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Out of Japan: This ultra-low-end 1-bit DIY “computer” sold out immediately after launch

WTF?! Just in time for Christmas comes the lowest-spec PC we have ever seen. Step aside, Commodore Vic-20. This DIY kit is a single-board computer that runs on a 1-bit CPU. To be clear, that is not a typo–it is a single-bit processor. Now that’s low-end computing!

Japan-based Switch Science just launched a single-board computer called Naoto64. The ultra-low-end PC has a 1-bit CPU running at about 1Hz, with a 1-bit bus, two bits of address space, and a 4-bit ROM. This crazy amount of power (and it is crazy) is enough to do just three things–turn on, turn off, or flash an LED. We’re still trying to determine what that would be good for exactly.

“This is a 1-bit CPU assembly kit using 4 logic ICs. It is one of the world’s top-class low-performance computers,” says the Naoto64 product page. “The power source is a USB Type-C terminal. AC adapter and cable are not included, so please prepare them separately. Also, please note that power delivery such as PowerDelivery is not supported.”

The simple computer has no peripheral connectivity, so users will not program it in the traditional sense. It only has two commands and one operation in its instruction set–“ADD,” “JMP,” and “XOR.” To program the LED on, off, or flash, users must set the positions of its four ROM DIP switches.

Switch Science priced its “world top-class” PC at ¥2,500 in Japan, which is about $18 US. Surprisingly, the company could have asked for more because the Naoto64 sold out almost immediately. Obviously, the novelty factor played a large part in the rapid sales as the product is arguably not even worth $18.

However, considering it’s a DIY kit, its value is not out of line for those who like tinkering with electronics. Fully assembled, it would make for a great conversation starter. It comes with an empty PCB, a bag containing about 50 components, and instructions. Users should know their way around a soldering iron before considering a purchase.

Unfortunately, the product is currently out of stock, with no indication of when the company will replenish supplies. Furthermore, Switch Science does not ship outside of Japan, so barring a vacation to the island nation or a friend that lives there, global customers will miss out.

“Yes, but can it run Crysis?”

Well, not only can it not run Crysis, it can’t even run the most scaled-down and efficient version of Doom, which we have seen run on components as minimalistic as a digital pregnancy test. It might run “Hello World” if you can figure out how to make the LED flash Morse code.

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