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If you used discrete components how big would it be?

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by MC, Mar 25, 2005.

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  1. MC

    MC Guest

  2. Chasing Kate

    Chasing Kate Guest

    If you were limited to only using transistors and other
    standard discrete components how big would a typical
    home computer be?
  3. The Pentium 4 alone has 50+ Million transistors, not to mention support
    chips. Would you like some memory with that?
    You do the math...
    Of course the size would depend on what package your discretes are in
    and what kind of board and loading you used.
    Performance could be a bit sluggish too... :->

    Dave :)
  4. Depends. Faced with the necessity to provide a special room solely for
    the home computer, most people were sit down and do some serious
    thinking about what facilities they really needed and could afford.

    My 2c is that 90% of modern computer capacity is wasted and never used.
  5. Hunter1

    Hunter1 Guest

    Shit, where I work probly only about a quarter of what we have flies
    along, the rest labours intensely under the kind of loads we put on it,
    and my home PC is just the same, doesn't matter how many times I
    upgrade, the resources run dry within 6 months and things start to
    slowww down. The problem is it's much easier to write software that
    utilises additional processing power/memory/storage space/graphics
    capability/etc.etc. than it is to design hardware to cater for it.
  6. Fred Ferd

    Fred Ferd Guest

    I have 1/2 gigabyte of ram.

    thats 4 gigabit. 4000 million bits.

    Each bit requires one transistor and one capacitor, and then theres

    The rest of the system hardly adds many transistors to that.

    but 4 billion transistors is going to take a lot of discrete components !
  7. Fred Ferd

    Fred Ferd Guest

  8. quietguy

    quietguy Guest

    But just think of how many jobs board level repairs would create!

  9. Don't confuse grunt (speed, ram, etc) with facilities (SIO, PIP, USB,
    Fire, Midi, etc)

    Besides, you might work in Game development or GIS or Video editing,
    which I agree are very demanding.
  10. Rod Speed

    Rod Speed Guest

    Huge. I actually used a couple of minis and mainframes from
    the discrete transistor era and the DEC PDP9 was a whole
    series of wardrobe sized metal cabinets that you could actually
    stand in when you swung out the back door which had the entire
    computer proper on postcard sized plug in cards which plugged
    in in a huge array that filled the entire back door with the cards
    all effectively stacked up vertically. Each postcard sized card
    had about 10 transistors on it with most of the cards. And that
    was only 8K, nothing like the memory of a modern PC.

    The mainframes were physically even bigger,
    and werent anything like the horsepower of
    a PC or anything like the memory either.
  11. DerolicKton

    DerolicKton Guest

    The mainframes were physically even bigger,
    I thoughtmy PDP-11 was big.
    Apparently the first Cray-1(1976ish i think) did about 80 megaflops/per
    second. Apparently an athlon 2800 does around 670megaflops
  12. Rod Speed

    Rod Speed Guest

    Plenty of the 360s didnt.

    And plenty of the older stuff like the 7090 did anyway.
  13. Rod Speed

    Rod Speed Guest

    The discrete transistor computers mostly
    didnt do it that way, they used core instead.
  14. KLR

    KLR Guest

    Ferrite toroid core memory was possibly used in that era. These could
    be made into quite small sizes (though massive compared to silicon
    RAM). These arrays would be driven by power transistors - though
    being arranged in a matrix grid, this would drastically cut the number
    or driver transistors that would have been needed.Still have a board of it here somewhere that I never bothered to chuck
  15. Fred

    Fred Guest

    My 2c is that 90% of modern computer capacity is wasted and never used.
    yes but its the unused features of the software that cause bloat.

    and these computers may be stalled by the lack of ram, or by slow hard

    I dont know how to derive the 90%. That may well be wildly inaccruate. maybe
    its 60% or 99%.
  16. Chasing Kate

    Chasing Kate Guest

  17. Chasing Kate

    Chasing Kate Guest

    OK for example transistors in the tiny black
    plastic they usually come in..... I can well
    imagine how big it would be LOL.....

    I was asking out of curiosity
  18. Chasing Kate

    Chasing Kate Guest

    Is that like a board of tiny donut rings?

    I've seen one very briefly at a TAFE way
    back in the 80s when I did a computing course.

    They were teaching courses in BASIC because
    at the time it seemed popular. Around 1982 /83
  19. Rod Speed

    Rod Speed Guest

    They werent normally done on a board.
  20. Rod Speed

    Rod Speed Guest

    Nar, they reduced the height of the cabinets for most of those.

    The local council was chucking out their 11/44, with rows of CDC cartridge
    pack drives as big as washing machines. Never got a bid at the auction. I
    almost ended up in tears when someone was eying off the system cabinet,
    decent metal doors etc, which was about to be carted up the dump. He
    was considering gutting it and turning into a cubby for his kids.
    Yeah, thats the other thing that has changed dramatically, apart from
    the number of transistors used, the raw horsepower is out of sight.

    The one I used before the PDP9 was a PDP8S. The S stands for serial,
    serial access to the registers rather than parallel. Cycle time of 10uS.

    I had that measuring light decay to the nanosecond
    using a sampling cro that it was driving.
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