|Re: HP-15C LE: why emulate?|
Message #17 Posted by Steve Leibson on 11 Jan 2012, 10:24 a.m.,
in response to message #16 by uhmgawa
Yes, CAD was in use at that time. What that meant was that people didn't need to hand draw the polygons. They could drag a rectangle into place. More advanced: you could drag the symbol of a transistor onto a schematic and that would cause the rectangles to be generated. HDLs and synthesis tools did not come into wide use until very late in the 1980s and did not exist at all when the 12C/15C processor were developed.
The HP 12C was introduced in 1981. That means the processor chip was designed in 1980 or 1979. That's before the IBM PC was introduced. So bringing that design into the 21st century is akin to trying to bring one of my WordStar for CP/M files from one of my NorthStar Horizon's 10-hole, hard sector floppy disks into one of today's systems. First, there's the format conversion from WordStar's file format. Then there's the problem of reading a 10-hole, hard-sector, 5.25-inch floppy disk. Seen a new computer with any sort of floppy disk lately, let alone a 5.25-inch floppy?
That's assuming the oxide hasn't fallen off the disk already.
Now the design files for the original 12C/15C processor aren't likely to be on floppy disks. They're more likely to be on 9-track magnetic tape in GDS format. Those would be the files for mask making. The other design docs may or may not be even findable. In fact, the GDS files might not be findable after 30 years either.
FInally, the documentation of the reverse-engineered NEWT processor is truly impressive and I do not mean to say anything against it. But (A) it's not a chip design and (B) it doesn't belong to HP. Thus there is effort and risk needed to transform it into a chip. The HP 41CL project proves this can be done, with effort (and a lot of love).
Edited: 11 Jan 2012, 10:27 a.m.