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Preserving Great Tech For Posterity — the 6502

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the double-secret-reverse-engineering dept.

Hardware 290

trebonian writes "For great old hardware products like the MOS 6502 (used in the Apple II, the C64, the Nintendo NES), the details of the designs have been lost or forgotten. While there have been great efforts to reverse engineer the 6502 from the outside, there has not been the hardware equivalent of the source code — until now. As Russell Cox states: 'A team of three people accumulated a bunch of 6502 chips, applied sulfuric acid to them to strip the casing and expose the actual chips, used a high-resolution photomicroscope to scan the chips, applied computer graphics techniques to build a vector representation of the chip, and finally derived from the vector form what amounts to the circuit diagram of the chip: a list of all 3,510 transistors with inputs, outputs, and what they're connected to. Combining that with a fairly generic (and, as these things go, trivial) "transistor circuit" simulator written in JavaScript and some HTML5 goodness, they created an animated 6502 web page that lets you watch the voltages race around the chip as it executes. For more, see their web site visual6502.org.'"

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290 comments

Not to split hairs. . . (4, Informative)

DancesWithRobots (903395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787224)

But wasn't the C64 processor a 6510? I could be wrong.

Re:Not to split hairs. . . (5, Informative)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787252)

Yes [wikipedia.org] , but the difference ain't much.

Re:Not to split hairs. . . (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787616)

Yes, Jeri Ellsworth made an FPGA of the C64 a while ago, but they're very similar.

Painful (1)

WolphFang (1077109) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787234)

Oh what a pain it was to program that chip when I had a VIC-20!

Re:Painful (2)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787696)

Way simpler than 8080/Z80.

Re:Painful (2)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787750)

I wrote a couple of non-trivial programs assembler programs on the TRS-80, which uses the Zilog Z-80 processor at 1.78 mHz. Wasn't too bad, it has more registers than 6502. The only bad thing was the lack of a multiply instruction.

Re:Painful (4, Funny)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787782)

Wow, I knew old computers were a lot slower than modern ones, but 1.78 thousandths of a cycle per second? Jeez!

Re:Painful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788032)

Funny story, I was working for a major semi manufacturer writing tests for the PCI controller integrated on a processor. We had an external clock for the PCI supplied by a signal generator.
The signal generator lost power during a move to another bench and afterward all test failed. Looking at a logic analyzer, set to sample at the expected rate showed all signals static.
I set a trigger for the first transition and finally, 33 mS into the run I got a trigger. The signal generator was set to mHz, Not MHz. The display on the signal generator used a very poor 5X7 font
and mega and mille were indistinguishable.

Re:Painful (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788050)

Universal truth, Any text following the phrase "Funny story" is 100% guaranteed to be as funny as soya-milk is tasty.

Re:Painful (5, Informative)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787788)

6502 made up for lack of registers with extra addressing modes, but they were relatively uniform across the instruction set, making the instruction set simpler and more orthogonal, whereas many x80 instructions designate specific (and different) registers for operand, making the instruction set rather ugly. You could see the nasty root of x86 instruction set even then, although, as you said, it wasn't so bad because 8080/z80 was much simpler.

6502 didn't have multiply either, and it's true z80 was more powerful in several ways.

Re:Painful (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787942)

I agree that the 6502 was more orthogonal -- I wrote several assembler programs on the Apple II as well. OTOH, I never thought the x86 instruction set was that bad. For better or worse, it appears that we're stuck with it, anyhow. :)

Re:Painful (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787940)

Dude, balancing a hyperactive Husky on a flagpole was simpler than programming the 8080.

And more rewarding too.

Re:Painful (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788206)

It's like most things--one gets used to it.

I spent several years writing nothing but 8080 assembly language in the early 1980s using an assembler running on a DEC VMS computer. Pretty much all I had in my office then was a phone, a couple of reference books from Intel, a set of hardward schematics, and a VT-100 terminal. I got damn good at writing "structured" assembly code (lots of single-purpose functions). My last project there amounted to 9k of 8080 code written in three weeks for a real-time monitoring system for industrial machines.

I used to write 6502 assembly... (5, Interesting)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787244)

I learned it while on vacation in europe in 1981 prior to my even knowing BASIC or FORTH on the Apple ][ line of computers. It was the most important step in my otherwise stellarly mediocre life as a senior software engineer with NeXT and Apple. Its great to see others taking a lasting approach to the chip that made the most impact on me and others in my industry. Thank you! BTW, did you know there is at least one logic bug in the CPU? :) Its fairly well known now, find it and you will have a bit of history on your hands.

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787402)

You mean the ROR bug that was in the pre-6/76 steppings?

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (3, Interesting)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787456)

That bug is a bit less known, I meant the paging flaw with hex.

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787530)

Hmm. What was that one?

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787706)

I know there's one that if you're using an indexed address mode, and the index would cause the address to cross to the next page of memory, it loops back to the beginning of the page.

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788208)

That rings a bell. By "index address" are you referring to the relative address mode used by the BNE/BEQ commands that only allowed you to jump 128 bytes forward or 127 bytes back? And what was the size of the page in question? I remember on the C64 that it seemed to be built as four main chunks of 16k... was that the page size, or are we talking about something much smaller?

Man, every time the C64 or the 6502 (or 6510) chip comes up, I get a wave of nostalgia.

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788314)

Mmmmmmm. I hope it didn't have serious effet on real world 6502 usages, like: :-)

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

White Flame (1074973) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788406)

It's not just indexing, it happens with indirect JMP as well. JMP ($01FF) would read the low byte from $01ff and the high byte from $0100 instead of $0200.

Re:I used to write 6502 assembly... (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787502)

I still have my MOSTEK 6502 manual -- 8.5x11 softcover.

Brings back memories (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787254)

The 6502 was what I learned computer design, assembly, and machine code on. First was a Buck Engineering trainer, then a KIM-1 with an add-on board. I learned the value of coffee when coding. Finally I built my own system with an S-100 style archetecture. Memories indeed.

Re:Brings back memories (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787296)

You forgot the "get off my lawn."

Re:Brings back memories (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787686)

I learned FORTH on a KIM-1. Who else remembers the classic article (I think it was in Byte) "How to write a compiler in 50 words or less"?

-jcr

Seems their server runs on a 6502 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787288)

Slashdotted already.

Re:Seems their server runs on a 6502 (4, Funny)

Metrathon (311607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787340)

No, the website runs on a javascript emulator of a 6502.

Re:Seems their server runs on a 6502 (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788038)

No, the website runs on a javascript emulator of a 6502...

... on a 6502

Re:Seems their server runs on a 6502 (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788462)

No, the website runs on a javascript emulator of a 6502...

... on a 6502

but will it run GNU/lunix... from the cloud?

Re:Seems their server runs on a 6502 (2)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787668)

That's no excuse. The T-800 series Terminators [pagetable.com] and Bender [ieee.org] both ran a 6502 at their core and performed quite well.

C'mon. It's a cool page (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787314)

Just admit it -- someone really spent a lot of time on this idea, and it's cool that it works at any speed at all. I've only got an old P4, and it still ticked along quite nicely. Much faster and you wouldn't see anything but flicker-flashing anyhow.

Re:C'mon. It's a cool page (-1, Troll)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787454)

Cool? It's stupid. It's someone who had too much time on his hands and a healthy dose of autism.

Now, if he had written a fully functional Creative Labs X-Fi driver for Linux, that'd be cool.

Re:C'mon. It's a cool page (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787546)

Why? It's a shitty card and it's not like there are any games which need any weird surround effect features of it in Linux anyway. And Creative drivers and support isn't the best around even in Windows.

So why?

What about the ASUS Xonar?

Or maybe some generic USB sound interfaces work? I don't know if they can do higher bit-rates that way but if they can I assume the require very little work and may still have a nice sound quality. Eventually suck for latency though?

Re:C'mon. It's a cool page (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787586)

Shit man, I gave up on that at least two years ago and moved on. Go get a new sound card.

Re:C'mon. It's a cool page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788070)

I've got to assume he was being facetious.

Re:C'mon. It's a cool page (4, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788180)

    You know what's funny, that (the parent's argument) was the song of the Windows fan boys for so long. Now I'm somewhere that I have an abundance of old hardware, and a mix of new and old operating systems. I'm finding it easier to throw Linux on a box, than to pray that Vista or Win7 will work. CPU and memory wise, sure it'll work. But dear god don't try to find drivers for some fairly standard old video card (like a 4Mb to 32Mb PCI card), sound card, or printer. There are three categories for old systems. "Good enough for Win7", "Wow, a great Linux machine", and "don't bother". Why bother with a 1Ghz machine, when I have stacks of 2.0Ghz to 2.8Ghz machines to use. Oh, and if anyone is interested, I stumbled on a stack of probably a dozen 200Mhz Pentium CPU's. I have no idea what to do with them, but they'll probably end up in my own personal museum. :)

    We just played a little game with one of our techs. "Can you get Win2k3 to install" on some old Dell servers with the original Win2k3 license stuck on the case by Dell at the factory. Linux? 5 minutes from an install CD I made, or 15 minutes from the distro original CDs. Both are current. Win2k3? 3 days of head pounding, calls to Dell support, downloading and running BIOS updates, and some mystery driver emailed and being told "try this". 24 work hours for 1 server, versus 0.25 work hours. Poor guy, he was a huge Windows fan. By the end of it, he looked like he was going to personally go and bomb Redmond. :)

    The best work around I've found is to run Linux on them, and then provide any pesky Windows needs with a virtual machine under VMWare.

    I inherited several old printers, which were wonderful old workhorses of their time. My mom still on her WinXP machine, because it still runs any app she wants, and is fine for CPU and memory (2.8Ghz, and I upgraded her memory for 2GB last year). I tried to plug it into my Win7 Home Premium laptop (USB to Parallel converter required for both machines). Nope, sorry, no Win7 drivers available anywhere. No kludges other than "get a new printer". Yet still, it's supported perfectly well under Linux. heh.

    I actually haven't had a problem with a new run of the mill system, or even most exotic hardware, for years under Linux.

"Machine Language for Beginners" (5, Interesting)

Petersko (564140) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787336)

It was 1983, my Commodore Vic 20 (bought delivering newspapers) was soon to be replaced by a Commodore 64 (bought the same way), and nobody understood my fascination.

Except, apparently, for Richard Mansfield, whose book I devoured. I remember trying to figure out how the heck to get the opcodes into memory. I had nobody to teach me what peek and poker were about, so it took a while.

It's also possible to say that the 6502 and 6510 were perhaps the very last processors that I understood in real, intricate detail. Once I hit the 286 it might as well have run on magic pixie dust. I can't remember ever masking interrupts on an x86. I've only written in languages at the level of C or higher ever since., and I've never embedded assembler to fine-tune performance.

My geek level has diminished.

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (1)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787492)

I had the same sort of thing with the PDP 11/04, and later, the late and totally unlamented Teledyne 1750a processor. Both of those date me appropriately.

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787508)

/Signed.

- Dan.

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (1)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787572)

Ditto. I read that book backwards and forwards and could do just about anything in ML on the C64. I remember writing floating point math routines because the instruction set had nothing built in.

Fast forward to my first PC, a 486SX. I learned x86 assembly, but never felt the same kind of complete and utter control over the machine, probably because by that point in my life I didn't really have the time to dedicate to really immerse myself in it.

However it gave me a great intuitive understanding of what is really going on behind the scenes, even though my present life has taken me in a direction that doesn't allow me to do much programming anymore, and I still do have that book, I just saw it in a box a month or two ago hunting for something else (along with a stack of Compute!'s Gazettes). Good times.

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (5, Interesting)

fwarren (579763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787806)

Fast forward to my first PC, a 486SX. I learned x86 assembly, but never felt the same kind of complete and utter control over the machine, probably because by that point in my life I didn't really have the time to dedicate to really immerse myself in it.

No it was not the level of immersion. A computer like the C64 had 20K of ROM, hence a kernel that never changed. Always had a 6510 and a VIC chip and 64K of RAM. You could learn every byte inside out. Because the platform did not change over time, there were many volumes of literature written about the internals of this machine.

Your 486 had a bios made by one of several different BIOS vendors, one of several revisions of that BIOS, for the particular chipset on your board. You had an audio card made by one company, a video card made be another company, an ATA controller made by yet another company.

Who else really had your setup? No one wrote a complete manual for what you had. By the time you could figure out the BIOS and figure out what it took to POST the hardware you have, it is time to buy a new computer.

Nowdays there are many levels of abstraction, the one thing it robs us of is the ability to understand exactly what our machines are doing.

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787718)

Same here. Once they started throwing in real/protected modes and MMUs, I knew I was far from the "metal".

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788112)

I too bought my C64 the same way, delivering newspapers and ads :) Had a helluva time with it, too: played a few games on it, but mostly taught myself BASIC and then moved on to assembly. Could spend whole nights up just coding and learning. It really kindled my interest in computers, their internals and programming, and my life would have been quite different without those first contacts with a C64.

Though, it died then suddenly one day, got an old 286 from my uncle, and that's where my story differs from yours: I immediately went on to teach myself x86 assembly :)

Re:"Machine Language for Beginners" (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788220)

I loved the Compute! book series. ML for beginners, Mapping the C64... Good times, good times.

Not so fast... (4, Informative)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787338)

"the details of the designs have been lost or forgotten. While there have been great efforts to reverse engineer the 6502 from the outside, there has not been the hardware equivalent of the source code — until now"
The schematic for the 6502 has been available for years on the net. Printed on one sheet of photo paper at 1200 dpi, every transistor is visible. It's quite amazing.

Re:Not so fast... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787370)

You mean Balasz' schematic. That's actually also reverse engineered, and has quite some mistakes in it.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787404)

This schematic also looks like it was reverse-engineered from the chip. Not that I would expect the original schematics to be available to the world, since all that stuff is considered to be quite proprietary by the manufacturers.
It would be a lot more useful to see the original logic design.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787446)

I had assumed it was the schematic from a working chip and was most likely from MOS or maybe Western Design Center.
Color me enlightened.

Re:Not so fast... (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787854)

Not that I would expect the original schematics to be available to the world, since all that stuff is considered to be quite proprietary by the manufacturers.

Now why would they consider schematics for a chip no longer produced to be so proprietary?

When do the lawsuits against these guys start rolling in for publishing images of copyright-protected visual arrangements of wires and transistors?

Re:Not so fast... (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788156)

By the time it's not so proprietary, it's obsolete and of no interest, so they toss it in the dumpster.

Re:Not so fast... (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788370)

When do the lawsuits against these guys start rolling in for publishing images of copyright-protected visual arrangements of wires and transistors?

    You know, you'd think that wouldn't you. But leak one drawing of one chip for an old government "communications" satellite that never existed, and WOOSH... Swooped up by three guys in a black van, a bag over your head, and then you wake up in a cell in some facility with guys in suits asking lots of questions, but never answering questions like "Where am I?" and "Who are you guys?" Just remember, don't ask either of those, nor the magic question "What agency are you from?". You may not have noticed the electrodes taped to your testicles, but you sure will after they push that little red button in front of you. It seems they just want answers, but the answers you give aren't ever enough. Oh, and "your momma" is never the right answer either. It's apparently worse than most expletives.

    Seriously, copyright is nothing to mess with. And more importantly, watch out for black vans, no matter how innocently they may be following you. If you've been posting stuff like that, they aren't innocently following you.

    Why's that van been parked outside all night? Gotta run, someone's at the door.

great! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787342)

great post! keep it coming!

Biosafety Cabinet [escoglobal.com]

watch the voltages race around the chip (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787346)

Voltage doesn't "race around," current does--well, it flows.

Re:watch the voltages race around the chip (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787452)

Well, the current doesn't, either, technically; the orthogonal EM field transfers energy along the conductors.

Sounds familiar (3, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787368)

An animation with voltages racing around the chip as it executes?

Where's my light-cycle?? I must save my User from the MCP!!

Watch this... (1)

steeleyeball (1890884) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787466)

Ok what we really need is the Video chip schematics and logic.... I would love the 6560/6561. I would very much love a Vic 20 / C64 based watch...

Re:Watch this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787522)

I'd rather have the schematics for the SID. Yum, chiptunes.

For justice! (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787510)

John Titor can now leap home.

Re:For justice! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787872)

I thought John Titor was looking for an IBM 5100?

Yep. I like it. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787556)

This is cool.

It'll be even better when all the traffic dies down to the point you can load all the images.

nontrivial! (4, Informative)

sillivalley (411349) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787564)

The 6502 as used in the Apple ][ had some interesting quirks -- such as dummy read cycles that appeared on the bus when executing indexed operations. Woz used these dummy memory cycles in designing the original Apple ][ disk controller to whack the disk controller state machine. Undocumented at the least! Some of the Apple ][ disk copy protection schemes (particularly for games on 5 1/4 inch floppies) also relied upon undocumented behaviors in the processor, such as some of the "unused" opcodes.

Re:nontrivial! (3, Informative)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788168)

Woz wasn't the only person to abuse the 6502. Don Lancaster took advantage of the address bus behavior or the chip when executing NOPs to make his cheap video display (the TVT 6-5/8) board. He basically used the processor as a 16 bit counter that could be loaded under software control during the horizontal blanking time. So the CPU chip became a video chip.

Really lost? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787568)

You mean to tell me that the companies who designed or licensed this chip plus the chip fabs themselves have no information on how they were manufactured?

Re:Really lost? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787712)

I suppose it's possible. I mean we did loose the ability to make things like blue glass, green glass, and concrete at least one in the world. Losing schematics is also possible, I remember hearing a few years ago that some company was looking for a particular tube that RCA used to make, because RCA lost the diagram on how to manufacture the tube, whether or not it was ever true I have no idea. It was a passing fancy at the time for me, but even I have electronics that I use today that have tubes in them still.

Re:Really lost? (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787936)

You mean to tell me that the companies who designed or licensed this chip plus the chip fabs themselves have no information on how they were manufactured?

Well, sure, but they had them backed up on their Apple /// machines, and ... well ...

Re:Really lost? (1)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787990)

Yeah, I find it hard to believe too. The 6502 was heavily licensed to other companies, and was probably produced in more variations than anything short of the ARM. I would find it very difficult to believe that there aren't plenty of photolithographs stashed away in various files. Now, maybe an actual design document indicating what everything does might be missing, but there should be plenty of film available to reverse engineer from.

Tickled to see this (3, Interesting)

bfwebster (90513) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787576)

I have fond memories of the 6502. I co-designed and did most of the coding for a computer game for the Apple II (Sundog) and so did a lot of 6502 assembly coding. A few years later, I taught assembly language coding to CS students at BYU, and we use 6502-based systems there as well (which was a vast improvement over the IBM 360 assembly + JCL on punch cards that I had to learn on a decade earlier as an undergrad myself).

Re:Tickled to see this (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787796)

People still remember your work. I just read another comment about Sundog [slashdot.org] (on an Atari)...

Re:Tickled to see this (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788046)

I vaguely remember Sundog... My cousin used to play it on his computer decades ago.

I'm curious: how do you feel about the emulator versions of Sundog being easily downloadable on the Internet?

Re:Tickled to see this (1)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788422)

Hey Bruce! I wasted many hours playing Sundog on the ST. Thanks!

You should make a version for the iPad!

Best chip in the world (1)

liquid stereo (602956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787598)

Nothing but love for this chip. It was the first thing I started programming as a geek-in-training, back in1981. I'm now a well-adjusted professor using using computational science, numerical simulation, and some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, to solve challenging problems. I owe it all to the folks that developed the 6502, and my mom who bought me an Atari 400, then an 800XL. Cheers!

Re:Best chip in the world (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787634)

I'm now a well-adjusted professor using using computational science, numerical simulation, and some of the fastest supercomputers in the world, to solve challenging problems.

+1 unintentional irony

They lost the blueprints? I'll go get em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787636)

I happen to live near the former GMT Microelectronics fab in Audubon, Pennsylvania where those chips were produced. I've been waiting for a good excuse to get my buddies together to do some urban spelunking in that building.

Re:They lost the blueprints? I'll go get em (2)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787672)

The building is For Sale or Lease [google.com] according to the sign out front when Google drove by.

Re:They lost the blueprints? I'll go get em (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787708)

The problem with the site is that it requires several million dollars in EPA compliance work to clean up the water table surrounding the plant, which is pretty severely contaminated.

Its been a real hot issue in the plant's township for a few decades now.

Re:They lost the blueprints? I'll go get em (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787918)

Roger your intel, Alpha Charlie. Right. Black-Op, Sunday, 0900 zulu, rendezvous Alpha Charlie's place. Bring standard issue gear. And, oh, by the way: don't drink the water. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, out.

jewelry shop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788084)

Jewlery shop online could provid all kinds of beads and other findings for fashion jewlery making, which will save money and time. But the most important thing is that you should choose a top jewlery shop which could supply good service.

http://www.arlyse.com/

Just imagine .... (4, Interesting)

martyb (196687) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787660)

Just imagine a beowolf cluster of these? No, let's have some fun with math, instead.

FTFS:

'A team of three people accumulated a bunch of 6502 chips, applied sulfuric acid to them to strip the casing and expose the actual chips, used a high-resolution photomicroscope to scan the chips, applied computer graphics techniques to build a vector representation of the chip, and finally derived from the vector form what amounts to the circuit diagram of the chip: a list of all 3,510 transistors with inputs, outputs, and what they're connected to.

Okay, bear with me here:

  • 45 Years Later, Does Moore's Law Still Hold True? [slashdot.org] ("Intel has packed just shy of a billion transistors into the 216 square millimeters of silicon that compose its latest chip [anandtech.com] ... which linked article goes on to report: "The quad-core desktop Sandy Bridge die clocks in at 995 million transistors." )
  • Researchers Claim 1,000 Core Chip Created [slashdot.org] (By using FPGAs, Glasgow University researchers have claimed a proof of concept 1,000 core chip that they demonstrated running an MPEG algorithm at a speed of 5Gbps.)
  • Intel Talks 1000-Core Processors [slashdot.org] ("An experimental Intel chip shows the feasibility of building processors with 1,000 cores, an Intel researcher has asserted. The architecture for the Intel 48-core Single Chip Cloud Computer processor is 'arbitrarily scalable,' according to Timothy Mattson. 'This is an architecture that could, in principle, scale to 1,000 cores,' he said. 'I can just keep adding, adding, adding cores.'")

So let's perform a few calculations, shall we? There are 995,000,000 transistors in the Sandy Bridge Quad Core die. There are 3,150 transistors in the 6502. That means that within the space of the Sandy Bridge chip, there could be, instead, 315,873 complete 6502 cores!!

But wait, it gets better! Back in its day, IIRC the 6502 ran at what, 1MHz? 2MHz? With today's technology, we could run each of these cores at least one-thousand times faster than the original! That's like having another thousand times as many 6502 cores.

So, finally, in the space of just one Sandy Bridge Quad Core die, we could have the processing equivalent of over 300 Million 6502 cores!(*)

(*) Okay, granted, it would take a not insignificant amount of space on die to connect all these together, along with a metric ton of lines for sending data and address info to/from each 6502 processor. Nevertheless, I'm just boggled to see how far we've come from the chip that was in the first computer I ever bought!

Re:Just imagine .... (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787722)

Just imagine if the same effort that went into minimizing the 6502's transistor count back then were to be applied to a modern CPU. It would take decades from concept to tapeout!

Re:Just imagine .... (1)

liquid stereo (602956) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787840)

Its really incredible stuff. Personally, I think today's chips are pretty wimpy. Give me a Mips R8000 or Alpha 21264! But seriously, I think the lack of diversity with regards to chip design has been fairly detrimental to advances in computing.

Re:Just imagine .... (2)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787966)

That means that within the space of the Sandy Bridge chip, there could be, instead, 315,873 complete 6502 cores!! ...
With today's technology, we could run each of these cores at least one-thousand times faster than the original! ...
So, finally, in the space of just one Sandy Bridge Quad Core die, we could have the processing equivalent of over 300 Million 6502 cores!(*)

That would make for one bad-ass game of LoadRunner!

Re:Just imagine .... (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787970)

Adding 64K of local memory, interface and interconnect would approach 1M transistors / core, and we're back to 1000 processors.

YMF262 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787698)

do that one! make it a device driver even!

A blank space for the electrical outlet... (5, Interesting)

jtara (133429) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787752)

Did you know that the very first 6502 layout had an unused space reserved for an electrical outlet? No, not an electrical outlet on the chip, silly! An electrical outlet on the wall of the designer.

I was writing the software for a firmware-based gasoline pump based on the 4040 when the Mostek 6502 was announced. The pricing and power were a huge breakthrough - we could now afford to use an 8-bit processor instead of 4-bit, and the chip was way easier to interface. We arranged a visit to Mostek and came back with a prized pre-production chip with the lid soldered on. We met Chuck Peddle, and he showed us a prototype of the KIM development board. We also took back with us a 9-track tape of a 6502 assembler (written in Fortran) for installation on the local university's timesharing system, which at the time sold time to the public.

We also met the chip designers and saw the original hand-drawn layout for the chip. No automatic routing software - just drawing on a huge sheet of paper on one wall of one of the guy's offices. There was actually an area of silicon that could not be used because there was an electrical outlet on the wall that they needed for something in the office, so they just didn't draw on that part. The finished design was then rendered in Rubylith, and we were shown a "cell library" which consisted of a set of large drawers with various circuit elements pre-cut in Rubylith.

Since the KIM was not yet available, we built our own development system - first wirewrapped, and later a set of circuit boards, using 44-bit edge connectors and defined a bus We let my friend Rene use the circuit board layouts we had, and he did some additional boards himself, laying down black tape on mylar. We were given a monitor program that would allow us to load paper tapes produced on a TTY connected to timesharing system and do some debugging.

It was a really fun and easy chip to program, and I worked on several other firmware projects using the 6502 over the next few years. I did some 6800 as well, but always preferred the 6502.

Re:A blank space for the electrical outlet... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787816)

You met Chuck Peddle and Bill Mensch?

I really, REALLY envy you. Those guys created the building blocks of my world.

Re:A blank space for the electrical outlet... (1)

fzammett (255288) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787844)

Ditto. Those two are on my VERY short list of people I'd most like to meet. They probably had more of an impact on my life, albeit indirectly, than any two other people save my parents.

Re:A blank space for the electrical outlet... (-1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787914)

Dude those guys saved your parents? Thats AMAZING! Talk about serendipity. Did your parents design the 6502?

Re:A blank space for the electrical outlet... (3, Interesting)

CaptKilljoy (687808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788022)

> There was actually an area of silicon that could not be used because there was an electrical outlet on the wall that they needed for something in the office, so they just didn't draw on that part.
Being curious, I just had to look at the actual chip layout in the online simulator [visual6502.org] to see if this was true. You can see a pair of rectangular voids left of the center, near the edge, the lower of which seems to have the right dimensional ratio to have been a space for a wall socket.

It's fascinating to hear the lost bit of engineering history that explains something would otherwise have forever remained a mystery. Somebody should forward this anecdote to the visual6502.org guys.

Re:A blank space for the electrical outlet... (2)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788080)

Did you know that the very first 6502 layout had an unused space reserved for an electrical outlet? No, not an electrical outlet on the chip, silly! An electrical outlet on the wall of the designer.

It was (don't know if it still is) common for the layout "artist" to include a graphic of his choice on the die [si.edu] .

Still used today (2)

chaoskitty (11449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787850)

I have a Commodore A2232 seven port serial card in my Amiga 4000 in my datacenter which provides serial consoles to a number of other machines. While other multiport serial cards have RISC processors or large buffers, this card is simply a 3.58 MHz 65CE02 which polls each port and puts incoming characters into its 16k of memory, which the Amiga can access directly. It's a beautiful example of simplicity at work.

45 years from now... (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787860)

45 years from now, perhaps some of you "youngsters" reading this will be trying to resurrect this site from a roomful of forgotten, dusty hard drives.

Nah...

We still do it (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787908)

Amazing bits of history in this thread...

We pros still de-lid and polish back circuits for reverse-engineering. These days, instead of an optical microscope, you need an SEM to do it. The principle is still the same.

Delicate work, but quite amazing results.

Re:We still do it (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788380)

Amazing bits of history in this thread...

We pros still de-lid and polish back circuits for reverse-engineering. These days, instead of an optical microscope, you need an SEM to do it. The principle is still the same.

Speaking of SEM: TI made a video of an IC running in a SEM.

It showed the current so to speak.

I can't remember if it was the SEM video or Making of a Microchip (MMC01).

Is there any code that can damage the 6502? (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787956)

And if you use it on the simulator what happens?

used car (-1, Offtopic)

anandsri (1972130) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788226)

i am going to say some thing ===================== used car [gov-auctions.org]

Bill Mensch and WDC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34788230)

Western Design Center will sell you a 6502 core or a chip... check it ->

http://www.westerndesigncenter.com/wdc/index.cfm

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