Forgotten PC History

Roy J. Tellason rtellason at
Fri Aug 8 20:58:13 CDT 2008

On Friday 08 August 2008 21:44, Eric Smith wrote:
> Roy J. Tellason wrote:
> > The other thing that I took some notice of was mention of an 18-pin chip
> > package as "recently developed" at one point in the story,  and later on
> > the mention of the 40-pin package as being then available.
> The 18 pin-per-package limit claims regarding the 4004 and 8008 have
> been around for a long time, and I think they came from interviews with
> Intel's founders and/or early employees, but I think they're factually
> incorrect, at least as commonly stated.
> The 24-pin DIP was very well established by 1968, and was already used
> by TI at that time.

My first TTL databook was from TI,  and I believe there was some small number 
of 24-pin devices in there,  like the 74154 and similar.  (Hope I'm 
remembering right here.  :-)

> There were certainly higher pin-count packages at that time also.  I'm not
> sure about the 40-pin DIP, but in 1969 Fairchild was shipping at least one
> memory chip in a 36-pin DIP, though that particular package never became
> popular. 

There were also those "flatpacks" which I never could figure out.  A precursor 
to surface mount?  Something else?

> Possibly whatever specific company Intel was contracting with to supply
> lead frames and ceramic packages didn't yet offer higher pin count
> packages, but they obviously were available from some vendors since
> other semiconductor companies like Fairchild and TI were using them.

I guess a large part of it was the machinery to handle that stuff too,  
besides the lead frames themselves.  I don't know much about that stuff so I 
don't know if any given production machinery would be adaptable to many 
different sizes or if you'd need a different bigger machine to handle them.  
If the latter was the case then I can see where they might be reluctant if 
there weren't a lot of demand.

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be killed but can't be tamed.  --Robert A. Heinlein, "The Puppet Masters"
Information is more dangerous than cannon to a society ruled by lies. --James 
M Dakin

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