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Tags: MC68000


The Motorola 68000 (also called the Motorola 68K or MC68000) is a 16/32-bit[1] CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by MotorolaSemiconductor Products Sector (now Freescale Semiconductor). Introduced in 1979 with HMOS technology as the first member of the successful 32-bit m68k family of microprocessors, it is generally software forward compatible with the rest of the line despite being limited to a 16-bit wide external bus. After 30 years in production, the 68000 architecture is still in use.

The original MC68000 was fabricated using an HMOS process with a 3.5-micron feature size. Formally introduced in September 1979,[2]Initial samples were released in February 1980, with production chips available over the counter in November.[3] Initial speed grades were 4, 6, and 8 MHz. 10 MHz chips became available during 1981[citation needed], and 12.5 MHz chips by June 1982.[4] The 16.67 MHz "12F" version of the MC68000, the fastest version of the original HMOS chip, was not produced until the late 1980s. Tom Gunter, retired Corporate Vice President at Motorola, is known as the "Father of the 68000."


By the mid-1980s, falling production cost made the 68000 viable for use in personal and home computers, starting with the AppleLisa and Macintosh, and followed by the Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, and Sharp X68000. The 68008, on the other hand, was only used in a few home computer systems. The Sinclair QL (though the QL was a sister machine to the ICL One Per Desk, which also used a 68008) was the most commercially important. Helix Systems (in Missouri, United States) designed an extension to theSWTPC SS-50 bus, the SS-64, and produced systems built around the 68008 processor.


While the rapid pace of computer advancement quickly rendered the 68000 obsolete as desktop/workstation CPU, the processor found substantial use in embedded applications. By the early 1980s, quantities of 68000 CPUs could be purchased for less than $30 USD per part. Video game manufacturers used the 68000 as the backbone of many arcade games and home game consoles: Atari's Food Fight, from 1982, was one of the first 68000-based arcade games. Others includedSega's System 16, Capcom's CP System and CPS-2, and SNK's Neo Geo. By the late 1980s, the 68000 was inexpensive enough to power home game consoles, such as Sega'sMega Drive (Genesis) console. The 1993 multi-processor Atari Jaguar console used a 68000 as a support chip, although some developers used it as the primary processor due to familiarity. The 1994 multi-processor Sega Saturn console used the 68000 as a sound chip.


Tags: MC68000

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