Hand-wired core for ROM?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Fri Apr 10 17:23:43 CDT 2015

    > From: Brent Hilpert

    > Core rope ROM has one magnetic core per the word-width of the memory.
    > That is, a memory of (say) 1024 16-bit words would have 16 cores.

Not always (although your basic point, that in core ROM, a single core is
often/usually used for more than one bit, is a very key point to note); the
Apollo rope ROM had one core per 192 bits, or 12 words of 16 bits each,
"thousands of ... cores" per memory rope. See:


and there's a picture of one here:


(see slide #15).

Those notes do contain an interesting aside: "rearrange the program's
fixed-memory allocations to avoid cases where such sets of 12 words contained
too many ones to fit in their cores", which implies that the cores were
fairly small, physically (since a one involved running the wire _through_ the
core, not around it).

I don't know why they didn't make the cores larger, and have fewer of them;
my suspicion is that in manufacturing terms, it was easier to have more of
them, with less wires through each one. (I can't think of an _electrical_
reason to do so; unlike with RAM cores, where smaller cores are faster to
switch, and take less power to do so.)


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