Browse Prior Art Database

The Evolution of Peripheral Devices in Microprocessor Systems Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131317D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 7 page(s) / 30K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Ken McKenzie: AUTHOR [+3]


Zilog, Inc.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 15% of the total text.

Page 1 of 7


This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

The Evolution of Peripheral Devices in Microprocessor Systems

Ken McKenzie Zilog, Inc.

LSI I/O controllers solve system problems by efficiently interfacing the microcomputer to external units.

The microcomputer has evolved into the standard tool for solving product design problems. Its inherent flexibility, low cost, and short development cycles have caused the total application spectrum to literally explode. New products that were never thought possible or in most cases even imagined have been introduced and are forming the basis for more advanced designs. The real impact of the microcomputer is yet to come.

As the microcomputer has matured, so have the tools for developing hardware, software, and system testing. Early in the evolution of the microcomputer, it became obvious that the design engineer faced a new set of problems. Interfacing microcomputers to external devices was a complex and time- consuming task. Semiconductor companies quickly realized that the solution to this new set of problems could be a new line of components that simplify interfacing external equipment to microcomputers. Thus the "peripheral" was born. Its role: "problem solver." (See Figure 1.)

Peripherals: the problem solvers.

In microcomputer system development, the design engineer is confronted with many difficult decisions as to hardware/software tradeoffs, component selection, and general system architecture. The overall product performance specification is usually the guideline for decisionmaking, but of course physical size, mechanical form, power usage, and the all- important product end cost are key influences in the design process.

Quite often a new design engineer will become so overwhelmed by the overall system interface structure that his normal, logical approach to the design is impaired or totally obliterated. By breaking down the interface structure into the six basic groups or classes of problems (see Figure A, he can select a peripheral to efficiently solve each area of concern, causing the overall interface design task to assume more manageable proportions.

Peripherals: an evolution.

If we examine the history of microcomputer peripheral components, it becomes obvious that they have evolved in a predictable and logical manner. At first, integrated circuit technology was the main limitation to highly complex, sophisticated components. Then, as N-Channel MOS LSI became a production line reality, the needs and wants of the market became the determining factor for device definition and specification. Today's MOS LSI circuit...