Maker and classic computing fanatic Dr. Scott M. Baker has designed a single-board laptop constructed round what is usually understood to be the world’s first eight-bit programmable microprocessor: the Intel 8008.
The exceedingly-retro single-board laptop construct was impressed by Baker’s earlier work on creating a “downgrade” board for his Heathkit H8, which changed the gadget’s authentic Intel 8080, launched in 1974, with the sooner and binary-incompatible Intel 8008. Having constructed an Intel 8008 CPU board, then, including the remainder of the pc appears a logical subsequent step.
“I made a decision to take that design and translate it again right into a single board laptop, with an elective show board,” Baker explains. “On the similar time, I made a number of enhancements, for instance rising the banked reminiscence help from 32kB RAM/ROM to 128kB RAM/ROM. Now, we don’t actually need all that RAM, however the ROM is beneficial to retailer extra applications that could be financial institution switched in.”
The pc itself suits on a single board, making it a real single-board laptop, although show and enter take up a second board — providing the seven-segment numerical LED readouts and hexadecimal keypad inputs frequent to computer systems of the period, although with the added bonus of a buzzer linked to a fancy sound generator with three voices and a noise engine and really swish LED backlights to the keys.
“A number of Programmable Logic Units (PLDs) are used to deal with bus indicators, IO [Input/Output] addressing, interrupt help, and many others.,” Baker writes. “The PLDs used are GAL22V10D. Every one replaces a few half-dozen discrete logic chips, vastly lowering board measurement and element depend. There’s nothing magic in them — they’re simply plain unusual logic comprised of your typical ANDs and ORs and such.”
The primary board is a completely self-contained SBC with serial connectivity, whereas an elective show board provides LEDs, a keypad, and sound. (📷: Dr. Scott M. Baker)
On the software program entrance, the machine helps Baker’s customised 8008 Monitor, primarily based on an earlier program written by Jim Loos, Scelbi Fundamental, Baker’s Jonesforth port 8008-Forth, and Galaxy, a clone of the basic Star Trek recreation written in 8008 meeting.