Poll: CPU choice

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Which CPU would you like the next QL to have?

Poll ended at Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:12 pm

The original! 68008 and 1MB all the way
3
12%
Update! 68008FN square chip in a socket, with the option for up to 4MB
8
32%
Update++ 68SEC000 SMD chip, up to 16MB possible
14
56%
 
Total votes: 25
Derek_Stewart
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Derek_Stewart » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:50 pm

Hi,

I voted for tthe 68SEC000 CPU.

I want lots of memory and run a modern operating system, like SMSQ/E.

QDOS and Minerva still use the Slave Block system, which SMSQ/E does not.

Will microdrives and network be supported.

Personally, I use all QL hardware and emulators, this new QL board looks great, please register my interest in the board.


Regards,

Derek
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Dave
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Dave » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:03 pm

Network is supported unchanged. Microdrives are a work in progress, but will be complete, and with the EC1 extension port, too.

Microdrive struggles are due to the really poor way they were drawn in the schematics. For example, some components they put on mdv1 first, then mdv2. Others, they put on mdv2 first, then mdv1. So the component numbering is all out of sequence. They also had two identical circuits but drew them differently. I will include a set of turned pins in the microdrive turned pins. This way people can solder the turned pins onto their cables, and it will be MUCH easier to mount and remove the microdrives. Or they can mount their microdrive cables into the turned pins press-fit, then just use that to push into the sockets. It's just easier that way.

Right now, the keyboard inputs and 8049 are done, the 8302 is done, except for microdrive area, and the video output section is done. Microdrives and net are 80% done (net is waiting on the connectors to arrive so I can fit check and work out the pin wiring, so the termination resistors are to the correct pin. 8301 and "internal" DRAM is done. ROM port all DB9 sockets, RGB socket, power socket all positioned correctly. Holes positioned correctly. Reset button positioned. LED and speaker headers done.

Facing complete revision are the ROM sockets, the CPU and GALs, and the bus multiplexers/bus switch IC19/20/21.

I'm deciding if I want to support original ROMs and Minerva adaptors, or do a socket that is EPROM friendly, or if I just want to put a huge hunk of flash on there that is in system programmable.

I'm also deciding what size/format of "external" memory to support. There's some subtlety to this. I could use expensive SRAM but give you a very flexible and overclockable system, or much cheaper DRAM but limit the possibilities there to as little as 15MHz. Likely, it will have 64K of DRAM for video, and 512K of SRAM minimum. The internal SRAM will be ignored if a (S)GC is plugged in.

I have been careful to make sure there is the same clearance around the 8049, for SuperHermes, and the relationship between the 8302 and 8049 is unchanged, for ICE boards.


Derek_Stewart
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Derek_Stewart » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:41 pm

Hi Dave,

For my needs, I do not require Microdrives. I usually remove them and use Disk or SD Card.

I use SERnet, between Q68, Q60, QPC2 at 115200 baud, which is faster than the QL Network.

Can you improve on the video output to a modern monitor without video upscaler.

With regards to operating system, I would want Minerva or SMSQ/E.


Regards,

Derek
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Dave
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Dave » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:34 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:For my needs, I do not require Microdrives. I usually remove them and use Disk or SD Card.

It will take a QL-SD just like the originals. Expansions will work the same way, too.
Derek_Stewart wrote:I use SERnet, between Q68, Q60, QPC2 at 115200 baud, which is faster than the QL Network.

It will take SuperHermes. SERnet should work fine.
Derek_Stewart wrote:Can you improve on the video output to a modern monitor without video upscaler.

The modulator and MC1377 have gone. Instead, there's buffered RGB. It is exactly the same output format as the original - 8 pin DIN, just implemented in a manner that protects the 8301.
Derek_Stewart wrote:With regards to operating system, I would want Minerva or SMSQ/E.

I would too! It'll have at least one of those.


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Cristian
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Cristian » Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:54 am

Dave,
surely you know there are different targets for different products.
Some people may need super speed and amazing performances. Typically they will ignore anything inferior to Q68 or Super Gold Card.
Other people may need replacement/renewal, reliability, and some improvements. Typically they will choose compatibility (e.g. microdrives), and will be happy to get a reasonably priced board with some extra ram and speed etc.
So, in my humble opinion, it would be advisable to decide which is your target according to what you can offer.


Derek_Stewart
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Derek_Stewart » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:25 am

Hi Dave,

Dave wrote:It will take a QL-SD just like the originals. Expansions will work the same way, too.


This looks an excellent feature, all my expansions can work.

Dave wrote:It will take SuperHermes. SERnet should work fine.


Sernet on the Superhermes does not work, as the Superhermes SER3 driver can use the STX/SRX Sernet split driver required for Sernet to operate.

The only way to get reliable Sernet connections is using SER1 or SER2 at 9600 Baud. Baud rates over 9600 do not give reliable connections, assuming SMSQ/E is running, if QDOS/Minvera is running, SIMSER is required to be loaded for STX/SRX serialport extension to be accessed by SER1/2 ports.

Dave wrote:Can you improve on the video output to a modern monitor without video upscaler.
The modulator and MC1377 have gone. Instead, there's buffered RGB. It is exactly the same output format as the original - 8 pin DIN, just implemented in a manner that protects the 8301.

Can connection to TFT monitor with all the screen display shown, be achived?

How about adding support for higher screen resolution and colours?


Regards,

Derek
Nasta
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Nasta » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:02 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:How about adding support for higher screen resolution and colours?


Totally different ballgame as it also requires a faster bus - Aurora is already stretching it to the limit. It would be simpler and faster to do this on a future product, especially as there are compatibility issues - at best Minerva could be made to use this but SMSQ/E is the right choice.


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Dave
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Dave » Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:04 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:Sernet on the Superhermes does not work, as the Superhermes SER3 driver can use the STX/SRX Sernet split driver required for Sernet to operate.

The only way to get reliable Sernet connections is using SER1 or SER2 at 9600 Baud. Baud rates over 9600 do not give reliable connections, assuming SMSQ/E is running, if QDOS/Minerva is running, SIMSER is required to be loaded for STX/SRX serialport extension to be accessed by SER1/2 ports.


I learned something. I have never used my SuperHermes this way - I have never even used the serial on it.

I do hope to be bringing FAST serial to QLers, sooner rather than later. That's a whole other discussion, though.

Derek_Stewart wrote:Can connection to TFT monitor with all the screen display shown, be achieved? How about adding support for higher screen resolution and colours?


RGB capabilities are unchanged. The resolution, colours and frame rate are exactly the same. Only change is the output section has been redesigned so the 8301 outputs are fully buffered and protected. What is missing is composite and UHF, as those would be expensive and difficult to provision.


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Peter
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Peter » Mon Mar 18, 2019 9:05 pm

I noticed the PCB picture has no contacts for the ROM port. Intended?


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Dave
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Re: Poll: CPU choice

Postby Dave » Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:47 am

Peter wrote:I noticed the PCB picture has no contacts for the ROM port. Intended?

They’re there. There are rom port holes, then inside that is a second repeated row for internal use. Additionally, a small extra area to the left with a few more address likes, R/W and etc.

It is a little misleading because the holes are quite far back from the PCB edge.



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