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This is neat: Chip Art

April 25, 2012

If you take a pair of pliers to your laptop and crack open the plastic casing, you’ll find a greenish motherboard with all the guts of the computer attached to it.  One of these guts is the computer’s CPU, a little square computer chip that probably has the word “Intel” printed on it.  If you strip the epoxy coating off of the CPU and put it under a microscope, what you’ll see will look a lot like the downtown of a city from a helicopter.  Rectangles and rectangles and rectangles of transistors printed on a silicon wafer.

And this.

Source: Chipworks

When there’s extra space on a computer chip, sometimes the chip designers like to have fun with it.

The practice of putting little pictures on computer chips is called chip art.  Though the practice is discouraged, it’s hard to get caught doing it – you’d have to void the warranty on your computer and put it under a microscope to see that it’s even there.  There were even reports of “bill sux” inscribed on a Pentium chip, but it turned out to be a hoax.

Chipworks, a company that specializes in analyzing computer chip circuitry for copyright infringement, keeps a gallery of all the chip art they’ve bumped into over the years.

There he is!
Source: Chipworks

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