Sam Zeloof was 17 years old and at the end of high school when in 2018 he made his own little computer chip in the garage.
The first version, called the Z1, only had six transistors, which hardly counts by today’s standard, but it’s still an impressive feat that many have yet to do. He spent two years making it, making much of the equipment he needed.
The piece itself was designed in Photoshop, because what it says «… It was much easier than more specialized software».
It is of course limited to using a chip with only six transistors – or if you can call it a processor at all – but Zeloof explains in the video below that he used the chip to control the flashing of an LED and that he also made a guitar pedal using his piece.
200 times more transistors in three years
However, the Z1 needed roughly 10V to operate, which was mostly made a little off. Therefore, he has now made the second version, i.e. Z2, that contains up to 100 transistors. And as if that weren’t enough, he made at least 12 of these on the same silicon chip, leaving practically a processor with 1,200 transistors.
Although it cannot be compared to current technology from Intel or AMD, it is much better than the Z1. And if you really want to compare with Intel, then Intel had the first processor, Model 4004 was launched in 1971, no more than 2,250 transistors. However, it required an entire company to design and produce. The process used is almost the same for both the Z2 and the Intel 4004, in this way Zeloof was also able to reduce the power requirement from approx. 10 volts down to 1 volt.
For further comparison, Intel had The famous 8086 processor About. 25,000 transistors, while today the most advanced of its kind is less than 20 billion (AMD Ryzen 9 5950X).
Incidentally, Zeloof also experimented with chips with 1,500 transistors and is believed to have devised one that works at 100 percent and two where about 80 percent of transistors work.
Here you can watch a video in which Zeloof gives a quick overview of the process:
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