if you scaled up, say, a midrange modern i5 CPU up so that each printed transistor is the size of the first transistor (from bell labs!), how big would it be?

i had an answer all lined up to this question and i hit refresh and FUCKING LOST IT

durr ok

ivy bridge i5′s have about 1.4 billion xistors

here is bell’s first transistor made in 1947:


it was a 3 terminal n-type field effect transistor. it had to be kept in a vaccum. the kind of transistors you’d find on a CPU would be 4-terminal p- or n-type metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs). so the translation here isn’t very clean, but let’s roll with it. it’s probably also important to understand the fundamental building block isn’t so much a single transistor as it is two xisistors (one NPN, one PNP) coupled to form a CMOS inverter


gonna ballpark it and say that thing is 2cm wide, 6cm long, and 8cm tall weighing 500 grams or so

multiply by 1.4 billion, you get: