December 12th, 2010 ~ by admin

CPU of the Day: Ferranti FBH 5092 – The F100L MCM

In the 1970’s the British electronics company Ferranti was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense to develop a processor for military applications.  The desire was for something along the lines of the American MIL-STD-1750A processor.

Ferranti F100L - 1986

In 1977 Ferranti released the F100-L 16-bit processor. It was made using Bipolar technology (rather then MOS) so it could easily hit speeds of 8MHz (albeit getting rather warm in the process).  The F100-L was one of the first 16-bit processors made (along with the National Semiconductor PACE). The processor contained over 1500 gates and was made using  collector diffusion isolation (an enhanced Bipolar design) and was produced with 3.5 micron features. The die itself occupied 60mm^2.

Ferranti F100-L Die

The F100-L was designed to handle real time data quickly and efficiently (time critical processing of signals and information is always one of the key requirements of a military specific design).  It however was not as adaptable or flexible for use in standard computing environments.  Ferranti tried to sell it commercially with only limited success.  It ended up in some of the same uses as the Signetics/SMS 8X300 series of processors.

Ferranti FBH5092 - F100-L Hybrid Module

Ferranti also made the F100-L in a Hybrid, or MCM (Multi-Chip-Module) that contained a F100-L processor, a F101-L Multiply/Divide unit (a simple FPU), clock generators, and a pair of F112-L Data Interfaces to act as buffers.  All of ths was packaged in a single 64 pin DIP.

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CPU of the Day