[SIGCIS-Members] New CHM Movie! Intel's 'The MCS-4 Story'

Dag Spicer spicer at computerhistory.org
Fri Jun 29 13:35:11 PDT 2012

Dear SIGCIS Friends,

CHM has archived into the collection a rare and original Intel movie called "The MCS-4 Story," about (of course) the 4004 and its associated ICs and systems.

You can watch it here on the CHM YouTube channel.

Here is the description of the movie:

This video describes the world's first commercial microprocessor available as a separate component, the Intel 4004. The announcement by Intel on November 15, 1971 in Electronics News introduced the "MCS-4," a family of integrated circuits (ICs) that was based on the 4004 central processing unit (CPU), the 4001 read-only memory (ROM), the 4002 random access memory (RAM) and the 4003 I/O expansion IC.

MCS-4, which stands for "Micro Computer Set 4," was targeted towards users of random digital logic, that is designers of systems in which functions were hard-wired into a system's circuitry, usually using medium scale integration (MSI) ICs. The huge step of the MCS-4 was that it allowed this random logic to be replaced by software. This allowed designers to create products that were more flexible and which had features not possible to implement with random logic. Typical intended applications included process control, elevators, traffic lights, medical systems, aviation and test equipment, to name but a few.

The video provides considerable detail into the functioning the MCS-4 system, beginning with a block level description, followed by timing, instruction set and cycle-by-cycle descriptions of typical functions. The 4004 CPU was followed by the 8008, 8080 and, ultimately, the 8086 family, which became the basis of Intel's processor architecture for the next 40 years.


Dag Spicer |  Senior Curator |  Computer History Museum
Editorial Board  |  Annals of the History of Computing
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. |  Mountain View CA  94043
Tel: +1 650 810 1035    |  Fax: +1 650 810 1055

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Technology married with the humanities makes our hearts sing.  -- Steve Jobs

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