Our tags for various CPU families and architectures are a bit of a mess right now because we're using a lot of different conventions for them:

Is it worth trying to standardize on something for this and clean up our current tags (presumably adding tag synonyms where necessary)? If you think we shouldn't clean up the tags, please do post that or upvote a posting saying that so it's not confused with no vote meaning "I don't care what anybody does with the tags."

Other answers ideally should be specific proposals for cleaning up the tags. As well as suggesting a tag format, it would be good to discuss how you propose to deal with other specific issues.

A particular one is CPU families. 68000 vs. 680x0 is pretty easy, but what about the family that includes the 8080, 8085 and Z80, but not the 8086 or 8088? Even more fun is Motorola and Hitachi CPUs with the 68nn designations; that's complex enough that I've summarized it at the end of this post.

By the way, I used "just the number" format for the new 6800 tag I just created not becuase I have any particular preference for it, but because that's what's most of the other 1970s 8-bit CPUs are using. I have no objection to replacing it with a different format, so long as it's clear it's about 6800-family (and not 6809-family) CPUs.

Related Questions:

Motorola and Hitachi 68xx CPUs:

These consist of two different major families, the 6800 and 6809, with entirely different opcodes. Within each family there are:

  • "Variants," which do not change the CPU architecture.
  • "Extensions" that change the CPU architecture compatibly.
  • "Modifications" that change the CPU architecture incompatibly (some old opcodes no longer work the same way) but not so greatly it becomes a new major family (arguably).

Here's a (very) abbreviated tree to give the general idea (also see 6800 for more):

- 6800: Major family
  - 6802: variant; 6808 similar variant
  - 6801: extension of 6800; 6803 similar
    - 6811: extension of 6801
      - 68711, 68811 variants (field-programmable ROM)
  - 6805: modification of 6800 (not fully compatible)
- M14605: CMOS variant
    - 68705: variant (field-programmable ROM)
    - 6808: extension that becomes compatible w/6800 again (!)

- 6809: Major family
  - Hitachi 6309 extends 6809
  • 1
    Just so you know, you can use tag-syntax ([tag:tag-syntax]) instead of code syntax in your question, and it makes tag-shaped tag buttons appear in the question.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Jul 29, 2019 at 20:47
  • 2
    @wiz Ooo, brilliant. Thanks! In trade, here's another tip: you can use [edit] in a comment to give a link to edit the post on which you're commenting. (I discovered lots more here when researching your tag syntax suggestion.) They've added a few things since I last checked the formatting page a half dozen years ago. :-P
    – cjs
    Jul 30, 2019 at 1:03
  • 1
    I'm featuring this, because I'm going on a power trip (and it's only got seven views!) and tags are important.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Jul 30, 2019 at 13:58
  • @wizzwizz4 Thank god! My nightmare scenario was nobody would reply to this at all, meaning nobody cared, and my OCD would finally force me to fix all the tags myself. :-)
    – cjs
    Jul 30, 2019 at 14:40

4 Answers 4


Cleaning up the tags is a good thing but not necessarily the same as deleting the manufacturer!

I would be inclined to keep the manufacturer. There is no great benefit in short/cryptic tags, all-numeric tags don't work for other things (e.g. amiga-500 or amiga-1200) and there is some potential for confusion - e.g. there are several ICs with different functions numbered "1802" but only one RCA-1802 CPU chip. We might want a tag for such a "number-clash" IC in future for some reason. And we don't really want visitors who were looking for a LT1802 op amp, a PCM1802 A/D converter, or an NTE1802 in-car-entertainment amplifier chip.

IMO abbreviations like m68k tend to subtract value rather than add it. People are not likely to google for "m68k", for example.

  • Note I was certainly not proposing removing all the manufacturer names! I fact, I was proposing no particular method at all; that's what the answers are to do. You should feel free to expand your answer to to this, if you have concrete ideas. This should give concerete examples and cover things like how to tag questions generic to both the 8080 and Z80 CPUs.
    – cjs
    Jul 31, 2019 at 1:52

I'll admit up front that this isn't a full answer, but it is something I still feel should be kept in mind.

Architecture is probably more important than the manufacturer of the physical chip variant.

Take the early x86 CPUs, which could be second-sourced and for which licensed clones existed. Consider the 8086, for which Wikipedia lists eight different Western manufacturers, besides Intel. Unless I am interested in a specific peculiarity of, say, NEC's variant, it's not reasonable to differentiate between Intel's 8086 and NEC's μPD8086D. If I am interested in the software side, those are both, for all intents and purposes, 8086 CPUs.

  • 1
    I don't think I've said this outright, but I certainly agree, and in general have been aiming towards always having the "manufacturer" name be that of the original source, even when further modifications have been made by licencees. (E.g., I imagine most Hitachi 6309 stuff going under a motorola-6809 tag.)
    – cjs
    Aug 6, 2019 at 13:03
  • I do agree here. There's always the posibillity to add a manufacturer tag if it is really about that special version.
    – Raffzahn
    Aug 9, 2019 at 22:00

Our previous consensus is Matt Lacey's answer to Which is better: [intel-8080] or [8080]? Do we need both?:

You've got a good point about numbers, but I think in this realm people will actually be more familiar with than they would with , and in that scenario I'd be hesitant to use unless it specifically referred to an Intel chip since in those days competing manufacturers could also make a chip called a 386.

While personally I associate with I feel that those searching for information online are more likely to simply type '6502' into their search engine of choice.

In short, I feel like we should lean towards the the 'common' names for tags such as , and but use synonyms where appropriate, i.e. if a question is more specific to a vendor or particular model. A case of that would be using instead of if you were interested in the details of the 68030's instruction cache.

Upvotes on this answer should be seen as support for this proposal.

  • As a moderator, I should be able to serve as a living index of meta, able to see a question and think "hmm… I think we've had something about that before". I've been delinquent in my duties, but in my defence it has been over three years since this was posted! I'd like to take this opportunity to call for others to take a little time out of each day to read through all of our meta questions, in order (start from the bottom of the last page), and try to remember them for this sort of occasion.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Aug 1, 2019 at 21:51
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    That answer appears to be based around a misunderstanding of how search engines work, though. "6502" will match "mos-6502" in any search engine (including SE tag search) because "mos-6502" is considered to be two separate words. SE tag search will also search within numbers, so that "386" will match "80386." I'm open to other reasons for using just "6502" instead of "mos-6502," but not this one.
    – cjs
    Aug 2, 2019 at 4:08
  • That said, I kinda like "intel-386" over "intel-80386", even though the former will not match "80386". (As per above, both will be found in a tag search for "386.") I don't know why I'm comfortable with that.
    – cjs
    Aug 2, 2019 at 4:15
  • @CurtJ.Sampson Synonyms exist and are harmless.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:16
  • Ah, I think I didn't correctly understand how tags searching worked because a tag search when asking a question brings up intel-8080 as a separate term from 8080, making it look as if it could push out other matches were there more than 6. But it seems that synonyms are shown as separate matches only when there are 6 or less matches, so there's actually no problem there.
    – cjs
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:25
  • So does that mean we should feel free to add lots more synonyms for our tags? E.g., motorola-XXXX for all of 6800, 6809, 6845, etc? Or could that cause trouble in other ways? And is it better to have motorola-6845 as the tag and 6845 as the synonym or vice versa?
    – cjs
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:28
  • @CurtJ.Sampson Yes and I don't know.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:29
  • I'm not sure how much more discussion this needs before trying out some tag and synonym editing, so I've asked about this on the BBS.
    – cjs
    Aug 2, 2019 at 8:33
  • To pick on the 6502 as one example, at least half a dozen companies have manufactured this chip (and derivatives), and the original inventor MOS were bought out by Commodore a year after the launch of the 6502.
    – Kaz
    Aug 6, 2019 at 13:06

In general I do agree to a CVn's answer. The numbers are what we're used to. Including manufacturers is more a fanboy game than useful information. Especially since it's always possible to add the manufacturer as another tag if it's really manufacturer related (that's in fact a general argument against any combinations within one tag).

I do not think that 80386 is hard to understand or a problem, as exact naming never is.

What intrigues me more here is Curt bringing up a tree structure, as these are awesome tools for data organisation - but unlike many people think, they do not have to be used hierarchical and even less do they need to be fully defined. Using a part defined flatened tree may be exactly the way we could structure the data.

So for example CPU trees could look like this:

 - 68000
 - 68020 
 - 8086
 - 80386
  - 80386-SX
 - Core-2
 - 6800
  - 6801
   - 6811
 - 6809

and so on.

Not all variants are present and not all need to be present, as Tags should only be given when there is a considerable number of questions to form a useful group. Spending tags for every variant will be useless and require the addition of 'higher up' tags - which logical means that the lower level ones not need to be there anyway.

Question should be tagged at a reasonable detailed level, but only if it's about details unique to that level. Otherwise the next higher is to be used. So a generic question of like about a word move on a 68.000 is rather to be tagged 68k than 68000. Or x86 when it's about the PC. Usually this will result to collect generic questions under the generic tag, making it easy to find related questions. Doing otherwise would spread them out on many tags and make it hard to find related information.

Using such a tree (maybe maintained in some meta post?) to organize the tags seams quite helpful while keeping the tags themself as simple as possible.

  • Perhaps you can explain better what you mean by trees "do not have to be hierarchical"; a tree is by definition hierarchical, and your examples seems to be hierarchial. Unrelated to tree structure, I do agree not only that not all variants need to be present, but I strongly thing that all variants should not be present.
    – cjs
    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:04
  • Regarding 68xx to include two different architectures, 6800 and 6809, that really doesn't sound like a good idea to me. It sounds about as sensible has having 6xxx under which we put 6502, 6805, 6800 and 6809. (And note that the 6502 and 6805 are much more similar to each other than the 6805 is to 6809.)
    – cjs
    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:10
  • Regarding dropping all manufacturers, no, I can't agree with that at all. I might see an argument for the most popular ones, if you want to explain what goodness of that justifies that, e.g., popular Motorola CPUs don't come up in a tag search of "moto" when adding tags to a question, but 1802 and f8 just strike me as confusing.
    – cjs
    Aug 10, 2019 at 4:15

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