Macro microchip

Technology
Macro microchip

Chip Inside
From the MAKE Flickr photo pool

Member etharooni gives us a macro peek inside an IC package –

It really is amazing. This is a BIOS chip that holds about 256KB of EPROM memory. (Thanks oskay) Millions of transistors fill up just a little less than one square millimeter, slightly less computing power as the ENIAC filling up a big ol’ room.

Microchip on Flickr

20 thoughts on “Macro microchip

  1. The Oracle says:

    First of all, the chip pictured is 256 kilobits, not kilobytes.

    Second it has no computing power, it’s a memory chip. Not just less than the ENIAC, but less than the stone in a 1-bead abacus.

  2. Collin Cunningham says:

    Thanks for the insight – seems Oskay has been clarifying a bit already on Flickr –

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/etharooni/2553195270/in/pool-make

    corrections withstanding, always fascinating to have a look below the hood.

  3. MW says:

    Not entirely true.. ROM’s can be used as a computational machine of sorts. See this link for more details:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programmable_logic_device#Using_a_ROM_as_a_PLD

  4. etharooni says:

    Yeah, it’s me. I’m on the blog! Yay!

    I didn’t quite do my research on the chip, all I knew is that it was pulled from a motherboard. yeah. If I knew I posting for a bunch of nerds, I would have. I was just trying to make a point.

    But it is still a really cool picture, I think.

  5. Collin Cunningham says:

    thanks for sharing on our flickr pool – it is a cool picture.

    now I can’t speak for everyone, but personally I prefer the term ‘geek’ ;)

  6. The Oracle says:

    @MW, good point. I even used that technique once in school to be a smartass. We had to build a specific combination circuit “using only 7400 series” chips. I noticed the 7400 series has some ram chips, so I used one of those, exactly the way the wikipedia link describes.

    @etharooni, there’s always somebody waiting to point out your mistakes just like MW did to me on this thread. If you’re going to post something, do your research ;) I’ve used the chip you have pictured, and when you pay $25 for 256kbits of memory several times, you don’t forget.

    Why do you say it’s smaller than a square millimeter? The chip is 0.6 inches wide, or about 15mm wide, so just from the picture, the wafer is about 4mm tall, by 2mm wide. It looks to be about 8 square millimeters.

    Also, where did you get the millions of transistors figure, and how do you equate that to the ENIAC which had about 18,000 vacuum tubes? Intel CPUs didn’t pass a million until the 486 in 1989.

    And why would you call an EPROM a “BIOS chip”. Sure, that’s one possible use for that general purpose device, but it’s like calling my desktop computer a “Makezine blog poster”, because that’s one thing that can be done with it.

    It is a nice picture, but doesn’t really show any more than I can see with my eyes when I look at the chip. Can you get a detailed picture of the wafer itself?

    @Colin – a geek is a sideshow freak who bites the heads off live chickens. Even in modern slang, from Wikipedia, “The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, gaming, etc”

    So geek is pretty offensive no matter how you look at it. If you think the terms fits you, that’s your issue.

  7. The Oracle says:

    Oh, and etharooni,
    “Nerd is a term often bearing a derogatory connotation or stereotype, that refers to a person who passionately pursues intellectual activities, esoteric knowledge, or other obscure interests that are age inappropriate rather than engaging in more social or popular activities. Therefore, a nerd is often excluded from physical activity and considered a loner by peers.”

    So that’s quite an insult you tossed at me. May as well have just thrown the f-word, it would have been less offensive.

  8. Collin Cunningham says:

    @The Oracle – if by “Colin” you mean me (Collin) – Thanks for looking it up for me, but rest assured that I’m aware of the historical meaning of the word “geek” and it’s modern usage. That’s why I used it – ya dig?

    Thanks for being such a frequent and diligent commenter!

  9. The Oracle says:

    Sorry for getting your name wrong, Collin. I didn’t pick up on what you meant by the correction last time. I will try not to let it happen again.

  10. etharooni says:

    Oh sorry! I see nerd as a positive statement, I’m proud to be a nerd! I use nerd and geek interchangeably.

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