Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Finally! The 6502 reveals its secrets once again!

  1. #1
    Pear (Level 6) Sabz5150's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    1,342
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    PSN
    Sabz5150

    Default Finally! The 6502 reveals its secrets once again!

    http://research.swtch.com/2011/01/mo...-in-world.html

    This is wonderful news... its been decades since anyone knew exactly how the 6502 worked its magic as the tech specs were lost. This will be a giant leap forward for NES clones.

    "A team of three people—Greg James, Barry Silverman, and Brian Silverman—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."

    I'm still amazed by the fact that the designer of the 6502 nailed it in one shot. That is unheard of.

    Bil Herd summarizes the situation. “No chip worked the first time,” he states emphatically. “No chip. It took seven or nine revs [revisions], or if someone was real good they would get it in five or six.”

    Normally, a large number of flaws originate from the layout design. After all, there are six layers (and six masks) that have to align with each other perfectly. Imagine designing a town with every conceivable layer of infrastructure placed one on top of another. Plumbing is the lowest layer, followed by the subway system, underground walkways, buildings, overhead walkways, and finally telephone wires. These different layers have to connect with each other perfectly; otherwise, the town will not function. The massive complexity of such a system makes it likely that human errors will creep into the design.

    After fabricating a run of chips and probing them, the layout engineers usually have to make changes to their original design and the process repeats from the Rubylith down. “Each run is a couple of hundred thousand [dollars],” says Herd.

    Implausibly, the engineers detected no errors in [Bill] Mensch's layout. “He built seven different chips without ever having an error,” says Peddle with disbelief in his voice. “Almost all done by hand. When I tell people that, they don't believe me, but it's true. This guy is a unique person. He is the best layout guy in the world.”
    Wants:
    Starflight Starmap and Code Wheel
    Starflight II Starmap
    Got these for sale or trade? PM ME!!!

  2. #2
    DP's favorite trollbait Custom rank graphic
    Kitsune Sniper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Calexico, USA
    Posts
    13,853
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Xbox LIVE
    FoxhackDN
    Steam
    Foxhack

    Default

    Wait, if the tech specs were lost, then how come people kept making 6502 chips?
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    I can't tell if we're discussing My Little Pony or Neon Genesis Evangelion anymore.
    eBay Auctions / GameTZ profile / DP Feedback / Youtube / Twitter / RateYourMusic

  3. #3
    Kirby (Level 13) megasdkirby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Bayamon, Puerto Rico
    Posts
    5,213
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    12
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    10
    Thanked in
    9 Posts
    Xbox LIVE
    megasdkirby
    PSN
    megasdkirby

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    Wait, if the tech specs were lost, then how come people kept making 6502 chips?
    Probably a clone 6502?

    If they were clones, now they can create "real" chips, which should mean better compatibility, specially in sound.
    Proud owner of a Neo 25 Neo Geo Candy Cab!

  4. #4
    Insert Coin (Level 0)
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    80
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Default

    I think they mean that the layout was lost. Specs like how many registers, how big each register was, etc etc. are all well known from datasheets. However, the exact layout of the chip is probably what was lost. I doubt you'll see any improved quality in clones, nor do I think you'll see any new production, except perhaps as a novelty for nerds.

  5. #5
    Strawberry (Level 2) Compute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Appleton, WI
    Posts
    463
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    PSN
    compute1984

    Default

    I'd buy a poster of an internal rendering of a 6502..
    See my latest arcade repair at the Holodeck 2 Arcade Repair Blog: http://holodeck2arcade.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    Pac-Man (Level 10) Custom rank graphic
    buzz_n64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,370
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    PSN
    buzz_retro64

    Default

    This is cool, but I don't see any viable commercial use for this. Maybe retrozone would make use of it or something, like their GB player for the NES. Accurate new NES hardware adapter for the Wii, DS...

    Interesting.

  7. #7
    Kirby (Level 13) Leo_A's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    5,878
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Loremaster View Post
    I think they mean that the layout was lost. Specs like how many registers, how big each register was, etc etc. are all well known from datasheets. However, the exact layout of the chip is probably what was lost. I doubt you'll see any improved quality in clones, nor do I think you'll see any new production, except perhaps as a novelty for nerds.
    Again, if it's been decades since anyone knew things like the exact layout of the chip, just how was it even manufactured?

    The NES has only been out of production for a bit over 15 years, the Famicom about 8 years, the Apple II since 1993, etc. If they didn't even know how the chip was exactly laid out for decades, just how was it produced for these devices in fairly recent years?

    Quote Originally Posted by buzz_n64 View Post
    This is cool, but I don't see any viable commercial use for this. Maybe retrozone would make use of it or something, like their GB player for the NES. Accurate new NES hardware adapter for the Wii, DS...

    Interesting.
    How can someone that visits a forum like this be unaware of the flood of NES clones in recent years?
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-12-2011 at 08:00 PM.

  8. #8
    Pac-Man (Level 10) Custom rank graphic
    buzz_n64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,370
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    PSN
    buzz_retro64

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_A View Post

    How can someone that visits a forum like this be unaware of the flood of NES clones in recent years?
    I know all about famiclones, I have over a dozen varieties, however, I did say "Accurate new NES hardware" Meaning the same sound quality, compatibility and quality. Yes, I know some clones now play Castlevania III and so on, but to cost effectively reproduce identical chips would be another story, although very possible. Initially not as cheap, but will be down the road with mass production.

  9. #9
    DP's favorite trollbait Custom rank graphic
    Kitsune Sniper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Calexico, USA
    Posts
    13,853
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    Xbox LIVE
    FoxhackDN
    Steam
    Foxhack

    Default

    You realize the NES didn't use a 6502, right? It used a derivative with extra features (and other stuff missing) called Ricoh 2A03?

    This really doesn't help Famiclone manufacturers that much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmond Dantes View Post
    I can't tell if we're discussing My Little Pony or Neon Genesis Evangelion anymore.
    eBay Auctions / GameTZ profile / DP Feedback / Youtube / Twitter / RateYourMusic

  10. #10
    Pac-Man (Level 10) Custom rank graphic
    buzz_n64's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    2,370
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    1
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post
    PSN
    buzz_retro64

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsune Sniper View Post
    You realize the NES didn't use a 6502, right? It used a derivative with extra features (and other stuff missing) called Ricoh 2A03?

    This really doesn't help Famiclone manufacturers that much.
    Thanks, I guess I was partially misinformed, thanks for the info.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOS_Technology_6502
    The 6502 used in the NES was a second source version by Ricoh, a partial system-on-a-chip, that lacked the binary-coded decimal mode but added 22 memory-mapped registers (and on-die hardware) for sound generation, joypad reading, and sprite list DMA. Called 2A03 in NTSC consoles and 2A07 in PAL consoles (the difference being the memory divider ratio and a lookup table for audio sample rates), this processor was produced exclusively for Nintendo.

  11. #11
    Strawberry (Level 2) tomaitheous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    446
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Default

    I saw this before and thought it was cool, but this has nothing to do with gaming or emulation - really. It's more for EE nerds and such that are into digital level designs. That and now you can exactly replicate the chip (but again, that's not really adding anything to emulation 'scene' or such - hardware or software).
    Tom: That third elephant is so elusive, ya know.
    NFG: Elephants are so unpredictable.
    Tom: Especially in groups of three.
    NFG: Two pairs of three, no less.

  12. #12
    Key (Level 9) Satoshi_Matrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,956
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts
    PSN
    Satoshi_Matrix

    Default

    Will this mean anything for those who make Famiclones? I know the processors were slightly different, but I wonder if NOACs will be improved thanks to this?
    check out my classic gaming review site: http://satoshimatrix.wordpress.com/

  13. #13
    Ghostbuster
    Greg2600's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Soprano Land, NJ
    Posts
    3,781
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    4
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    43
    Thanked in
    38 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Satoshi_Matrix View Post
    Will this mean anything for those who make Famiclones? I know the processors were slightly different, but I wonder if NOACs will be improved thanks to this?
    Not if their current designs are cheaper to manuf. than the old one.
    The Paunch Stevenson Show free Internet podcast - www.paunchstevenson.com - DP FEEDBACK

  14. #14
    Insert Coin (Level 0)
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buzz_n64 View Post
    This is cool, but I don't see any viable commercial use for this.
    6502 clones are still produced and used in various applications; cars, medical equipment, industrial systems, and even handheld games.

  15. #15
    Strawberry (Level 2) tomaitheous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    446
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    1
    Thanked in
    1 Post

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Renaak View Post
    6502 clones are still produced and used in various applications; cars, medical equipment, industrial systems, and even handheld games.
    I doubt those would be the original 6502 models, still being used today. More like the 65C02, which has a number of additions/upgrades/instructions and has the fix for the infamous jump indirect bug of the original 6502.
    Tom: That third elephant is so elusive, ya know.
    NFG: Elephants are so unpredictable.
    Tom: Especially in groups of three.
    NFG: Two pairs of three, no less.

  16. #16
    Peach (Level 3)
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Orlando, FL
    Posts
    663
    Thanks Thanks Given 
    0
    Thanks Thanks Received 
    0
    Thanked in
    0 Posts

    Default

    What a cool project - thanks for the links!
    If you can't do it with 8 bits, you don't need to do it!

Similar Threads

  1. Minecraft Mod Adds Emulated 6502 Processor [Slashdot]
    By DP ServBot in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-24-2012, 01:20 AM
  2. FS: Promo and How To / Secrets Videos VHS
    By briskbc in forum Buying and Selling
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-13-2005, 11:11 PM
  3. This is Topic #6502... Trivia Time!
    By Blackjax in forum Classic Gaming
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 07-28-2003, 10:00 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •