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What would a true 16 bit TI 99 be like?

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I was looking at ...

 

 

And listening to his view of the TI and the possibilities that was in the 16 bit CPU, It makes me wonder. WHAT IF... What if they did a real 16 bit motherboard, what could the TI have done then or be like? I know of the 16 bit being "butchered" down to 8 bit and just making it work, to get it out the door. I understand that this was a good shortcut to make something fast, for the marked. If they had to redesign the motherboard to work as a 16 bit motherboard, there would have been a very different inside. And a lot of stuff would have been not working for the redesigned TI. A lot of new stuff would have to be made to work with a 16 bit TI. I think if they JUST redesigned the TI motherboard to ba a true 16 bit, it would have been a great upgrade, on its own, or?

So... having read and understand that most possibly, ALL the "big wigs" on the TI, they reside in this "halls". So question to the ones knowing so much more about what is under the "hood" of the TI and how (possibly) a true 16 bit TI would be like.

"How would a true 16 bit TI 99 be? What is your thinking? How realistic is it to do, today? Just a Classic99-16bit emulator? What would have needed to be made to make it work?"

Also... What would be different or even very different? I understand that the TI BASIC and EX BASIC might have been very different. But what would a true TI 99 16 bit computer be like. What would be more or less the same?

And... many are making stuff for the TI. Is there anyone who have looked into doing a total redesign and making it a true 16 bit computer? I understand that all of the sudden all the software would be out the window. So I guess that is the biggest reason for not redesigning the TI.

I understand that IF the TI had been made as a true 16 bit, they would have been many years in front of the rest. But as he is saying in the video, the licencing and close control is maybe the biggest down fall for the TI.

The reason I am thinking about this, is that I see hardware and software being develop for the TI, today. And it is impressive what people are making the TI do!

Personally I am thinking about something that would make the TI wireless and makes a connection from modern stuff down to the TI via wireless. Wireless joystick. Wireless signal to smart TV. There is a lot that can be used if there was a wireless "middleman" between the TI and the modern world. All kind of cables would not be a problem. Imagine the TI printing out on a modern laser printer! Maybe a modern PEB box, with a kinda Raspberry PI as the brain, or maybe there has to be made a TI Translator PEB - "The TITPEB", that has all kinds of different ways of transporting information from the modern world to the TI and from the TO to the modern equipment and use it (Bluetooth, USB, USB C and other connections). With all the modern cards in it. I know that this is just a mindless dream. I understand that there might be some difficult limitations on the old TI. But, I am inspired, when I see what is being made today for the old TI.

When I see all this, being made and created here, I think - "WOW, imagine what MORE can be made for the TI!" The new "IC" for new monitors is one project that is impressing. And the RXB, but not to forget the C99. A great emulator to keep evolving and making new stuff for the TI.

The TI is OLD, but it can STILL hold it's own!

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16 minutes ago, oddemann said:

I was looking at ...

 

 

And listening to his view of the TI and the possibilities that was in the 16 bit CPU, It makes me wonder. WHAT IF... What if they did a real 16 bit motherboard, what could the TI have done then or be like? I know of the 16 bit being "butchered" down to 8 bit and just making it work, to get it out the door. I understand that this was a good shortcut to make something fast, for the marked. If they had to redesign the motherboard to work as a 16 bit motherboard, there would have been a very different inside. And a lot of stuff would have been not working for the redesigned TI. A lot of new stuff would have to be made to work with a 16 bit TI. I think if they JUST redesigned the TI motherboard to ba a true 16 bit, it would have been a great upgrade, on its own, or?

So... having read and understand that most possibly, ALL the "big wigs" on the TI, they reside in this "halls". So question to the ones knowing so much more about what is under the "hood" of the TI and how (possibly) a true 16 bit TI would be like.

"How would a true 16 bit TI 99 be? What is your thinking? How realistic is it to do, today? Just a Classic99-16bit emulator? What would have needed to be made to make it work?"

Also... What would be different or even very different? I understand that the TI BASIC and EX BASIC might have been very different. But what would a true TI 99 16 bit computer be like. What would be more or less the same?

And... many are making stuff for the TI. Is there anyone who have looked into doing a total redesign and making it a true 16 bit computer? I understand that all of the sudden all the software would be out the window. So I guess that is the biggest reason for not redesigning the TI.

I understand that IF the TI had been made as a true 16 bit, they would have been many years in front of the rest. But as he is saying in the video, the licencing and close control is maybe the biggest down fall for the TI.

The reason I am thinking about this, is that I see hardware and software being develop for the TI, today. And it is impressive what people are making the TI do!

Personally I am thinking about something that would make the TI wireless and makes a connection from modern stuff down to the TI via wireless. Wireless joystick. Wireless signal to smart TV. There is a lot that can be used if there was a wireless "middleman" between the TI and the modern world. All kind of cables would not be a problem. Imagine the TI printing out on a modern laser printer! Maybe a modern PEB box, with a kinda Raspberry PI as the brain, or maybe there has to be made a TI Translator PEB - "The TITPEB", that has all kinds of different ways of transporting information from the modern world to the TI and from the TO to the modern equipment and use it (Bluetooth, USB, USB C and other connections). With all the modern cards in it. I know that this is just a mindless dream. I understand that there might be some difficult limitations on the old TI. But, I am inspired, when I see what is being made today for the old TI.

When I see all this, being made and created here, I think - "WOW, imagine what MORE can be made for the TI!" The new "IC" for new monitors is one project that is impressing. And the RXB, but not to forget the C99. A great emulator to keep evolving and making new stuff for the TI.

The TI is OLD, but it can STILL hold it's own!

I wrote a simple comment that this guy that made this Youtube video, is mostly a idiot!

Edited by RXB
missing text
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@oddemann

we learn more of the story every year, this is what happened:

 

The TMS9940 was supposed to be the home computer CPU. It was so awful, buggy, and behind schedule, that it had to be killed. The home computer team was prototyping with a 9900, and that had to be shoved into the home computer. 
 

The 9995 was a superior design, and it filled the slot for a 40-pin, 8-bit data bus CPU. It outperformed the 9900. The 98/8 and Geneve 9640 showed speed, plus decent and good software compatibility. 
 

The TMS99000s were never used in a consumer product by TI, but Cortex showed what it could do. It combined the improvements of the 9995, an external 16 bit bus, and double the speed.

 

But even a 9900 on a proper 16-bit board is nice and can be built compatible with most software. 

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There has been a lot of discussion and speculation around the "what if" of the 99/4A.  A little searching on the forums should provide you with a few hours of reading.

 

IMO, a flawless 99/4A implementation would not have made any difference as far as the future of the computer was concerned.  TI messed up the execution of being a player in that market by trying to keep everything closed, the licensing, and other such factors.  Even IBM got greedy and screwed up with the closed nature of the PS/2, despite having TI as an example of "what not to do", just a few years earlier.

 

As for an actual 99/4A being produced that does not have the blunders and flaws, you probably won't ever see it since it would be a one-off system.  Some people have created neat systems around the 9995, 99010, etc., and while they do have some software compatibility, they are not 100% compatible, and they are still one-off systems.

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It's already a true 16-bit system in the sense that all internal RAM and ROM is on the 16-bit bus. I guess expanding the internal RAM to something like 32 KiB would have made a difference, but it would also have made the machine more expensive. Without expanded RAM, I don't think a redesign that made the 16-bit bus available throughout the machine would have made a lot of difference to common users like me back in the days.  

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What Rasmus said about expensive RAM is true.  Although the ironic thing is, just a year or so later than the TI/994 was designed , RAM prices started to fall.  Consumer prices for RAM in 1979 was like £250 for 16KB.   As for the "What if" I think you are asking would it perform better? Most likely.  But probably not excessively better.  For that you'd need to bin the 9900 and commit to another CPU.  

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I’ve created several “true” 16 bit versions of the TI99/4A in my FPGA designs. The 99105 CPU based version was my first venture into

this direction - RAM, ROM, cartridge memory all are 16-bit wide in that design. It is about 7 times faster than the TMS9900 based normal computer, but as I wanted to be able run existing software the video subsystem still is 9918-like and using a 8-bit bus, as are the GROMs.

 

Thus going 16-bit would have gained you more speed. But arguably a much bigger speed boost would have been reached by just dropping the GROMs and GPL stuff altogether and using bigger normal ROMs and  machine code for the Basic etc. Dropping the GROMs would have destroyed their closed ecosystem model and increasing size of normal ROM could have increased the cost of the system (I assume the GROMs at least were cheap for TI).

 

The plain vanilla 9900 is a pretty slow CPU even over 16 bit bus. Having said that I do wish they had provided a bit more 16-bit wide RAM. For instance using four 2114 static RAMs (also used in the VIC20 around the same time) would have provided a whopping 2 kilobytes of 16-bit wide RAM.

 

Like @matthew180 and others said, the other decisions they made were the ones which killed the system, not crippling the system to access a lot of its memory and peripherals over an 8 bit bus, although that certainly did not help.

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Dear speccery,

 

You wrote as follows:

Quote

... For instance using four 2114 static RAMs (also used in the VIC20 around the same time) would have provided a whopping 2 kilobytes of 16-bit wide RAM.

 

For a hardware project I would like to replace the two MCM6810P static RAMs of the TI (http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/chips/ram.html) with RAM chips, which have more memory. Unfortunately, each 2114 static RAM has got 18 pins (https://www.amiga-stuff.com/hardware/1kx4-sram.html) in comparison with the 24 pins of the MCM6810P. Now, TI had left the possibility open to use up to 1 kilobyte of RAM as scratchpad RAM according to following link: http://www.unige.ch/medecine/nouspikel/ti99/architec.htm. Do you know, which RAM chip I could use to replace each of the two MCM6810P static RAMs very easily?

Edited by MueThor
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IIRC, there is a kit somewhere (check MainByte for "32K on the 16-bit bus" project), and I would be surprised if Thierry didn't do the project his own way as well.  The project ends up being more involved than most people anticipate (hardware usually is), and you will need good desoldering skills (and soldering skills, but desoldering is 4x harder than soldering).  Somewhere there is also a kit to replace the ROM, which uses a PCB that fits the 90-degree orientation of the ROMs, and probably replaces the SRAM too, but I don't recall.

 

You will also end up with a 1-off computer and broken compatibility with some software because suddenly on your computer all the scratch-pad will be decoded.  There is no software that will take advantage of the extra memory, and it will not make the system magically any faster, so ask yourself if the mod is worth the effort, i.e. if you are going to write your own software to use the extra RAM for your own enjoyment.

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Years ago I added 32K to the 16 bit bus. I think the instructions came via a user group newsletter and they are probably the same as Matthew mentions above. As I remember there were 4 chips; 2-32K memory chips and 2 logic chips, plus a bunch of wires connecting everything. I installed a switch to restore the wait states for the rare cases where that is desireable.

This works fine and usually speeds up assembly programs a noticeable amount. Spad13 MK 2 is much peppier. I don't think this does anything to the scratchpad ram. In any case, I never noticed any compatibility issues.

I was hoping for a big boost in XB speed, but that is virtually the same, only around 1% faster.

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52 minutes ago, senior_falcon said:

Years ago I added 32K to the 16 bit bus. I think the instructions came via a user group newsletter and they are probably the same as Matthew mentions above. As I remember there were 4 chips; 2-32K memory chips and 2 logic chips, plus a bunch of wires connecting everything. I installed a switch to restore the wait states for the rare cases where that is desireable.

This works fine and usually speeds up assembly programs a noticeable amount. Spad13 MK 2 is much peppier. I don't think this does anything to the scratchpad ram. In any case, I never noticed any compatibility issues.

I was hoping for a big boost in XB speed, but that is virtually the same, only around 1% faster.

I did the same, with the same results. Took a couple of tries, about four hours each. In addition to the speed, which is nice*, assembly programming is easier because you're not scratching (get it?) for a few bytes in PAD for one more work space or one more critical loop. But then, I'm only programming for my own entertainment, and am not worried about optimizing for stock consoles.  

 

*I feel faintly ridiculous spending time on projects like this, given that this 8 year old laptop runs a clock 1000 times faster with four cores, 64 bit words, hardware floating point, 500,000 times the memory, 700,000 times the mass storage (relative to floppy storage), etc. 

 

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15 minutes ago, Reciprocating Bill said:

I did the same, with the same results. Took a couple of tries, about four hours each. In addition to the speed, which is nice*, assembly programming is easier because you're not scratching (get it?) for a few bytes in PAD for one more work space or one more critical loop. But then, I'm only programming for my own entertainment, and am not worried about optimizing for stock consoles.  

 

*I feel faintly ridiculous spending time on projects like this, given that this 8 year old laptop runs a clock 1000 times faster with four cores, 64 bit words, hardware floating point, 500,000 times the memory, 700,000 times the mass storage (relative to floppy storage), etc. 

 

All true, but I bet the TI99 is at least 1000 times cooler.

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I think that, today the tall wall to jump over is that there is not that much drive to make stuff something slightly better and the tales wall is the eco-system would not support even slightly better TI.

And then we have the computer power we have in the modern computer, to much hassel.

But it is interesting to read what people think could have been and what is tested and tried. And maybe the best way to do something like this is to make a emulator to simulate a slightly better TI. And maybe easier to convert old stuff to that. At least one would not use years to figure out all the hardware. But, even an emulator would still make it not work with old software. Maybe the most important thing... It would then not be the TI 99/4A.

But I learn more about the TI and at least it dos not cost and dos not take time to imagine - "what if".

So if I understand the "better TI", there would have to be many changes, to make it work as a true 16 bit. I almost hear a "Amiga way", where one could add age appropriate IC to take care of picture and sound stuff, because there would be so many changes. And... was there other stuff to support a HOLE true 16 bit TI motherboard, at that time?

I also read that some of the stuff they did in the TI to make it work, is pretty smart.

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On 9/15/2021 at 12:03 PM, MueThor said:

Dear speccery,

 

You wrote as follows:

 

For a hardware project I would like to replace the two MCM6810P static RAMs of the TI (http://www.mainbyte.com/ti99/hardware/chips/ram.html) with RAM chips, which have more memory. Unfortunately, each 2114 static RAM has got 18 pins (https://www.amiga-stuff.com/hardware/1kx4-sram.html) in comparison with the 24 pins of the MCM6810P. Now, TI had left the possibility open to use up to 1 kilobyte of RAM as scratchpad RAM according to following link: http://www.unige.ch/medecine/nouspikel/ti99/architec.htm. Do you know, which RAM chip I could use to replace each of the two MCM6810P static RAMs very easily?

Sorry about slow reply to this question.

 

The MCM6810P chips pinout is weird, being an early RAM chip the pinout does not really resemble the standard (JEDEC?) memory chip layout used even today. Thus probably the best thing to do is to leave the MCM6810P in place, and just disable them.

 

If I were to do this type of a mod, I would probably piggyback the two ROM chips with two 62256 style SRAMs since their pinout is for the most part the same. First I would solder a socket on top of the ROM, then bend out some of the pins of the socket - the ones which cannot be connected directly to the ROM chips and attach wires to those pins to go to the appropriate places. Mind you, these chips have 28 pins while the 4K ROMs have only 24 pins. Thus pins 1, 2, 27 and 28 of the SRAM would hang in the air and need to be separately wired.

 

Then insert a RAM such as 62256 at mouser into the socket. Two of these chips provide the 16 bit data and actually gives you a total of 64K of SRAM. That means that you could use these chips not only to provide 1K 16-bit wide scratchpad, but also to provide 16-bit wide memory expansion of 32K. That would require some glue logic chips to be inserted as well.

 

But if all you want is 1K of 16-bit wide scratchpad memory, then the mod is quite simple. You would only use 512 bytes of the 32K per chip. The remaining higher order address bits would need to be tied to +5V or to GND, so that the chips indeed effectively become 512 byte RAMs. Then the MCM6810P chips would need to disabled. This could be probably done easiest by cutting pin 13 (one of the corner pins). It is normally permanently connected to +5V as this is an active high signal. If you cut the pin and connect the remaining part of the pin to ground, the RAM is disabled. According to Thierry's pages pin 11 is the chip select of the MCM6810P which is really used, so that would need to be wired to pin 20 of the 62256 SRAM (its chip select).

 

I am sure this type of mod has been done by quite a few people, so there must be information & pictures about it somewhere.

 

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I see this FPGA system/chips or maybe more correct possibility to make a virtual true 16 bit. (Was/is looking at  Erik Piehl's presentation in 2017, Italy, Rome.)

And it made me think about this, "What if" and is it possible and how easy is it. Also... Dos FPGA make it so that you can make different versions of the "same computer". So that if someone has one Idea, they can take it in one direction and the other has another?
 



How difficult is it to make a "new" true 16 bit computer with FPGA?

If I understand it correct it is a virtual machine, and in light of "What if"... If it was made with FPGA, can you then test old software on it and all that. Or dos you have to make a "new OS" for the "new TI" to make it work?

Is there a library of different IC in FPGA? Or to say in in another way... Can you use this to make a modern TI with USB, WI-FI and other stuff on the old Motherboard, BUT virtually?

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7 hours ago, oddemann said:

If I understand it correct it is a virtual machine, and in light of "What if"... If it was made with FPGA, can you then test old software on it and all that. Or dos you have to make a "new OS" for the "new TI" to make it work?

It has been done.  The project is called MISTer, and they support a wide range of systems, the TI-99/4A included.

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2 hours ago, Hans23 said:

It has been done.  The project is called MISTer, and they support a wide range of systems, the TI-99/4A included.

The MISTer implementation is based on my design, which is the one I am presenting in the video clip @oddemann linked above. There has been a number of improvements that have been made, I actually should check those, not up to speed with those. To answer @oddemann's question, since the source code is available here (and separately in the MISTer repository), it is not that hard to create custom versions.

I would not call the FPGA designs virtual, the hardware description language (HDL) code is converted into FPGA bitstream data, which in turn configures the actual hardware on the FPGA to whatever one wants and is in the realm of the FPGA being used (capacity and speed). Thus actual hardware on the FPGA is implementing the features. It is possible to add things like USB, WiFI etc, but some of these features require additional chips (WIFI for example) and others like USB are doable but quite complex. And then there is the matter of figuring out how those capabilities should be mapped into the world of TI-99/4A software, which easily translates into quite a bit of code somebody needs to write. "Quite a bit" here means far exceeding the amount of ROM & GROM code in the original TI.

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17 hours ago, oddemann said:

How difficult is it to make a "new" true 16 bit computer with FPGA?

It has been done many many times; FPGAs have been around a long time.  As for the 99/4A specifically, AFAIK, I did the first 9900 CPU core and put it inside the F18A as the "GPU".  Erik Piehl did the second 9900 core and build a 99/4A around it (I never got around to it).  The MISTer project took Erik's core and some of his other HDL as their starting point and adapted to the specific FPGA hardware they are using.

 

17 hours ago, oddemann said:

Is there a library of different IC in FPGA? Or to say in in another way... Can you use this to make a modern TI with USB, WI-FI and other stuff on the old Motherboard, BUT virtually?

Kind of, more or less.  In FPGA parlance they are called "cores".  How well you can stick them together depends on a lot of factors.  Things like WiFi and USB are still typically done with external dedicated ICs though, not within the FPGA itself.  An FPGA is also mostly digital, so reproducing analog electronics usually requires external circuits.

 

There is no one "library", just like in software there is no one grand library that everyone uses (other than maybe libc).  There are open-source FPGA cores (opencores.org and github.com), and companies also create and license FPGA cores for a price.  Like software and open source, it is very much the "wild west", and the quality of the cores vary from "oh, I can't believe this works!?" to "wow, that's really nice!".

 

The FPGA has a few advantages over software emulators, but a big one is that precise timing is possible (down to nano or pico second accuracy).  Also, software is not hardware, and emulators typically get it wrong (from the emulators I have looked at, it is clear the developer(s) do not understand hardware).  Working with an FPGA is the same as working with real chips, you are dealing with actual logic, so the design will better reflect how the original ICs / computers worked and thus will be a better more compatible reproduction;  usually.

 

With an FPGA SoC, unlike an emulator, you don't need a whole computer running some modern OS like Linux or Windows (to run the emulator).  Therefore the FPGA board is usually smaller and uses less power, making it suitable for putting in small cases and such.  However, with single-board computers like the Rpi, this is less of an advantage these days.  But, the FPGA is better suited to replace specific legacy ICs in old computers (and sometimes new ones too), to either enhance or augment the original IC's function (the F18A is an example of this).

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10 hours ago, speccery said:

The MISTer implementation is based on my design, which is the one I am presenting in the video clip @oddemann linked above. There has been a number of improvements that have been made, I actually should check those, not up to speed with those. To answer @oddemann's question, since the source code is available here (and separately in the MISTer repository), it is not that hard to create custom versions.

I would not call the FPGA designs virtual, the hardware description language (HDL) code is converted into FPGA bitstream data, which in turn configures the actual hardware on the FPGA to whatever one wants and is in the realm of the FPGA being used (capacity and speed). Thus actual hardware on the FPGA is implementing the features. It is possible to add things like USB, WiFI etc, but some of these features require additional chips (WIFI for example) and others like USB are doable but quite complex. And then there is the matter of figuring out how those capabilities should be mapped into the world of TI-99/4A software, which easily translates into quite a bit of code somebody needs to write. "Quite a bit" here means far exceeding the amount of ROM & GROM code in the original TI.

 

@speccery, I knew it was you and I keep seeing and learning about MISTer. So seeing your video, I started to wonder, could this be used to make a "new" true 16 bit. No need to solder and find parts. And I do not know how hard it is under MISTer/FPGA.

I was just wondering how close to a "true" 16 bit you can get with the MISTer/FPGA. How difficult is it to make a true 16 bit with FPGA. Or maybe more correct, how close are current version's to a "true" 16 bit. Or are they JUST made around the working TI and just "raised the celling" on stuff that is possible and useful to make cooler stuff on the TI?

But then I understand that if is possible to do all the stuff I asked about. Do not get why it is difficult to make USB and WI-FI stuff. If you can make the 9900 Core, why is it difficult to make the USB stuff? Is it because it is complexed and lots of circuits, so it is time consuming?

I might try to install MISTer one day! I need a guide for the "the severely ONLY left brained individual" or was it... to lazy to read up on it all to be able to do it? hehehehe

When I have Classic99, why should I install MISTer?

My personal wish is to make C99 more visual. Like a stack of Disks, and then you pick a disk and virtually put it into the Floppy Drive. The tape into the Tape Player. Make it so that the Emulator takes care of the technical stuff. And maybe a virtual picture of how the C99 looks like with all its "extras". But I am not going to bug Tursi about that, I am just so happy that C99 exists! For a long time there was a pay for emulator and I was not THAT much into TI. BUT with C99, I am seeing that I am getting more and more into TI stuff. Maybe C99 should have a addiction warning label on it 😛 hehehe On the other hand it is good to have to do what I did back in the day on the real iron.

Today, my biggest regret is giving up my PEB. I got a hold of a PEB, some 25-30 years ago. But nothing more. Never got to use it for anything. I guess that one is on the trach hep, today. Lost track of it some 20 years ago. I grimmest, thinking about that I HAD the PEB. Well well!

But, I like the virtual stuff. Much easier to play with. I was looking at the "Show your TI stand"... My TI stand... is my PC 😛 so, not much to show. BUT I now have 3 real iron TI. My original, somewhat "fixed" and NOT working. That is something I might wait with and with a new motherboard design. I put it all on THAT. The two others is lacking because of picture quality (got them in the last 3 years, have my eyes on one more. But so fare the seller is not clued in on the "right price" hehehe)

@
matthew180 - Hurry slowly and with quality in mind, LONG before WHEN it should be done - making your "picture fix", for modern monitors.

Also a thx to all of you for taking the time to talk about this. I guess I am the "winner" here, I learn A LOT!

The more I learn about the TI, the more I learn that I have to learn, about the TI!

My reason for falling in love with the TI was that I could make pictures on a computer. From the TI to Amiga and Paint Delux and on to Paint Shop Pro/Krita - today! I am all about the picture. I did my programming, that was the only thing you could do after being tired of playing the same game over and over. Happy to have gotten that start to the computer world.

Today... with all the spy shit, registration and identifications. I am thinking more and more about reverting back to my good old TI and leaving behind this "big brother" spying tool. I might not even go beyond Win 7. I might just go to Ubuntu and do WINE to be able to use the few programs I "have to" use in windows. Krita is now on Ubuntu. And slowly I guess more and more stuff will get there. With WINE I will also get C99 to work under Ubuntu.

So, this is also why the old TI is interesting today. NO WI-FI! No real connection to the outside world.


 

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Hmmmm... "One board to rule them all!"

Thinking... With all the separate board upgrades... maybe there should be made a project to make it ALL fit into a modern motherboard. So that it fits inside the real TI. With @matthew180 graphic "chip". With different hardware from @speccery, TIPI, Speech and more hardware from different people. So all make there own stuff. Maybe one have to do as our France man, Fabrice Montupet did it... In a all new box for his upgrade.

But have a "Getting it all in ONE!" project, so that over time... slowly stuff are integrated into one motherboard. Or at least so it CAN be integrated into one computer. And then at one point, there will be this trimmed and "juiced up" TI, that is all powerful. Filled with all the powers it can hold in it's "old restrictions".

9 boards and 1 board to rule them all 😛 hehehehee

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24 minutes ago, oddemann said:

Today... with all the spy shit, registration and identifications. I am thinking more and more about reverting back to my good old TI and leaving behind this "big brother" spying tool. I might not even go beyond Win 7. I might just go to Ubuntu and do WINE to be able to use the few programs I "have to" use in windows. Krita is now on Ubuntu. And slowly I guess more and more stuff will get there. With WINE I will also get C99 to work under Ubuntu.

Running Linux, or some OS other than Windows does not make you safe.  If you have a modern "smart" cell phone, you might as well just stop worrying about it, you are being tracked.  The amount of technology you would have to stop using to try and protect yourself from the corporate spying these days is just insane.  It is not the governments you have to worry about, it is the tech companies building the crap people think they cannot live without.

 

You cannot trust the *hardware* these days, forget about the software or OS.  The CPUs in all desktop/laptop computers (Intel and AMD, basically) all have computers *inside* the CPU that is watching and controlling the system below the OS level.  Just search for "Intel management engine".  https://hackaday.com/2017/12/11/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-intel-management-engine/

 

Cell phones are worse though, they listen all the time.  And the microphone is connected to the base-band CPU, which is controlled by the network carrier, not the application processor in the phone.  Scary stuff, yet people are oblivious and just run around with a "I don't care, I'm not doing anything wrong" attitude, which is totally the wrong thinking.  If there is a cell phone in the room, assume your conversion can be monitored.

 

Let's see, as a first attempt to not be tracked, you would have to (not a complete list):

 

1. stop using a cell phone of any kind.

2. stop using a computer with a CPU made in the last, hmm, decade maybe.

3. stop using the Internet in general.

4. use only cash for buying anything anywhere.

5. stop using a bank or checking account.

6. stop borrowing money from any place that does credit reporting, i.e. no loans, no credit cards.

7. stop having heath care or a medical record.

8. stop having employment where you have to pay taxes.

 

This is another reason why FPGAs are relevant, even in modern computing.  At least with an FPGA soft-core, I know what the hardware is doing.

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44 minutes ago, oddemann said:

When I have Classic99, why should I install MISTer?

You don't really.  It comes down to preference.  Some people like real iron.  Some people consider FPGAs just like software emulation.  Some people just want emulation on a computer they are already using.  The only "right answer" depends on what you want you 99/4A experience to be.

 

Also, you don't "install" MISTer.  It is hardware, mostly, cobbled together from various FPGA devboards and add-ons, loaded with whatever "cores" you want to use for whatever kind of computer you are trying to run.  It is not for the casual user looking for an easy want to play retro games or to just "install and run" an emulator.  It takes a pretty heavy financial investment (over $200, IIRC), and a good dose of understanding about how it all works.  I think there are some preassembled kits out there, but I also think they are even more expensive.

 

Do some searching around about it, the Internet is your friend (for now).

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To return to the original subject, I'm not sure if it has been made clear that the only difference between an ordinary TI-99/4A and a 'true 16-bit' version would be that the latter would be somewhat faster (depending on the software). They would be able to run more or less the same software. The true 16-buit version wouldn't magically have USB or WiFi or anything else unless new hardware and software was developed.

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