Freescale DragonBall

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Motorola/Freescale Semiconductor's DragonBall, or MC68328, is a microcontroller design based on the famous 68000 core, but implemented as an all-in-one low-power solution for handheld computer use. It was designed by Motorola in Hong Kong and released in 1995.[1]

The DragonBall's major design win was in earlier versions of the Palm Computing platform; however, from Palm OS 5 onwards it has been superseded by ARM-based processors from Texas Instruments and Intel. The processor is also used in some of the AlphaSmart line of portable word processors. Examples include the Dana and Dana Wireless.

The processor is capable of speeds of up to 16.58 MHz and can run up to 2.7 MIPS (million instructions per second), for the base 68328 and DragonBall EZ (MC68EZ328) model. It was extended to 33 MHz, 5.4 MIPS for the DragonBall VZ (MC68VZ328) model, and 66 MHz, 10.8 MIPS for the DragonBall Super VZ (MC68SZ328).

It is a 32-bit processor with 32-bit internal and external address bus (24-bit external address bus for EZ and VZ variants) and 32-bit data bus.[2] It has many built-in functions, like a color and grayscale display controller, PC speaker sound, serial port with UART and IRDA support, UART bootstrap, real time clock, is able to directly access DRAM, Flash ROM, and mask ROM, and has built-in support for touch screens.

It is an all-in-one computer on a chip; before the DragonBall EZ, Palm handhelds had twice as many ICs.

The more recent DragonBall MX series microcontrollers, later renamed the Freescale i.MX (MC9328MX/MCIMX) series, are intended for similar application to the earlier DragonBall devices but are based on an ARM9 or ARM11 processor core instead of a 68000 core.


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