I admit it: I'm a total geek. I love electronics, programming, 3D art, vintage Apple hardware, and whisky. I'm always juggling half a dozen projects. I also enjoy documenting it all: my successes, my failures, my experiences... and everything geeky along the way.

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A Close Look at a '70s Pico Chip | Kevin Rye.net - Main

Kevin Rye

Geek Extraordinaire. Yeh, I said it.

A Close Look at a '70s Pico Chip

I was digging through my memory box when I came across this old wafer of chips that my Dad gave me years ago. These are back from the Pico days. Who knows what they are? Could be calculator microcontrollers, could be from an Accutrac turntable. My Dad’s fairly certain it's an Accutrac wafer, since the calculator projects were mostly over when he joined Pico. Then again, you never know. There could have been an old calculator wafer still lying around. He might have found it in a scrap pile or in a desk drawer somewhere. I would have kept it too!


Here it is next to a quarter to give you an idea of the size. Pretty small.


I put the chips on my scanner and scanned them at the highest setting, 19200 dpi. Most people scan at 300 or 600dpi, so this image is HUGE!

Pico chip

I zoomed in a little more. That one chip has a resolution of 4430 x 4148 and is 20 Megs!

chip zoom 19200 bits

I panned around looking for some cool stuff. I found Pico’s name along the edge of the chip. That’s pretty neat. Maybe it’s some sort of anti-counterfeiting measure? Maybe it’s just an autograph; I put my name on all my designs!


It’s really neat to see a chip up this close. There’s some crazy stuff going on!

Pico chip zoom 4

It almost looks like the arial view of some alien city!

Pico chip zoom 3

I thought that area must be RAM since it looks like it's a pretty orderly looking matrix. I've seen other high rez scans of chips and areas like that are almost always RAM, or some kind of memory.

It's funny, I though that it looked like windows in an apartment building. So I zoomed in a little more.


I found him!