad range of support chips available, providing serial communications, counter/timing, input/output, direct memory access, and programmable interrupt control amongst other functions:

Physical implementation

The 8080 integrated circuit uses non-saturated enhancement-load nMOS gates, demanding extra voltages (for the load-gate bias). It was manufactured in a silicon gate process using a minimal feature size of 6 µm. A single layer of metal is used to interconnect the approximately 6,000 transistors [9] in the design, but the higher resistance polysilicon layer, which required higher voltage for some interconnects, is implemented with transistor gates. The die size was approximately 20 mm2.

The industrial impact

Applications and successors

The 8080 is used in many early microcomputers, such as the MITS Altair 8800 Computer, Processor Technology SOL-20 Terminal Computer and IMSAI 8080 Microcomputer, forming the basis for machines running the CP/M operating system (the later, almost fully compatible and more able, Zilog Z80 processor would capitalize on this, with Z80 & CP/M becoming the dominant CPU and OS combination of the period circa 1976 to 1983 much as did the x86 & DOS for the PC a decade later).

Even in 1979 after introduction of the Z80 and 8085 processors, five manufacturers of the 8080 were selling an estimated 500,000 units per month at a price around $3 to $4 each. [10]

The first single-board microcomputers, such as MYCRO-1 and the dyna-micro were based on the Intel 8080. One of the early uses of the 8080 was made in the late 1970s by Cubic-Western Data of San Diego, CA in its Automated Fare Collection Systems custom designed for mass transit systems around the world. An early industrial use of the 8080 is as the "brain" of the DatagraphiX Auto-COM (Computer Output Microfiche) line of products which takes large amounts of user data from reel-to-reel tape and images it onto microfiche. The Auto-COM instruments also include an entire automated film cutting, processing, washing, and drying sub-system – quite a feat, both then and in the 21st century, to all be accomplished successfully with only an 8-bit microprocessor running at a clock speed of less than 1 MHz with a 64 KB memory limit. Also, several early video arcade games were built around the 8080 microprocessor, including Space Invaders , one of the most popular arcade games ever made.

Shortly after the launch of the 8080, the Motorola 6800 competing design was introduced, and after that, the MOS Technology 6502 derivative of the 6800.

Zilog introduced the Z80, which has a compatible machine language instruction set and initially used the same assembly language as the 8080, but for legal reasons, Zilog developed a syntactically-different (but code compatible) alternative assembly language for the Z80. At Intel, the 8080 was followed by the compatible and electrically more elegant 8085.

Later Intel issued the assembly-language compatible (but not binary-compatible) 16-bit 8086 and then the 8/16-bit 8088, which was selected by IBM for its new PC to be launched in 1981. Later NEC made the NEC V20 (an 8088 clone with Intel 80186 instruction set compatibility) which also supports an 8080 emulation mode. This is also supported by NEC's V30 (a similarly enhanced 8086 clone). Thus, the 8080, via its instruction set architecture (ISA), made a lasting impact on computer history.

A number of processors compatible with the Intel 8080A were manufactured in the Eastern Bloc: the KR580VM80A (initially marked as KP580ИK80) in the Soviet Union, the MCY7880 [11] made by Unitra CEMI in Poland, the MHB8080A [12] made by TESLA in Czechoslovakia, the 8080APC [12] made by Tungsram / MEV in Hungary, and the MMN8080 [12] made by Microelectronica Bucharest in Romania.

As of 2017, the 8080 is still in production at Lansdale Semiconductors. [13]

Industry change

The 8080 also changed how computers were created. When the 8080 was introduced, computer systems were usually created by computer manufacturers such as Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett Packard, or IBM. A manufacturer would produce the whole computer, including processor, terminals, and system software such as compilers and operating system. The 8080 was designed for almost any application except a complete computer system. Hewlett Packard developed the HP 2640 series of smart terminals around the 8080. The HP 2647 is a terminal which runs the programming language BASIC on the 8080. Microsoft would market as its founding product the first popular language for the 8080, and would later acquire DOS for the IBM PC.

The 8080 and 8085 gave rise to the 8086, which was designed as a source code compatible (although not binary compatible) extension of the 8085. This design, in turn, later spawned the x86 family of chips, the basis for most CPUs in use today. Many of the 8080's core machine instructions and concepts, for example, registers named A, B, C, and D, and many of the flags used to control conditional jumps, are still in use in the widespread x86 platform. 8080 assembly code can still be directly translated into x86 instructions; all of its core elements are still present.

PCs based upon the 8086 design and its successors evolved into workstations and servers of 16, 32 and 64 bits, with advanced memory protection, segmentation, and multiprocessing features, blurring the difference between small and large computers [ original research? ] (the 80286 and 80386's protected mode were important in doing so). The size of chips has grown so that the size and power of large x86 chips is not much different from high end architecture chips[ original research? ], and a common strategy to produce a very large computer is to network many x86 processors.


Federico Faggin, the originator of the 8080 architecture in early 1972, proposed it to Intel's management and pushed for its implementation. He finally got the permission to develop it six months later. Faggin hired Masatoshi Shima from Japan in November 1972, who did the detailed design under his direction, using the design methodology for random logic with silicon gate that Faggin had created for the 4000 family. Stanley Mazor contributed a couple of instructions to the instruction set.

Shima finished the layout in August 1973. After the regulation of NMOS fabrication, a prototype of the 8080 was completed in January 1974. It had a flaw, in that driving with standard TTL devices increased the ground voltage because high current flowed into the narrow line. However, Intel had already produced 40,000 units of the 8080 at the direction of the sales section before Shima characterized the prototype. It was released as requiring Low-power Schottky TTL (LS TTL) devices. The 8080A solved fixed this flaw. [14]


Cultural impact

See also

Related Research Articles

Intel 8088 microprocessor model

The Intel 8088 microprocessor is a variant of the Intel 8086. Introduced on June 1, 1979, the 8088 had an eight-bit external data bus instead of the 16-bit bus of the 8086. The 16-bit registers and the one megabyte address range were unchanged, however. In fact, according to the Intel documentation, the 8086 and 8088 have the same execution unit (EU)—only the bus interface unit (BIU) is different. The original IBM PC was based on the 8088, as were its clones.

Intel 80386 family of 32-bit microprocessors introduced in 1985, including DX, SX and SL models

The Intel 80386, also known as i386 or just 386, is a 32-bit microprocessor introduced in 1985. The first versions had 275,000 transistors and were the CPU of many workstations and high-end personal computers of the time. As the original implementation of the 32-bit extension of the 80286 architecture, the 80386 instruction set, programming model, and binary encodings are still the common denominator for all 32-bit x86 processors, which is termed the i386-architecture, x86, or IA-32, depending on context.

Motorola 6800

The 6800 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed and first manufactured by Motorola in 1974. The MC6800 microprocessor was part of the M6800 Microcomputer System that also included serial and parallel interface ICs, RAM, ROM and other support chips. A significant design feature was that the M6800 family of ICs required only a single five-volt power supply at a time when most other microprocessors required three voltages. The M6800 Microcomputer System was announced in March 1974 and was in full production by the end of that year.

Zilog Z80 8-bit microprocessor

The Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog as the startup company's first product. The Z80 was conceived by Federico Faggin in late 1974 and developed by him and his 11 employees starting in early 1975. The first working samples were delivered in March 1976, and it was officially introduced on the market in July 1976. With the revenue from the Z80, the company built its own chip factories and grew to over a thousand employees over the following two years.

Microcomputer small, relatively inexpensive computer

A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, memory, and minimal input/output (I/O) circuitry mounted on a single printed circuit board(PCB). Microcomputers became popular in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of increasingly powerful microprocessors. The predecessors to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger and more expensive. Many microcomputers are also personal computers.

Intel 8085 8-bit microprocessor invented in 1976

The Intel 8085 ("eighty-eighty-five") is an 8-bit microprocessor produced by Intel and introduced in 1976. It is a software-binary compatible with the more-famous Intel 8080 with only two minor instructions added to support its added interrupt and serial input/output features. However, it requires less support circuitry, allowing simpler and less expensive microcomputer systems to be built.

Intel 4004 4-bit central processing unit

The Intel 4004 is a 4-bit central processing unit (CPU) released by Intel Corporation in 1971. It was the first commercially available microprocessor, and the first in a long line of Intel CPUs. The chip design, implemented with the MOS silicon gate technology, started in April 1970, and was created by Federico Faggin who led the project from beginning to completion in 1971. Marcian Hoff formulated and led the architectural proposal in 1969, and Masatoshi Shima contributed to the architecture and later to the logic design. The first commercial sale of the fully operational 4004 occurred in March 1971 to Busicom Corp. of Japan for its 141-PF electronic calculator, for which it was originally designed and built as a custom chip.

Zilog Z8000 16-bit microprocessor

The Z8000 is a 16-bit microprocessor introduced by Zilog in early 1979. The architecture was designed by Bernard Peuto while the logic and physical implementation was done by Masatoshi Shima, assisted by a small group of people.


The Am386 CPU is a 100%-compatible clone of the Intel 80386 design released by AMD in 1991. It sold millions of units, positioning AMD as a legitimate competitor to Intel, rather than being merely a second source for x86 CPUs.

Masatoshi Shima Japanese computer pioneer

Masatoshi Shima is a Japanese electronics engineer. He was one of the designers of the world's first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, producing the initial three-chip CPU design at Busicom in 1968, before working with Intel's Ted Hoff, Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin on the final single-chip CPU design from 1969 to 1970.

NEC V20 microprocessor model

The NEC V20 (μPD70108) was a processor made by NEC that was a reverse-engineered, pin-compatible version of the Intel 8088 with an instruction set compatible with the Intel 80186. The V20 was introduced in 1982, and the V30 debuted in 1983.

Signetics 2650 8-bit microprocessor

The Signetics 2650 was an 8-bit microprocessor introduced in mid-1975. According to Adam Osborne's book An Introduction to Microprocessors Vol 2: Some Real Products, it was "the most minicomputer-like" of the microprocessors available at the time.

The history of general-purpose CPUs is a continuation of the earlier history of computing hardware.

The maximum random access memory (RAM) installed in any computer system is limited by hardware, software and economic factors. The hardware may have a limited number of address bus bits, limited by the processor package or design of the system. Some of the address space may be shared between RAM, peripherals, and read-only memory. In the case of a microcontroller with no external RAM, the size of the RAM array is limited by the size of the integrated circuit die. In a packaged system, only enough RAM may be provided for the system's required functions, with no provision for addition of memory after manufacture.

Each time Intel launched a new microprocessor, they simultaneously provided a System Development Kit (SDK) allowing engineers, university students, and others to familiarise themselves with the new processor's concepts and features. The SDK single-board computers allowed the user to enter object code from a keyboard or upload it through a communication port, and then test run the code. The SDK boards provided a system monitor ROM to operate the keyboard and other interfaces. Kits varied in their specific features but generally offered optional memory and interface configurations, a serial terminal link, audio cassette storage, EPROM program memory. Intel's Intellec development system could download code to the SDK boards.

In computer architecture, 16-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 16 bits wide. Also, 16-bit CPU and ALU architectures are those that are based on registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. 16-bit microcomputers are computers in which 16-bit microprocessors were the norm.


  1. CPU History – The CPU Museum – Life Cycle of the CPU.
  2. "From CPU to software, the 8080 Microcomputer is here". Electronic News. New York: Fairchild Publications. April 15, 1974. pp. 44–45. Electronic News was a weekly trade newspaper. The same advertisement appeared in the May 2, 1974 issue of Electronics magazine.
  3. similar to pull-up resistors
  4. Tohya, Hirokazu (2013). Switching Mode Circuit Analysis and Design: Innovative Methodology by Novel Solitary Electromagnetic Wave Theory. Bentham Science Publishers. p. 4. ISBN   9781608054497.
  5. The 8008 (1972) was used for interpolation and control in ASEA's (now ABB) first line of general industrial robots, introduced October 1973.
  6. The enhancements were largely based on customer feedback and Federico Faggin and others listening to minicomputer-oriented professionals about certain problems and lack of features in the 8008 architecture. (Source: 8008 and 8080 oral histories.)
  7. 8080 instruction encoding. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  8. Note: Some Intel datasheets from the 1970s advertise 512 I/O ports, because they count input and output ports separately.
  9. Reichel-Orbital museum – CPU Collection. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  10. Libes, Sol (November 1979). "Byte News". Byte . 11. 4. p. 82. ISSN   0360-5280.
  11. MCY7880—a Polish-made clone of 8080. CPU World. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  12. 1 2 3 Soviet chips and their western analogs. CPU-world. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.
  13. "Intel – Microprocessor 8080A Family & 828X Series". Lansdale Semiconductor Inc. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  14. Shima, Masatoshi; Nishimura, Hirohiko; Ishida, Haruhisa (1979). "座談会 マイクロコンピュータの誕生 開発者 嶋 正利氏に聞く". bit (in Japanese). 共立出版. 11 (11): 4–12. ISSN   0385-6984.
  15. Retrieved on October 23, 2011.

Further reading

This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.