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Any way to determine Motorola 68K pricing from the late 80s / early 90s?

Xebec

Active member
Hi There!

I'm personally interested in some of the "computer wars" that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, and I was curious where I might be able to find reliable sources of volume prices on Motorola 68000 line processors (68020, 68030, EC versions, etc.) from during the time period that they were commercially sold?

As a kid I saw certain 68000 based machines such as the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga sort of stagnate for many years, and I'm curious if Motorola pricing might have also played a role. (i.e. When did the 68000-16 MHz become a thing, and become cheaper? What did 68020 pricing look like around 1989, etc).

I'm familiarizing myself with the internal challenges Atari and Commodore faced around this time (Commodore leadership after 1985 definitely did not have the right experience for the market, and Atari sort of went on Autopilot when Jack Tramiel decided to retire). However, my gut says Motorola was still charging premium pricing even when Intel x86 started to really ramp up as competition..

Thanks!
John
 

Xebec

Active member
Quick Google search, 68020 was $487.00 at introduction in 1984, while the 68000 at the same time was priced down to just $15.00.

Thanks! Looks like I am able to find more on Google than I could years ago when I last looked for pricing. I see in May of 1990 the 68030 was selling for $100 in quantities, dropping to $50.

I'll keep searching - I'm hoping to build a table showing the price of each chip and speed grade by year.. from roughly 84 through 93 or so..
 

Tanj

Active member
Keep in mind that back then the CPU was a smaller fraction of the whole board than now, so you have to consider the whole ecosystem. M68k had an async IO bus which required its own support chips (DMA, Video, interrupt controller, serial/comms, etc.) which added to the price and also were a design choice and sourcing consideration. Intel won the choice in the company I worked for in 1980 because of backwards compatibility with the 8080/8085 ecosystem which included Zilog and NatSemi parts (probably others). Whether you put them on the board or on an IO socket, these were issues when considering the 68k.

Looking at the choices with modern eyes you can overestimate the importance of the CPU chip, back then the integration level was much lower.
 
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