Author Topic: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live  (Read 5995 times)

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Offline Swainy

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ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« on: 15:35, 23 April 17 »
Looks as if it will be funded on day 1. Please not that this is a totally different project than the Vega+ by a totally different team.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1835143999/zx-spectrum-next
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Offline tjohnson

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #1 on: 00:14, 24 April 17 »
I kind of like these things but after things like Vega I wouldn't back a kickstarter myself.  I wonder if a similar kickstarter for an Amstrad would be as successful?.  As for this being FPGA, does this effectively mean it is really emulating the logic of a spectrum in a programmable chip?

Offline robcfg

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #2 on: 00:24, 24 April 17 »
I think 'emulating' isn't the right word for it.


You're really recreating the original circuits on a programmable chip, so what you have is real hardware, no emulation.


The CPC464 is supported on the ZX-Uno, which was originally a ZX Spectrum FPGA implementation with some useful extra features, that supports many different machines now.


I think that an older FPGA board, the C-One also supported the CPC.

Offline ||C|-|E||

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #3 on: 02:29, 24 April 17 »
Huuum... I never know how to feel about these things. I mean, it is cool and all, but it is still a FPGA implementation, not something made with real discrete components. In my view, this is not a real Spectrum, not even remotely similar, although it will behave as such.

Offline robcfg

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #4 on: 08:23, 24 April 17 »
Then the original CPC is not real either as instead of a lot of discrete components, it has a Gate Array (the GA part in FPGA) which perform the same function...


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Offline Ygdrazil

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #5 on: 10:08, 24 April 17 »
Real ZX or not!! It's a bit academic! ... I think the ZX Spectrum Next will keep the legacy of the original ZX alive....


I wonder how difficult/expensive (Based on the design of the current ZX Spectrum Next) it would be to make a CPC Next??


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Offline SOS

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #6 on: 11:33, 24 April 17 »
I wonder if a similar kickstarter for an Amstrad would be as successful?.  As for this being FPGA, does this effectively mean it is really emulating the logic of a spectrum in a programmable chip?
I think that an available "oldscool" case would be important and decisive for success.


Offline Skunkfish

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #7 on: 11:35, 24 April 17 »
This looks really nice and should be the ultimate 8-bit machine. Unfortunately, I only have time for the CPC at the moment...
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Offline robcfg

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #8 on: 11:59, 24 April 17 »
Quote
I think that an available "oldscool" case would be important and decisive for success.


That's the key.


The problem is not the FPGA implementation, it's that you'll be missing the real machine case and the real keyboard, but besides that, the machine will behave like the real one.


In fact, does the cost-down CPC feels like a real CPC? Because it has many components integrated into a Gate Array, which is the same as a FPGA but cannot be reprogrammed.

Offline Skunkfish

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #9 on: 12:34, 24 April 17 »
Is the Next board capable of being reprogrammed to be CPC compatible?

What would a next-gen CPC case look like? I'd love it to retain the coloured-keys from the 464, they're so iconic!
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Offline robcfg

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #10 on: 12:47, 24 April 17 »
The case is certainly important, but is completely another problem.


The problem, of course, is that it's very expensive to produce cases.


I know that the ZX-Uno team is working on CPC6128 support, which is a good thing  8)

Offline Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #11 on: 14:20, 24 April 17 »
Real ZX or not!! It's a bit academic! ... I think the ZX Spectrum Next will keep the legacy of the original ZX alive....

I wonder how difficult/expensive (Based on the design of the current ZX Spectrum Next) it would be to make a CPC Next??


The ZXSN supports other FPGA cores. I think it comes with ZX81, Jupiter Ace and Spectrum (standard/enhanced) cores. It should be possible to integrate one of the CPC cores, as everything system-specific should be within the FPGA. Whether the Spectrum expansion port would be adapted to the CPC pinout is an issue. And then there are the ROM hacks required.


The ZXSN sprite/scrolling support looks a bit like the Plus implementation, but they will look very odd next to the attributey Speccy graphics.


I wonder why they've only gone for a 7MHz turbo option on the Z80 core?

Offline ||C|-|E||

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #12 on: 15:29, 24 April 17 »
Then the original CPC is not real either as instead of a lot of discrete components, it has a Gate Array (the GA part in FPGA) which perform the same function...


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Still different from this machine, since it was designed like that in the beginning and lacks the very important FP :) . In any case, I am not saying that the computer is not cool or anything like that, just that I would much prefer to see a reborn 8 bit computer using discrete components and as close as the original as possible, not in a FPGA core  :) .

Offline robcfg

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #13 on: 15:39, 24 April 17 »
Well, whatever...


I don't follow your logic, but fine.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #14 on: 15:42, 24 April 17 »
The apollo-core team have the same CONVERSATION over the vampire accelerators for the amiga. The traditionalists hate them because of the fpga core but users love them lol.

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Offline Bryce

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #15 on: 16:03, 24 April 17 »
Then the original CPC is not real either as instead of a lot of discrete components, it has a Gate Array (the GA part in FPGA) which perform the same function...


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There's a massive difference between a GA and an FPGA. A GA is a matrix of gates that gets a fixed function during the manufacturing process and can never be changed. An FPGA is an array of gates that is (and needs to be) programmed each time you power it up.
To put it in very very basic terms, it's Playmobil vs. Lego :D

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #16 on: 16:03, 24 April 17 »
Well, whatever...


I don't follow your logic, but fine.

I stopped being logic the same moment I decided to keep using a 30 year old machine plugged to a CRT screen  :)

Offline Swainy

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #17 on: 13:44, 29 April 17 »
£350,869 pledged of £250,000! Which means the NEXT will have a bigger FPGA now.
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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #18 on: 16:46, 29 April 17 »
Maybe the Z80 will be at 24 Mhz  ;D

Offline Sykobee (Briggsy)

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #19 on: 21:50, 30 April 17 »
TBH there shouldn't be much limiting the Z80 speed in a modern FPGA. I guess they don't want to overpromise, and maybe it's not the development priority.


The larger FPGA however should make other system cores more viable.

Offline CFox

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #20 on: 13:26, 08 September 20 »
I couldn’t find any recent posts about the Next and now that the second Kickstarter is soon closing, I decided to bump this one.

Second crowd funding seems to be even more succesfull than the first and still couple of more days to go:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spectrumnext/zx-spectrum-next-issue-2?ref=discovery&term=Spectrum%20next

I decided to pledge too on this round and it seems to be a wonderful little computer with many possibilities. As an FPGA solution it already has CPC464 core available, too, albeit with still few limitations like the inbuilt keyboard doesn’t work yet with it.

These well designed and polished fpga systems IMO are really exciting. There is of course MiSTer which can do pretty much anything, but somehow these more focused systems have something that MiSTer lacks and I’d call that something soul. Even that thick paper manual included with the Next just brings back that wholesomeness of the early home computing days.

There is also very similar MEGA65 project on the prototype stages, which seems to be very similar to ZX Spectrum Next, but with C64:
https://mega65.org/

If there would be a “CPC Next” some day, I’d get it without hesitation!

So, any other current or future Next users here and what are your thoughts?
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Offline Skunkfish

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #21 on: 13:31, 08 September 20 »
There is also very similar MEGA65 project on the prototype stages, which seems to be very similar to ZX Spectrum Next, but with C64:
https://mega65.org/

Wow, that's ugly! Appreciate it's based on the Commodore 65 prototype but I'd always assume that Commodore would have cleaned that up for general release...

As for the Spectrum Next, it looks gorgeous and I'd love one if I could justify the cost (they seem to have gone up a bit since the original run...)
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Offline CFox

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #22 on: 13:43, 08 September 20 »
Wow, that's ugly! Appreciate it's based on the Commodore 65 prototype but I'd always assume that Commodore would have cleaned that up for general release... As for the Spectrum Next, it looks gorgeous and I'd love one if I could justify the cost (they seem to have gone up a bit since the original run...)

I on the otherhand quite like the 65 design  ;D  It sure at least looks unique!

Yeah, what I’ve gathered the Next project team actually made the first Kickstarter at loss, because they apparently got wrong tax advice, so I think they remedied that with second run. This kind of items are naturally pretty expensive, because production runs are small compared to some typical modern electronics gadgets.


And compared to the second hand market currently, this kickstarter is like a bargain. They have been selling like 700-800£ a piece in Ebay. Currently there is one for sale on Ebay in Slovakia for 1099€. So, If you really want one, kickstarter will be most likely the cheapest option.
« Last Edit: 13:54, 08 September 20 by CFox »
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Offline TotO

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #23 on: 17:11, 08 September 20 »
Looks that 1.5M£ allows to unlock the new Head Over Heels game (not updated on the page).
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Offline CFox

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Re: ZX Spectrum Next - Kickstarter goes live
« Reply #24 on: 19:08, 08 September 20 »
Looks that 1.5M£ allows to unlock the new Head Over Heels game (not updated on the page).
It indeed does. It has been very succesful campaign, I believe thet originally didn't have that many stretch goals and added them when pledges continued to pour in.

This is exactly where crowd funding is awesome. Building this system for retail would be just insane business wise: this thing sitting next a shiny new PC in some electronics retail store wouldn't probably move many units and most people would be just confused what it is for. Production runs would be still quite low and retail price with the profits would probably 200£/equivalent higher and it would look even sillier with that shiny new 8 core laptop. But through crowdfunding, there are enough people in the world to make this thing happen and devs know exactly how many units they need to make  for each batch.

I really wish we will see more systems like this. Like I posted earlier, MEGA65 looks really promising. I think these focused systems in general are the way to go, because it really gives devs the possibility to polish the system software and hardware wise. Not that Next couldn't do many things and emulate different cores (it does), but the basic functionality is IMO really important. Trying to achieve a true multisystem functionality out of the box ends up as just another MiSTer in a new box (not bashing MiSTer here, it is great system, but I believe it wouldn't be any different in the end).
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