Synertek

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Synertek
Synertek, Inc.
Founded1973
Defunct1985
FateAcquired by Honeywell
HeadquartersSanta Clara, California, United States

Synertek, Inc. was an American semiconductor manufacturer founded in 1973. The initial staff consisted of Bob Schreiner (the CEO), Dan Floyd, Jack Balletto, and Gunnar Wetlesen (all formerly employed at Fairchild Semiconductor)[1] and Zvi Grinfas.[citation needed]

The company's initial products included custom-designed devices, and line of standard products (static RAMs, ROMs, dynamic and static shift registers) built using MOS/LSI technology.[2] Around 1979 the company produced second source versions of MOS Technology's successful 6502 8-bit microprocessor, and the (less successful) Philips/Signetics 2650 processor and the Zilog Z8. In 1982, Synertek became the second source for Digital Equipment Corporation's DCT11 microprocessor.[3]

The company's major customers included Atari[4] (for its video game product line, their biggest customer at a certain point in time) and Apple Computer[5] (for its Apple II and Apple III computers). In the days leading up to the 1977 West Coast Computer Faire, Steve Wozniak chose to use a Synertek ROM chip for the Apple II, which was revealed at the event, after a chip from American Microsystems, Inc. didn't arrive on time.[6]

Synertek SYM-1 single board computer

Synertek acquired Microcomputer Associates, Incorporated, consisting of engineers Manny Lemas and Ray Holt, after which it was renamed Synertek Systems, Inc. and established as a subsidiary. In 1978, Synertek Systems released a 6502-based single board computer/evaluation kit called the SYM-1, a derivative of MOS Technology/Commodore Semiconductor Group's KIM-1.

Synertek was acquired by Honeywell in 1979 and operated as a subsidiary.[7] Honeywell shut down operations at Synertek in 1985.[7]

Floyd, Balletto, and Wetlesen left the company shortly after Honeywell's acquisition, and went on to co-found chip maker VLSI Technology.[1]

Facilities[edit]

Synertek's semiconductor fabrication plant in Santa Clara, California operated from 1974 to 1985. The site, at 3050 Coronado Drive, was later found to be contaminated with organic solvents (including trichloroethane, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride) and required Superfund cleanup to ameliorate hazardous releases into the aquifer.[8][7]

In around 1983, construction began for an additional manufacturing facility in Santa Cruz, California. When market conditions deteriorated, primarily because of business downturns at Atari, work was stopped at the Santa Cruz facility and it was sold.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "VLSI Technology Oral History Panel" (PDF). Computer History Museum. 29 June 2012.
  2. ^ "Oral History of Robert "Bob" Schreiner" (PDF). Computer History Museum. 10 June 2013.
  3. ^ T-11 Engineering Specification (PDF), March 24, 1982
  4. ^ Walker, Rob; Tersini, Nancy (1992). "25. VLSI-Virtually LSI". Silicon Destiny: The Story of Application Specific Integrated Circuits and LSI Logic Corporation. Walker Research Associates. pp. 184–185. ISBN 0963265407.
  5. ^ "The Amp Hour Podcast#241 – An Interview With Chuck Peddle". 2015-03-19. Retrieved 2015-04-04.
  6. ^ Moritz, Michael (January 22, 2010). The Return to the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, The Creation of Apple and How it Changed the World. Gerald Duckworth & Co. ISBN 978-0-7156-4021-0.
  7. ^ a b c "Synertek, Inc. (Building 1), Santa Clara, CA". Superfund Site Information. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  8. ^ "Public Health Assessment : Synertek (Building 1), Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, California". Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 1992-04-29. Archived from the original on 21 March 2010. Retrieved 2013-12-24.

External links[edit]