Examining the core memory module inside a vintage IBM 1401 mainframe


Ken Shirriff writes:

The IBM 1401 mainframe computer was announced in 1959 and by the mid-1960s had become the best-selling computer, extremely popular with medium and large businesses because of its low cost. A key component of the 1401’s success was its 4,000 character core memory, which stored data on tiny magnetized rings called cores.
The core module is surprisingly complex, as can be seen above, with thousands of tiny cores mounted on red wires. The module consists of 16 frames stacked together and requires a large amount of wiring. The remainder of the article will dive into the details of this core module. (For an overview of the 1401, see my articles about Bitcoin mining and fractals on the 1401.)

Details at Ken Shirriff’s blog.

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