Motorola 68000

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The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit [1] CISC microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor Products Sector). 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 three decades in production, the 68000 architecture is still in use.

Contents

History

The 68000 grew out of the MACSS (Motorola Advanced Computer System on Silicon) project, begun in 1976 to develop an entirely new architecture without backward compatibility. It would be a higher-power sibling complementing the existing 8-bit 6800 line rather than a compatible successor. In the end, the 68000 did retain a bus protocol compatibility mode for existing 6800 peripheral devices, and a version with an 8-bit data bus was produced. However, the designers mainly focused on the future, or forward compatibility, which gave the M68K platform a head start against later 32-bit instruction set architectures. For instance, the CPU registers are 32 bits wide, though few self-contained structures in the processor itself operate on 32 bits at a time. The MACSS team drew heavily on the influence of minicomputer processor design, such as the PDP-11 and VAX systems, which were similarly microcoded.

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