When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary

Translate This Thread From English to

Threaded View
This is a bit dumb, but let's discuss it anyway.

The 8051 and other 8-bit microcontrollers have had a long and
distinguished life so far.  As more and more low power devices appear
using 32-bit instruction sets such as ARM, I wonder how long it will be
before 8-bits are no longer selected for new designs.


Some fun questions for a Friday:

1. For NEW DESIGNS ONLY, can you guess at how much life (years,
decades) is left in 8-bit devices?

2. Given microcontroller size/power evolution, do you think
ARM/AVR/other will end up in the smallest 8-pin(?) microcontrollers and
8-bit micros will just fade away?  If so, in what time frame?

3. Do you think there is value (to embedded engineers) in settling on a
single ISA for microcontrollers, such as ARM?


I like ARM and I also like 8051, PIC and other 8-bits, but ARM is so
easy to work with (both in 'C' and assembly) that I wouldn't be sorry
if the 8-bits were retired.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers,
Paul.


Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Quoted text here. Click to load it

All those advances that make the 32-bit parts cheaper and lower
power are also making the 8-bit parts cheaper and lower power.
8-bit parts are always going to be cheaper and lower power than
32-bit parts.  4-bit parts are always going to be cheaper than
8-bit parts.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'd guess at least 10 or 20 years.  Sales volume of 8-bit parts
just passed 4-bit parts a couple years ago.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Why would they?  4-bit parts are still sold in huge volumes.
They're not going away either.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

No.


Even if in meant having to pay more for something and have the
batteries last half as long?  If you owned the company and
putting an 8-bit part in a product could increase your profits
by a million dollars, what you you do?

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  I once decorated my
                                  at               apartment entirely in ten
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?



Grant Edwards wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Not really.  We have reached the point where the die size
is the same, because the bonding pads dominate.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Less than 5% of the market compared to 8-bits having 30-40%.
http://www.techonline.com/community/ed_resource/feature_article/36930

The place where 4-bit processors are still king is at the very low
power end - watches.  They want that tiny battery to run the device
27/7 for many years, and fewer transistors still means lower power.
I don't see that ever changing.



Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yes, I should have thought about that.  Below a certain die
size (for the active circuitry) the packaging cost
dominates.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

That has changed a lot. The last time I looked 8-bits were only
slightly ahead.  That probably was a couple years back...

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yup.  Somebody recently told me that Swatch does their own uP
designs now.  Current draws down in the 10s of uA.  Not sure
what the clock rate is. Once upon a time 32KHz was common for
watch stuff.

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  Quick, sing me the
                                  at               BUDAPEST NATIONAL ANTHEM!!
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?



My predictions:

  4-bits will only be used for extreme low power.
  8-bits will never go away.  Perfect for toys, keyboards, etc.
 16-bits will not exist by the year 2020.
 32-bits will be here forever.  Great size for demanding embedded apps.
 64-bits will not exist by the year 2040.
128-bits will not exist by the year 2060.
256-bits will become the top-end.
512-bits and higher will never happen. Further development will be
in the direction of massive parallel processing on one die, followed
by (unless it turns out to be impossible) quantum computers.

I don't see 16 bits surviving.  It will be squeezed out by 8 and 32.
I don't see 64 or 128 bits surviving.  They will be squeezed out by
32 and 256.



Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I agree with those two statements.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I think that 16 bit will be a small segment of the market but still
worthwhile pursuing for some manufacturers. It may just be that the cores
will be soft ones as part of a device with integral I/O or as part of an
FPGA.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I agree with that statement.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

This may be a bit on the early side. However, they will prove too big for
most embedded applications and will only find a home in bigger processing
solutions for a while.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I do not think that any bigger than 128 bit will gain any sort of a
foothold for very long. I see the highest end becoming a much more multiply
parallel architecture to deal with really huge applications (MPP on a big
scale). These are likely to use mostly the 32 bit processors at ever
increasing processing speeds.
 
We may find that the highest end processing starts to move over to
different technology (optical computing perhaps). In that sector I suppose
that 32 bit wide optical busses will be all that they desire to handle.

Just an opinion for what it is worth.

--
********************************************************************
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I think that's already pretty visible.  Most of the traffic
around here is about either 8 bit (PIC,AVR,8051) or 32-bit
(ARM,PPC,SH,H8S) parts.

--
Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  LOOK!!! I'm WALKING
                                  at               in my SLEEP again!!
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The move to 64-bits is mostly due to the 4GB address limit on 32-bit
machines that is a real barrier for large systems like database
servers.  64-bits provides for 16EB of directly addressable memory.

Assuming RAMs double in capacity every 18 months it will take 48 years
to build systems that hit the 16EB limit.  That assumes it's even
possible for the RAMs to continue to evolve that far.

I think 64-bits will be with us for 100 years if not longer.  The trend
now is for parallelism over speed.  Disk drives are still the
speed-bump for all high performance computing.

Not even Microsoft can drive demand more than 16EB.

Cheers,
Paul.


Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
But when we have a huge address space, it gets used in a sparse
manner, for virtual files, etc. No normal user wull use 16EB of RAM,
for sure.
That's not to say they won't use the address space.


[snip]
:The move to 64-bits is mostly due to the 4GB address limit on 32-bit
:machines that is a real barrier for large systems like database
:servers.  64-bits provides for 16EB of directly addressable memory.
:
:Assuming RAMs double in capacity every 18 months it will take 48 years
:to build systems that hit the 16EB limit.  That assumes it's even
:possible for the RAMs to continue to evolve that far.
:
:I think 64-bits will be with us for 100 years if not longer.  The trend
:now is for parallelism over speed.  Disk drives are still the
:speed-bump for all high performance computing.
:
:Not even Microsoft can drive demand more than 16EB.
:
:Cheers,
:Paul.


Re: When will the 8051 and other 8-bits go away?



Paul Marciano wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I think that being able to have an instruction that has two 64-bit
source addresses and one 64-bit destination address embedded in it
will eventually drive the extreme high end to 256 bit instructions
and a 64-bit address space.  I also see the current trend found
in MMX/SSE driving future processors towards 256 bits; a SIMD
extension that deals with horizontal and vertical adjacent pixels
in 32-bit color is likely to need more than 128 bits.



Re: When will the 8051 and other 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Power conservation is necessary, especially in small battery
operated devices.  Every gate changing state (in CMOS logic) is
pumping capacitor charging current from Vcc to gnd.  Doubling the
address width at least doubles the power consumption for that
buss.  It also adds to the expensive pin count.

So I see no point to wide addresses where the application does not
require them.  A large proportion of the embedded systems in the
world are quite happy with an 8 bit (or smaller) address buss.
Proper use of high level languages insulates much software from
nasty hardware considerations.  The governing factor will be cost.

--
"If you want to post a followup via groups.google.com, don't use
 the broken "Reply" link at the bottom of the article.  Click on
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The above is the important point -- address space size vs. data
size.  64-bit data operations don't help your word processor
very much (if at all).

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Give them a chance.  The next release of Windows will probably
require at least 16 TBytes of memory just to boot!

Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it


It seems like only yesterday when Bill Gates said: "Who would ever want more
than 640K?"

:-)
Don...


--
Don McKenzie
E-Mail Contact Page:       http://www.e-dotcom.com/ecp.php?un=Dontronics

We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Actually, it seems like never, since he didn't say that.

Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

You generally cannot prove a negative statement.

Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?



Bryan Hackney wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

"He didn't say that" is informal shorthand for "there isn't a shred
of evidence that he ever said that, the first "quotes" are from
long after he was supposed to have said that, he denies ever saying
that, many people have seached and searched to try to find the
source of the "quote" and failed, and the 640K limit was not a
microsoft decision but rather an Intel/IBM decision."



  




Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Are you quibbling over the exact wording? Because he did say, many years
ago, something about 640K being enough for anybody.

Bill

Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?



William Meyer wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Evidence, please.



Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?
Quoted text here. Click to load it

As Bryan says, you can't prove a negative. So, the nay-sayers don't have to
do anything: they have the logic on their side.
The aye-sayers OTOH may be able to prove they're right, but not necessarily
so: the problem can be undicidable. Sitting comfortable on their ass the
nay-sayers will demand definite proof, in the form of a written and signed
document or a voice recording, and when such a document is found, they'll
ask more proof: prove that it's really BG's signature, prove that it's his
voice.
Bottom line, neither one can prove he said it or didn't.

Time for another approach: why was video memory placed at the top of a 1MB
memory map, with a RAM limit of 640K? It was all the 8088 could do. So that
was what Microsoft had to work with in the first place. At that time nobody
(not IBM nor BG) seemed to see the wall ahead.
I've always found that IBM made a very poor choice at that time by choosing
for the 8-bit 8088 with it's 64K segments which has bugged developers for
many years. IMO the 68000 was a far better uP. It had a flat memory map of
16 MB, a set of general-purpose 32-bit registers and a neater instruction
set.

Steven



Re: When will the 8051 and othe 8-bits go away?

Quoted text here. Click to load it

There are probably many reasons why IBM chose to use the 8088 instead of
the 68000. I always felt that their decision was poor. At the time the
first IBM PC's came out I was running a BBC-B micro with 5.25" floppies.
Shortly after I aquired an Atari-ST. It was only a couple of years later
that I swapped the ST for the Atari-Mega-ST to which I added a laser
printer. I have never managed to find software that performed like that I
used on the Mega-ST in the PC world (I was running quite a full featured
DTP system which produced all my documentation, I also ran GemForth on that
and was able to communicated between the Atari's and BBC Micro. My first PC
was actually a Zenith laptop (because I was after an easily portable
solution at the time) and used MPE's PowerForth and cross-compiler tools to
develop systems for the nuclear industry.

Systems I was developing in that period of time used the 6809/6309
processors. I did have a 68000 to play with but never needed the power in
the applications I was dealing with at the time.

I expect that IBM felt that the price of the 8088 was a better deal than
what Motorola were offering the 68000 for at the time. I guess the 68000
was quite new at the time they were developing the design. By the time the
PC came about I had already been developing systems with 6800/6809 for a
while and had dealt with some mini-computer systems (GA SPC12, SPC16 and
Prime family). Perhaps there may be others who know what was in the minds
of the PC developers at the time.

--
********************************************************************
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.

Site Timeline