Western Design Center information

Western Design Center

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Western Design Center is an American CMOS microprocessor design, manufacturing, and distributor company that partners with distributors worldwide to make their 65xx brand technology available to their global customer base. 

Their work in the licensing, design, and manufacture of microprocessor chip technology is widely considered groundbreaking in the field and was the inspiration for the ARMxx line of Acorn microprocessors.


The founder, William D. Mensch, holds 22 patents in microprocessor technology, including microprocessor technology and microprocessor peripheral devices. His innovations have been integral to the success of many large technology corporations and the development of the computer industry as a whole. 

Patents belonging to Mr. Mensch were instrumental in the early development of the video game and PC industries. For example, the Commodore PET computer used 65xx technology, as did the iconic Commodore 64, the Vic 20, the Atari game system, the Nintendo game system, the Apple I and Apple II computers, and the Acorn PC.

The early 6502 microprocessor is displayed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

The original patents are still used in WDCs CMOS 65xx family of microprocessors and are as essential to the high-tech industry today as it ever was.

A Brief History of Western Design Center (WDC)

WDC was founded in 1978 by William D. Mensch Jr., a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and the creator of the 65xx line of chips. 

The company was the first fabless semiconductor company in the world to supply microprocessor chips.

In 1981 WDC was the first company to successfully license microprocessor IP (Intellectual Property) cores to the electronics and computer industries. 

The earliest clients to license their technology were NCR, Synertek, MOS Technology, GTE, and Rockwell. 

In 1984 WDC and Apple Computer signed a deal to supply their flagship 65xx line of chips. This is also the year that Western Digital Center became the first fabless supplier of semiconductor technology.

In 1991, the Chairman, Founder, and CEO of WDC was recognized by the Microprocessor Forum as a seminal figure in the history of the microprocessor industry. 

As of 2021, WDC has sold and shipped over six billion 65xx microprocessors and shows no signs of slowing down. As a result, Western Design Center technology continues to be used more widely than ever in an increasingly broad range of applications and industries.

Where is Western Design Center Located? 

WDC is an American company headquartered in Mesa, AZ, USA.

Who are Western Design Center Distributors?

BD Electronics Ltd
Jameco Electronics 
Mouser Electronics 
TRG Components
Microcom devices Ltd
Great Plains Electronics 

Key WDC Products in the History of Technology.

While the 65xx series of microprocessors is known to all industry professionals, it is not commonly known how crucial this technology has been to the development of the industry. Here are some of the pioneering products that contained WDC chip design and hardware at their core.

l The original Commodore KIM–1 Single Board Computer

l Atari gaming console

l Nintendo and Super Nintendo games

l Apple I, Apple II/IIc, Apple lle, and Apple llgs computers

l The BBC Acorn Computer

l The Commodore PET, 64, and VIC20 personal computers

l Rockwell modem devices

l The chipsets for Micronas closed caption digital TV

l General Instrument’s analog set-top box devices

l The Franklin Digital Book System

l Embedded microprocessor technology in medical defibrillators

l Micronas automotive dashboard controllers

WDC Product Catalog

Integrated Circuits

l W65C02S 8-bit Microprocessor (MPU): an 8-bit low power processor used widely in the industrial, automotive, medical, and consumer technology industries. 

l W65C816S 8/16–bit Microprocessor (MPU): an extension of the 65xx line to manage 16-bit technology and hold a 16MB memory capacity. 

l W65C134S 8–bit Microcontroller (MCU): an 8-bit microcontroller chip technology-rich in features, built upon the earlier W65C02 chip but with advanced features stemming from its design intention as a mission-critical component in life-support technology. Contains a full external 8-bit and 16-bit address memory bus. 

l W65C265S 8/16–bit Microcontroller (MCU): a 16-bit extension of the 65xx product line featuring an increased memory capacity up to 16MB, 3 additional UARTs, a Parallel Interface Bus, a full 8-bit and 24-bit external memory address bus, twin tone generators, and many other added capabilities. Like the W65C134S, this MCU contains a built-in debug monitor ROM. 

l W65C21 8-bit Peripheral Interface Adapter (PIA): available in both NMOS and CMOS versions, this is a dual-program controlled 8-bit, bit programmable peripheral I/O port, capable of allowing direct communication between selected peripheral units and the microprocessor.

l W65C22 8/16-bit Versatile Interface Adapter (VIA): a flexible I/O device similar to the W65C21. This design has two fully programmable 16-bit Interval Timer/Counters and is available in both NMOS and CMOS versions. 

l W65C51N Asynchronous Communications Interface Adapter (ACIA): a CMOS interface allows program-controlled communication between serial communication data sets, modems, and microprocessor systems. 


l W65C816S 8/16–bit Microprocessor (MPU): an extension of the 65xx line to allow for 16-bit processing and a capacity of 16MB memory space, as well as re-entrant, re-locatable, and re-cursive programming.

l W65C134S 8–bit Microcontroller (MCU): this core contains a fully embedded debug ROM monitor as well as a complete library of routines which significantly reduce overall development time.

l W65C265S 8/16–bit Microcontroller (MCU): contains both built-in debug monitor ROM with full libraries as an OS kernel, ToD, display, power management software, and data communications, all contributing to more efficient system development.

l W65C21S 8-bit Peripheral Interface Adapter (PIA): contains a pair of program-controlled, bi-directional, 8-bit peripheral I/O ports and a direct interface between the processor and specific, selected peripheral units.

l W65C22S 8/16-bit Versatile Interface Adapter (VIA): provides for dual, fully programmable 16-not Interval Timer/Counters, including latches and an advanced, synchronous, serial interface shift register. 

l W65C51S Asynchronous Communications Interface Adapter (ACIA): an easily implemented communications interface connecting the microprocessor system with various serial communication modems and data sets. 


Western Digital Center microprocessor and core technology are used in various industries, including automotive, medical technology, heavy industry, consumer technology, and more. The applications of this technology are equally broad. You will find WDC chips in products such as Smart TV chipsets, Smart Phones, computer disk drives, PC motherboards, video game systems, photocopy machines, digital scanning equipment, digital cameras, telecommunication devices, ebooks, PDAs, automotive dashboard technology, children’s toys, hi-tech security and surveillance systems, embedded heart defibrillators, household appliance controllers, PoS terminals, heart pacemakers, and many more.


If you require any further information about Western Digital Center’s product range, BD Electronics is an official Western Design Center Distributor. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

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