Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 7th Nov 2010 19:43 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "I had reduced the size of my ongoing Z80 project down to something more wieldy by using CPLD chips, but it was still a bit too bulky to fit into an acceptably sized case. The next step was to look into FPGAs and see where they could take it. One thing led to another and I ended up building a self contained post modern home computer laptop.. thing." Kroc: Can I haz port of BBC BASIC plz?
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RE[5]: um why?
by ricegf on Mon 8th Nov 2010 12:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: um why?"
ricegf
Member since:
2007-04-25

The 68k series was doing fairly well commercially, particularly in the Unix workstation and workgroup server and high-end embedded (remember VMEbus?) markets, I believe. It shipwrecked on the RISC tsunami due to bad management.

My team built custom high-end embedded computers, and went to Motorola to preview their next-generation processor. What we found were two teams in heated competition bordering on open warfare - think the Lisa and Macintosh teams at Apple. The 68040 team championed the legacy line, and the 88000 team had a new RISC design with a truly awful 3-chip implementation that seemed optimized for high cost. (We used the 88000 anyway for a very demanding real-time application, and it did at least have the performance we needed.)

In the end, neither team won - the 68040 was the end of a proud line, while the (single chip at last) 88100 morphed into the IBM PowerPC architecture favored by Apple. Of course, Apple then deep-sixed PowerPC for Intel...

A final note. National Semiconductor's 32000 series was originally favored for Atari's "Amiga-killer", until the prototypes ran dog slow. It seems that in practice, the greater the orthogonality of the architecture, the slower the performance, so they chose the 68000 family for their very forgettable (especially compared to the Amiga's awe-inspiring) design.

Never get an old engineer reminiscing. :-D

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