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COMSOL has the largest range of embedded development tools in Europe.

Motorola's Coldfire controller family.

Motorola's latest attempt to keep the 68000 architecture alive. It's a kind of scaled down version of the 68020 for embedded designs. They dare to call it RISC.


Development tools Free Forth based firmware development tools by Brad Eckert

Links - This is the Coldfire site according to Motorola's Will Dawson!

Mailing List - Info about a ColdFire mailing list

Email about it

From:    Jaap van Ganswijk <>
To:      chipdir-L, 6805, 6811
Subject: About the Coldfire


Grant Beattie and I had a little discussion about what the
Coldfire was: 68000 or PowerPC and if it is a processor
or a controller.

When you look on page:
the hype is that the 'ColdFire represents a revolutionary
variable-length RISC architecture that is designed to meet
the requirements of the embedded consumer market.'

But also:
'ColdFire's creation sprung from the 68K architecture.'

The source code at:
clearly shows that it uses 68000 source code indeed.

So probably they have finally managed to let 486-like
techniques execute that big and chaotic 68000 instruction set.

Shall we pretend to be happy about it? ;-)

They plan to reach 300 MIPS by the year 2000 which is
at least something.

The claim that the die can be small and the device
low cost seems strange if it has full 68020 (?) functionality
and also a set of useful peripherals on-board.

Here is an example of a medium version:
- MCF5203 ColdFire 
- Static ColdFire Core 
- Variable Length RISC Instruction Set 
- 24 MIPS @ 33 MHz 
- 2-Kbyte Unified Cache 
- Low Interrupt Latency 
- Dynamic Bus Sizing 
- 32- bit address bus & 16-bit data bus 
- Optimized for bursting on 16-bit bus 
- Low-Cost 100-Pin TQFP Package 
- Fully Static 5.0-Volt Operation 
- Available in 16, 25, and 33 MHz 

At first they dared to call the 68000 instruction set 'orthogonal'
which was already an enormous lie and now they even dare to call
it 'RISC'. Soon they'll probably even call it 'Java-oriented'. ;-)

Enfin, the fact that they practically give away the
development kit for $99 means probably that the
sales aren't going too well...

Something else:
Why the strange selection list on page:
Why not just a list of clickable items?

When will the people that have a clue take over at
Motorola again, so we can once again be proud of them?

Regarding the question, if it's a processor or

MCF5206 ColdFire 
- Static VL-RISC ColdFire Core 
- 17 MIPS @ 33 MHz 
- 512-Byte Instruction Cache 
- 512-Byte On-Chip SRAM* 
- DRAM Controller 
- Dual* Multimode Timers 
- M-Bus Interface 
- Debug Module 
- Low-Cost 160-Pin QFP Package 
- Fully Static 5V Operation 
- Available in 16, 25, and 33 MHz 

This one clearly has peripherals on-board, so according
to my definition it's a controller.

Here is the 5206 Complete Evaluation Package:
It costs $450.

I couldn't find any of the Coldfire devices in the price guide at:
but finding something at the Motorola WWW site(s!) has
never been easy and must probably be seen as an 'interesting'
challenge for the overworked engineer...

In fact, Motorola Sweden decided to make it's own overview
(fully in English) at:

Enough ranting and raving... ;-)


Date:    19970411
From: (Clyde Smith-Stubbs)
To: (Jaap van Ganswijk)
Subject: Re: About Motorola's Coldfire


> Grant Beattie and I had a little discussion about what the
> Coldfire was: 68000 or PowerPC and if it is a processor

It's definitely a 68K family chip, but it has 1) several of
the more complex instructions omitted and 2) a limit on
the maximum instruction length, which constrains the
legal combinations of addressing modes. Their "RISC" label
is primarily for marketing purposes, but is probably
justified by having fewer cycles per instruction than the
68K. But note that the first member of the Coldfire family
IS a 68K, not the new architecture. This was done so they
could release a "Coldfire" chip quickly.


Clyde Smith-Stubbs    | HI-TECH Software,       | Voice: +61 7 3354 2411      | P.O. Box 103, Alderley, | Fax:   +61 7 3354 2422 | QLD, 4051, AUSTRALIA.   |
Download a FREE beta version of our new ANSI C compiler for the PIC
microcontroller! Point your WWW browser at

See also:
local See the other families of processors. FAQ's about microcontrollers You can find a lot of FAQ's here

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