Building a better "old" computer

From: allisonp <>
Date: Sun Jun 25 07:21:41 2000

>of "better" that you use. I've recently been fiddling with techniques
>taking what was, back in 1982, considered a pretty good implementation
>the general case of Z80 application, e.g. the Ferguson Big Board, which
>the standard Z80, and NOT the Z80-A which ran at 4 MHz instead of the
>standard Z80's 2.5 MHz. I've got a number of these boards so I can test

In 1982 that was a low end example. DECs VT180 was a 4 serial port,
no wait states With DD floppy design. It was ment to go in a VT100 so
was not needed. My NS* S100 crate in 1978 was running at 4mhz even.

In the z80 world there were those that used Z80 peripherals and live with
the limits they imposed and those that went with other parts. What was
limits? Price, they were not cheap and they were SLOW. By 1982 a Z80
not running at at least 4mhz was considered slow and by 1983 that would
be 6mhz. Parts existed to do that.

>in place of potentially better chips because they did make the design
>simple and the supported some features that other devices didn't
>e.g. Z80 mode-2 interrupts.

Mode 2 was supportable without Z80 parts, easy and cheap to do.

>the Ferguson BigBoard, i.e four parallel ports four serial ports, local
>video and using a parallel keyboard rather than a terminal, using a
>device, i.e. an FPGA or CPLD (take your pick)and one memory IC. When
>done, you 'll have a CPU that operates at about 25 MHz, a double/single
>density FDC, the parallel and serial capabilities and other features of
>Ferguson board. I don't know whether the result will be better.

Try a Z180 part at 33mhz, SCC or other all on one chip like the SMC92667
and static ram on a 3x4" board. Takes very little glue to do that.

The question goes mroe to price and creative engineering.

Received on Sun Jun 25 2000 - 07:21:41 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Oct 10 2014 - 23:33:03 BST