We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Moderators: Mug UK, Zorro 2, Greenious, spiny, Moderator Team

User avatar
rondc
Retro freak
Retro freak
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:59 pm
Location: Spain
Contact:

We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby rondc » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:05 am

Hello folks :D

I introduced myself not long ago, but I am a Spanish amateur to the microcomputers of the 80s and especially lover of the Atari ST. :)

I have been a FPGA user for some time. Of the two that I use the most are MiST (MiSTica) and MiSTer.
I would have liked to post this post before, but since I am a new user it was important to read and have a little idea of the things that are spoken in the forum.

I will try to get to the point where possible, but this post, more than a request, is a reflection.
Don't you think that the British microcomputers of the 80s should be synthesized in FPGA so as not to depend on a computer and emulation?

While the rest of computers are already available and fully operational, receiving improvements constantly, these seem to be forgotten, when what is intended is the opposite.

I follow the news carefully and I am very grateful to all those who altruistically and unconditionally develop cores, all my recognition and support. But, does anyone consider it important to preserve this legacy in the form of FPGA?

Computers as important as the Grundy NewBrain (Z80), Dragon Data 32 and 64 (6809), Tangerine Oric 1 and Atmos (6502, Camputers Lynx 48, 96, 128 (Z80), Eaca Color Genie (Z80), Tatung Einstein TC-01 (Z80), Memotech MTX Series (Z80), to give a significant example.

It's not just about playing, behind there are many things. There is a BASIC, in some monitors, disk operating systems, a host of things that if implemented in an FPGA, will make available to us the recreation of those mythical and sometimes so desirable microcomputers.

Do you consider it's important to contemplate the possibility of the preservation of these systems? They are not marginal, they have some very interesting software libraries and although there are few active users, if this is achieved I am convinced that many would appreciate it since it is not the same to depend on an emulator to be able to use the core.

Simply this is everything. If you think that is crazy, nothing happens, but I think it would be very positive and good for the scene and that would bring these microcomputers to many more users.

These are the microcomputers that we would all like to have in our fpgas. Some microcomputers share many components that are already implemented in other systems.

Oric Atmos
Dragon 32
NewBrain
ColourGenie
Camputers Lynx
Memotech MTX
Tatung Einstein

Thank You very much. Regards. ron.

slingshot
Atari Super Hero
Atari Super Hero
Posts: 974
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:05 pm

Re: We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby slingshot » Tue Jun 04, 2019 9:49 am

The situation is very simple: if a developer find a system interesting, and has the motivation, then it'll happen. Like the recent Laser 500 core.

User avatar
rondc
Retro freak
Retro freak
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:59 pm
Location: Spain
Contact:

Re: We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby rondc » Tue Jun 04, 2019 10:13 am

Thx slingshot. Thanks for your sincerity. I know that many of us are fortunate thanks to your expertise. I knew the Laser 500, I had one for a long time, that went unnoticed without pain or glory for being a marginal machine and had no software accessible at that time, but in any case is a piece of history of computer science already preserved in FPGA and it's very appreciated. It's from this moment when I will be able to start enjoying the Laser 500 in its best shape, without having to worry about the original hardware.

In this case my approach was aimed more at all those who knew or owned one of those micros in the 80s, as is my case. In fact I keep several computers fully equipped and operational.

But then what about those who had them and can only recreate them through emulation ?.
And for those who consider much better an FPGA implementation than the emulation and can not choose to acquire one due to the exorbitant bubble that there is of prices on the internet?

In any case, either now or with the future of this hobby, as I said in another post, if we could wait more than 20 years for a ram expansion or a disk controller ... you can expect without pressure and without obligations, I simply highlight it to be taken into consideration.

Anyway, whatever you do, you will always have my unconditional support. Thanks.

jemismyname
Atari freak
Atari freak
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:25 pm

Re: We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby jemismyname » Sat Jun 08, 2019 4:27 am

I think FPGAs are becoming more and more popular as they become more capable and accessible to the modern programmer. The more folks who learn to program in Verilog or VHDL, the more we will see these older computers become new again. I was stoked to see that the last issue of Make magazine dedicated several pages to FPGAs. This is how we will get more FPGA cores created. We just need to get the attention of the larger maker/hacker/tinker communities.

In addition to the more obscure british microcomputers, i would like to see the recreation of the more obscure japanese microcomputers. Also, i wonder if maybe some of these things already exist, but there are language barriers (for the japanese computers) which keep us from realizing.

we are lucky to be living in a time where the past is honored in this way. Throughout my life, i have often been concerned that "Moore's Law" has led to throw-away technology. Modern programmers don't bother to become intimately familiar with the hardware, because there will always be newer faster hardware with more memory just around the corner. That is a sad way to program, and it has always concerned me.

Now we can go back and explore the intricacies and unlock the magic of the computers from our youth!

Long live the FPGA!!!

User avatar
rondc
Retro freak
Retro freak
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:59 pm
Location: Spain
Contact:

Re: We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby rondc » Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:03 am

Moore's Law has become the law of The Brute Force. Where there are no limits of CPU or memory, everything is resolved at a high level.
In the 80s we learned to squeeze every last byte, which allowed us to learn with a very solid base to exploit all the possibilities that a micro can offer, the scene took care of the rest, getting things done that not even those who designed those computers They knew they were capable of doing such incredible things as playing video or painting more colours than imagined.

About the comment of dark computers, I am not so in agreement, since those mentioned in the previous post were sold in Spanish stores during the 80s and all have enough software and accessible documentation. I totally agree with what you have written about the VHDL programmers. And of course with the rest of the comments.

In my humble opinion it is simply a matter of time.

hyperterminal
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Obsessive compulsive Atari behavior
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2017 1:43 pm

Re: We must not forget to implement these British microcomputers of the 80s in FPGA

Postby hyperterminal » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:56 am

Speaking of the Memotech MTX, there is already a core for Altera DE1 (Cyclone II FPGA) with VHDL source (http://www.nyangau.org/rememotech/rememotech.htm) which could be ported to another FPGA.

Personally, I'd prefer having more cores for Japanese computers, like Sharp X68000, Sharp X1, NEC PC-8801 and Fujitsu FM-Towns.


Return to “FPGA Chat”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests