People who need a computer normally go to a store and buy one from anywhere between $500 and $3,000. But there are some geeks who like to built their own computer. Today we are going to meet a huge home built computer, sadly which only enough power to play Tetris.
James Newman from Cambridge, UK, started building “Megaprocessor” – a huge home built computer, in 2012. And he spent £40,000 ($53,000) to finish this 33ft (10m) wide and 6ft (2m) high computer. It contains 40,000 transistors, 10,000 LED lights and it weighs around half a tonne (500kg).
Because of its size now you think, it could be a supercomputer but sadly its not.
Megaprocessor does the job of a chip-sized microprocessor,because it’s a 16-bit machine that only has 256 Bytes of RAM (which, however small that number seems, takes up around 10 square feet of space) and a 20kHz-clocked processor. So far, he has used it to play the classic video game Tetris.
Mr Newman, a digital electronics engineer, started the project because he was learning about transistors and wanted to visualize how a microprocessor worked. Checkout his diary of the build progress.
In his website he said : “Computers are quite opaque, looking at them it’s impossible to see how they work. What I would like to do is get inside and see what’s going on. Trouble is we can’t shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually SEE the data moving and the logic happening. It’s going to be great.”
Mr Newman hopes the Megaprocessor will be used as an educational tool and is planning a series of open days at his home over the summer. “My dream is that it goes to a museum or educational institute so that people can learn from it,” he told the BBC.
Check out an overview of what the Megaprocessor consists of and what it can do in the video, below.