If you think it is impossible to make a computer chip by yourself, you are wrong. Sam Zeloof just made his second homemade silicon wafer Integrated circuit with 1200 transistors, By using the same technology that Intel did for its first CPUs in the 1970s.
Zeloof’s story is impressive: Fe begins to build his The first chip in 2018 Called Z1, it uses a 5 micron PMOS process. He started making chips in high school, and obtained all the information and machines needed to make chips from home.
Now in 2021, Zeloof has created his The second computer, a chip named Z2The chip is several orders of magnitude larger than the Z1. There are 1200 transistors on a single chip, while there are only 6 on the Z1.
Compared with Zeloof’s first design, Z2 is also more efficient. By switching from the metal gate process to the polysilicon gate process, he was able to reduce the voltage input required by the chip from 10v to only 1v, thereby significantly reducing power consumption.
In contrast, Intel’s 4004 CPU has 2,200 transistors, while Z2 has 1,200, and is built using the same process. The work that required the entire company in the 1970s is now done by one person in his own home.
His rate of return is not perfect, which is what the home laboratory can expect. Among the 12 Z2s he manufactured, only one is fully functional, and the remaining functions are about 80%. So there are more adjustments and optimizations to be done.
Zeloof has proven that as long as you have the right amount of knowledge, you can build your own integrated circuits at home, as well as the best—at least the best of the 1970s.
Don’t expect any of Zeloof’s chips to fall on us Best CPU List as soon as possible. But we can’t wait to see what he can do after Z2.