First products - Moore's Law

First poducts - Moore's Law

Within a year, Intel developed its first product - the 3101 Schottky bipolar 64-bit static random access memory (SRAM), which was followed soon after by the 1101. This chip (1101) was a 256-bit SRAM and had been developed on Intel's new "silicon gate metal -oxide semiconductor (MOS) process," which should become the "industry's process technology of choice.") With the first two products, the young company started with 12 employees and net revenues of $2,672 in 1968, had already gained the technological lead in the field of memory chips.

Intel's first really successful product was the 1103 dynamic random access memory (DRAM), which was manufactured in the MOS process. Introduced in 1970, this chip was the "first merchant market LSI (large-scale integrated) DRAM," and received broad accepta nce because it was superior to magnetic core memories. So, by the end of 1971, the 1103 became "the world's largest-selling semiconductor device" and provided the capital for Intel's early growth.)

Until today, semiconductors have "adhered to Moore's Law," which has been framed by the "cofounder of Fairchild and Intel" when the first commercial DRAMs appeared in the early 1970s. This law predicts that the price per bit (the smallest unit of memory) d rops by 30 percent every year. It implies that you will receive 30 percent more power (speed/capacity) at the same price, or that the "price of a certain power is 30 percent less.")

Moore's Law applies to both memory chips and microprocessors, and shows the unprecedented rapid progress in microelectronics. This "astonishing ratio" has never occurred in "the history of manufacturing" before. Applied to automobiles, it means that "a Cad illac would have a top speed of 500 miles per hour, get two hundred miles to a gallon of gas and cost less than a dollar" - almost incredible.)

1971 was a crucial year at Intel. The company's revenues surpassed operating expenses for the first time, and the company went public, raising $6.8 million.

Moreover, the company introduced a new memory chip - the first erasable, programmable read only memory (EPROM). Invented by Intel's Dov Frohman, the new memory could store data permanently like already existing ROMs, but besides could be erased simply by a beam of ultraviolet light and be used again. The EPROM was initially viewed as a "prototyping device" for R&D. The invention of the microprocessor in the same year, however, showed the real significance of the EPROM, which could be used by original equipm ent manufacturer (OEM) customers (they build the end-products) to store microprocessor programs in a "flexible and low-cost way." The "unexpected synergy" between the EPROM and the microprocessor resulted in a growing market for both chips and contributed a great deal to Intel's early success.)

Martin Groeger
Last modified: Mon Jul 8 05:26:24 PDT