The Web Site to Remember National Semiconductor's Series 32000 Family


This chapter is a collection of different items. In October 2020 it has grown substantially - thanks to Don Alpert!

Don worked for the NS32532 and Swordfish. You should visit his very interesting website.

Key Tag

National Semiconductor had unusual ideas to promote the Series 32000 CPUs...

Fig. 1. I like this key tag. But I have only the photo of it.

Key Tag II

Soon after I presented a key tag here I got a photo of a second one. This version used the die of a non functional NS32532 CPU as an eye catcher. Clever idea!

Fig. 2. This version of a key tag is in my opinion a must-have. But people still having one will not give it away...

Key Tag III

Another key tag with a Series 32000 die in a 40 pin DIL package. The only known device in this package is the ICU NS32202. But the die looks different...

Fig. 3. Can someone read the text?

Memorial Stone

Fig. 4. Of course it is not made of stone but it is a good description.

It is a nice habit of the semiconductor industry to put dies in plastic together with some text (Dies are usually small and they would get lost easily). They are give-aways for customer and the people who worked on the chip like it too. I got three pieces in my career. But I never heard the offical name for it.

Memorial Stone II

Fig. 5. Maybe the first memorial stone of National Semiconductor's 32 bit microprocessors.

Memorial Stone III

Fig. 6. A microprocessor to remember: the NS32032. This memorial stone shows the device in its package.

Memorial Stone IV

Fig. 7. A very informative memorial stone placed on a clean desk.

Fig. 8. A detailed view of the last die in the memorial stone. I have no better die photo of NS32GX320. The place to the right was reserved for Swordfish...

Letter Opener

Fig. 9. I have never seen a letter opener showing chips - crazy idea 😊

Fig. 10. This letter opener is in better condition.

Fig. 11. A detailed view of the chips in the letter opener.

Pen Holder

This one is my absolute favorite!

Fig. 12. I would buy a bigger desk to find a nice place for it 😊

Conference Memorial

Fig. 13. Probably the last time that Series 32000 took part on a conference...

Presentation Slides

Slides were used for presentations before electronic beamers were invented. Figure 14 shows the slides for two presentations about Swordfish.

Fig. 14. In the beginning of the 1990's the preferred background color for presentations was blue. My one and only presentation used also blue.

If you want to read the text on the slides you should look at the big slides.

Memorial Photo

Fig. 15. There was obviously someone very satisfied with the work of the engineers for the NS32532.

An old message

Fig. 16. The message from 1983 says that the revision B FPUs are only functional at 4 V and 4 MHz - still a long way to go to reach final specification.


Weitek was the recognized leader for high performance floating-point processors in the 1980's. National Semiconductor worked together with them and developed two interface chips to connect Weitek processors to Series 32000 CPUs. The first one was the NS32310 FPA which never appeared on the market. It was planned to use the Weitek WTL 1164/WTL 1165 chip set. The second one was the NS32580 FPC. This one was available on the market (but not yet found in a real computer). It was used together with the WTL 3164.

Preliminary datasheet of WTL 1164/WTL 1165

Datasheet of WTL 3164

First Draft of AN-383

The document presented here is the predecessor of the famous Application Note 383. This Note described how to use the NS32081 FPU together with the Motorola MC68000. The idea was very popular because Motorola offered no FPU for their 16-bit processors. I think that the engineers from Motorola were very unhappy with this solution ...

NS16081 FPU as a Peripheral


As an example of using the NS32081 FPU as a peripheral the documentation of a VME board development is presented here. The assembly code at the end is written for the Motorola MC68000 processor.

NS16081 FPU VME Board

Das 32000 Sonderheft

In 1986 the magazine Das 32000 Sonderheft appeared about Series 32000 in Germany. It was originally published by Franzis-Verlag GmbH. Today the copyright is held by Fachmedium elektronik (owner WEKA FACHMEDIEN GmbH). Their link is I got the permission to present the magazine here.

Fig. 17. The top page of Das 32000 Sonderheft.

The magazine presented on 160 pages all possible information about Series 32000 including applications. It is said that it was sponsored by National Semiconductor. The price of 28,- DM ( ˜15 glas of beer) was very high. If I remember right I got my copy from a friend.

Fig. 18. The list of content of Das 32000 Sonderheft.

One of the applications presented in the magazine was about a 3D-Real-Time Graphics Computer on page 137. Thanks to Uwe I can present his original manuscript here. It is written in german language.

3D-Echtzeit Grafikrechner mit UNIX 32-Bit Micro

This chapter was last modified on 2 September 2023. Go to Top