MOS Technology 6502

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The MOS Technology 6502 is an 8-bit microprocessor that was designed by Chuck Peddle and Bill Mensch for MOS Technology in 1975. When it was introduced, it was the least expensive full-featured microprocessor on the market by a considerable margin, costing less than one-sixth the price of competing designs from larger companies such as Motorola and Intel. It was nevertheless fully comparable with them and, along with the Zilog Z80, sparked a series of computer projects that would eventually result in the home computer revolution of the 1980s. The 6502 design, with about 4,000 transistors, was originally second-sourced by Rockwell and Synertek and later licensed to a number of companies. It is still made for embedded systems.


History and use

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Origins at Motorola

The 6502 was designed primarily by the same engineering team that had designed the Motorola 6800. One of the designers, Chuck Peddle, traveled around with the 6800 to introduce it to potential industrial customers. At the time it was targeted at the embedded market, and although their presentations sparked interest, the price, at about US$300, was simply too high to be widely used. When he asked what sort of price would make the product useful, they settled on US$25. Peddle returned to Motorola and proposed producing a low-cost product to attack this market, but found that management was uninterested; the 6800 was generating nice profits, there seemed to be no reason to change their sales efforts.[1][2]

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