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mrentropy's avatar

Is there a story behind the Compaq motherboard 'doodles'?

Asked by mrentropy (17188points) February 17th, 2012

Long ago, in the days of the mighty 486, some Compaq motherboards had pictures on them. I remember one being of Wile E. Coyote, I think there was one with the Roadrunner, and one had some sort of castle tower or something. Since we worked with a lot of Compaqs where I worked we used to set them aside and collect them.

The other day I remembered about them and went looking on the web to see if there was any story behind them. Oddly enough, I found nothing. The best I got was someone else asking roughly the same question (with no answer) and one picture of a motherboard with a skier on it.

Does anyone know anything about them? Perhaps know someone that worked at Compaq back then? Or know someone that knows someone?

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1 Answer

jaytkay's avatar

Chip art , also known as silicon art, chip graffiti or silicon doodling, refers to microscopic artwork built into integrated circuits, also called chips or ICs. Since ICs are printed by photolithography, not constructed a component at a time, there is no additional cost to include features in otherwise unused space on the chip. Designers have used this freedom to put all sorts of artwork on the chips themselves, from designers’ simple initials to rather complex drawings. Given the small size of chips, these figures cannot be seen without a microscope. Chip graffiti is sometimes called the hardware version of software easter eggs.

The Silicon Zoo When we put the computer chips under the microscope we found some very interesting creatures hiding there…

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