New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

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takeld
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New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby takeld » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:42 am

Hello.
This is my first post here so let me introduce myself: my name is Olivier and I'm french.
I'm interested in emulation of old computers and game consoles, so I've tried several emulator systems on PC, and recently on a Raspberry Pi (I'm quite happy with RetroPie, btw).
In the meantime, I was curious to know more about FPGA-aided emulation projects and I've discovered this MiSTer project, which looks very interesting and well advanced.

I have got a Terasic DE1-SOC board which is now "underused" and I was wondering if you know somebody who would have tried to port MisTer on that board.
I've read this post: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=117&t=33067&hilit=de1+soc#p338011 from one year ago.

Comparing the DE1-SOC with the DE10-nano, the HPS parts look similar, but the main differences I can see on the FPGA fabric side are:
  • The DE1-SOC has ~25% less ALM and embedded memory blocks
  • The DE1-SOC has only VGA+"traditional" Audio output instead of HDMI
  • The USB ports are Host only (type A), not OTG
  • However, it has 64MB of SDRAM on board, while the nano kit has none

So, if nobody has tried to port the project on DE1-SOC yet, do you know how difficult it would be to do it ?
BTW, I'm an electronics engineer and have some experience in FPGA and SOC-FPGA firmware design (especially on Altera/IntelFPGA devices, mainly in VHDL), so I could try to retarget some of the emulator cores Quartus projects.

I've seen that most cores require an external SDRAM daughter board on the GPIO connector. Could the on-board SDRAM of the DE1-SOC be used instead ?

Cheers

Sorgelig
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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:18 pm

Surely MiSTer can be ported to this board. There is already port to DE0-SocKit (probably abandoned).
But it's mostly useless port. The board is twice expensive, larger and without HDMI. It can be interesting only for those who already have DE1-SOC. Definitely not for new users, not for masses.

takeld
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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby takeld » Thu Mar 14, 2019 2:38 pm

Yes, I agree that the DE1-SOC is less practical than the DE10-Nano (it's more expensible, has no HDMI...).
But as I have access to the board, I was just curious to know the amount of work it would be if I try to port MiSTer on it by myself, and if it's worth trying.

Cheers

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby olin » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:24 pm

Sorgelig wrote:Surely MiSTer can be ported to this board. There is already port to DE0-SocKit (probably abandoned).

Correct, AFAIK nobody else except me is using DE0-ns for MiSTer. I still compile new cores (resource depending) or port fixes to existing cores from time to time, but don't do releases as there is no interest for it.

takeld wrote:I was just curious to know the amount of work it would be if I try to port MiSTer on it by myself, and if it's worth trying.

It depends on your intentions - if you just want to play on the systems without sacrificing features then probably it's not worth doing, in such case it's simpler to just go with regular MiSTer. If, on the other hand, you are happy to spend some time tinkering with your current board, and If you don't mind not having all features then go for it. Comparing to DE0-ns you don't need the IO board, so basically you just need to remap the pins in .qsf file and possibly disable the HDMI support. Then to recompile the core. Also you have to make sure MiSTer_main runs on the Linux (ARM) part of the Cyclone V. If you go with this route, the first cores to start with are the Menu and MemTest cores.

takeld
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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby takeld » Thu Mar 21, 2019 2:20 pm

olin wrote:It depends on your intentions - if you just want to play on the systems without sacrificing features then probably it's not worth doing, in such case it's simpler to just go with regular MiSTer. If, on the other hand, you are happy to spend some time tinkering with your current board, and If you don't mind not having all features then go for it. Comparing to DE0-ns you don't need the IO board, so basically you just need to remap the pins in .qsf file and possibly disable the HDMI support. Then to recompile the core. Also you have to make sure MiSTer_main runs on the Linux (ARM) part of the Cyclone V. If you go with this route, the first cores to start with are the Menu and MemTest cores.


Hi, actually, I just want to try a few cores and tinker a little bit, if I have enough spare time.
I've started by compiling a couple of cores with Quartus, straight pulled from the git repository, just to have an idea of the architecture.
I've used Quartus Prime 16.2.1 (to match the one specified in the cores *.qsf file) to compile.

- For the menu and amstrad cores I've tried, there is no difference between setting or not the VERILOG macro LITE in the project settings, only a light version without vip.sys is generated. Is it how it should be ?

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby olin » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:51 pm

takeld wrote:- For the menu and amstrad cores I've tried, there is no difference between setting or not the VERILOG macro LITE in the project settings, only a light version without vip.sys is generated. Is it how it should be ?


LITE macro used to disable compilation of proprietary video scaler IP block in order to save build (fitter) time for development builds.
But since the new open source video scaler has beed developed it possibly has no significance these days (might depend on the state of the core). Sorgelig is the best person to clarify.

If you look at my old fork of menu core which has the older video code (simpler to mod for systems without HDMI) there are changes
in the 'de0ns' branch I usually do to port a core to de0ns. Note I've added NO_HDMI macro that disables compilation of HDMI, only VGA is used. Use both LITE and NO_HDMI macros when using the old branch. see here: https://github.com/ole00/Menu_MiSTer/tree/de0ns

You can also try modified zx spectrum core with similar mods:
https://github.com/ole00/ZX-Spectrum_MISTer/tree/de0ns

Please note these branches are miles behind the current official master branch, so use them possibly as a first step to get you some results.

I also have a code that automatically (with some initial setup) remaps MiSTer pin setup between DE10-nano and DE0-ns. It could be adapted for your board as well. If you are interested let me know.

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:45 am

LITE option is deprecated. It was used to disable VIP Scaler compilation. I remove VIP from cores as i'm updating them.

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby mazsola2k » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:00 pm

MiSTer ported to DE1-SoC Altera FPGA board as well! :megaphone:

You can download DE1-SoC ported MiSTer cores from the following Github Project:
https://github.com/MiSTer-DE1-SoC/Main_MiSTer/wiki

Ported Cores:
Minimig-AGA - 100% DE10 version
C64 - 100% DE10 version
ao486 (due to 85K LE-s on DE1-SoC - removed audio capabilities and second hard disk and uart features)
SNES (due to 85K LE-s on DE1-SoC - ported an older version which did not utilize full FPGA RAM and all custom chips)

You can check youtube videos about the ported cores, enjoy: :cheers:
http://modernhackers.com

Other cores porting on it's way, you can find them on the DE1-SoC MiSTer wiki page
https://github.com/MiSTer-DE1-SoC/Main_MiSTer/wiki

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby Newsdee » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:15 am

Great job! Another triumph of Open Source code :D

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Re: New member introduction and a question: alternative board: DE1-SOC ?

Postby takeld » Fri Apr 19, 2019 10:07 am

Great!
I'll have a look, for sure. :)


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