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Sharp X68000 (wikipedia.org)
64 points by peter_d_sherman 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

X68K is super-interesting. It's hard to summarize it without sounding like you're just making stuff up to troll retrogaming/retrocomputing enthusiasts. I mean, imagine running into a post like this on Reddit or whatever:

"Did you know that the company behind the Bomberman and Adventure Island series made an MS-DOS clone, but it was for a 68000-based computer that had proper arcade-tier graphics and sound hardware in it? Yes, they were working with NEC at basically the same time on PC Engine and PC-FX, but the computer was a completely unrelated Sharp design. In addition to having better arcade ports than any other system at the time, it had a thriving doujin scene. One of these doujin games was an enhanced clone of Sega's version of Tetris, which inspired the creation of Tetris: The Grand Master."

Another Japanese 68K machine from the same time: Sony NEWS (network engineering workstation). This one was System-V like, not DOS-ish.


For context, this was probably in response to the Sun 3, also 68k. Sun's foresightful motto was, "the network is the computer," which maybe explained more of the Sony effort.


Hmm. Sun had a windowing system called "NeWS". https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/NeWS

Anyone looking to dabble with similar 68k machines might enjoy the MiSTer FPGA Console, which also re-implements the X68000:



It pairs a Cyclone V with dual-core ARM, a HDMI scaler and SD-RAM for latency.

It's just an incredible project, in breadth & depth.

Unfortunately, the MiSTer X68000 core isn't very usable yet. The upstream project has been updated and the author seems open to the idea of maintaining a MiSTer port but doesn't have the hardware.

Thanks for the info! I hope that can change very soon.

I got into the MiSTer for the Amiga minimig core, watching the project develop has been really enlightening, for example, the wildly interesting MSX completely passed me by as a child in the 1980s.

My parents had a black x68000 of uncertain modification. It was worth a few yearly incomes in early nineties Russia. It worked till 1996 or 1997, when hard drive failure put end to it.

A repairman that came to fix it took a look at it, and was like "is it even a computer?"

From that time, we still had a black NEC Ultralite by 2006. When I returned back to Russia in 2016, I got to know that parents threw it away. Again, that was an extremely expensive thing for early nineties.

Father liked to buy toys like that for mom on his business trips to Japan.

>threw away

That hurt to read. They're quite valuable even today.

It's actually terrible how little content there is on Wikipedia regarding past hardware. I uploaded images of an 8086, the LCII, IIE, etc. and was gobsmacked at how bad the existing ones were. Come on people!

This site is so old it's almost a museum piece itself, but it is basically the Wikipedia of historical computers.


Some years ago I looked pretty much everywhere for one of these, but it was either impossible or not financially viable to get one. I wanted to try and run NetBSD on it, possibly opening it up as a shell account server.

I was studying computer architecture ad university and the reference processor was the Motorola 68000. Needless to say, we had to do various kind of exsercises without having the thing running [1]. The only thing the professors recommeded was an emulator, Easy68k i think, but it was super uncomfortable to use and it used to mess up jumps and condition evaluation (even in its own sample programs).

I ended up verifying the exercises using a Debian/68k virtual machine under Aranym. Needless to say, it was slow, but at least it was functional.

[1] Personal rant: it's "funny" how professor in the calculus classes in the first year expect you to "question everything" and not to "assume something is just true because the professor said so" but then you progress and have real-world topics and professors just wing it and say "meh, that's the reference processor for the course and for the exam, you are supposed to run samples in your mind or on paper, if you want to verify that what I'm saying is true get some m68k machine and run the code (good luck with that)."

The thing I loved about the 68k was how quick it was to wire wrap (breadboard) a fairly serviceable terminal sitch, from where one could bootstrap development of devices and then programs and then more devices. This was all pre-linux (but post-minix), but if you ignore the head-banging incidents, pretty straight forward.

An interesting machine. Dave Jones of eevblog did a great tear down of one https://youtu.be/W40qGkp-mEU

His teardowns are hard to watch if you love vintage computers. He often does destructive things to them and you know they go straight into a landfill after the video is over.

If you want to see someone who lovingly restores and repairs vintage computers and actually gets them working again, check out Adrian Black on YouTube.

Many people were reminded of this machine when they first revealed the groove-in-the-middle design of the original PlayStation 4.

Anybody interested in this machine, there is a Reddit for it


There's also typically one to play with at the annual demosplash competition at CMU.

Why did Motorola stop working in CPUs?

They spun off the semiconductor business, that became Freescale, then merged with NXP.

It became Freescale (embedded PPC and ColdFire).

Their in-house RISC CPU was not a market success and they joined IBM and Apple in the PowerPC consortium.


Lol, these auto-generated comments are getting out of hand...

I'm confused.

It almost reads like a Trump quote.

Yep: "Although the Tesla Roadster was built in the 1970s by American manufacturing and manufacturing companies, it did not have an electric motor. At the time, it was a mechanical motor. And the Tesla Roadster was a motor on top of a gas gas cylinder. When the Model S was built, the electric motors had no electricity to charge them. The Model S had no electrical chargers; the Roadster had no electric motor to charge the electric motor. It was a gas car."

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