Interesting, were you at Sun as I did not think Moto allowed its customers to XC chips to end-users.  But may just like Intel (which has also sort of special stuff if a customer like HP wants to use preproduction chips for early ships) Moto had some way to do that.  I never was familiar with that side of it.

FWIW: In Motorola's terminology, anything in >>their<< customer's hand was supposed to have a X part if it was pre-production (eXperimental) [Intel calls these B step devices].   The problem for what would become the 68000 (according to my friend Les Crudele - who was on the 3 or 4 people on the original team) since it was midnight job (i.e. not sanctioned and basically 'off book') it did not even have an assigned experimental part number.  The MC6809 was the official replacement for the MC6800.   It was not even an "A step" part - it literally ran as a test run at the fab, as a favor by a few folks.  I wasn't there, but I have been under the impression that Nick, Tom and Les got back a couple of test wafers and had to cut the dice and mount them in the engineering lab.

You have to understand the whole project was a reaction some of the engineers had to the MC6809 and made a bet with their boss they could build a PDP-11 on a die.   Since DEC had just put CalData out of business when Ken O'Mundro did the CD500, Nick and Les were careful not to directly copy the ISA, just modeled it after them.   They had an PDP-11/70 running ISC's Unix port and a bunch of custom fox terminals with the Rand Editor partially running in the terminal.   The rest iof history as it were.

When the chip worked the first time, the team had a few (??hundred??) dice that they bonded and the >>engineers<< gave them to a couple of their partners to see what they thought. I do not know which firms all got them, but I know some folks in IBM did, and we got 10 of them in Tek Labs Computer Research in late winter '79 IIRC.  We were working on a 29000 bitslice system called Tina which eventually died.   I got asked by my boss if I wanted to play with these chips we had been given that so far nobody had messed with.  The documental was on a lineprinter paper (clearly nroff output BTW).   Roger Bates and I started to build the personal computer for ourselves.  Paul Blattner wrote an assembler for it, and I hacked on the Ritchie PDP-11 C compiler [as I have said in other posts, the code it generated sucked and even put out PDP-11 code in a few cases - like for FP which I never redid).  Steve Glaser and I started hacking.   This would eventually become Magnolia which turned into the Tek 4404 Smalltalk system a few years later.

I'm not sure when the original chip got the XC series #, but somebody (??Roger??) got a bunch of stickers that we put them on the lids, I want to say June/July of 1979 but I might not be remembering everything.   Before that, the chips had been marked with some date code by hand with a sharpie or equivalent and were in a clear plastic snap case between anti-static sponge.

BTW:  As an amusing side note as we were talking about 'BourneGol'' a while back.  Roger (being ex-Xerox PARC and recently of the Dorado) was used to BCPL so he wrote a similar set of BCPL macros in C similar to Bourne's hack for sh and adb.  The CAD tool he wrote to design the boards was written in it and ran originally on V7 with a Tek 4014, then was moved to Magnolia when we had a stable  OS and his new graphics display.


On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 10:33 AM Henry Bent <> wrote:
On Wed, 3 Feb 2021 at 09:59, Clem Cole <> wrote:

On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 5:14 AM Ed Bradford <> wrote:
Hay, Arnold,

MC 68K was created in 1980 or thereabouts. We talked about 10's of Megahertz, I think, in those times. 
The original X series part was originally unnumbered but a sticker was later set for the lids that said X68000 (I had one on my desk - which was used for the Tektronix Magnolia prototype).[1]  The X series ran at 8 Mhz, but the original released (distributed - MC68000) part was binned at 8 and 10  as were the later versions with the updated paging microcode called the MC68010 a year later.   When the 68020 was released Moto got the speeds up to 16Mhz and later 20.  By the '040 I think they were running at 50MHz

Was the "X" prefix always used for prototypes?  I remember having an XC68020 in something - might have been an Sun 3/60, or an early Mac IIcx?