National Semiconductor website

May 10, 2017
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The idea about this page is that anybody who came into contact with the Series 32000 family can tell his or her experience here.

Udo, Germany

I noticed the NS16000 product family from National Semiconductor in Summer 1982. The first data sheet I ordered from my prefered distributor was the NS16032 microprocessor (see figure 1). Wow! What a great design! Later I wanted to become a microprocessor designer ...

In 1982 I was a student in electrical engineering. I had already some experiences with the 8086 from Intel and the MC68000 from Motorola. But the design from National Semiconductor was different: this was not only a new microprocessor chip but a complete system solution for a modern high performance 32-bit computer. Floating-point support, virtual memory support, extensible instruction set - nothing was left out what for sure would have become mandatory in future systems. It was fascinating to read about all this and I wanted to get in touch with real hardware.

Fig. 1. My first data sheet : the NS16032 microprocessor in 1982.

Because of the price a commercial development system was not in the reach for students. Therefore I build my own hardware based on a 6 MHz chip set during 1985 and 1986 which can be seen as TITAN1.

In 1995 the idea came up to build a system based on a NS32532 CPU. At that time it was no longer possible to simply buy this chips from National Semiconductor. Therefore I looked for other sources. Finally I got the chips from Siemens-Nixdorf in Paderborn. They offered a NS32532 system called MX300. For repair purposes they had replacement parts in stock which they also sold to anybody else.

In the following years I build two NS32532 based systems, TITAN2 and TITAN3. Desipite the fact that I am a hardware engineer I wrote the necessary system software myself including a small PASCAL compiler. With such a powerful architecture even assembler programming was fun!

At least as an engineer I never build a microprocessor. But I always dreamed about that. Starting in the new century I learned more about FPGAs and their capabillities. Quickly I realized that this is the perfect technology to build my own microprocessor. In the meantime I learned that a NS32532 together with the NS32381 FPU was not able to decode MP3 in realtime when it uses floating-point. This event was the starting point to develop my own version of the Series 32000 architecture. See the M32632 pages to get more informations.

In addition to all the fun building an own microprocessor there is another motivation too. As an open-source hardware project it can bring young hardware enthusiasts in contact with a great design of the past. Hopefully together with this website the work of many bright and brillant engineers will not be forgotten.

Source: cpu-ns32k.net
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