by Suzanne Deffree @ edn.com:
Intel announced its 4004 processor and its chipset through an ad in Electronic News on November 15, 1971, making them the first complete CPU on one chip and the first commercially available microprocessor.
The building-block 4004 CPU held 2300 transistors. The microprocessor, the size of a little fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which, in contrast, filled a room. Full technical details for the 4004 can be found in this January 1972 EDN story on the technology: One-Chip CPU available for low-cost dedicated computers.
Intel 4004 is announced, November 15, 1971 - [Link]
Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd. today announced the development of a receiver circuit capable of receiving communications at 56 Gbps. This marks the world’s fastest data communications between CPUs equipped in next-generation servers. In recent years, raising data-processing speeds in servers has meant increasing CPU performance, together with boosting the speed of data communications between chips, such as CPUs. However, one obstacle to this has been improving the performance of the circuits that correct degraded waveforms in incoming signals. Fujitsu Laboratories has used a new “look-ahead” architecture in the circuit that compensates for quality degradation in incoming signals, parallelizing the processing and increasing the operating frequency for the circuit in order to double its speed. This technology holds the promise of increasing the performance of next-generation servers and supercomputers.
Record-breaking 56 gbps receiver circuit for communications between CPUs - [Link]
Zak Kemble writes:
While working on an update for my CPU Usage LEDs project, I thought why not just make it into a universal RGB LED controller? The CPU Usage LEDs controller took a value between 0 and 255, worked out what colour it should be and then fade to that colour. This was very limiting; changing what colours it used and how it fades required a firmware update. With this universal RGB LED controller the host software does all the work and the controller is simply told what brightness the red, green and blue LEDs should be. To make it as easy as possible to interface with the controller I created a library which deals with all the LibUSB stuff.
AVR USB RGB LED controller - [Link]
This little device shows you the CPU-load, how much physical and virtual memory is used. It shows this data per 10% on 3 ledbars. To do so it uses a VCP (Virtual COM Port), so that it can be connected to a PC via a USB connection to receive the data. Collecting the data and sending it to the device is done by a Python script.
USB CPU and Memory monitor - [Link]
Ivan Creations made this ReCoMonB (Real Computer Monitoring Block) and wrote a detailed explanation on his blog describing the build:
I managed to de-virtualize the CPU/MEM/HDD/NET stats and now I have them physically represented on my desk. The device that does that is named ReCoMonB – Real Computer Monitoring Block. I have also made the device driverless and working on Liunx and Windows.
ReCoMonB – Real Computer Monitoring Block - [Link]
SC-CPU SolderCore Main Board is a complete development platform consisting of an Arduino form-factor microcontroller “CPU” board with a new and exciting software development environment called CoreBASIC. The SC-CPU SolderCore Main Board features a TI LM359D92 Cortex-M3 processor capable of running at clock speeds of up to 80MHz and provides a compact, flexible solution for rapid product development. SolderCore is compatible with a large range of third party plug-in PCBs to expand its capabilities.
- 80MHz ARM Cortex-M3 processor
- 512kB of flash
- 96kB of RAM
- 20 user-programmable I/O pins + 6 power pins; can be programmed to perform alternative functions including
I2C, SPI, UART, PWM, CCP, ADC, QEI, and CAN
- 10/100Mbit Ethernet port
- Micro-AB USB On-The-Go connector
- Spring-loaded microSD card holder
- 2.2mm barrel jack for power supply, 6 – 9V; reverse polarity protected
- Standard Cortex 10-pin JTAG connector
- Two power indicator LEDs
- Five user programmable LEDs
- Reset button
SolderCore CPU with Interactive and Internet-enabled CoreBASIC Interpreter - [Link]
Veronica @ blondihacks, we are loving her site! – [via]
Now for something a little different. I was first exposed to computers back in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Suffice it to say, placing my hands on the keyboard of an Apple //+ was a watershed moment which pretty much set the course of my life from that point on. The heart of the Apple // was the 6502 microprocessor. I learned to program on that chip, along with millions of other people. It was the chip that brought computers and video games to hundreds of millions of homes and schools, and I think it’s safe to say that it sparked a revolution. The world was ready for personal computers, but all the contemporary CPU offerings (notably from Intel, AMD, and TI) were very expensive. The 6502 offered all the power of the others, for 1/10th of the price. You could find 6502s in the entire Apple // line (except the GS), the Commodore 64, the Vic-20, the Atari computers (except the ST), the BBC Micro & Acorn, the Atari 2600, the Nintendo Entertainment System, and many others. If you used a personal computer or played a videogame in the 1970s, 1980s, or early 1990s, there’s a very good chance it had a 6502 in it. It was arguably the first RISC chip, and the first to do pipelining. It has a clean, elegant instruction set and gets much more done with a clock cycle than anything else of the era.
Veronica @ blondihacks - [Link]
Interrupts are powerful concept in embedded systems for controlling events in a time-critical environment. Many emergent events, such as power failure and process control, require the CPU to take action immediately. The interrupt mechanism provides a way to force the CPU to divert from normal program execution and take immediate actions.This tutorial first describes the interrupt system in general and then illustrates how it is handled in PIC micrcontrollers.
Interrupts in PIC micrcontrollers - [Link]
Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created an ultra-fast 1,000-core computer processor. The core is the part of a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) which reads and executes instructions. Originally, computers were developed with only one core processor but, today, processors with two, four or even sixteen cores are commonplace. [via]
1,000 cores on one chip – [Link]
A common challenge when working with embedded systems is keeping track of real time. Luckily, most microcontrollers have timers that can be used with a precision quartz crystal — already present for the CPU clock — to keep track of real time. In this video tutorial, we show how you can use the timer interrupts on an ATMega168 chip to make a simple timer. Building off of this, it is possible to make your own reasonably accurate alarm clock, create systems to perform timed automated tasks, or create a multitude of other projects.
Crystal Real Time Clock - [Link]