chip technology dead-ends (was: Foonlies)

Mark Linimon linimon at
Wed Jan 31 23:40:17 CST 2018

On Wed, Jan 31, 2018 at 07:07:23PM -0800, Chuck Guzis via cctalk wrote:
> Back in the 70s, 4000-series CMOS was among the slowest logic around.

I really wish I still had one technical magazine that came out during
the late 70s/early 80s.  (I don't remember which one it was, anymore.)
It was devoted to keeping you up with the latest chip/minicomputer

It contained a very serious editorial about "what are we going to use to
replace CMOS" now that the > 10MHz chips were starting to be avialable.
"Clearly" there was no way to push the technology past that: it was simply
impossible due to heat dissipation -- the chips were going to burn up.

It was an open-ended question; clearly neither ECL nor TTL were going to
fit the bill.  (Hey, at least the author got _that_ part correct.)

Oh and while we're skewering early CMOS chips, they were grossly sensitive
to static.  The company I was working for during the summers was buying
these $40 4-digit LED things with a CMOS driver and if you even looked
at it wrong you could watch the chip swell up and bake underneath its
protective plastic.

This was not not very amusing to management.

I'll bet I still have one in a box somewhere.


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