The Z8000 / Z80,000 / Z16C00 CPU homepage
Information and resources on the Zilog Z8000 , Z80,000 and Z16C00 series of processors
Goal of this site: To collect all available resources (documentation, software etc.) on the Z8000 series and some of the computer systems that were built with it
Remark (November 6, 2003): This is an initial version of the Z8000 website launched at November 1, 2003. In the coming weeks I will add several things and try to improve layout significantly (with material being transferred to appropriate subpages). In case you have material (software, documentation etc.) unkwown to us, please contact us (Jurjen Kranenborg)
The Z8000 CPU series has been Zilog's contribution in the "Processor War" (i.e the competition between various 16-bit microprocessor designs during 1978-1985, before the Intel 80*86 family came out as the winner), and was introduced in 1979 between the 8086 CPU (Intel) and the 68000 CPU (Motorola). The series has been developed and produced by Zilog and second sources (AMD, SGS-ATES and Hitachi) from 1979 until approximately 1995 (?). The Z8000 CPUs appeared in two versions; a large memory version (Z8001) with 8 Mbyte addressing capability, and a small memory version (Z8002) with 64 Kbyte addressing capability. Since 1995, the CPU series continues to live - almost secretly - (and still is in production by Zilog) in a pin-compatible CMOS release called the Z16C00 series (with the Z16C01 as the equivalent of Z8001 and the Z16C02 as the equivalent of Z8002). The Z16C00 series appears to be applied entirely in non-commercial embedded applications..
A 32 bit follow-up called the Z80,000 has been designed in 1984 with very advanced features for that time (on-chip cache and on-chip paged memory management unit), as well as the Z8070 Floating Point Co-processor. Both designs never were released commercially (the Z80,000 made it to a test sampling phase, the Z8070 was dropped early in the design phase). However, the peripheral chips of the Z8000 family (notably the Z8030/Z8530 SCC) were very succesful and (together with enhanced versions) are still in production today (see Zilogs SCC page)
The Z8000 series introduced a number of attractive new features in the microprocessor world from the mini-computer and mainframe worlds:
The Z8000 processor also had some drawbacks as compared to its close rival, the 68000 processor:
Although initially the Z8000 got some acceptance and was widely recognised to have a very elegant and user-friendly architecture, it became quickly surpassed by the Motorola 68000 and the Intel 80286 in the commercial domain. In safe-critical environments however the processor apparently continued to play an important role.
On this site we try to collect all available resources on the Z8000 series (i.e. CPUs and support chips, including the Z80,000) and some of the computer systems that were built with it:
Jurjen Kranenborg, Dwight K. Elvey, Christian Groessler