Fake MC68010s!

A project log for rosco_m68k

A full-featured Motorola 68k retro computer, starring a 68010 running at 8MHz

Ross BamfordRoss Bamford 04/07/2020 at 17:421 Comment

So I'm currently gathering parts to hopefully start offering kits on Tindie, and while most of the bits can be ordered directly from Farnell, some are more tricky to get hold of - especially the MC68010 and MC68901, since they're no longer in production. So I resorted to eBay, and received the first shipment of six MC68010s today. On opening the package, I was.... suspicious.

These are the six ICs I received. On the right is a genuine MC68010P10. On the left are five that are either fake, or just rebadged, 68000s. The things that immediately made me suspicious:

You can't see it in this picture, but the surface of the ICs is also rough, suggesting the original markings have been removed.

Sure enough, I threw them into a board and ran a quick software test which verified that these are, in fact, 68000s. They seem to work fine as 68000s, but trying to do anything 68010-specific (setting the VBR in my tests) results in an immediate illegal instruction exception.

Fake ICs are sadly a fact of life, and luckily I'm working with my own design which explicitly specifies the 68010. I know that people buy these as an "upgrade" for Amigas and such, and I worry that people who do that will likely never know they're running a fake, as the software for those computers won't usually use any 68010-specific features.

This bit of code will check whether you have a 68010 or not:

    movea.l #$20000,A0                ; Use $20000 as vector base...
    movec.l A0,VBR                    ; ... and load into VBR

 If run on a 68000, this will cause an illegal instruction exception.

Because I felt like verifying that setting VBR actually worked too (unlikely it wouldn't I guess but y'know, completeness), I decided to expand this a bit to check these chips on the rosco_m68k:

MFPBASE     equ     $F80000

  ifd REVISION_0
MFP_GPDR    equ     MFPBASE+$01
MFP_IERA    equ     MFPBASE+$31
MFP_IERB    equ     MFPBASE+$09
MFP_ISRB    equ     MFPBASE+$05
MFP_GPDR    equ     MFPBASE+$01
MFP_IERA    equ     MFPBASE+$07
MFP_IERB    equ     MFPBASE+$09
MFP_ISRB    equ     MFPBASE+$11

    section .text

; Entry point here!
    move.w  #$2700,SR                 ; Disable interrupts
    movea.l #$20000,A0                ; Use $20000 as vector base...
    movec.l A0,VBR                    ; ... and load into VBR
    move.l  #TICK_HANDLER,$20114      ; Set up tick handler
    move.w  #$2000,SR                 ; Re-enable interrupts

    bra.s   .LOOP


    move.l  D0,-(A7)                  ; Save D0
    move.w  $408,D0                   ; Read SDB byte 8
    tst.w   D0                        ; Is it zero?
    bne.s   .TICK_HANDLER_DONE        ; Done if not

    ; counted to zero, so toggle indicator 0 and reset counter
    bchg.b  #0,MFP_GPDR
    move.w  #25,D0

    sub.w   #$1,D0                    ; Decrement counter...
    move.w  D0,$408                   ; ... and write back to SDB
    move.l  (A7)+,D0                  ; Restore D0
    move.b  #~$20,MFP_ISRB            ; Clear interrupt-in-service
    rte                               ; We're done

(full code here)

 Right... Back to trying to get hold of some CPUs for these kits I've been talking about.....


Nathaniel R. Lewis wrote 07/30/2020 at 16:43 point

Ah darn it. I have fallen for the same scam. Purchased some MC68010P12's which looked real in the listing, but I never really checked them closely because I was moving. I received chips with the exact same markings yours have but it says MC68010P12 instead.

This was the listing:

This is what I received:

I don't think I can open an eBay challenge 6 months out. At least I only spent $16 on them. This now means that every "retro CPU" I've bought off eBay is a fake. Kinda sad about that. At least most of them were just slower parts rebadged as faster ones, this sucks that it's actually a different part.

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