strangest systems I've sent email from

Sean Conner spc at
Tue May 24 16:33:42 CDT 2016

It was thus said that the Great Fred Cisin once stated:
> On 22 May 2016 at 04:52, Guy Sotomayor Jr <ggs at> wrote:
> >Because the 808x was a 16-bit processor with 1MB physical addressing.  I
> >would argue that for the time 808x was brilliant in that most other 16-bit
> >micros only allowed for 64KB physical.
> Whether 8088 was an "8 bit" or "16 bit" processor depends heavily on how 
> you define those.
> Or, you could phrase it, that the 8 bit processors at the time handled 
> 64KiB of RAM.  The 808x still could see only 64KiB at a time, but let you 
> place that 64kiB almost anywhere that you wanted in a total RAM space of 
> 1MiB, and let you set 4 "preset" locations (CS, DS, SS, ES).  There were 
> some instructions, such as MOV, that could sometimes operate with 2 of 
> those presets.
> Thus, they expanded a 64KiB RAM processor to 1MiB, with minimal internal 
> changes.

  To further explain this.  The 8086 (and 8088) was internally a 16-bit CPU. 
Since you could only address 64K, Intel used four "segment" registers to get
around this limit.  The four registers are CS, DS, ES and SS, and were the
upper 16 bits of the 20-bit address [1].  A physical address was calculated

	|  16-bit segment |0000

    +	0000| 16-bit offset   |

       | 20-bit physical addr |

  Instructions were read from CS:IP (CS segment, IP register), most reads
and write to data sent to DS:offset, with some exceptions.  Pushes and pops
to the stack went to SS:SP and reads/writes with the BP register also used
the SS segment (SS:BP).  The string instructions used DS:SI as the source
address and ES:DI as the destination address.  And you could override the
default segment for a lot of instructions.  So:

		mov	ax,[bx]		-- SRC address is DS:BX
		mov	es:[bx],ax	-- DEST address is ES:BX

  Technically, you could address as much as 256K without changing the
segment registers.

  I got used to this, but I still preferred programming on the 6809 (8-bit
CPU) and 68000.  *Much* nicer architectures.

  -spc (And the 80386 introduced paging to this mess ... )

[1]	Starting with the 80286, in proected mode, they are treated
	differently and no longer point to a physical address.  But that's
	beyond the scope of *this* message.

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