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I don't buy it; a C64 is simple enough that you could work out the functionality of most components by trial and error and then work back from first principles. You'd measure 5v TTL, and under a scope you'd see the 1mhz binary signal. From there, 74 series chips on the board would probably be the first to be identified, simply based on inputs and outputs. And once you did that, and knew that this was a NOR gate or whatever, you'd pop the top off, look at it under microscope, and start to work back from your knowledge that this had digital logic and you'd figure out what the _function_ of a transistor was even if you didn't know what it is.

The RAMs and ROMs would be fairly trivial to figure out, as well.

You might not learn the manufacturing process -- that really did take a couple decades of material science and physics advances. But the principles of the machine would be clear. And then you could take the knowledge of that and scale it to the electronics components available in the era. You'd definitely have a head start simply knowing that these things were _possible_, and getting a boost on knowing how a computer could be structured.




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