[Coco] CoCo 4/5 perspectives: close hardware emulation?
msmcdoug at iinet.net.au
Sat Jan 27 18:49:24 EST 2007
Joel Ewy wrote:
> OK. How about this? An FPGA CoCo would need an analog section at
> least, probably on a separate board. Call it a CoCo personality
> module. A PC-based emulator could benefit from an expansion card that
> would add the ability to interface some real CoCo hardware, at least as
> an add-on option. And one way to make a really slick, very fast-booting
> dedicated CoCo emulator out of an old PC would be to boot a
> FreeDOS-based emulator from ROM using something like ROMOS. I see synergy.
By the time you design and populate a board with PCI interface and all the
Coco "personality" components, for the same cost you could probably throw
away the PCI chip and replace it with an FPGA and negate the need for the PC
in the 1st place.
People have been touting 'emulator' boards for PCs for everything from MAME
to retro computers from the times when PCs struggled to emulate
single-processor 8-bit arcade games - and one is yet to surface.
Why? IMHO there's really no need to go to that expense. From a PC software
emulation POV, you've really got *everything* you need already. Granted, you
can't plug in a CoCo cart - but there are cheaper ways to achieve the same
thing - a simple parallel port adapter for example. Joystick adapter for the
PC game port. Everything else on your list is already there. It just needs
software to make it happen.
The beauty/advantage of a stand-alone FPGA implementation - even if it is a
commercial FPGA dev board with a Coco "personality" module - is that it
*isn't* tied to the PC. It's something *distinct* from a PC, something you
can stick in a (small) box and set it up *beside* a PC, or even take it with
you. It doesn't feel like an emulator, it's tangible, it feels like a "real
retro computer". OK, the market isn't huge, but even a small run of boards
sold to the Coco community would still create the "buzz" of a Coco 4/5...
did you know there are *two* different manufacturers of Apple I replica
boards - and one of them has just done a run of 50 for the latest rev of the
board! Did you know the Apple II CF controller board has sold over 400!
| Mark McDougall | "Electrical Engineers do it
| <http://members.iinet.net.au/~msmcdoug> | with less resistance!"
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