Tag Archives: ALU
Ken Shirriff has written an article on reverse engineering the ALU of the 8008 microprocessor:
A computer’s arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) is the heart of the processor, performing arithmetic and logic operations on data. If you’ve studied digital logic, you’ve probably learned how to combine simple binary adder circuits to build an ALU. However, the 8008’s ALU uses clever logic circuits that can perform multiple operations efficiently. And unlike most 1970’s microprocessors, the 8008 uses a complex carry-lookahead circuit to increase its performance.
The 8008 was Intel’s first 8-bit microprocessor, introduced 45 years ago.1 While primitive by today’s standards, the 8008 is historically important because it essentially started the microprocessor revolution and is the ancestor of the x86 processor family that are probably using right now.2 I recently took some die photos of the 8008, which I described earlier. In this article, I reverse-engineer the 8008’s ALU circuits from these die photos and explain how the ALU functions.
Reverse-engineering the ALU of 8008 microprocessor – [Link]
A detailed die photos and reverse engineering of the 74181 ALU chip by Ken Shirriff:
What’s inside a TTL chip? To find out, I opened up a 74181 ALU chip, took high-resolution die photos, and reverse-engineered the chip.1 Inside I found several types of gates, implemented with interesting circuitry and unusual transistors. The 74181 was a popular chip in the 1970s used to perform calculations in the arithmetic-logic unit (ALU) of minicomputers. It is a moderately complex chip containing about 67 gates and 170 transistors3, implemented using fast and popular TTL (transistor-transistor logic) circuitry.
Inside the 74181 ALU chip: die photos and reverse engineering – [Link]
Dave @ daveshacks.blogspot.co.uk takes a look inside the first ARM microprocessor and explains it’s design.
With that in mind I embarked on my own attempt to reverse-engineer parts of the armv1. Some background knowledge of the processor’s architecture is helpful, and googling for “ARM Architecture Reference Manual” will lead you to very detailed descriptions of the more modern versions of the processor. By just looking at the masks and knowing a little about the processor’s architecture it’s possible to make some good guesses at what some of the blocks are.
Inside the ALU of the first ARM microprocessor – [Link]