Goodbye Z80

Which microprocessor gang were you in?

Zilog have announced the impending end of supply for Z80 8-bit microprocessor chips, 48 years after they were first introduced.

As a teenager in the late 70’s who started an electronic engineering degree in 1979, amongst my nerd contemporaries there was a clear division between the Z80 fans and the 6502-ers, and obviously each camp thought the processor they preferred was better.

The course at University of Bristol based its microprocessor syllabus around the Z80, with programmes created in assembly language and blown into PROMS for execution. I also remember one test rig designed for the true hardcore user where you could input octal machine language one word at a time using rotary switches and a “write” button.

My final year project included a chunk of Z80 assembler to manage capturing digitised microphone inputs and displaying them on a computer screen.

I find it astonishing that such a humble (by today’s standards) chip should have remained on the market for so long.

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My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change