People Innovation Excellence

How Much Did Early Transistors Cost?

By Rachel Courtland

In our coverage of the 50th anniversary of Moore’s Law, you might have noticed a few different numbers being thrown around for the price of transistors in the early days of the integrated circuit.

There’s Carver Mead’s recollection that Caltech students were buying discrete transistors for about a dollar or so around 1960 – about $8 today.

A similar figure crops up in Dan Hutcheson’s beautiful plot of transistor prices and production levels since 1955. According to his data, the average transistor price in 1965 wasn’t very far off from that $8 mark.   …[Read More]


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