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psychonaut
03-01-2010, 06:22 AM
What's the oldest microprocessor still being manufactured in more or less its original form? Note that I'm not asking about modern chips, such as x86-compatible microprocessors, which are merely backwards-compatible with their predecessors. I'm asking about chips that have remained more or less unchanged since their introductions, with no significant new features or instructions.

I know that the 6502 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6502), introduced in 1975 and famous for being used in various Commodore, Apple, and Atari microcomputers, is still being made and used in embedded devices. Is there anything older which is still being produced?

Mangetout
03-01-2010, 06:41 AM
Not sure - that's a pretty intensive period of development for microprocessors - it's only a handful of years earlier than the first general-purpose commercial microprocessors (the 4004?) hit the market.

JoelUpchurch
03-01-2010, 07:13 AM
The Z80 architecture is still widely used, but I doubt that any microprocessor from that era would still be fabricated using the original masks, since it would be a huge waste of silicon. Using a more current fabrication process would allow 100s of times as many chips from the same wafer.

I doubt that anyone still uses the 8080 and 6800 architectures.

Torpor Beast
03-01-2010, 07:41 AM
IIRC, Z80 was introduced in 1976, so 6502 still has the lead.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-01-2010, 07:42 AM
I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out it can be found in military equipment. The military has a tendency to build something for 10 years in the future using technology from 20 years ago. For some applications the military is still using 1950s technology because they either haven't found anything better or they can't afford to replace everything so they continue with it.

Torpor Beast
03-01-2010, 07:48 AM
I doubt that anyone still uses the 8080 and 6800 architectures.

The Motorola 6800 was apparently last manufactured in 2006, so there are probably quite a few of them in use around the World.

Measure for Measure
03-08-2010, 04:21 AM
Not sure - that's a pretty intensive period of development for microprocessors - it's only a handful of years earlier than the first general-purpose commercial microprocessors (the 4004?) hit the market. The 4004 apparently was produced from 1971 to 1986 (http://www.4004.com/why-so-long.htm). Wikipedia says that the 8085 was produced, "From 1977 to 1990s."

6502 seems like the winner. 6502.org provides a list of current distributors.

Mangetout
03-08-2010, 04:25 AM
Oops - I didn't make sense up there - I meant to say "it's only a handul of years earlier that the first general-purpose processors hit the market"

By which I mean: there aren't even all that many candidate devices before the 6502.

ralph124c
03-08-2010, 01:16 PM
Aren't 1-bit and 4-bit micros still made for appliances (washing machines, dryers, etc.)?
If you only need to actauate a few switches, and speed isn't an issue, an old design will work just fine.
Incidentally, quite a few appliances still use mechanically-timed rotary switches-they are cheap and reliable.