Motorola 68000

When Motorola released the 68000 in 1980, it was one of the most powerful chips on the market. Initially the 68000 powered Unix workstations and servers, including the Sun-1. But the hybrid 16/32-bit processor didn't make huge waves in the personal-computer world until Apple incorporated it in 1984's Macintosh. The 68000 architecture was much more flexible than other CPU families (z80, 80x86, z80000, etc) from programming point of view as it could be easily expanded to support full 32-bit data and address buses. Descendants of the 68000 powered all Macintosh computers until Apple switched to PowerPC chips in the late 1990s.

After Motorola dropped the 68000’s price the mid-1980s, the processor also saw significant use in the Atari ST and Amiga computer lines, the Sega Genesis video game console, and arcade machines. After 38 years in production, the 68K core still lives on in embedded micro-controllers used in various applications such as automotive-engine controllers, front-panel displays, and weather-monitoring instruments.


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