There are a number of sources that give transistor counts for different CPUs over the decades. I'm looking for transistor counts for early video chips. in particular, I'd be interested in transistor counts for the video chips used in:

  • Atari 800

  • Commodore 64

  • Nintendo Entertainment System

  • Atari ST

  • Amiga

But also interested in any other seventies or eighties video chips.

1 Answer 1


To establish a lower bound, the only figure I can find is that of the Atari 2600's TIA: per the Visual 6502 team, who have decapped, imaged and hence simulated it, the TIA has 6193 transistors. So it's more than about 75% more than the 6502 just for a couple of sprites, a couple of missiles, a ball and a single row of background.

  • 1
    Wow, I never would have guessed that the 6502 had less than the TIA (having used both extensively). Do the figures include passive pull-ups, or do they only include "active" transistors? Or does the 6502 Wiki give two numbers because one figure is inclusive and one not? I'd guess the TIA's transistor count might be so high because it has some blocks with rather regular layout.
    – supercat
    Jul 30, 2017 at 22:26
  • 1
    I just read the VIsual 6502 page, and was astonished to see the size of the 4-bit DACs used for sound generation. I would have expected something much bigger.
    – supercat
    Jul 30, 2017 at 22:29

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