This Month in Computer History

Computer History
1970s, cray

In March of 1976, 48 years ago, the first Cray-1 supercomputer was installed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. This was serial number “1”.  This first Cray, cost almost $10 million, back then! The system was a cylindrical tower seven feet tall, nine feet in diameter, and weighed about 5.5 tons. The machine produced so much heat that it required a built-in freon-based refrigeration system. It required its own electrical substation to power it, at a cost of about  $35K a month.

The Cray-1 was Cray’s first design to use integrated circuits (ICs).  ICs had been available since the 1960s.  However it wasn’t until the early 1970s that they reached the point where they could be used for high-speed applications. The Cray-1 used four different IC types. An ECL dual 5-4 NOR gate , another slower MECL 10K 5-4 NOR gate used for address fanout, a 16×4-bit high speed static RAM (SRAM) used for registers and a 1,024×1-bit SRAM used for main memory. These integrated circuits were supplied by Fairchild Semiconductor and Motorola.  In all, the Cray-1 contained about 200,000 gates.

Serial Number 1 today is at the Chippewa Falls Museum of Industry and Technology in Chippewa Falls, WI.

Tags: 1970s, cray

Related Posts