Just days after I posted an article listing at least 5 brand new computers based on the Z80 CPU, I see this toot:

The notification

Z84C00 is the only CPU listed in the Classic products -> Z80 category of Zilog’s homepage.

If this is true, this would mark the end of almost 48 years of Z80 CPU life.

What’s NOT End of Life:

Important note: this does not suggest killing the successors: Z80N, eZ80, Z380, etc. just yet.

For example, eZ80, that remains in production, operates in Z80-compatible addressing mode (64 KB) or full 24-bit addressing mode (16 MB), and can be clocked at 50 MHz.

The hero – Z80 CPU

The Zilog Z80 microprocessor, introduced by startup company Zilog in July 1976, is a landmark in computing history warranted by its widespread adoption and enduring legacy. Designed by Federico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima, the Z80 emerged as a software-compatible extension of the Intel 8080, primarily targeting embedded systems. Its adaptability, however, led to its widespread use in desktop and home computers through the 1970s into the mid-1980s, and even in military applications, musical equipment, and arcade games.

Conception and Development

The Z80’s development journey began with Federico Faggin, who, after significant contributions to the Intel 4004 and 8080 microprocessors, decided to depart Intel to start his own company. Alongside Ralph Ungermann and later Masatoshi Shima, Faggin aimed to innovate beyond the limitations perceived at Intel. Initially considered a simple single-chip microcontroller due to financial constraints, the vision for Zilog’s first product evolved into a more sophisticated and complex microprocessor—the Z80. The Z80 aimed to offer compatibility with the 8080 while introducing advancements such as index registers and improved interrupts and was designed to stand out through economic feasibility and technical superiority.

Significance and Legacy

The Z80’s architectural innovation and operational enhancements over its predecessors made it a linchpin in the progression of computing hardware. Its affordable cost—about US $25 at launch—paired with its compelling features, led to its prevalence in a broad array of devices from the Osborne I, the first portable computer, to various home computers like the TRS-80 and MSX systems, and even in satellites. Zilog’s strategy of licensing the Z80 design to multiple manufacturers further cemented its global influence, enabling widespread acceptance and longevity in the market. Despite the advent of more powerful processors, the Z80’s influence persists, especially in embedded systems, due to Zilog’s pivot towards this market with products like the eZ80.

Drawing on robust design methodologies and tapping into a niche yet burgeoning market, the Z80 effectively disrupted the microprocessor industry, demonstrating the impact of innovation, strategic market positioning, and the significance of software compatibility in the evolution of computing hardware.

Best known computers using Z80

It’s impossible to name all of them (we can try though, for archival purposes), as there were hundreds of consumer machines on the commercial market alone that are based on Z80 or its derivatives.

Most notable home computers and consoles:

  • Sega VIC Dual (1977)
  • ColecoVision (1982)
  • ZX Spectrum (1982 onwards)
  • Camputers Lynx (1983)
  • MSX (1983)
  • Amstrad CPC (1984 onwards)
  • MSX2 (1985)
  • Elan Enterprise (1985)
  • Sega Master System (1985)
  • Nintendo Game Boy (1989)
  • Sam Coupe (1989)
  • Sega GameGear (1990)
  • Nintendo Game Boy Colour (1998)
  • RC2014 (2014)
  • Spectrum NEXT (2020)
  • Agon Light (2023)

List of CP/M-compatible Z80-based (or capable) systems

And if we wanted to see how widespread it is… the list of the Z80-based computers that additionally can also run CP/M operating system is over 230 items long!

Click here to expand the full list (based on Wikipedia).
  1. Ai Electronics ABC-24 / ABC-26 (Japan, running Dosket, CP/M & M/PM)
  2. Action Computer Enterprise ACE-1000
  3. Action Computer Enterprise Discovery D-500 (CP/M-80 on each of up to 4 user processors, DPC/OS on service processor)
  4. Action Computer Enterprise Discovery D-1600 (CP/M-80 on each of up to 15 user processors, DPC/OS on service processor)
  5. Actrix Computer Corp. Actrix (Access Matrix)
  6. Advanced Digital Corporation Super Six
  7. Allen Bradley Advisor – Industrial Programmable controller graphical user interface (development mode only), fl. ca. 1985
  8. Alspa
  9. MITS Altair 8800
  10. Altos 580
  11. Amada Aries 222/245 CNC turret punch press
  12. Amstrad CPC 464 (w/DDI-1 disk drive interface), 664, 6128, 6128Plus
  13. Amstrad PCW 8256/8512/9512/9256/10
  14. Amust Executive 816
  15. Apple II (with a Z-80 card like the Microsoft SoftCard; on some clones a SoftCard equivalent was built into the mainboard)
  16. Apple III (with a Z-80 card like the Apple SoftCard III)
  17. Applied Technology MicroBee (56KB+ RAM models)
  18. Aster CT-80
  19. Atari 800 and XL/XE (with ATR8000 module, LDW Super 2000, CA-2001 or Indus GT disk drives expanded to 64k)
  20. Atari ST — runs GEMDOS, which was DRI’s more advanced replacement for CP/M for use with their GEM GUI
  21. ATM-turbo — Soviet/Russian clone of ZX-Spectrum with extension graphic and 512/1024Kb RAM: CP/M 2.2 in ROM
  22. AT&T 6300 with CPU 3 upgrade
  23. AT&T 6300 PLUS
  24. Basis 108
  25. BBC Micro (with external Z80 module)
  26. Beehive Topper II
  27. BMC if-800
  28. Bondwell II,12, 14
  29. BT Merlin M2215 series based on ICL PC-2 (CP/M) (also ran MP/M II+)
  30. BT Merlin M4000 series based on Logica Kennett (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  31. Camputers Lynx (96k/128k models)
  32. Casio FP1000 FL
  33. CASU Super-C – Z80 based with a 21 slot S100 bus (Networkable with MP/M) – UK manufactured
  34. CASU Mini-C – Z80 based with a 7 slot S100 bus and twin 8″ floppy disk drives (Networkable with MP/M) – UK manufactured
  35. Challenger III – Ohio Scientific OSI-CP/M
  36. Cifer Systems 2684, 2887, 1887 – Melksham, England.
  37. CIP04 – Romanian computer
  38. CoBra – Romanian computer
  39. Coleco Adam (with a CP/M digital data pack)
  40. Comart Communicator (CP/M-80), C-Frame, K-Frame, Workstation and Quad (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  41. Commodore 64 (with Z80 plug-in cartridge)
  42. Commodore 128 (using its internal Z80 processor—along with its 8502—ran CP/M+ which supported memory paging)
  43. Compaq Portable — was available with CP/M as a factory installed option.
  44. Compis
  45. Compupro
  46. Cromemco
  47. C’t180 HD64180 ECB-System (CP/M2.2 & 3.x)
  48. Cub-Z – Romanian made computer
  49. Datamax UV-1R
  50. Data Soft PCS 80 and VDP 80 (France, 1977)
  51. Data Technology Industries “Associate” (USA, 1982)
  52. DEC Rainbow 100/100+ (could run both CP/M and CP/M-86)
  53. DEC VT180 (aka Personal Computing Option, aka ‘Robin’)
  54. Digital Group DG1
  55. Eagle Computer Eagle I, II, III, IV, V
  56. ELWRO 800 Junior Polish clone of Sinclair ZX spectrum—running CP/J, a CP/M derivative with simple networking abilities
  57. ENER 1000
  58. Enterprise 128 (with EXDOS/IS-DOS extensions)
  59. Epic Episode
  60. Epson PX-4, PX-8 (Geneva), QX-10, QX-16
  61. Eracom ERA-50 & ERA-60 with encrypted disks (Eracom Corporation, Australia)
  62. Exidy Sorcerer
  63. Ferguson Big Board
  64. FK-1 – Czech microcomputer
  65. Franklin ACE 1000 (with Microsoft Z-80 SoftCard)
  66. Franklin ACE 1200 (includes a rebranded PCPI Appli-Card)
  67. Fujitsu Micro 7 (with Z-80 plug-in card
  68. General Processor GPS5 (Italy, running CP/M 86 – Concurrent CP/M 86)
  69. General Processor Model T (Italy, 1980 running CP/M 80)
  70. Grundy NewBrain
  71. Genie II, IIs, III, IIIs
  72. Goupil G3
  73. G.Z.E. UNIMOR Bosman 8 (Poland, 1987 running CPM/R, CP/M 2.2 compatible)
  74. Gemini 801 and Gemini Galaxy (UK, 1981-1983 running CP/M 2.2 and MP/M)
  75. GNAT Computers (San Diego 1975-? CP/M 2.2 Industrial Control Systems, Sail Cutting and others)
  76. HBN Computer (Le) Guépard
  77. HC-88
  78. HC-2000
  79. Heath/Zenith Heathkit H90|H90 and Heathkit H89/Zenith Z-89
  80. Hewlett-Packard HP-85 / HP-87 (with addition of CP/M Module containing Z80)
  81. Hewlett-Packard HP-125 and HP-120, one Z80 each for CP/M and the inherent HP terminal
  82. Hobbit
  83. Holborn 6100
  84. Holborn 9100 (Netherlands, 1981)
  85. Husky Computers Ltd Hunter (1 and 2, 16), Hawk
  86. Ibex 7150 and other models
  87. ICL PC-1 (CP/M) (also ran MP/M)
  88. ICL PC-2 (CP/M) (also ran MP/M II+)
  89. ICL PC-16 (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  90. ICL PC Quattro (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  91. ICL DRS8801 (CP/M-86)
  92. ICL DRS300 (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  93. ICL DRS20 (CP/M or Concurrent CP/M-86)
  94. IBM Displaywriter
  95. IBM PC (CP/M-86 only; CP/M-80 with the Baby Blue Z-80 card)
  96. IMSAI 8080
  97. IMSAI VDP-80 (8085 3 MHz)
  98. Intel MDS-80
  99. Intertec Superbrain
  100. Iotec
  101. Iskra Delta Partner
  102. Itautec I-7000, I-7000G, I-7000 Jr. (SIM/M)
  103. ITT 3030
  104. Ivel Ultra
  105. JET-80 (Swedish Made Computer)
  106. Juku E5101–E5104 came with an adaptation of CP/M called EKDOS
  107. JUNIOR Romanian Computer
  108. Kaypro
  109. KC 85/2-4
  110. Kontron PSI98 (KOS & CP/M2.2)
  111. Korvet (Корвет) — Soviet PC
  112. Labtam
  113. LNW-80
  114. LOBO Max-80
  115. Logica VTS 2200 (CP/M-86)
  116. Logica VTS Kennet (Concurrent CP/M-86)
  117. LOS 25 (10 MB harddisc)
  118. Luxor ABC 802, ABC 806 (Sweden, 1981)
  119. MCP (128K, Z80, S-100 bus)
  120. MC CP/M Computer (Z80 ECB-System, CP/M2.2)
  121. Megatel Quark
  122. Memotech MTX
  123. MicroBee
  124. Micro Craft Dimension 68000 (CP/M-68K, and CP/M-80 with optional Z80 card)
  125. Micromation M/System, Mariner and MiSystem (MP/M and MP/M II)
  126. Micromint SB180 (Hitachi HD64180 CPU)
  127. Mikromeri Spectra Z (Finland)
  128. Morrow Designs (MD2, MD3, MD11)
  129. MSX (some MSX-standard machines ran the CP/M-like MSX-DOS)
  130. Mycron 3
  131. M 18 Romanian Computer
  132. M 118 Romanian Computer
  133. MK 45 Polish computer based on MCY7880
  134. N8VEM
  135. N8VEM ZetaSBC
  136. Nabu Network PC
  137. Nascom 1, 2
  138. NCR Decision Mate V
  139. NEC APC
  140. NEC PC-8001 Mk II
  141. NEC PC-8801
  142. Nelma Persona
  143. NorthStar Advantage (all in one computer)
  144. NorthStar Horizon (S-100)
  145. Nokia MikroMikko 1
  146. NYLAC Computers NYLAC (S-100)
  147. Ohio Scientific computers using the 510 triple-processor CPU board
  148. OKI IF-800 (Z80 5 MHz) Second Z80 on video controller
  149. Olivetti ETV300
  150. Olivetti M20 (CP/M-8000)
  151. Osborne 1
  152. Osborne Executive
  153. Osborne Vixen
  154. Otrona Attaché
  155. Otrona Attaché 8:16
  156. P112
  157. Philips P2000T
  158. Philips 3003/3004
  159. Piccolo RC-700|Piccolo
  160. Partner RC-750|Piccolo
  161. Piccoline RC-759
  162. Pied Piper
  163. PolyMorphic Systems 8813
  164. The Portable Computer Co (AU) PortaPak
  165. Profi — Soviet/Russian clone of ZX-Spectrum with extension grafic and 1024Kb RAM: CP/M plus in ROM
  166. Processor Technology Sol-20 (optional)
  167. Pulsars Little Big Board
  168. Quasar Data Products QDP-300
  169. RAIR “Black Box” (also ran MP/M)
  170. Regnecentralen Piccolo RC-700
  171. Regnecentralen Piccoline RC-759
  172. Research Machines 380Z and LINK 480Z
  173. Retro! Z80 by John Winans
  174. Rex Computer Company REX 1
  175. Robotron A 5120
  176. Robotron KC 85KC 87
  177. Robotron PC 1715
  178. Royal Business Machines 7000 “Friday”
  179. SAGE II / IV CP/M-68K
  180. SAM Coupé — (Pro-Dos = CP/M 2.2)
  181. Samsung SPC-1000
  182. Sanyo MBC families (i.e. MBC-1150)
  183. SBS 8000
  184. Scandis
  185. Seequa Chameleon
  186. Sharp MZ series
  187. Sharp X1 series
  188. Sirius 1 (sold in the U.S. as the Victor 9000)
  189. Software Publisher’s ATR8000
  190. Sony SMC-70
  191. Sord M5 has CP/M as an option, CP/M-68K standard for the M68/M68MX
  192. Spectravideo SV-318/328
  193. Sperry Univac UTS 40 CP/M 2.2 – Zilog 80
  194. Stride 400 series CP/M-68K was one of many operating systems on these
  195. Tatung Einstein TC-01 (runs Xtal/DOS which is CP/M compatible)
  196. Tandy TRS-80
  197. Technical Design Labs (TDL) XITAN
  198. TeleData (Z80 Laptop)
  199. Telenova Compis (CP/M-86)
  200. Teleputer III
  201. TeleVideo TS-80x Series
  202. TeleVideo TS-160x Series
  203. TI-99/4A (with the MorningStar CP/M card or the Foundation CP/M card)
  204. Tiki-100 (runs KP/M, or later renamed TIKO. A CP/M 2.2 Clone.)
  205. TIM-011
  206. TIM-S Plus
  207. Timex FDD3000 (on Z80 CPU) with ZX Spectrum as terminal.
  208. Toshiba T100
  209. Toshiba T200
  210. Toshiba T200 C-5
  211. Toshiba T200 C-20
  212. Toshiba T250
  213. Transtec BC2
  214. Triumph-Adler AlphaTronic P1/P2
  215. Triumph-Adler AlphaTronic P3/P4
  216. Triumph-Adler AlphaTronic P30/P40
  217. Triumph-Adler AlphaTronic PC (CPU was a Hitachi Z80 clone)
  218. Tycom Microframe
  219. Unitron 8000, a dual processor machine built São Paulo in the early 1980s. The Unitron could boot either as an Apple II clone (using a clone 6502 processor) or in CP/M (using the Z80).
  220. Vector-06C (Intel 8080, 16 color graphics, made in USSR)
  221. Vector Graphic Vector Graphic Corporation Vector Model 1,2 (Internal Model),3, Model 4 (Z80 & 8088 CP/M, CP/M-86 & PCDOS), Model 10 (Multiuser)
  222. Victor 9000 (sold as the Sirius 1 in Europe)
  223. Video Technology Laser 500/700
  224. Visual Technology (Lowell, Ma) Visual 1050, 1100 (Not Released)
  225. Wave Mate Bullet
  226. Welect 80.2 (France, 1982)
  227. West PC-800
  228. Xerox 820
  229. Xerox Sunrise 1800 / 1805
  230. Yodobashi Formula-1
  231. Zenith Data Systems Z-89 (aka Heathkit H89)
  232. Zenith Data Systems Z-100 (CP/M-85)
  233. Zorba
  234. ZX Spectrum family (later built by Amstrad)

Read more

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

[…] that the classical Z80 has been discontinued, recreation projects appear, such as Z80 Open silicon – […]

[…] We can think of the 8-bit scene today as two parts.One is a mix of nostalgia, preservation, and innovation. Many people who grew up with 8-bit computers in the 1980s are now adults with disposable income, and they are rediscovering the joy of programming and playing games on these classic machines. Examples include the Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Apple II from the “original” 8-bit era, and the new machines like the ZX Spectrum Next, Commander X16, Agon Light, and the MEGA65.The other is entirely new CPUs and microcontrollers that have their narrow but legit 8-bit niche. They are used in embedded systems, IoT, and other applications where the simplicity and low cost of 8-bit processors are an advantage. Examples include the Atmel AVR, Microchip PIC, and the good old, but still produced Zilog Z80 (edit: weeks after publishing this post, the end of production of Z80 was announced) […]