【Sharp】 X68000

The X68000 was a 16-bit personal computer announced by Sharp in 1986, and first marketed in March 1987. It was called a “personal workstation”, and attracted attention due to its sophisticated graphic capabilities, powerful AV features and distinctive “twin towers” design. It used an MC68000 CPU, was equipped standard with 1 megabyte of RAM, and had a unique sprite function and bitmapped 768x513dot display screen (65,536 colors for each dot). For sound, it was equipped with an 8 channel FM stereo sound source and an ADPCM sound source for voice synthesis. Superimposed display on a TV screen was also possible using a special-purpose display.

In contrast to dedicated game machines, which had become the mainstream in the game world, the X68000 aimed for the maximum performance achievable with a PC, and the PC itself was equipped with “Gradius”, a popular arcade game at the time. The machine was also provided with an environment to enable users to make their own games using high-level graphics.

System features
(1)Employed the MC68000 CPU
・Could directly address a 16MB address space. Equipped with 1MB of main memory (standard), expandable to a maximum of 12MB
・Memory mapped I/O
(2)Employed bitmap system for text VRAM and graphic VRAM
・1024x1024dot actual screen
・Display screen selectable from 768x512, 512x512, 512x256 and 256x256.
(3)Arbitrary colors could be chosen from 65,536 colors for each dot of the graphic screen (in 512x512dot mode).
(4)Smooth scrolling could be done in dot units
(5)Equipped with sprite IC for unique moving images
・Could define 128 sprites with 16x16dot/pattern
・Could simultaneously display up to 32 sprites in one horizontal line
(6)Standard resolution overscan/superimpose function
(7)Equipped standard with ANK characters, and JIS Level 1 and 2 kanji (Chinese characters) as CGROM (Character Generator Read Only Memory)
(8)Equipped with 8 voice FM stereo sound source and voice synthesis feature
(9)Equipped with various interfaces, including analog RGB, hard disk, RS-232C, printer, joystick and mouse
(10)Employed cylindrical step-sculptured keyboard
(11)Equipped with two 5-inch floppy disk drives. Came with mouse track ball.

The X68000 ACE and X68000 ACE-HD went on sale in 1988, and a total of 20 different models were sold in the X68000 Series by 1993.
X68000 Specifications
Item Description
CPU MPU HD68HC000 256, 16/32-bit 10MHz
Sub CPU MSM80C51 for keyboard scanning
Memory ROM For IPL/BIOS : 256KB, For character generator : 768KB
RAM Main memory : 1MB (standard), Max. 12MB
Text VRAM : 512KB (bitmapped)
Graphic VRAM : 512KB (bitmapped)
Sprite VRAM : 32KB
 Display Actual screen size Text screen 1024x1024dot 4 planes
Graphic screen 1024x1024dot 4 planes
(512x512dot 16 planes
Display screen mode High resolution mode 768x512dot, 512x512dot,
512x256dot, 256x256dot
Number of colors selectable for each dot :
Actual screen 1024x1024dot :
16 out of 65536 colors
Actual screen 512x512dot :
65536 colors (1 plane)
256 out of 65536 colors (2 planes)
16 out of 65536 colors (4 planes)   
Standard resolution mode 512x256, 256x256dot
512x512dot (interlaced)
Sprites Pattern definition 16x16dot/pattern, 128 patterns
16 of 65536 colors for 1 pattern (dot units)
256 of 65536 colors for entire screen
Display Horizontal 512 dots or 256 dots
Vertical 512 lines or 256 lines
128 sprites/screen, 32 sprites/line
Sound capabilities FM sound source : YM2151, 8 channel FM sound source
(2 channel, 8 octave)
Voice synthesis : MSM6258, Adaptive Differential PCM
Built-in floppy disk drive : 5-inch 2HD (1MB) x 2
Hard disk (Optional) CZ-500H, CZ-501H:10MB
OS Human68 (MS-DOS compatible, with visual shell)

X68000 Series
Model name First sale date Model no. CPU Memory FDD HDD
X68000 March 1987 CZ-600C



1MB 5.25   SASI
X68000 ACE March 1988 CZ-601C 1MB -
X68000 ACE-HD CZ-611C 1MB 20MB
X68000 EXPERT March 1989 CZ-602C 2MB -
X68000 EXPERT-HD CZ-612C 2MB 40MB
X68000 PRO CZ-652C 1MB -
X68000 PRO-HD CZ-662C 1MB 40MB
X68000 EXPERT II March 1990 CZ-603C 2MB -
X68000 EXPERT II-HD CZ-613C 2MB 40MB
X68000 PRO II April 1990 CZ-653C 1MB -
X68000 PRO II-HD CZ-663C 1MB 40MB
X68000 SUPER-HD June 1990 CZ-623C 2MB 81MB SCSI
X68000 SUPER January 1991 CZ-604C 2MB -
X68000 XVI May 1991 CZ-634C



2MB -
X68000 XVI-HD CZ-644C 2MB 81MB
X68000 CompactXVI February 1992 CZ-674C 2MB 3.5 -
X68030 March 1993 CZ-500C 68030
4MB 5.25 -
X68030 -HD CZ-510C 4MB 80MB
X68030 Compact May 1993 CZ-300C 4MB 3.5 -
X68030 Compact-HD CZ-310C 4MB 80MB