Beyond Super Gold Card

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Peter
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Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Peter » Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:16 pm

Hello,

there is an interesting article from "Quantum Technology" with this subject at: http://www.hunggartorino.it/ql/beyond-super-gold-card/

Since the contact form returns "not found", I'm trying to get a few answers from the author, or anyone else interested, here in the forum:

  • Is there a specific reason to wish a video adapter with 640×480 – 800×600 @ 256 colors, and not 1024x768?
  • A "speed problem" is mentioned as a "flaw" discussing the insertion of Q68 into a QL. Does this refer only to the high colour graphics resolutions, or speed in general?
  • The Q68 has roughly the speed of a QXL, is that too slow for a worthy SGC successor? And at which speed would it become worthy?
  • A "Hyper-Goldcard 2" is mentioned, but I never heard of it. Any pointers?

As a more general view, the author writes "The Q68 is a great stand-alone machine, compact and with great potential. Nevertheless here it’s about something quite different, in the sense that what is really lacking seems to be something radically new for the QL."

I'm aware of this view, but I'm interested to understand it better. The SGC at least used graphics from the original machine and needed QL peripherals like QIMI or Qubide. But a further upgrade would effectively use nothing original anymore, except the keyboard and network connectors. Even if it plugs into the QL extension bus and uses its electrical signals, it would effectively turn the QL into a matrix keyboard adaptor. Are people aware of this? Do we need an SGC successor anyway, just so it is inside the original black box?

The reason can not be the costs, a brandnew Q68 board is currently cheaper than an SGC alone, without QL and the peripherals. I'm not saying the Q68 is the better option, just trying to understand...

Peter


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vanpeebles
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby vanpeebles » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:05 pm

I think maybe they mean like a mega expansion card for the QL? :)


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Peter
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Peter » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:05 am

Probably yes, but with the requested features, that card would use nothing of the QL except the keyboard. And the QL keyboard is not even a good one.

So I'm still trying to understand...


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vanpeebles
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby vanpeebles » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:22 am

People just love the BBQL, it’s iconic :ugeek:


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Peter
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Peter » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:22 am

That's a valid answer. :) But would they use such a card for more than the a-ha effect, or would it just be a collection item?

In other words, would (some) people actually type on the QL keyboard rather than PS/2 keyboard for their QL related work?


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Andrew
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Andrew » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:04 am

I love the BBQL - it's the nostalgic factor.
For me the QL is about retro-computing and I do not need anything more than SGC speed and a small improvement in graphics - like 16 colors Thor mode 12 or better 16 colors with user defined palette - or at most a 640x480 resolution with 256 colors. Anything more in speed and graphics is a 'nice to have' but not really important for me.
For programming, depending on what I do, I either use the BBQL (and I type on the BBQL keyboard) or the PC emulator (I prefer using Notepad++ as it colors the code very nicely)
Ps/2 keyboards are obsolete and in my part of the world is almost impossible to find one in good condition and buying one from ebay is expensive (transport costs more than the keyboard! )
I have been thinking about buying a Q68 for last year and the PS/2 keyboard and mouse was the factor that tipped the scale towards "not yet - maybe next version will have a USB keyboard and mouse"


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Peter
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Peter » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:31 pm

Hi Andrew,

many thanks for the feedback. This is important to know.

The philosophy of my QL designs is to be free from emulation, and not to "outsource" software tasks to non-QL systems. In my designs, all drivers run natively on the QL side. Unfortunately, the complexity of USB drivers is so high, that I must assume they will never be written for the QL. This is why there are, and will be, no USB controllers in my QL designs for the foreseeable future.

Still I wonder in which part of the world PS/2 keyboards are almost impossible to find. I quickly re-checked the situation for Germany, and found at least 10 different new keyboards immediately. Please note that USB+PS/2 combo versions are also okay.

I also checked the very latest PC mainboards, and apart from miniaturized ones, most still support PS/2. I wonder if PS/2 is really that obsolete? Are we talking a substantial problem here, or just reluctance to buy something old-fashioned, which is not wireless?

Peter


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Andrew
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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby Andrew » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:06 pm

Peter wrote:Still I wonder in which part of the world PS/2 keyboards are almost impossible to find. I quickly re-checked the situation for Germany, and found at least 10 different new keyboards immediately. Please note that USB+PS/2 combo versions are also okay.

I also checked the very latest PC mainboards, and apart from miniaturized ones, most still support PS/2. I wonder if PS/2 is really that obsolete? Are we talking a substantial problem here, or just reluctance to buy something old-fashioned, which is not wireless?

Peter

Hi Peter
I live in Romania.
None of the IT companies I normally work with have PS/2 keyboard or mouse in their products list. And none of the IT shops I set foot in in the last 3 years.
However, now I checked the offers of internet stores and I found that there are 4 romanian internet shops that offer for sale PS/2 keyboard and mouse (for a total of 18 keyboard and 3 mouse models, all cheap chinese no-name brands)
So yes, it is still possible to buy one in Romania - but the offer is very limited and rather low quality. And I expect that in the next 3 years it will become even more difficult to find them.
I have also checked the second hand offers - there are several, but mostly in very rough condition.

I know that in Germany and UK it's easy to find them - but shipping from UK is about 25 pounds and a bit less from Germany, which doubles the price of an average keyboard


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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby stephen_usher » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:22 pm

Peter wrote:That's a valid answer. :) But would they use such a card for more than the a-ha effect, or would it just be a collection item?

In other words, would (some) people actually type on the QL keyboard rather than PS/2 keyboard for their QL related work?


Most definitely! It's not as bad as many make out. I wrote a whole university project report in Quill back in the day without difficulty.

Some of the new keyboards on the market are far worse. The MSI gaming laptop ones are awful. I'd also prefer the QL keyboard to the latest MacBook Pro ones, with their zero travel.


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Re: Beyond Super Gold Card

Postby stephen_usher » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:29 pm

Peter wrote:The philosophy of my QL designs is to be free from emulation, and not to "outsource" software tasks to non-QL systems. In my designs, all drivers run natively on the QL side. Unfortunately, the complexity of USB drivers is so high, that I must assume they will never be written for the QL. This is why there are, and will be, no USB controllers in my QL designs for the foreseeable future.


USB is very CPU intensive, so ill suited to the 80s generation of machines without a co-processor to handle the control. To be honest this is no different than the QL's internal keyboard processor having the keyboard and serial port stuff handed to it. It's a peripheral controller, no more and no less. So, an embedded ARM core or arduino handling this would not be out of keeping with a true QL, it'd merely be a peripheral interface controller. Use some dual ported RAM for data transfer and write a protocol for the 680x0 to tell it what to do and Kate's your auntie.



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