The 8-bit guy builds a 16-bit computer hackaday electricity balloon experiment

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Before we go into what this computer will do and what capabilities it will have, it’s important to note the 8-Bit Guy is actually doing a bit of market and user research before dedicating a year or more to this project. He’s asked other famous retrocomputing YouTubers for their input on what their ‘dream’ retrocomputer should do, and they’ve come up with a basic list of requirements. The Dream Computer will be like working on a 1957 youtube gas pedal lyrics Chevy, in that all the registers are immediately available for peeking and poking. The computer will be completely comprehensible, in so far that one person can completely understand everything, from the individual logic gates inside the CPU to the architecture of the kernel. It’ll run BASIC.

In the age of the Raspberry Pi, one might ask, ‘why not go with a Raspberry Pi?’. To the 8-Bit Guy, the Pi is just a Linux computer. Other retrocomputing projects of a similar scope to this dream computer also fail: The Mega65, a project to resurrect the Commodore 65, will be too expensive. The BASIC Engine fails because it only does composite out, and it runs on an ESP anyway, so you’re shielded from the real hardware. The same problem electricity prices going up exists with the Maximite in that the hardware is one layer of abstraction away from the interface. The C256 Foenix is probably the closest to meeting the design goals, but it’s far too expensive, and even without the MIDI ports, SID chips, and other interesting hardware, it would still be above the desired price point.

The ‘requirement’ for this dream computer is to use only modern parts, have VGA or HDMI video eon replacement gas card out, a real CPU, preferably a 6502, use no FPGA or microcontrollers, and can run Commodore Basic. Also, this computer would cost about $50, with $100 as the absolute, maximum limit (implying a BOM cost of around $15-$25). This is absolutely, completely, astonishingly impossible. I would be deceiving you if I did not mention the impossibility of this project happening with the stated goals. This project will not meet the goal of selling for less than one hundred dollars.

That said, there’s no harm in trying, so The 8-Bit Guy is currently working with a few dev boards, specifically one designed around the 65816 CPU. The 65816 is an interesting chip, in that it is a 6502 until you flip a bit in a register. It has a larger address space than the 6502, and everything from the World of Commodore should be (relatively) easily ported to the mp electricity bill payment paschim kshetra 65816. Why was this CPU gas mask ark never used in Commodore hardware? Because a Western Design Center sales guy told a Commodore engineer that Apple was using it in their next computer (the Apple IIgs). The option of Commodore ever using the ‘816 died then and there.

If you’d like to help out on this computer, there is a Facebook group for organizing the build. This Facebook group is a closed group, meaning you need a Facebook account to login. Unfortunate, but we’re looking forward to a year of updates around this dream computer. Building a computer that meets the specs is impossible, but we’re more than eager to see the community try.

But even if you *could* build from CRTCs and VICs and SIDs and VIAs and CIAs, and the like, and somehow didn’t have trouble packaging the beast, it would still miss about 60% of the total potential coolness factor the moment it gets coupled with a modern PC keyboard. “Oh look, another box connected to a VGA monitor and an ordinary USB keyboard”. Does it even matter if there’s a real 65816 in there, or just a Pi running an emulator?

So what I’d like to see is some kind of computer’s-in-the-keyboard configuration, like the C64 gaston y daniela or TRS80 mod 1, (even arguably an Apple II), with actual key switches for authentic feel, and get the joy of being ‘on the metal’ by, yeah, doing the logic inside an FPGA. Or tie one hand behind grade 6 electricity project ideas yer back and use a few CPLD if that gets you closer to the ‘look ma, I grok the VLSI’ feel of using discrete ICs. There’s no magic in FPGAs, it’s not cheating, you can build yourself a 6502 in there, and a 6845 etc, and have access to all the registers too – registers that *you* built, even! You’d end up with a machine that feels authentically retro both physically under your hands and in terms of total accessibility. And ironically, it’d end up being the custom keyboard electricity labs high school hardware that would be the biggest cost driver.

There’s a falafel restaurant near where I live that I stopped going to because the quality of the food started going downhill and they compensated by simply pilling more and more salad onto the plate, mentality being that so long as they gave you a mountain of food you couldn’t possibly complain. Feels like a metaphor for HAD. I remember the days where I used to read every single article on this site, and actively participate in discussions in the comments. Nowadays you make a single comment on a semi-interesting article that popped up on your feed and then when you come back to it a day later you have to dredge through all the pages of irrelevant crap that’s been posted in the interim trying to find that one article.

Ordinarily I’d think “well, the huge amount of noise probably attracts more visitors and that’s why they do it”, but I suspect gas in stomach that’s not the case. I’ve been featured on HAD three times: the first time took down my site within minutes, the second time I was ready, but it still wound up costing me quite a bit in host fees. The third time I saw a momentary blip in traffic gas stoichiometry that lasted a couple of hours, and that was it.

I know it’s much easier to trash something than it is to propose a solution, so my suggestion is this: go back to the good old days where only actual hacks and high-quality contents get featured on your RSS feed. Then expand/rework the “If You Missed It” section to include all the other stuff, which we can then casually glance through once we’re here. Either way, something’s gotta give.

Taking a step back and looking through his project goals, it wouldn’t be a far stretch to achieve most (if not all) of them using a Raspberry Pi – but instead of running Linux, look at programming it at the most basic level – bare metal. Yes, this means investing time into learning how to program bare metal – but guess what – isn’t THAT what he’s talking about? All the fun is learning a new platform, talking to the hardware directly – not through Linux. You want C64 basic then stick it on there!

In a way, this is exactly what I’ve been through myself. I’ve created gas density units a few hardware projects based on 6502/Z80 and the biggest stumbling block has been modern video output. Want HDMI – get ready for pain and prepare yourself for using FPGA – you can’t avoid gas in oil car it. I have all the Gameduino’s and other types, but in the end it’s down to cost. You can’t easily create a retro platform that works on modern hardware and interfaces to modern equipment. Myself, I’ve moved on from the pain and I’m now happily creating retro-style arcade games on a Pi Zero in bare metal. It’s not hard and it’s extremely rewarding.

Agreed, pumping the video out was what gave shape to all those early designs. You could try to minimize your MSI (that’s 74xx, kiddies) count like Woz and end up with oddball memory mapping. You could try to be accommodating as possible of the CPU and arkla gas phone number end up with unimpressive video specs, seen in any 6809+6847 system. You could damn the video so your Z80 could full speed ahead and accept ‘snow’ in return. Or do like the C64 and insidiously steal the bus every 8th scan line to suck in another 40 bytes for the next character row. One side or the other always took a hit for the other, in some way.

When you think about it, video (in that day anyway) was really nothing more than a synchronous serial output, running at a rate high enough to nearly saturate common RAM bandwidth, so of course it had to be front and center in the design process. (And a damned funny thing to do, too, considering that gaz 67 sprzedam the overall rate of change in that signal was normally so *low*, but hey, CRTs, and I digress)

So, yeah, it’s not Truly retro unless it’s going to output RS170 or NTSC or PAL, and drop signal into an oldey-timey particle accelerator display. No, I’m not trying for snark. If the goal is to get into that particular flavor of knowing every last corner, that decidedly driven by 120..250ns RAM and CRT limitations flavor, you’re right, it needs to reproduce this sort of trade-off.