[Coco] Today, I have seen the CoCo 4...
msmcdoug at iinet.net.au
Tue Jun 8 21:28:18 EDT 2010
Frank Swygert wrote:
> But either way none of the original CoCo hardware fits without further
> adapter boards for connectors and hardware. So in the end it's more or
> less six of one, half dozen of the other.
Whilst your argument is true of off-the-shelf FPGA development kits, the
really exciting potential is there to produce an FPGA-based board
*specifically* for Coco emulation, that would incorporate both modern
interfaces (like SD/MMC or USB storage adapters, wireless networking, VGA
etc) and legacy Coco interfaces (cartridge, joystick, composite etc).
One recent example of such a product is the so-called One-Chip MSX (OCM) of
which one production run was produced for the Japanese market.
Then there's always the C-One (C64), Minimig (Amiga A500) and Suska (Atari
ST) purpose-built hardware which included legacy interfaces to varying degrees.
I've always invisaged having purpose-built TRS-80 (Model I/III/4) and/or
Coco FPGA-based hardware that can be used stand-alone or fit inside a real
Tandy case; capable of emulating any flavour of TRS-80 and all manner of
both modern and legacy peripherals. People are starting down this path to
some degree now, perhaps not FPGA-based ATM but incorporating a lot of
peripheral functionality in add-on boards that connect to original hardware.
Truth-be-told, a few of us had already started on the design of such a beast
for the Coco. Unfortunately the project was abandoned late in the design
stage due to rather sad circumstances.
The major sticking point I see now is the size (or lack thereof) of the
TRS-80/Coco enthusiast market (which dwarfs in comparison to the Apple II,
C64 or even Atari market) and the expense of doing a small run of what are
moderately complex boards. If anyone doubts the cost/risk involved I need
only point you to the C-One.
We did consider doing a "core emulation board" that would mate with a
target-specific peripheral board, but that only blows out the design time
considerably, and increases the unit costs considerably. We concluded that
it would be quicker and cheaper to re-spin the same core design for
different targets/form factors.
If I ever win lotto, you can count on a Coco4 board... ;)
| Mark McDougall | "Electrical Engineers do it
| <http://members.iinet.net.au/~msmcdoug> | with less resistance!"
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