New MSX computer to be released in 2005!

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By Latok

msx guru (3686)

Latok's picture

30-10-2004, 10:55

This rocks!!

I did a quick Google search on the Cyclone EP1C12Q240C8 FPGA chip, but didn't really understand its specifications. How fast is it? What are the programming possibilities? Can you actually make a somehow 'modern' MSX computer with it?

Who is going to create new MSX computers programming this device? Do we have to wait until the new MSX is released in 2005 or can we start developing already? Or IS one already busy developing? And what if several people are developing independently from eachother? Isn't a maze of new MSX configurations going to appear? Should that be prevented?

I know, I know....It's just my enthusiasm which makes me write this :)

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By Latok

msx guru (3686)

Latok's picture

30-10-2004, 11:02

O erhm....I know the final production specifications can differ from what's been demonstrated yesterday.....Still.....I think it's useful to discuss things like these already Smile

By Sonic_aka_T

Enlighted (4130)

Sonic_aka_T's picture

30-10-2004, 14:28

Well, from what I can see it seems that this is what's going to be released at first. And I must say, it's quite impressive. The fact that it has two slot connectors is actually something positive as far as I'm concerned. Imagine adding your OPL4 and V9990 to this baby! You'd pretty much have a next-gen MSX with SD-card and usb ports! Not to mention the VGA connector we've all been secretly wanting for a while now. Apart from that, this seems like the ideal step towards something even better. We all know the MSX-MUSIC chip was already done in FPGA, while partial V9938 emulation has been done too. This step can only help developments on that end. Apart from that, I really doubt this is the last thing the MSX Association will be doing in this area.

So, yeah, those that are able to develop FPGA could, if they want to, -which they should Tongue- start developing already. If you're thinking about developing things that have not been done before (as in extending the standard) it would ofcourse be better if an effort was made to keep this a standard indeed. It would not be nice to lose MSX's identity (standardization) in this amazing new development. So, anyone up for a V9998 whitepaper? Tongue

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

30-10-2004, 14:42

The speed can be up to 250 MHZ, The actual frequency depends on the complexity of your design.
Have a look on this site
www.easyfpga.com/ez1cusb_features.htm

By anonymous

incognito ergo sum (109)

anonymous's picture

30-10-2004, 14:54

@ Latok: it's the second largest FPGA of the cyclone series. The datasheet is here: http://www.altera.com/literature/lit-cyc.jsp

Operating speeds range from ~200 to ~400 MHz depending on the complexity of the logic. It has internal DUAL PORT RAM (for registers, counters, etc) with parity that operate at 200MHz. RAM blocks can also be configured as shift register (yay!)

It has 12,000 LE's (Logic Elements), but I'm not sure what that means in measures of programmability. Obviously it's enough for a Z80 + V9938 (partial implementation so far, probably due to timing differences) + PSG, but I have no idea how much LE's that takes. But I'm sure there's plenty of room for improvement.

Note that what was shown is a prototype, like a proof of concept. An even more powerful FPGA could be used in the final product.
Nevertheless, I will definitely be buying this! THIS RULEZ!

And do you see this design does not have a seperate Z80 anymore?! The Z80 is implemented in FGPA!! The prototypes shown so far (including the one at Sunrise) always had a dedicated Z80 chip. It seems A LOT of progress has been made that we weren't aware of :D

And it's not just the FPGA eh!! If you look at the FlashROM and SRAM that's on the board, if I'm not mistaken they're using interleaved chips so they can be addressed at high speed (like VRAM is interleaved on V9938 in higher screenmodes).

I presume the 1MB SRAM can be used as a cache or high-speed temporary scratch memory. The FlashROM probably has the BIOS and other ROMs.

Flyguille could easily reprogram the FlashROM with MNBIOS and create his MSX4 architecture. :D

You can't begin to understand how excited I am about this LOL!

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

30-10-2004, 15:29

I'm not worried at all about people developing new MSX extensions separately from each other. It's the entire idea behind the FPGA project. And, it's no difference from the past either. If it weren't for independent developments we would not have FM-PAC, PSG, MSX-Audio and OPL4 soundcards. Or SCSI and IDE interfaces. Or CIEL3++ and eMSX2++ proposals.

I would, however, be in favor of a big central 'ideal MSX3' project, with specs something like this;

A fast (66MHz?) 32bit R800 processor
Gigamapper
ADVRAM
V9998 VDP (Combining V9958, V9990, removing sprite limitations (multicolor?) and adding truecolor modes)
Implementation of PSG, SCC, MSX-MUSIC, OPL4 and perhaps an 'OPL5' soundchip.

So, what's on your wishlist? Smile

By Henk

Expert (107)

Henk's picture

30-10-2004, 15:59

The strength of the MSX computers was always that they could be used as gameconsoles. We don't want to forget this.
One thing is for sure, an integrated LAN would be nice Smile
A new MSX should be able to use PC components like harddisks, cd/dvd players.
No hardware manufactorer would make special harddisks for a MSX (yet Wink ).

By legacy

Hero (570)

legacy's picture

30-10-2004, 16:38

The strength of the MSX computers was always that they could be used as gameconsoles. We don't want to forget this.
I see the MSX more as a versatile system.
One thing is for sure, an integrated LAN would be nice Smile
of course.
A new MSX should be able to use PC components like harddisks, cd/dvd players.
No hardware manufactorer would make special harddisks for a MSX (yet Wink ).

This is already possible, but there are more components that can be used,
Maybe it's possible to convert a MSX slot to a isa slot, ( a kind of bridge) I don't know for sure.
And my wishlist?
Most of my idea's for a new MSX are implement in this prototype.
I shall ask for more pocket money because I'll have one.

By karloch

Prophet (2066)

karloch's picture

30-10-2004, 16:40

Yes. Definitly, an integrated ethernet interface is the thing that is lacking the current prototype of OneChipMSX1. Well, we always can use one of the slots to plug in the ObsoNET Smile

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9769)

wolf_'s picture

30-10-2004, 16:56

Naturally the ultimate soundsystem is a dynamic one where you -as a developer- define how deep you wan to go.

Typical all-round components are:
- a waveplayer, the amount of channels (as in: tracks) would be dynamic.. and the amount of channels (as in 'soundchannels', 1 for mono, 2 for stereo, 6 for 5.1) would be dynamic as well.
- an FM synth, where the amount of channels is dynamic, where the amounf otf operators is dynamic, where the amount of feedbackpaths is dynamic (think SY77/TG77), where the operator-algorithm is dynamic and where the operator-shape is dynamic.
- a dynamic amount of DSP's and busses.. (including filters)..
- a virtual analog model for non-aliasing sawtooths and blocks/pulses.. tho it can be done with the waveplayer, and a bit of mem Smile
- a custom amount of 'RAM' for your own samples
- a *good* fixed 'ROM' for typical waves you always need, but then good, not the cheesy stuff that begs not to be used ever Smile

If one makes this, then we're done Smile then you have the major important synthmodels available.. ^____^

By flyguille

Prophet (3029)

flyguille's picture

30-10-2004, 17:01

for that just plug an IDE cartridge

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