Chuck Peddle died on December 15, 2019. Few will have heard of him, but without him, the accessible and affordable computing you are using would not exist. It is arguable that Peddle is as important as anyone in starting the personal computer revolution. (The image comes from the Team6502 website.)
Peddle worked for Motorola who were developing the 6800 chip (*) which Motorola wanted to sell for $300 each. Peddle argued that an affordable processor was needed, and when Motorola told him to drop it, he left. (* Motorola’s 6800 was the predecessor of the 680×0 series which powered Macintosh and Amiga computers.)
Peddle and several other ex-Motorola employees joined MOS Technology in 1975 and led a design team that created the 6502 microprocessor. The 6502 cost only $25 each, compared to Motorola’s exorbitant price. The low cost and powerful instruction set attracted Steve Wozniak and Jack Tramiel, both deciding to built their computers around it. (Tramiel bought MOS in 1976.)
The 6502 (and 65C02) was used to power many computers of the era. This is an incomplete list:
- Apple I, II, II+, IIe, IIc
- Commodore PET, Vic20, 64, 16, Plus4, 128
- Atari 400, 800
- Laser 128 (Apple II+ clones)
- Various UK computers – Acorn Atom, BBC Micro, Oric
- Various European brands as well
Peddle also created the KIM-1 SBC (single-board computer), one of the first personal computers ever sold.
Visit 6502.org for information about the microprocessor.
Visual 6502 provides a simulation of the chip at work.
Monster 6502 is a replica of the 6502 chip using larger components.