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TMX1795 - TI
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TI TMX1795
General Info
DesignerTI
ManufacturerTI
Model NumberTMX1795NS
MarketTerminal
IntroductionJune 7, 1971 (announced)
General Specs
Family8008
Microarchitecture
Transistors3,100
TechnologySchottky TTL
Word Size8 bit
Cores1
Max CPUs1 (Uniprocessor)

The TMX1795 (or TMX 1795) was a working prototype for an 8-bit microprocessor designed by Texas Instruments in 1970-1971. The 1795 was architecturally very close if not identical (see history) to that of Intel's 8008.

History[edit]

Datapoint Corporation, then Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC), was looking to create a more powerful machine in mid-1969. CTC was convinced that to achieve that they would need to create a more complex integrated circuit as using discrete logic would not meet their desired specifications. After having the basic architecture for that device thought up, CTC arranged a meeting with Bob Noyce, President of Intel and the President of Texas Instruments to discuss the device concept. Each one was given a pre-drawn basic schematic of the device.

From Intel's POV[edit]

Intel had a working specs for the 8008 by January or February of 1970[1]. While it is unknown how much of the Intel specs TI got to see from CTC, Ted Hoff claimed that it's clear they've copied a fair bit pointing out that initially the 8008 had a bug with the RESTART instruction which should switch execution to the interrupt handler and execute CALL to save the stack point. In the original plans this part was missing - same was true with Gary Boone's patent.

It was a little-- well, there were ways, but the difference was that the TI chip did not change the restart instruction from a jam load to a call. We made the restart a call, so you could use that single byte instruction for the interrupt, and they did not have it. But at least in one of their patents they argue that you use the restart to implement an interrupt. Which means you just wiped out the status of the processor.
Ted Hoff[1]

This bug was, however, corrected later in the final design of Intel's 8008. Boone has however denied the allegation and said that while they were told Intel has been doing considerably better, no proprietary information was ever given to them.

Yeah, but there's not a question that even in 1970, '71 it was a race. I mean, really, I mean, if you look at TI, for example, we helped them it looks like. It looked like, but still they were developing an eight-bit processor which was essentially the 8008. And they came out in April/May timeframe with that product. We heard-- I heard from Vic Poor that it never worked. But TI claims that it did work. In any event, whether it worked or not, it was later than the 4004 by one or two months. That tells you how much execution was important to being first in the market.
Federico Faggin[1]

From TI's POV[edit]

While Intel have claimed that TI simply tried to recreate their schematics, TI has always stood behind their story in which they received nothing about Intel, just CTC's original design documents.

No, my recollection is that it was pretty competitive and pretty private. There were a couple of episodes that I know about where somebody overheard something in a coffee house. For example, a situation that I know about that I characterize as competitive pertains to the TI project called TMX-1795 and the corresponding Intel project that was originally called 1201, and commercially known as 8008. Here's what happened. A company called CTC, Computer Terminal Corporation, now known as Datapoint, apparently made contracts with both TI and Intel. I was aware of the TI part of that. That is, CTC and the principal architect there, whose name is Vic Poor, gave me a requirements document. Initially, I tried to do it on three chips using conventional design methodology. He told me that was unacceptable, saying "Intel can do it on one." That is the first time I had heard about Intel on that project.

So we got sent home. CTC was in San Antonio, and TI was in Houston. So we got sent home to Houston to rethink whether we were going to give up or try to do it on one chip. We received what you might reasonably characterize as hints about Intel doing a better job than we were, or Intel promising a better result than we promised. In any event, we implemented an original design, TMX-1795 design, [and later, slightly revised design, called TMX-1795A], to meet Mr. Poor's requirements, including his one-chip requirement. Any assertion that we improperly received information belonging to anybody else is incorrect. We did not.
Gary Boone[2]

Museum displays[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Computer History Museum.(2007, April 25) "Oral History Panel on the Development and Promotion of the Intel 4004 Microprocessor". Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://archive.computerhistory.org/resources/text/Oral_History/Intel_4004_2/102658187.05.01.acc.pdf.
  2. Boone, Gary. An Interview Conducted by David Morton, Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, June 22, 1996, Interview #273 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


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Facts about "TMX1795 - TI"
core count1 +
designerTI +
first announcedJune 7, 1971 +
full page nameti/tmx1795 +
instance ofmicroprocessor +
ldateJune 7, 1971 +
manufacturerTI +
market segmentTerminal +
max cpu count1 +
microprocessor family8008 +
model numberTMX1795NS +
nameTI TMX1795 +
technologySchottky TTL +
transistor count3,100 +
word size8 bit (1 octets, 2 nibbles) +