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

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As many of you know I've been re-engineering the Atari 800XL for several years. This project has been publically available as cores for several boards: Mist, MCC216, FPGA arcade etc.

 

I have also been working on Atari-specific custom hardware which can run this core. Some of the early prototypes can be seen here: http://www.scrameta.net/eclairexl.html.

 

The project has steadily progressed and has greatly accelerated in recent months. Panos (santosp here) contacted me and did a lot of work on the pcb layout to create a Mini ITX board. We built the first prototypes around Christmas. This was a run of only 5 and we have been testing them for a few months. At the same time Panos has been coming up with a revised design.

 

We are now at the point where we are going to manufacture a prototype run of around 5-10 units of the revised design. We are looking for people who would be willing to spend time/effort to test and debug the system. So while we're looking for pure testing and bug reports I'm keen to find coders who would be willing to dig into the code to see why things don't work, build test cases etc. Ability to help on the VHDL/verilog side would also be a plus but isn't necessary.

 

The cost of the prototypes will be somewhat higher than a larger run, so we're looking at about $200-220 USD + shipping costs.

 

If you are interested please send me a pm along with a proposal for how you can contribute.

 

Specifications:

* Extremely compatible with existing software

* 28MHz turbo mode

* 1MB RAM - supports 64K, 128K (with antic bank switching), 320K compy shop/rambo, 576k compy shop/rambo

* Built in sdrive with on-screen file selector

* SIO2PC

* Dual pokey

* Covox

* 2 joystick ports with paddle support and output support (new version has 4 ports)

* Cartridge port

* SIO port

* PBI port (not yet implemented)

* 2 USB ports supporting keyboard and joysticks

* VGA, 15KHz RGB, DVI, HDMI, composite, svideo supported

* Standard mini-itx form factor

 

Boards - just arrived:

post-8458-0-03351800-1488918467_thumb.jpg

 

It lives:

post-8458-0-62698000-1488918486_thumb.jpg

 

With SIO2SD and cart

post-8458-0-06992800-1488918493_thumb.jpg

 

With 1050

post-8458-0-96883100-1488918500_thumb.jpg

 

With 1010

post-8458-0-94806400-1488918507_thumb.jpg

 

On VGA monitor

post-8458-0-10621800-1488918516_thumb.jpg

 

In case

post-8458-0-14375400-1488920680_thumb.jpg

 

Ports

post-8458-0-76586900-1488920688_thumb.jpg

 

Assembled - with BASIC

post-8458-0-32491500-1488920696_thumb.jpg

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Wow, that looks damned impressive! I want one of these when they are finished! 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

 

..Al

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[RicFlair mode]Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo[/RicFlair mode]

Very much interested in helping test this.

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I would be down for 1 or 2 of these when finished. Any chance of including VBXE support?

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Will HDMI be compatible with HD resolution?

720 x 576 PAL

720 X 480 NTSC

 

100%

Edited by santosp
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So, what exactly is this?

 

Is this emulating an Atari and then allows modern Connectivity of legacy components?

 

Is there a real 6502-class CPU I here somewhere?

 

I read your web page, but there are a lot of abbreviations there is did not recognize.

 

What did you have built? I see a main board that looks beautiful. But as the pictures progress, there appear to be several daughter-cards being added in later pictures. Are those boards part of what you built? Or are those components we are supposed to buy elsewhere or already have?

 

Thanks.

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So, what exactly is this?

Is this emulating an Atari and then allows modern Connectivity of legacy components?

Is there a real 6502-class CPU I here somewhere?

 

Looks to be an emulated Atari and emulated 6502, in FPGA..

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So, what exactly is this?

 

Is this emulating an Atari and then allows modern Connectivity of legacy components?

Inside the main chip, which contains reconfigurable logic gates, all the original custom chips are implemented. The technology often used for prototyping ICs before making an ASIC, but in our case we're not taking that final step.

 

So it is real hardware, but the logic itself is not identical. Its designed using VHDL, a hardware description language used for designing chips.

 

Yes legacy components may be connected.

 

Is there a real 6502-class CPU I here somewhere?

There is a 6502 CPU in there. It is not the original MOS one but is highly compatible. It is not phi1, phi2 based but it does memory accesses on the same cycles. It has a clock, address lines, data lines etc. The main illegal instructions are not implemented as side effects but as explciit instructions.

 

I read your web page, but there are a lot of abbreviations there is did not recognize.

Sorry, if you ask about any I can explain.

 

What did you have built? I see a main board that looks beautiful. But as the pictures progress, there appear to be several daughter-cards being added in later pictures. Are those boards part of what you built? Or are those components we are supposed to buy elsewhere or already have?

 

Thanks.

On my website there are early prototypes. Here I'm talking about the pictures in this post There is a mini itx board and a small daughter board which screws on top. The small board has some additional connectors like cartridge and sio on it. Since there is not enough space in the io window. In the next revision we decided to make this board extend out slightly which makes the cartridge easier to connect and allows 4 joystick ports.
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Wow :-o This is definitely turning out to be a very interesting year! So it looks like soon there will be two Mini-ITX A8's to choose from.

 

Looks really nice. You guys have done a fine job for sure :thumbsup:

 

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

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols

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maybe not vbxe (I already have Amiga500) but turbo mode soft switch (not hw switch) - 1,7 / 28 / 56 / 112 MHz ... :)

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720 x 576 PAL

720 X 480 NTSC

 

100%

 

Does that mean, that the HDMI signal will only be accepted by the PC Monitors (and not by standard HD/UHD TVs)?

The most of the TVs I know support very limited set of screen resolutions :(

For example my LG TV does not accept the VGA video signal generated by the ATARI core running on the MIST device...

 

I do not know how much effort would it be for the FPGA, but for compatibility reason I would propose to scale up the video signal to 1920 x 1080 (to support1080p).

Of course the ratio shall be maintained with two black bars to the left and right side of the screen.

This way you may connect the ÉclaireXL to any modern TV via HDMI and enjoy the best picture quality ever :)

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The HDMI modes used are mandatory so will be supported. Its direct from the fpga rather than a cml source though so not sure if all tvs will be happy.

 

VGA and DVI are another problem. There are not standard 50Hz modes. This is just reality... We will do a nonstandard 50Hz mode and a standard 60Hz mode.

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Is there a real 6502-class CPU I here somewhere?

 

No. It isn't a physical chip. It's an emulated one. These are soft-cores running on an FPGA.

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Well an fpga is a physical chip in the same way e.g. the atari mmu is. Its just field programmable. So no need to burn the connections. Think pla on steroids.

 

But you do have a point. This is hardware, not software emulation. It is not using original logic circuits. However we have the decapped schematics and they have been used in part.

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Woow! This is a great thing! Big respect for the amount of work that has been inserted into this project.

Edited by seban
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