Sunday, August 26, 2007

Which came first - the Chip or the Socket?

Q: Which came first, the integrated circuit chip, or the socket into which it fits?

A: The socket came first (at least conceptually). Before a chip is designed, there is a framework defined into which the chip will integrate: Digital vs analog signals, voltage levels for digital one and digital zero, power requirements, clock rates, transistor type, etc. This usually results in the design of whole families of chips that are intended to work together.

SO, no chip is created in isolation, just as no software component should be. Otherwise, the result would be that there is no common framework with which other components can be attached (Super-glue, play-doh, and duct tape not withstanding).

Of course, as I wrote back in 2000, there is no such thing as a component (in the same way that there is no such thing as a donut hole).

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