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Developers/testing required for mini-itx clone system - ÉclaireXL


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#26 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 7:13 AM

Great news Mark!

 

Do you have detailed specs? Still a plain FPGA? Did you consider switching to a SOC part? Seems it's just about US$10 more.

 

And just out of curiosity, how you worked around the HDMI license issue?

 



#27 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:06 AM

 

And just out of curiosity, how you worked around the HDMI license issue?

 

 

We will think about it when and if we are ready to go commercial and out of Atari Age. For now is in development stage here.


Edited by santosp, Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:06 AM.


#28 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:25 AM

I see 3 extra holes besides the normal 4 mounting ones. What are those for?

 

 

Yes are there for the better support of pcb, and if you ask me, even those isn't enough! The 4 basic support holes are just to keep pcb in place. 

The owner must add plastic spacers in bottom side, using a bolt in top. On the revised board I have add 9 more, especially near the IDC connectors who someone must press to fit. Support holes is a must against the bend of pcb,  with any evil consequence can cause this!

 

I have read the thread of your excellent project for the Atari XL, and I propose to think seriously except the holes to go with 2mm pcb thickness.



#29 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:26 AM

 

And just out of curiosity, how you worked around the HDMI license issue?

 

Soapbox mode, but it's a bad trend that our industry standards are becoming increasingly extortion-based.



#30 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:35 AM

 Any chance of including VBXE support?

 

The hardware is ready to support it. Beyond that is a matter of Sebastian "candle member" to decide about this.


Edited by santosp, Wed Mar 8, 2017 9:36 AM.


#31 Brentarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 1:45 PM

This is exciting! I'm curious, will it be possible to use other cores or is it just locked to A8? To have the ability to also run 2600/7800 cores would be awesome!

#32 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 2:34 PM

Just curious what "Extremely compatible with existing software" means?  Is there some percentage of software you'd estimate won't run, certain types of programs, and/or specific programs you've found won't run?  Also curious how much software will run in the Turbo mode.   :D

Its really down to mistakes in my implementation. The core itself seems to run pretty much everything reliably, its had several years testing on the mist and other platform. We know some cartridges that don't yet work yet. I'm aware the internal sdrive is not perfect, but to be honest, I like to use a real drive or sio device:-) Turbo is less compatible since anything cycle exact breaks. ProjectM is fun in turbo mode!
 

Any chance of including VBXE support?

OK, please lobby the VBXE authors. If we get approval for this in the next week we can add any supporting hardware. The current board may work but it will probably be easier with an extra sram chip. The real VBXE could be used, but then the video would be output from that. I can easily bring out AN0-2 from the spare pins etc. If the VBXE developers let me use their HDL and help with what extra hardware we'll need I'll give them a board each.
 

Is an 816 core available?

There are a couple of 65816 cores published, but other than the official WDC one their quality isn't great. There are now a few SNES cores around and the SNES used the 65816, so if these become public the quality of available open 65816 cores will improve massively.
 

Do you have detailed specs? Still a plain FPGA? Did you consider switching to a SOC part? Seems it's just about US$10 more.

The main IC is still a Cyclone V 5CEBA2F23C8. Its a 484 pin chip with about 25000 reconfigurable logic elements and 240KB of internal RAM/ROM. For extended RAM we're using an 8MB (edit: 32MB!) SDRAM chip - compatible with the one on the mist. This has more latency to access though. 

I didn't consider the SOC part, largely because I had an SOCkit and fell out with it! I found the support for these parts in Quartus really confusing. I had the core working on the SOCkit with linux on the ARM talking to the Atari core via the high speed internal bus. Then I ran aspeqt on the ARM cpu. It was kind of cool, but unless we want to go for a software emulated CPU on the ARM it didn't really make sense to me. With a JIT 6502 core it could be pretty fast. I saw on the FPGA arcade side that Mike is considering doing that with the Amiga core. Custom chip implementation in the FPGA and then use a JIT 68K on the ARM in a PI3. So hybrid new custom chips and software emulation.
 

This is exciting! I'm curious, will it be possible to use other cores or is it just locked to A8? To have the ability to also run 2600/7800 cores would be awesome!

Its not locked but I have no intentions of developing other cores. That said there is nothing stopping anyone else. My view is that there are a lot of generic FPGA boards that try to do the basics of many systems (i.e. video, audio, joy, keyboard). Here we're trying to support all peripherals and busses and build the ultimate 8-bit Atari.

Edited by foft, Wed Mar 8, 2017 3:25 PM.


#33 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 2:42 PM

Thank you for all the answers!



#34 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 2:53 PM

I think this needs a case that has Atari style and overtones. A generic PC case doesn't do it justice.



#35 yerzmyey OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 3:48 PM

Wow. That's an excellent news!

I'd surely get one, when it's ready. 1Mb and Covox! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!



#36 Philsan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 4:30 PM

I think this needs a case that has Atari style and overtones. A generic PC case doesn't do it justice.

A case designed by one of the original Atari designers would be nice, like Spectrum Next:

http://www.specnext.com/



#37 ijor OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 7:23 PM

I didn't consider the SOC part, largely because I had an SOCkit and fell out with it! I found the support for these parts in Quartus really confusing. I had the core working on the SOCkit with linux on the ARM talking to the Atari core via the high speed internal bus. Then I ran aspeqt on the ARM cpu. It was kind of cool, but unless we want to go for a software emulated CPU on the ARM it didn't really make sense to me. With a JIT 6502 core it could be pretty fast. I saw on the FPGA arcade side that Mike is considering doing that with the Amiga core. Custom chip implementation in the FPGA and then use a JIT 68K on the ARM in a PI3. So hybrid new custom chips and software emulation.


I wasn't thinking on CPU emulation, but on a powerful I/O controller. With a SOC (or with a discrete CPU if you want, but SOC is better) you can do things you couldn't even dream with a FPGA unless you use a much bigger and expensive device. Running Linux and AspeQt is great, but here that might be difficult, you won't have that much RAM as in the SOCkit.

 

But you could still implement a very powerful SIO2SD/PC, support multiple drives, compressed images, copy protected images, tape, WAV images, 850, accurate peripheral emulation, etc. Support pen drives, not just SD cards. All sort of input controllers, USB hubs. A nice and powerful OSD, etc.

 

Last but not least, the SOC is great for booting and configuring the FPGA directly from the SD. This is very useful if you run multiple cores. And this is just from the top of my head.

 

You can, of course, still make a great product without a SOC, but the difference in cost is so small, that seems such a pity to me.



#38 Kavik OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 8, 2017 11:48 PM

This is awesome! So exciting to see not just one but *two* new custom modern 8-bit motherboard projects happening now. Each is distinct in direction, but both are geared towards supporting SIO connectivity and cartridges as well as some key mods.  Looking forward to supporting both projects!

 

A case designed by one of the original Atari designers would be nice, like Spectrum Next:

http://www.specnext.com/

 

Here's hoping we get some custom new cases to go with these projects.



#39 dkerfoot OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 9, 2017 4:30 PM

Really looking forward to this when complete.  Seems like all of the important upgrades are built in for a much lower total cost.  There will always be some conflict between the desire to use the original hardware and having the best available options.  Having one of these with everything included would probably encourage me to preserve the originals in their original state.

I am just a little concerned about the comment that the SDrive being "less than perfect".  It is my preferred peripheral, so I hope Foft and Santosp will take the time to make it perfect!


Edited by dkerfoot, Thu Mar 9, 2017 4:31 PM.


#40 gargoyle OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 9, 2017 6:26 PM

720 x 576 PAL

720 X 480 NTSC

 

100%

 

Isn't that EDTV (480p - 720 x 480), rather than HDTV (720p - 1280x720). In any case awesome project  :thumbsup:


Edited by gargoyle, Thu Mar 9, 2017 6:43 PM.


#41 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 9, 2017 10:26 PM

 

Isn't that EDTV (480p - 720 x 480), rather than HDTV (720p - 1280x720). In any case awesome project  :thumbsup:

Yes is well known this. I respond what is support now through HDMI.  :)

 

For me is far from enough to have this resolution in the same monitor who use for my PC needs, via VGA or DVI input. HDMI added in reality not to support high definition, but for the new era monitor and TV's, which look like to have only this video input.
 
Believe me even in 576p, when I saw first time during the development from Mark a video test card, I almost cry! The purity of colors and clarity of picture in my 47" led LG TV, was superb. Now imagine how I felt when I see there the real Atari screen playing a game or writing some text on Atari Memo-pad!

Edited by santosp, Thu Mar 9, 2017 10:48 PM.


#42 917k OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 9, 2017 10:30 PM

Its really down to mistakes in my implementation. The core itself seems to run pretty much everything reliably, its had several years testing on the mist and other platform. We know some cartridges that don't yet work yet. I'm aware the internal sdrive is not perfect, but to be honest, I like to use a real drive or sio device:-) Turbo is less compatible since anything cycle exact breaks. ProjectM is fun in turbo mode!
 
OK, please lobby the VBXE authors. If we get approval for this in the next week we can add any supporting hardware. The current board may work but it will probably be easier with an extra sram chip. The real VBXE could be used, but then the video would be output from that. I can easily bring out AN0-2 from the spare pins etc. If the VBXE developers let me use their HDL and help with what extra hardware we'll need I'll give them a board each.
 

 

Okay, well I don't know him but I took a shot and PM'd Sebastian anyway (only contact method I am aware of for him). Hopefully he will see the PM and join the discussion and view our request favorably. I think this is a great way to get VBXE out there in the hands of more people, especially those folks who are not able to do the mod themselves. Altira has support for it so maybe we might have a shot...  :? 



#43 npturton OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:05 PM

A few questions/enhancements

 

1. Does unit have switchable OS 800/XL/XLF/XE?

2. Does unit have a switchable CTIA/GTIA?

3. Does unit have switchable PAL/NTSC + timing crystals?

4. Does unit have a daughter board for 4 player for MULE :oP

 

Switchable ie toggles on the back of PC case connected to pin headers 



#44 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 14, 2017 3:47 AM

1) Yes, it can be loaded from sd card. The rom is actually ram, but the 6502 can't write to it. Its not a physical switch but via a menu. 2) No, gtia only. 3) It has a 50MHz crystal which goes into a fraction pll in the cyclone v. This can generate very precise frequencies which are needed for pal/ntsc svideo. We will also have an external clock generator chip which can do a simikar task, though without using limited fpga resources. 4) Yes. Ports 3/4 are simpler ports with no paddle support. They do support output though.

#45 Frankie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:07 AM

I would love for there to be a way to connect a 1200xl keyboard to it. Put the whole thing inside the case. Get the feel of the old with the reliability of the new.



#46 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:45 PM

I would love for there to be a way to connect a 1200xl keyboard to it. Put the whole thing inside the case. Get the feel of the old with the reliability of the new.

There are some GPIOs on the board that could be used for that, but this would require a simple adaptor board.

#47 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:54 PM

We're looking for one more taker for the run, since we have to order them in lots of 5. Is anyone interested?

We have a quote from the PCB company now. We have also double-checked the schematics and board.

I'll send out details in the next day or two, but its looking like it'll cost about 10% more than estimated.

The increased costs are partly because we went with a larger FPGA which we believe will allow us to provide some interesting new features.
http://www.digikey.c...3222-ND/3879656

Edited by foft, Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:55 PM.


#48 Xuel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:41 PM

PM sent.



#49 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:31 PM

Sweet - we can expect payment info soon it seems :)



#50 foft OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:33 PM

Sweet - we can expect payment info soon it seems :)


Email sent:)




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