Author Topic: The Future-CPC# - CPC reborn - this is dedicated to the new CPC computer series.  (Read 7638 times)

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Offline dragon

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He can be designed as snes estile?.


So you can expand in a future the new cpc with a extra chips.As estile fx in snes,dsp-1 etc etc.... Via expansion port.


This can be made the new cpc expandable in the future.without remade the hardware.
« Last Edit: 18:58, 31 March 12 by dragon »

Offline TFM

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All the suggestions are nice, but I think it's all a bit pointless because it wouldn't be a CPC anymore.

No it will be no original CPC from Amstrad. But it will be a computer very, very close to the CPC. And I suggest it to have all the ports that a 464 and 6128 (Plus?) has. So all CPC hardware expansions will be able to run. However some will not be needes since the CPC# will contain it internally (RAM, ROM, etc).
 
What ever the resolution, it should still be viewable on a real CPC monitor.
Could the original ULA be used to generate 640 x 200 x 16 colours?

Surely we will have compatible resolutons. In "compatibility mode" the CPC# will work 99% (our aim ;-)) like an original CPC.
 
The Gate Array and the CRTC can be completely simulated in FPGA. In the eastern German clones of the CPC the simulated the Gate Array by using standard IC's. So this part shouldn't bring bigger problems with it.
 
He can be designed as snes estile?.
So you can expand in a future the new cpc with a extra chips.As estile fx in snes,dsp-1 etc etc.... Via expansion port.
This can be made the new cpc expandable in the future.without remade the hardware.

Good point. We try to create the concept in a way that allows us to have an open, expandable system. Either using a special array for extension cards or maybe by a moduar design in principle. We can think about the best idea.
 
« Last Edit: 17:12, 02 April 12 by TFM/FS »
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Offline steve

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Surely we will have compatible resolutons. In "compatibility mode" the CPC# will work 99% (our aim ;-)) like an original CPC.
 
The Gate Array and the CRTC can be completely simulated in FPGA. In the eastern German clones of the CPC the simulated the Gate Array by using standard IC's. So this part shouldn't bring bigger problems with it.

Using the CPC monitor would remind us not to stray too far from the CPC ideal, if we could use the old ULA we would not need to develop a new FPGA.

Quote
 
Good point. We try to create the concept in a way that allows us to have an open, expandable system. Either using a special array for extension cards or maybe by a moduar design in principle. We can think about the best idea.

We could give it expansion slots like those in the Apple II.

Offline TFM

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Using the CPC monitor would remind us not to stray too far from the CPC ideal, if we could use the old ULA we would not need to develop a new FPGA.

Do you know any soure for the ULA / GA ?

We could give it expansion slots like those in the Apple II.

Uups, maybe it should at least something ECB like, and we actually could stay even CPC exp-port compatibel - maybe with a second set of pins with signals needed for DMA and so on.
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Offline ralferoo

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Well, I seem to be going in a completely different direction to your vision, but anyway, here's a picture of what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks... ;)


http://ranulf.net/homeboard28.png

I'm about to get a couple of boards made up to test, I'll obviously post pictures here when it's all up and running. :)
« Last Edit: 22:05, 02 April 12 by ralferoo »

Offline TotO

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Nice work in progress! :)
Joystick pin5 look to not be wired.... It's fire 3 or middle mouse button on CPC old.
(may be, missing common lines too)
« Last Edit: 22:32, 02 April 12 by TotO »
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Offline steve

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Well, I seem to be going in a completely different direction to your vision, but anyway, here's a picture of what I've been working on for the last couple of weeks... ;)


http://ranulf.net/homeboard28.png

I'm about to get a couple of boards made up to test, I'll obviously post pictures here when it's all up and running. :)

That is excellent, what are the specs? if you can attach a CPC keyboard, I would use it to replace the mainboard in a '464, although if it is the same as a '6128 then I have plenty of them already.
« Last Edit: 23:00, 02 April 12 by steve »

Offline ralferoo

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The specs are still a bit in-flux at the moment as it'll largely be a case of what I manage to get it to do. Basically, I "needed" to build my own board because I ran out of gates on my Actel evaluation board. On that, in 250K gates I had equivalent to a 464 and the off the FPGA, I had a 512KB memory chip providing 256KB RAM and 8 ROMs. Sadly, I ran out of gates before I could do a disk interface or any "plus" features. The gate counts are a bit lower than some of the other CPC implementations on FPGA because I decided to do it all myself apart from the T80 core and I was treating this project as a learning exercise in how to write efficient VHDL.

This board has 400K gate Xilinx FPGA, a SCART socket, an SD socket on the underside, 2 seperately wired joystick ports (so no clash), 2MB flash and 512KB RAM, tape in, 14 GPIO pins, 12 IO pins wired directly between FPGA and AVR and an additional 4 FPGA and 4 AVR pins that I thought could be jumpered together together to allow AVR access to the SD card or provide a header to a different SD card socket or just used as more GPIO. Additionally, as I'm still experimenting, the AVR clock can be jumpered to run from an FPGA output and vice-versa.

Connecting a standard CPC keyboard directly would be possible because there are just about enough GPIO pins available, but I'll probably make a breakout board that somehow multiplexes the 10+8 keyboard lines to the 8 GPIO header next to the joystick ports. I must admit, putting this thing inside a real CPC keyboard is something I'd like to do too... :)

 Regarding the pin 5 (and also pin 9) on the joystick ports - I thought about what to do about these, whether to make them IO, put 3.3V out on one, etc but I decided it was best to just to stick to Atari joystick with second button. I don't think I've ever seen a 3 button joystick. The only thing I could think of would be the AMX mouse, but that'd probably require 5V and level converting all the lines, so it'd be easier just to implement mouse via the PS/2 socket (and maybe do a second PS/2 socket on a later version of the board).
 
In terms of features I intend to use the AVR for are: JTAG programming of FPGA PROM, JTAG programming of FPGA (for development), serial port to CPC and a PC side debugger.

Despite it's CPC bias, I guess it could also be used as a generic FPGA development board that just happens to have 2 joystick ports, PS/2 keyboard and a SCART socket with 3x 2 bit DAC.

In terms of CPC "hardware" features I want to add, the 2 main features I want are hardware emulation of the CTM monitor so that horizontal smooth scrolling works on LCD TVs, and saving the last frame to memory so that the display can be "paused" when debugging, like the software emulators do. Basically, I'd like it to be as nice to develop on this hardware as it is with a software emulator. Additionally, I believe I can get the SPI chip running quickly enough to to random access, which would allow 128 ROMs.

I was also working on a simple software flash filesystem that operated like |DISC, although I put that on hold while I designed the PCB.

So, all in all, it's a bit ambitious... :)

Offline TFM

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Great work done :-D
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Offline Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Whilst I think the best route is based around an FPGA implementation like the FPGAArcade, the best bet for anyone creating a "CPC 2012" is to just get on with it and not get too distracted by forums where every design concept is turned inside-out until you feel it isn't worthwhile continuing!


It would be neat to see an eZ80 system coupled to an FPGA that implements the CPC Plus specification along with whatever else is needed to make it become an 8-bit super-CPC/demo target for 2012.


The only thoughts I have is "would you design the CPC the way it was designed?" - for example, the display memory scheme, etc. What made those 8-bit micros interesting was that they made the most of very limited resources and limited transistor counts, and that led to very quirky hardware. Annoyingly the C64 VIC-II was well designed overall, except they forgot to include decent colours / a colour palette, and most of the programmability of the 6845.