The Winner

One of the best chips ever made was Dave Fullagar’s µ741 which came out in 1968 to instant success.


A contemporary Fairchild  internal memo dated June 1968  quoted in Bo Lojek’s incomparable History of Semiconductor Engineering, reads:


‘The µ741 has surpassed all expectations as the Second Generation successor to the µ709.


‘Since its announcement on May 6th, we’ve shipped more µ741s than any other new LIC – the orders are still pouring in!


‘We’ve got a winner!!!’


Eight months after that memo, in February 1969, Fullagar left Fairchild to join Intersil.

Tags: eight months, Fairchild, second generation

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  1. Robtronic
    December 11, 2012 15:15

    My little darling is the LM723, the best voltage regulator ever made. None of that thermal cutout nonsense, you can drop it into an oil well at 200°C and it will tick away merrily day and night.
    Foldback current limiting works properly and it can even be set up to work as a switcher. I would love to know who invented it. I have looked but no joy so far. Anyone?

  2. SecretEuroPatentAgentMan
    December 10, 2012 22:34

    There have been a few really spiffy chips that earned their commercial success. The 555 is another one. And I remember you have previously also praised the 6502.
    Then there are the really good chips that were awfully executed and failed accordingly. I would like to nominate DSP56300 from Motorola for this award. Having a PCT bus, tons of IO, serial ports and more I had expected this to be part of any modern PC motherboard, simply by the ability to offload a lot of serial port and modem work. Also the processor core was pleasant to work with, in the best of traditions of Motorola.
    Tragically the chip was launched with major errors and even the heroic support by Motorola engineers could not rescue the design. I worked on this chip at the time and the bugs landed us in some seriously hot water with respect to product launch.

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