Tuesday, October 6, 2015

MEGA65 prototype to be displayed at Amiga30 in Germany in a few days

Wondering what the MEGA65 might look like when finished?  

We don't know for sure ourselves, but our first physical prototype has now been assembled, and will appear at Amiga30 in Germany on the 10th of this month, and here is a sneak preview:


That's right -- the image above is NOT a C65 for sale on e-bay for 25.000 EUR or offered for swap for a small Greek island -- but a MEGA65 prototype.

The only original C65 part in it is the keyboard, because we are still designing our C65 compatible keyboards.  The idea is that the replacement keyboards will likely be identical in electrical function, so that if you happened to have one of your C65's with a broken key, you could use our keyboard to replace it.

The case is as close to the original C65 case as we could manage so far -- right down to the same problem with the right cursor key sticking due to very fine tolerances around that key. Naturally we will fix that as we iterate through to our final case design, which will also include several more adjustments to make it otherwise identical to the case design of the original C65's.

Inside is the Nexys4 FPGA board together with the first revision Peripheral Interface Controller (PIC, but not a PIC chip) that connects the real keyboard, joystick ports -- and soon C64 compatible cartridge/expansion port -- to the FPGA board.  In time, the PIC board will most likely be redesigned to be part of a single MEGA65 motherboard that will include the other ports as well as the FPGA and, hopefully, some RAM that isn't DDR.

The realisation of this prototype is one of the many great things that have been enabled by the partnership with MEGA, and which is making the project proceed much more quickly and with better results for everyone.