Questions tagged [microprocessor]

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92
votes
6answers
9k views

Were there 8086 coprocessors other than the 8087?

The 8087 math coprocessor for the 8086 (and descendants) nominally added floating point and transcendental (trigonometric and logarithmic) instructions to the 8086. Contrary to naive expectations, the ...
69
votes
7answers
19k views

How much better was DEC Alpha than contemporary x86?

The DEC Alpha, released in 1992, seems like an early implementation of a fully 64-bit microprocessor architecture. Its release led to quite a bit of both marketing hype and genuine vendor support in ...
45
votes
2answers
10k views

Why does the 80486 take longer to execute simple instructions than complex ones?

The 80486 processor can execute many instructions in a single cycle, such as a register-to-register add instruction (ADD EAX, EBX, for example), which one would generally assume is fairly complex, ...
43
votes
5answers
16k views

Why did CPU designers in the 70s prioritize reducing pin count?

A lot of 70s era microprocessors were packaged in DIP packages with 40 pins. This was a reasonably good fit for 8-bit processors: 16 address lines, 8 data lines, 2 power and clock are all absolutely ...
34
votes
10answers
13k views

Were there ever 12-, 24-, 48-, etc bit processors?

After seeing this question, I was struck with an intense curiosity to know: Were there ever processors with word sizes that aren't powers of two, specifically after the 8-bit byte became the industry ...
34
votes
2answers
2k views

Can the two CPUs in a Commodore 128 run at the same time?

The Commodore 128 has two CPUs. One is some variant of the 6502, and the other is a Z80. One CPU is there for compatibility with the Commodore 64 and the other is there presumably to give basic ...
29
votes
5answers
6k views

How was microcode implemented in retro processors?

How was microcode implemented in retro processors such as the Z80 or 8080? Was the microcode standard (for example a manual for the processor outlining all possible micro-instructions and the ...
19
votes
3answers
3k views

What happened to the 65832?

In his June 1985 foreword to Programming the 65816 by David Eyes and Ron Lichty, Bill Mensch expresses his hopes for a 6502-derived 32-bit microprocessor: the 65832. WDC is still thriving, but the ‘...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are different emulators needed to run platforms that use 6502 assembly code?

To my knowledge, an emulator turns machine code for a console into something that your computer can understand. For example, assembly code from a Gamecube game is not the same as from a .exe file. ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

6502 branch offset calculation

This question expands on How does the 6502 implement its branch instructions? I'm working on a cycle accurate VHDL implementation on an FPGA. I have much of the program logic already written, but I ...
15
votes
8answers
5k views

Uses for the halt instruction?

What was the halt instruction in early CPUs such as the Z80 and 8080 used for? Here's a description of the Z80 instruction: The HALT instruction suspends CPU operation until a interrupt or reset ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Intel processor transistor type evolution

The Intel 4004 used MOS (metal–oxide–semiconductor) transistors. What has been the transistor types used in Intel processors onwards from the 4004 to 8085 to the x86 family of instruction set ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What was the first microprocessor to support full virtualization?

Virtual memory, which allows an operating system to run several machine code programs isolated from each other, came to the desktop during the eighties. But full virtualization, which lets the ...
10
votes
1answer
619 views

Can we express the instructions to the Analytical Engine in terms of assembler or machine code?

On a recent trip to the London Science Museum I saw Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Apparently this had an ALU (or equivalent). I can build an ALU out of logic gates but I can’t conceptualise how to do ...
8
votes
4answers
544 views

Why did later CPUs use microcode instead of PLA's?

If you look at a die photo of a 6502, about forty percent of the chip is taken up by what's obviously microcode, both by its regular structure and by the obvious need for such from the instruction set,...
6
votes
2answers
310 views

Are there any CPUs or MCUs object-compatible with the 6800 that have additional index registers or addressing modes?

Having only a single index register and no addressing mode indexing against 16-bit addresses in memory seems to have been widely considered a primary reason that the Motorola 6800 fared poorly in ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How does Game Boy / Sharp LR35902 HRAM work?

The Nintendo Game Boy has RAM called "HRAM" (meaning "high ram") decoded at locations $ff80 through $fffe. (All other decoded locations in the $ffxx page appear to be I/O device and system control ...
6
votes
1answer
353 views

Tannenbaum paper on constants in ISAs?

I see many references to a paper by Andrew Tanenbaum that demonstrated the vast majority of constants would fit into 13-bits, and I seem to recall it being in my university text on CPU design. However,...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

8086 duration of program

I have the following assembly code for 8086 MOV AL, [BX] OUT DX, AL The bus clock frequency is 1MHz. Access to memory is done without WAIT, and to I/O with one WAIT tick. How I can calculate the ...
4
votes
0answers
170 views

Undefined opcodes for the Intel 8008 CPU

What happens when I8008 CPU reads the "undefined" opcode (22h, 2Ah, 32h, 38h, 39h, 3Ah)? Are these opcodes evaluated as a NOP instruction, or lead to some side effects (RESET, etc). How many ...
3
votes
2answers
447 views

Total number of 6502s or 8051s ever manufactured or sold?

What's a good way to estimate the total number of 6502 or 8051 chips (or workalikes, pin-compatible or not, but not including software or FPGA emulators) ever manufactured or sold? Added: (To ...
3
votes
3answers
375 views

Interrupt pin type on the 6502

I have a really basic question. I have to design an 65C02-based personal computer for a school project. I have to draw my own footprint for the 65C02. My question is what type of pin is the IRQB (...
3
votes
2answers
269 views

What's the Motorola microprocessor with two sets of registers to avoid costly context switch?

I remember reading somewhere (maybe on Hacker News or Lobsters) that Motorola made a microprocessor some decades ago with two sets of registers. This means when handling an interrupt, it does not need ...
3
votes
2answers
676 views

How exactly do all control signals in 6502 work?

I'm trying to make a 6502 replica in Logisim. I want to know what exactly each control signal in 6502, how the clock cycles work and additionally I would like to see an example of these control ...
3
votes
1answer
322 views

Intel 8008 stack behavior

Intel 8008 CPU has an internal stack, implemented as an 8 x 14-bit scratchpad. How does it work exactly? Is there any "invisible 3-bit stack pointer"? I want to know what happens when the ...
2
votes
2answers
328 views

How do microprocessors multiply without a “Multiply” instruction? [duplicate]

I was reading about the SAP computers(as I do), and examined the SAP-2 chapter of Paul Malvino's Digital Computer Electronics, hoping to learn about how a microprocessor without a multiply instruction ...
2
votes
1answer
860 views

What is the difference between an 8080 and an 8051? [closed]

What are the features of the Intel 8051 architecture that allow it to successfully act as a microcontroller? Hypothetically can the general-purpose 8-bit architecture like Intel 8080 do everything the ...
0
votes
1answer
195 views

4MHz Z80 timing and PAL video generation

Im trying to get some nice colored lines on some old Z80 system synced to the PAL screen, but having some sort of a problem. First I just need to know if my facts are right. I know that on Commodore ...
0
votes
1answer
118 views

Carry flag in the Intel 8008

Datasheet for the Intel 8008 CPU mentions that the Carry (C) flag is affected with the logic operations (AND, OR, XOR), but it does not make any sense. I believe Carry will be zeroed, but I have no ...
-6
votes
1answer
312 views

What is the maximum 64 bit integer (number) value? [closed]

I already know that the maximum integers for ranges higher than 24-bit (16 777 216) will very likely exceed 1 000 000 000, so, what is the maximum 64 bit integer? It is larger than 10 bilion?