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The Motorola 680x0/0x0/m68k/68k/68K family of CISC microprocessor CPU chips were 32-bit from the start, and were the primary competition for the Intel x86 family of chips in personal computers of the 1980s and early 1990s. Although no modern desktop computers are based on the 68k, derivative processors are still widely used in embedded applications.

[edit] Main uses

The 68k line of processors has been used in a variety of systems, from modern high-end Texas Instruments calculators to older members of the Palm pilot series, and even radiation hardened versions in the critical control systems of the Space Shuttle. However, they became most well-known as the processors powering desktop computers such as the Apple Macintosh, the Commodore Amiga, the Atari ST, and several others. The 68k was also the processor of choice in the 1980s for Unix workstations and servers from companies such as Sun Microsystems and SGI.

Today, these systems are either end-of-line (in the case of the Atari), or are using different processors (as is the case for Amiga, Macintosh, Sun, and SGI). Since these platforms are now more than a decade old, their original manufacturers are unlikely to support an operating system for this hardware or are even out of business. However, the Linux, NetBSD and OpenBSD operating systems still include support for 68k processors.

The 68k processors were also used in the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and SNK Neo Geo consoles as the main CPU. Other consoles such as the Sega Saturn used the 68k for audio processing and other I/O tasks, while the Atari Jaguar included a 68000 which was intended for basic system control and input processing, but due to the Jaguar's unusual assortment of heterogenous processors was also frequently used for running game logic.

Microcontrollers derived from the 68k family have been used in a huge variety of applications. For example, CPU32 and ColdFire microcontrollers have been manufactured in the millions as automotive engine controllers.

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