Looking At Standard-Cell Design in the Pentium processor

Whereas the CPUs and similar ASICs of the 1970s had their transistors laid out manually, with the move from LSI to VLSI, it became necessary to optimize the process of laying out the transistors and the metal interconnects between them. This resulted in the development of standard-cells: effectively batches of transistors with each a specific function that could be chained together. First simple and then more advanced auto-routing algorithms handled the placement and routing of these standard elements, leading to dies with easily recognizable structures under an optical microscope. Case in point an original (P54C) Intel Pentium, which [Ken Shirriff] took an in-depth look at.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://hackaday.com/2024/07/09/looking-at-standard-cell-design-in-the-pentium-processor/