Speaking of 6502s, was Re: 70's micros still available - was 1802 problems

Holger Veit holger.veit at ais.fraunhofer.de
Fri Jan 6 10:20:37 CST 2006

Eric J Korpela wrote:

>On 1/3/06, Chuck Guzis <cclist at sydex.com> wrote:
>>Yet, the reverse has turned out to be true--the 68HC11
>>seems to be everywhere--and the 6502 has been pretty much relegated to
>>obscurity after some popularity in the first generation of personal
>>Which leads me, in a way, to the conclusion that maybe instruction sets
>>don't matter all that much in the real world.
>I've been wondering about this as well.  I would have assumed that for
>microcontrollers that cost would be supreme.   Did the 6800 family get
>cheaper than the 6502 at some point?  After all saving a dollar a unit
>on 100K units pays for a programmer.
Instruction set does no longer matter since microcontrollers come with 
flash ROMs of 1MB size or larger, and are programmed in C or even BASIC 
(with a builtin interpreter or a cross compiler).

I liked the PDP-11 instruction set (as well as 6809/68000 sets) very 
much, but they were made mainly for assembler freaks - no worrying about 
where to put data or addresses - basically every register worked with 
every instruction type or address mode. In contrast, instruction sets 
for processors like 8080/Z80/8086, where specialized registers exist 
(like HL, or CX, or SI/DI) and special instructions that don't work only 
under specific data layout conditions.

These times are gone - assembler is irrelevant for larger projects, and 
controller have become large enough to allow wasting space and tolerate 
inefficient code.

Some controllers, including the rather lousy 8051 series, still persist, 
but mainly because "system designers" have used and understood them for 
20 years now and it is too expensive to train them another horse.


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