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Interest check: TI-99/4A Mini console

14 replies to this topic

Poll: TI-99/4A Mini (27 member(s) have cast votes)

Would you buy one?

  1. Yes (14 votes [51.85%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 51.85%

  2. No (13 votes [48.15%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 48.15%

What format(s) of expansion would you prefer?

  1. USB (16 votes [28.57%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  2. SD Card slot (16 votes [28.57%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

  3. RPi-interface (3 votes [5.36%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 5.36%

  4. SSD (solid state hard drive) (5 votes [8.93%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 8.93%

  5. Cartridge port for TI99 solid state cartridges (16 votes [28.57%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.57%

Assuming it did NOT offer expansion, but was limited to a pre-packaged set of games and software, would you still consider buying it?

  1. Yes (9 votes [33.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  2. No (18 votes [66.67%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 66.67%

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#1 jrhodes OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:36 PM

I'm sure most here have seen the C64 mini.

If something like that was done for TI, would you be interested?

I like to think that this would be basically a whole system, with 32k and emulated disk built in, possibly with USB / SD Card expansion options.

I personally would get one, even if it was locked into only what ever came pre-loaded on it.

Tell me what you would think if such a product were to come out.




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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:43 PM

I would do what I did with the other mini consoles: deride them mercilessly then snatch up several to milk the hipsters dry when the supply runs out.

#3 jrhodes OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:59 PM

I have kind of a mean streak myself.

Back around the pre-launch of the Wii, a local game store was in the same shopping complex as a toys r us, and they had a final retail box on display.

I convinced him to let me have it, and proceeded to show it off to the hoard of "campers" waiting outside the toys r us to place pre-orders.

Jaws dropped when they seen me walk by with that box, they honestly believed i had managed to snag a system earlier then other people.

Edited by jrhodes, Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:03 PM.

#4 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:07 PM

I expect the results of this will be quite varied and for a multitude of reasons, as everyone is into the hobby for different reasons.


Admittedly I'm a little weird, my psychological limit is the console.  I'd pass on a mini, simply because it would be the same (to me)  as an emulator.  I already have a great emulator in Classic 99, so why would I want to buy an over-priced one?  Besides my TI's do it all anyway.


Now for me, "the sky's the limit" when it comes to peripherals that can attach to the TI, and even peripherals for the peripherals.  But like "Vger" everything has to hang off the nucleus of my nostalgic TI console.

#5 ti99iuc OFFLINE  



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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:09 PM

If i think a ti99mini like a c64mini i really have not interest in the project. 

I think i could be interested in a project like the motherboard Ultimate64, all in FPGA and fully compatibile with original peripheral and chips with all integrated like speech, nanoPEB, FR99, SID/MIDI card, F18A, GENEVE... all included on the MB but that if you want use also the original PEB you can the same.

this could be really useful and interest for me :P

Edited by ti99iuc, Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:09 PM.

#6 pixelpedant OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:03 PM

Only if it were a well-documented FPGA-based perfect or near-perfect workalike, I'd say.  Analogue NT Mini sort of thing.  And even then, maybe only if it provided native analogue output.  And even then, it wouldn't replace my main setup, only function as a supplement to it.  What can I say - I'm a purist.  And my whole damn (11 system) setup is based around analogue signal routing.  If it were really just basically a software emulator, I'd surely elect to keep on using real iron 90% of the time, and Classic99 for the other 10%.  And if a need for a compact, portable, standalone TI 99 box ever arose (which is difficult to fathom, given I've already got my tiny laptop, which I carry with me 100% of the time, loaded up with TI 99 stuff), I guess I'd just grab a spare Pi out of storage, and throw the requisite stuff on that. 

Edited by pixelpedant, Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:04 PM.

#7 jrhodes OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:15 PM

Just so everyone knows, the RPi-interface mentioned in the poll means "Raspberry Pi interface". Just wanted to clear that up in case anyone was scratching their head wondering what i meant by RPi-interface.

And no, i am not actually intending to produce such a product, this is more of a what-if poll. (In case that was not clear from my first post.)

Edited by jrhodes, Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:17 PM.

#8 arcadeshopper OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 8:57 PM

I have one for you:  https://www.arcadesh...tegory=26209493

#9 jrhodes OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:01 PM

Cute, but missing a few too many features ;-)

#10 1980gamer OFFLINE  



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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 4:19 PM

Would I still consider buying it....  Of course I'd consider it....

But it would have to have some great pre-loaded stuff and be inexpensive.   We are talking an AtGames type product.


The original completely hack-able C64 controller release was only $29.


That controller sucked!  But the rest of it was pretty impressive.

#11 fabrice montupet OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:04 PM

I'm not interested to buy one.

#12 save2600 OFFLINE  



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Posted Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:41 PM

No thanks. :)

#13 etownandy OFFLINE  


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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:12 PM

On the fence, leaning towards yes, mostly because I'd love to play TI games in the living room.  I kind of already can with ti99sim on my Pi, although changing disks is a bit of a pain (and the keyboard I use is one of those dinky Rii bluetooth jobs...ok for pressing the "any" key and then pressing "2", but horrible to actually type on).  How mini can a mini be and still be useful?  Roughly keyboard sized?  But then I think gee, if we're going to do that, can we also include a halfway decent keyboard?  And then it becomes something else entirely.

I did get an actual 4A in box for a recent birthday (May) and I still haven't plugged THAT up.  Slacker.




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Posted Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:54 PM

Could do like the Mini C64 and allow the use of USB keyboard and joysticks but only provide one USB port.  For teh lulz.

#15 x24b OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:49 PM

I love the idea of a mini console, as long as it is cheap, easily hackable and gotten into.


That being said... Here goes:


The 'ZX Spectrum Next' people ( https://www.specnext.com/) have it right. They have an FPGA that can mimic almost every ZX machine ever produced and have gone further. It seems to be 100% backward compatible with everything in software most would want. All of the old hardware can be used and hooked up to it including cassette. With a simple reboot and flash using the SD card as the drive, there is a first menu that can be accessed if wanted (Like a low end BIOS routine). You can choose to make the Next machine into a hardware (ZiLog Z80 CPU) ZX80, ZX81, ZX Spectrum and many other hardware choices available on a simple menu (system flash images can be made of almost any chip or combination of chips. Size is the limiting factor. They are running out of room with all of their enhancements). Which ever you choose, you select it, flash it and from that point forward the machine is THAT flavor of device. If you let that menu fly by, a second menu shows where you can choose from several OS's. One of them will be CP/M! If you chose the 'ZX Spectrum Next' option from the earlier BIOS like menu and then the TBBlue OS, you have a very advanced, clock speed select-able (normal and turbo modes), 512 Kb up to 1MB Ram, 'ZX Spectrum Next' computer with original fleshy keyboard (Or PS/2 keyboard and mouse), multiple SD card access, HDMI video out, VGA out, Layer 2 scrolling graphics, many new colors, many sprites that will not blank each other out if on the same line, Real Time Clock with backup battery, Raspberry Pi co-processor with a second HDMI out, WiFi card, and lot's more stuff. The 'Speccy' has over 2,000 programs written for it, mostly games, that all used to run on cassette, now off SD card. The Speccy keyboard is horrible but I just plug in a PS/2 keyboard and learn the new map.


This machine IS the one they want over there. I have been fortunate enough to have gotten one here in the US and it is everything above and more.


We could do something like it as well. The FPGA is not an emulator. It is software programmed hardware. Once flashed, it stays the machine you choose (unless you choose to flash it again into something else).


Imagine an FPGA machine that you have a choice of hardware for, (IBM PC Intel 8080, 8086, 80286, Apple IIe, Commodore 64... etc.) TI 99/4, TI 99/4A, all of the variants that TI wanted to produce (because they exist, they can be copied), any VDP chip choice TMS9918A to whatever, then your hardware choice is made. You are booted into your TI 99/4A (or whatever) with fathoms of RAM never before achieved, you plug in a game cartridge and hook up any joystick you have available or drool over. The game and data is on cartridge, FinalGROM99, SD card, or SSD, or whatever (Cassette, any kind of floppy, memory stick, SSD, HDD), with true enhanced color choices, separate color for each screen pixel, multi-color multi-size sprites, HDMI out, 40 column, 80 column or better to run Editor/Assembler, Mini-Memory, TI Word, WordStar or 'MS Word' word processor, Lotus 123 or TI Multiplan spreadsheet, a database, Parsec, Donkey Kong, Miner 2049er, printer hookup choices galore from Epson MX80 dot matrix to HP LaserJet.


Take a close look at the 'Next'. THAT could be us. We could do it better. We can see what and how they did it. Our hardware could be refurbished to 'NEW' with untold enhancements! The case design could be an original TI 99/4A case, a reproduction or even something new and fresh.


The images below are of my machine. The Next Mobo is a duplicate in size to the original Speccy. It fits in an old case, but the old case needs to be carved up a bit in strategic spots for the new connectors to plug into it.


We have talent on this board that can make it happen. It is not a dream. It is being done.


Have a great day!


Fully enhanced and operating ZX Spectrum Next board with external keyboard, mouse and ZX ProPad

ZX Spectrum Next running - Dungeonette BIG IMAGE
Standard aftermarket Speccy case about to be carved up to fit the ZX Spectrum Next board.

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