litwr (litwr) wrote,

Emotional stories about processors for first computers: part 12 (Preface and Postface)

Prologue and Epilogue

I've happened to program with assemblers of different processors. The last on this list is the Xilinx MicroBlaze. I decided to put some of my observations on the features of these almost magical pieces of iron, which, like a magic key opened the doors for us to the magical land of virtual reality and mass creativity. On the features of modern systems the x86, x86-64, ARM, ARM-64, etc., I will not write, maybe another time – the topic is very large and complex. Therefore, I finish on the Intel 80486 and Motorola 68040. I also wanted to include in the review the IBM/370, which I had to deal with. These systems were quite far from the mass users but had a huge impact on computer technology. They require much time to prepare materials about them, they didn't use chip-processors and there is somehow none of these machines left in existence, therefore they aren't included. I really hope that my materials will also attract the attention of experts, who will be able to add something I have not thought about or didn't know.

As illustrative material, I attach my small stone from Rosetta, tiny programs for calculating the number π on different processors and systems using a spigot-algorithm, claiming to be the fastest of its implementations.

In conclusion, I make several remarks that I have got in the course of writing these articles.

It is difficult to get rid of the feeling that 8-bit processors were only an undesirable necessity for the main characters acting in the 70's and 80's on the stage of computer history. The development of the most powerful 8-bit 6502 was actually frozen. Intel and Motorola rather slowed down their own development of small processors and restrained other developers.

I'm pretty sure that the Amiga or Atari ST would work better and faster using a 4 MHz processor compatible with the 6502 with a 20 or 24 bit address bus than with the 68000. Bill Mensch said recently that it’s easy to make the 6502 at 10 GHz today.

If the Amstrad PCW series (the success of which the Commodore CBM II could have shared) had begun to use the upgraded Z80 at higher frequencies, then it is quite possible that this series would have been relevant 10 years ago.

What would the world be like if the ARM had been made in 1982 or 1983? In my humble opinion it was quite possible.

What would computers made in the SU be like if they had copied and developed not the most expensive but the most promising technologies?

Edited by Richard BN

Tags: 6502, 68040, 80486, amstrad pcw, arm, arm-64, atari st, commodore amiga, commodore cbm ii, computer, cpu, hardware, history, ibm/370, intel, motorola, processor, x86, x86-64, xilinx microblaze

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