Intel 4004


The Intel 4004 is a historic 4-bit microprocessor, developed in 1971 as the first commercially available complete CPU on a single integrated circuit chip. Designed by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, Stanley Mazor, and Masatoshi Shima, it marked the beginning of the microprocessor revolution and marked a significant shift in computer architecture. The 4004 was primarily used in calculators, simple embedded systems, and other small-scale electronic devices.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Intel 4004” would be:In-tel four thousand four

Key Takeaways

  1. Intel 4004 was the world’s first commercially available microprocessor, a groundbreaking development in the history of computing.
  2. Released in 1971, the 4004 was a 4-bit CPU, developed for programmable calculators and had a clock speed of up to 740 kHz, enabling it to execute up to 92,000 instructions per second.
  3. The Intel 4004’s success paved the way for future microprocessors and played a critical role in the evolution of personal computers and other electronic devices that have revolutionized the way people work and live today.


The Intel 4004 holds immense significance in the realm of technology as it was the world’s first commercially available microprocessor.

Launched in 1971 by Intel Corporation, this groundbreaking invention revolutionized computing by centralizing the functions of the CPU (central processing unit) on a single integrated circuit (IC). The 4-bit 4004 was a pioneering development in microprocessor design, ushering in the era of personal computing and laying the foundation for modern, compact electronic devices.

It spurred advancements in computer technology by making it possible to create smaller, more affordable, and versatile products, allowing computing power to transition from the domain of large corporations to personal users and smaller businesses.

Ultimately, the Intel 4004 served as the catalyst for the evolution of today’s sophisticated digital landscape.


The Intel 4004 was a groundbreaking invention that played a crucial role in the inception of modern computing. As the first commercial microprocessor, it allowed for the integration of data processing and advanced control functions in a variety of applications, thus transforming the landscape of electronics.

The purpose of the Intel 4004 was to perform complex computing tasks as efficiently as possible, which was achieved by processing data in tiny bits rather than relying on large, centralized machines. This microprocessor enabled the development of smaller, smarter and more affordable electronic devices, making computing power accessible to a wider range of industries and users.

Before the Intel 4004, electronic devices relied on a combination of separate components such as transistors, resistors, and capacitors, which were often bulky and expensive. With the advent of this revolutionary microprocessor, engineers could design more compact and sophisticated systems, including calculators, traffic light controllers, and even early versions of home computers.

Essentially, the 4004 provided a foundation for the rapid expansion of computing technology, making it a pivotal step in the evolution of the digital age. As a powerful, miniature computing core, the Intel 4004 altered the perception of electronic devices and the role they could play in daily life, opening the door to the myriad of advanced technologies we rely on today.

Examples of Intel 4004

The Intel 4004 microprocessor, introduced in 1971, was the world’s first commercially available microprocessor. It paved the way for miniaturization of computing systems and helped launch the modern digital era. Here are three real-world examples of the technology:

Busicom 141-PF Calculator: Busicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer, partnered with Intel to develop the 4004 microprocessor. The Busicom 141-PF was the first calculator that used the Intel 4004 processor. This advanced calculator incorporated multiple memory registers and was programmable with several arithmetic functions, allowing users to perform more complicated calculations than with earlier calculators.

SCM CTP 2200 Electronic Terminal: The Intel 4004 microprocessor was used in the Smith Corona Marchant (SCM) CTP 2200 electronic terminal, which was introduced in

This terminal was designed for use with typewriters and provided advanced features such as automatic justification and proportional spacing in real-time. These features were achievable due to the combination of SCM’s advanced Typetronic keyboard mechanism and the Intel 4004’s processing power.

Plessey System 250 Traffic Signal Controller: Plessey, a British electronics company, used the Intel 4004 for their System 250 Traffic Signal Controller. This advanced traffic control system began replacing earlier electromechanical systems in the 1970s and allowed for more efficient management of traffic flow with programmable signal timings and the ability to respond to changing traffic conditions.These examples demonstrate how the Intel 4004 microprocessor laid the foundation for the rapid growth of digital technology and enabled significant advancements in various industries, including calculators, electronic terminals, and traffic control systems.

FAQ Section – Intel 4004

What is the Intel 4004?

The Intel 4004 is a 4-bit microprocessor, designed by Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stanley Mazor at Intel. It was released in 1971 and is known as the first commercially available microprocessor, paving the way for modern computing.

What was the purpose of the Intel 4004?

The Intel 4004 was initially designed for use in calculators but quickly grew to be applied in other electronic devices such as ticketing machines, cash registers, and other business machine applications. The 4004 demonstrated the feasibility and benefits of integrating many features into a single integrated circuit making applications smaller and more efficient.

What were the technical specifications of the Intel 4004?

The Intel 4004 had 2,300 transistors, a 4-bit data bus, and a 12-bit address bus, with a clock rate of 740 kHz. The microprocessor could process 92,600 instructions per second and had a total of 46 instructions supported in its instruction set.

How did the Intel 4004 impact the microprocessor industry?

The Intel 4004 was a revolutionary product that laid the foundation for the microprocessor industry. It demonstrated the advantages of integrating multiple functionalities into a single chip which led to a new generation of processors, paving the way for the development of the modern personal computer and other electronic devices.

What came after the Intel 4004?

After the success of the Intel 4004, Intel continued to develop new and more advanced microprocessors. Some of their notable releases include the Intel 8008, the Intel 8080, the Intel 8086 (which served as the basis for the x86 architecture that is still used in modern computers), and more recently, the Intel Core series of processors.

Related Technology Terms

  • Microprocessor
  • 4-bit architecture
  • Intel Corporation
  • Federico Faggin
  • Binary-Coded Decimal (BCD)

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