The history of ARM - from obscurity to ubiquitousness

Posted on Monday, December 21 2020 @ 11:29 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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Everybody knows ARM these days but not a lot of people know the history of the British chip designer. ARS Technica decided it was time to change this. The site published an interesting background article that explains how an obscure British PC maker conquered the world via a processor architecture that indirectly owes its existence to an educational TV show. You can read it over here.
The engineering of the BBC Micro really pushed Acorn's limits, as it was a pretty state-of-the-art machine for the era. This resulted in some fascinatingly half-ass but workable engineering decisions, like having to replicate the placement of an engineer's finger on the motherboard with a resistor pack in order to get the machine to work.

Nobody ever really figured out why the machine only worked when a finger was placed on a certain point on the motherboard, but once they were able to emulate the finger touch with resistors, they were just satisfied it worked, and moved on.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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