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About Wildstar

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  1. Exactly the purpose of the pin is to genlock. Like an Amiga without having to use an external genlocking box. The idea was so the TI-99/4A would have the ability to genlock with either a VCR or another TI-99/4A. In fact, they demonstrated it in some of the prototypes / pre-consumer release units. Some of the commercial / ads were essentially demonstrating it but before they started ramping up consumer production, they effectively disabled it (but with little hacking (modding)), with some modding, you can enable the function. This was because they didn't feel at that time, the TI-99/4A would need to be genlocking to anything in the regular home use. A couple mods here and there to connect it up, you would be able to genlock to a VHS with a relatively inexpensive interface what Amiga became super popular for. TI was kind of out of the box had the genlock circuitry that just need some lines and few modding to complete the circuit and then you can use it to do exactly what Amiga could do with subtitles, etc. Now, of course, we could conceivably make such an interface with a video card in the PEB that has an input line and then could genlock either to the onboard video chip in the TI-99/4A motherboard OR you could set it up with full genlock circuit as well and have 24 bpp composite or analog RGB (or fancy digital RGB circuit) video or something along that line and genlock to another video source on the 15 Khz HSync. and so forth.
  2. Hello, I would be interesting in one of those POKEYMAX v3 for the Atari 130XE (likely to be used on the 130XE Remake board that santosp is making. I would likely also be having a Sophia v2, current VBXE, (likely will have a FREDDIE replacement chip used in it at some point and possibly even at some point a Rapidus. I want to make this Atari, one I can use for a number of years without too much fear of it failing to function due to an out of production Atari proprietary chip failing given the age of the chip.
  3. Either way, it was something Commodore would have done at some point whether by Atari's negotiation or by Apple and others. In any case, making sure there is a supply. Everyone in the computer industry at that time were familiar with the calculator wars of the 1960s and early 70s at that time. Commodore understood the need of second source. That was how Commodore stayed in business and survived the calculator wars. Obviously, Atari didn't want to be in that place and even Jack Tramiel of Commodore understands that so it would be important to have second sources in which case, Commodore would have royalties from those second sources. If Commodore couldn't supply these chips out of their one and single chip foundry, they would be losing money from all those computers that would be using their chip but would have otherwise had to go to some other chip. Lets also remember it wasn't only Atari but also Apple using the 6502 (and variants). However, Commodore got their royalty from the MOS 65xx IP manufactured by the second sources (licensees) that were used in computers and consoles by Apple, Atari, Acorn, BBC, Ohio, Orao, Oric, and perhaps some others. Some going all the way back to the late 1970s.
  4. The Atari "6502C" is best to be called simply SALLY or the official Atari nomenclature on the chip. It is not officially called 6502C. It was an informal name. MOS Technology officially has a 6502C which is clockable to 4 Mhz (without overclocking but officially rated for). The Sally is custom and may even been based on the MOS 6502C core but had some modifications like the noted HALT line and other changes. MOS, Rockwell, and Syntertek manufactured the Sally for Atari. MOS may have even been involved in engineering that custom version for Atari where there was an agreement that MOS et al would only manufacture that custom part for Atari only. MOS Technologies (which was owned by Commodore in 1975), in 1989 started stamping the chips with the "Commodore Semiconductor Group (CSG)" name had manufactured 65xx products for Apple and Atari and others. Atari would still be required to pay Commodore royalty even for the Sally. I suspect that there will be fewer Sally's made by MOS/CSG then Rockwell and Syntertek because MOS/CSG had a huge demand on their chip production with their C64 sales after 1983, the disk drives, and a variety of other products from Commodore from 1984 and later. Getting parts directly from MOS/CSG kind of become a pricier commodity when they could get them from second-sources more readily at this time because Commodore was from time to time maxing out their chip production capacity. When the Amiga came along, this too was going to be harder to get direct from MOS as those parts were mostly in the Commodore products that used the chip. The second source licensees began handling the non-Commodore products like Atari and Apple. They let them handle those companies and collected royalty but they did do some runs of the chips. I think it made practical sense and that assured there was 65xx parts so there wouldn't be shortages of 65xx chips. Commodore did more of that early on and then allowed more of that to be handled via licensees than directly out of the Norristown, PA plant. Rockwell and others had the capacity to fulfill chip production demands for other companies. Bill Mensch of Western Design Center, had decided to implement the principle of using licensees (hence... why they are "fabless") so companies like Rockwell and others produced CMOS 65xx chips and WDC collected royalty so as to not have to do the manufacturing in-house. This would have been cost prohibited for Bill Mensch in the early days because setting up a foundry is not cheap especially for volume production.
  5. Ok... you're right.... in terms of foundries manufacturing. Syntertek, Rockwell, and others were licensees of MOS/CSG which designed the 6502 core. This is not unusual for custom microcontrollers, SoCs, etc. where a licensee uses the IP of (in this case..... MOS/CSG) and added the the additional things like maybe the HALT pin or whatever). Rockwell and others later, also licensed the CMOS 65c02 and 65c816 from WDC. Around 1985 and afterwards, there was a shift away from MOS/CSG to WDC but it wasn't really until Commodore's bankruptcy that these companies ended their NMOS line. Now, of course, any of these companies and/or their successors (if they have the equipment) can manufacture the NMOS based 6502s because patents on them expired and they can do this without paying royalties. However, many have moved over to CMOS process because is other factors which would be beyond the point of this topic. At some point, I think Atari went through licensees because the supply of parts directly from Commodore (MOS / CSG) might have become expensive at some point. Rockwell and Syntertek was a "second-sourced" for various 65xx chips. The Sally (C014806) was a custom 6502 chip where they added the HALT line and second R/W line so it worked with the video circuitry but these changes were likely done by the licensees but they are not officially marked 6502C. The Sally probably is a customized 6502C with the mentioned modifications to work with the ANTIC chip (reference to the "liz" project) versus the standard 6502C that is made by Commodore. MOS/CSG 6502C is clockable to 4 MHz while the 6502B (found in some earlier model Atari 8-bits) was clockable to 2 Mhz. The SALLY (which we should call it other than 6502C because there are actual MOS/CSG chips called 6502C), is most likely manufactured by licensees. Not sure the story behind the design. It was likely custom designed for Atari by MOS/CSG under contract by Atari and tested by their engineers and MOS/CSG & MOS's "second source" licensees manufactured it for Atari. Atari didn't do the actual manufacturing of the chip and because the core itself is MOS's IP, this custom derivative was likely designed by MOS/CSG for some amount of money and MOS produced some of them and so did MOS's licensees Rockwell & Syntertek did as well to supply the demand need of Atari. By 1981, Commodore's MOS Technologies (later CSG) had a already a big draw on their foundry for not only the products made by Commodore but also others and so they already had in place licensees that served as second source foundries for the 6502 IP which Commodore received royalties from including the Sally which Commodore received royalties from it.
  6. The 6502C is NMOS and was manufactured by Commodore / MOS. It has the so called "illegal opcodes" and so forth. The 6502C is closer to the 6510 that is in the Commodore 64 than the WDC 65c02 parts found in the Apple IIe and the 8 bit mode of the 65c816 that was used in the Super Nintendo. Now, some can say we are splitting hairs but demos like used in the Commodore 64/128 used the "illegal opcodes" that were removed in the CMOS parts. These changes may cause programs that used those opcodes to behave differently and possibly crash/lock up. Therefore, it is nice to always have a fully compatible 6502C which is probably very similar to the 6502, 6502A, and 6502B. They may even behave like the 7501 (HMOS-1) in the Commodore Plus/4. These are MOS/CSG parts. Now, the currently produced 65c816 is nice for accelerators like the SuperCPU for C64/128 and on an Atari to benefit from the 16-bit operations and other benefits of the 65c816. However, you'll still want a 6502C or 6502 as found in the PET on an FPGA (which they do exist) that can be put into a drop in replacement. It can even be properly mapped to the cpu "socket" pinout. I know, you may actually direct solder to the PCB. One potential benefit of an FPGA solution is you might even possibly it running at 100+ Mhz. Possibly even 100x faster clock frequency to that of the normal ~1.8 Mhz clock rate. So more room to do math and other number crunching function that you might not be needing or doing at the normal bus operations speed.
  7. Fair enough. Any of the non-exclusive Atari parts would be nice to have populated so all I have to do is populate the board with the Atari parts. It'll be fun.
  8. Hello santosp, This is Richard Balkins (so you can correlate it to the Paypal transaction). I initially sent 50 euros to you. I would prefer my unit to be fully populated as I don't know all the components I would need for it to be a fully functioning motherboard. Those additional costs, I'll willing to send over paypal as soon as there is some idea of what that would cost. Of course, I'm in NTSC land so the parts needs to be that of U.S. market. I am not sure how easy it will be to hunt down an atari 130xe.
  9. While it could conceivably be mapped to work in place of the VIC-I or VIC-II, but the reality is, we would more likely install it on a cartridge and map the address and data lines and other lines as needed. The TMS9918 works differently enough to the VIC-I & VIC-II to pose some problems. You have an interesting idea there since it is an FPGA, after all. While initially, I didn't understand the ULA part but after a brief 'look it up', I can see how a FPGA can be useful that way. The key trick is how we print or layout the circuits from the underside pins to the FPGA. With minor modifications of the circuit designs, we can arrange for any known locations for power and ground and route it. This design profile is awesome BECAUSE it would be functional mechanically for most if not all 40-pin DIP based microcontrollers and in some cases, the protector IC and HDMI connector is not needed. Therefore, the brilliance of coming up with drop in replacements chips for our beloved computers components would be awesome. Our limit is ultimately in the FPGA's available logic elements/cells. In the future, I am confident FPGAs 5mm x 5mm will have the amount of logic cells/elements and logic gate resources to make any chip from 1975 to 1995 with enough contacts for any chip up to 208 pins such as having more contacts on the FPGA than a Pentium in a 15mm x 15mm chip for a drop in replacement for Pentium processor. it is all a matter of time that they can even run processors as complex as a Pentium on an FPGA as fast if not faster than even a Pentium processor with less heat dissipation without even needing a heat sink. Of course, that is years down the road but from what I see, we can see our beloved computers having drop in replacements before that in the next 5 years as I can see the Pentium drop in replacement on FPGA in 10 to 15 years. I think we can see a FAT AGNUS on FPGA on an 8mm x 8mm to 10mm x 10mm FPGA on a PCB that plugs into an 84 pin QFP in the next few years. I can see all kinds of stuff made for our beloved systems whether it is a Sinclair, C64, TI, Apple II, Amiga, or so forth. The trick is getting the FPGAs inexpensive enough so people can afford to buy all those components without costing a fortune (in the perspective of discretionary funds budget people tend to have on retro-computing).
  10. I expect sales in a stand-alone drop in replacement to be of limited sales. While I can envision more sales by making it a cartridge that a game, app, etc. would use and be a required hardware and be part of the price of the game, app, etc. but as a drop in replacement, sales would be limited especially to those willing to go through the effort of installing it. There is a number of people uncomfortable in removing and installing ICs when soldering is involved. So, a plug-in board on PEB or Apple II, or a cartridge on the C64 and some other systems would apply to a different level of comfort zone. I couldn't predict sales on that front but I can reasonably project that F18A MK2 direct sales to customers would likely be equal to or less than the original MK1 sales because some who already has the MK1 might not feel the need to buy the MK2 just because it plugs into HDMI or Displayport. I can see the value of the F18A MK2 used in various forms of embedded computing as well. However, sales on that front is uncharted territory. Matthew isn't planning to produce this for that and anything like that would have to come from a person licensing F18A MK2 from Matthew to explore that. If we need to reach annual 1000+ unit production runs, we'll have to really find a way to sell that many but we'll have a very difficult time trying to do that by only targeting the TI/MSX/Colecovision users. Please note: It is not ALL the different retro-platforms. I would say all the different retro-platforms that originally has the TMS9918.
  11. I agree but there is some real figures to extrapolate from. Price per unit. Matthew already mentioned how many F18A MK1 were sold. He already given some figure on his BOM costs. matthew isn't doing this as a full fledge retro-computing business.
  12. I'm figuring off the top of my head the price of each item and the BOM (bill of material) which he illuminated. There isn't a while lot of margin between BOM cost per unit and product price of the original F18A. Developing hardware 'products' for the retro-computing market isn't and never been about making it rich. $5K to $10K or so spread out over 5 years is only $1K to $2K a year. Not even close to a viable sales run for the HDMI license. The numbers are ball park figures. Even if he made a little more, it really doesn't change the issue. It is apparent that Matthew isn't making enough annual sales from the F18A MK1 to begin with. The F18A MK2 would have similar sales. If there was enough demand like 1500+ units sold a year, it wouldn't be a big issue. Without being able to subsidize the annual fee on other products, it will require a sales volume of 1000+ units to pay the fee. Lets not forget that there is more than just having an HDMI Adopter license. The product has to be tested at an ATC (Authorized Testing Center) to comply with HDMI specifications. Current sales volume (F18A MK1) is a variable range of 100-250 a year. This is based on what matthew had already said about the MK1 sales. There is no reason to expect sales to jump to 1000+ sales. We would have to be looking at sales upwards of a magnitude of an order higher volume than what was of the original F18A. We are a small niche community of an already small niche community in retro-computing. Only a subset of the retro-computing users buys hardware upgrades and replacements for their original. The rest of the retro-computing community only work from the emulation environment. This is simply the reality of retro-computing business. You're not going to be the next Bill Gates from the sales of products for these 30+ year old computers. The TMS99xx technology is roughly 40 year old technology which started around 1977 according to Karl Guttag (one of the TEAM OF SEVEN "miracle workers"). If we think about it, there are only so many of us from that generation that still has the passion for these systems. There is even less of us that uses the physical hardware. There is a lot more of us as "emulator" users than those of us with the real hardware at our fingertips. Even I wouldn't spin up the process of making runs of 288 F18A MK# without being able to sell them let alone running a production run of 1000+ to 2000+ units unless I stand to recoup the hard costs and a little for my time.
  13. Indeed. I think the risk is low. As long as we don't throw our retro-computing developer friends under the bus, they are unlikely to pursue any action. HDMI don't actively hunt for retrocomputer hobbyists. I would have to say, the only case(s) they had ever pursued was because some douchebag reported them for not being an HDMI Adopter and then they had to take action. It isn't a choice for the agents to just ignore a reported violation. They have to do the 'dance'. What I elaborated on on jjh76's idea, could possibly work to get pass the HDMI licensing requirement and would be incredibly difficult for them to ursue any action.
  14. The quagmire of DVI and HDMI is more complicated because technically HDMI video signal is a slightly modified DVI. We are talking the digital side of DVI because the DVI connector actually supported sending analog VGA over the connector. Apollo Vampire Accelerator card. They are probably just riding under the radar and HDMI LA doesn't generally pursue going after people unless it has been reported to them. In other words, if you want these products to be made available, don't be a dick by reporting any licensing non-compliance for such a product because if you report them, you are forcing their hand to take action which is their job to do. Most of these large companies are probably aware of it but unless someone reports it, they don't necessarily take action but if someone reports they have to do the dance act as part of their job. HDMI and HDMI licensing administration isn't going to go bankrupt by not collecting money on these retro-computing products. There just isn't that big of a market. Another factor is, Apollo is in Europe so legal matters becomes a little more complicated. There are quite a few players out there just not worrying about HDMI licensing. Here is the basic message in the dialog I have had without outright promoting it..... what I have got is basically "stay under the radar". They can't outright say they aren't going to ever pursue action against hobbyists and wouldn't want to put themselves in a legal bind (which you can't blame as it is their job as the agent of the founders to protect their respective IP rights) but in practice, they pick and choose what they pursue. Part of it is don't get reported. They aren't really interested in shutting down small hobbyists. As said, you take a legal risk and while it is unlikely that they will go after people like Matthew, they can't say they won't go after a person. However, I have generally avoided placing names. In practice, they have to prioritized their effort and resources. There have been products using HDMI in the hobbyist market for some time without ever a threat or harm to them. If you knew anyone who got in a snafu, the best thing I can suggest ANY developer.... don't piss people off and keep a low profile. What I can suggest to our retrocomputing friends, don't be a dick. If you want these kinds of things available, don't be a douchebag. In other words, don't report your friends here who are trying to contribute to the community just because they didn't dot every i or cross every t. HDMI or any of these large IP intellectual property rights holders aren't going out of business because they didn't collect an outrageous annual $5000 fee from a handful of retro developers who are only making a net profit maybe $5 per unit. In the 3-5 years of F18A MK1, Matthew only netprofited maybe $5K to $10K total for all the units. If he had to pay an annual fee of $5K per year to use VGA, he wouldn't have been able to do this. In short, don't be a douchebag that throws your retro-computing friends under the bus. Add to it, HDMI Licensing Administrators, Inc. would be more annoyed pursuing a case with someone like Matthew or others when they can be spending their time and resources going after those illegal knock off DVD players that are being sold in the tens of thousands of units a quarter without paying any licensing fee. It's a waste of their lawyers times. They have to take some kind of legal step so they can tell their superiors that they weren't just ignoring complaints. They have to show due diligence effort on their part.
  15. The next step with HDMI licensing would require proceeding to contacting all the HDMI founders and getting their approval. This will be a little more challenging and time consuming. In the meantime, I'd suggest a F18A MK1-B where we come up with a way to send the VGA and audio across and then feed out the case. I would go with something similar to this: https://global.kyocera.com/prdct/electro/product/pdf/6287_manual.pdf and send the VGA and audio down it. If or when we can go to HDMI, we can possibly make this work at some point. I'll look into working on the HDMI Adopter Agreement process. We would still have to have the parts tested for compliance, anyway.
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