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Falken

Compact X16?

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After seeing Perifractics video with the great advances he made with the casing design (thumbs up!) an idea popped into my mind. I'm sorry if this has already been discussed and dismissed (I didn't find a reference to that).
I wondered whether there would be interest in a flatter version of the X16 case. It would then only have room for a single expansion card (through a riser board) of course but it would be much flatter and more compact. Possibly many people will not require all slots. Idk, the idea of a more portable unit holds a certain appeal to me. Am I alone in this? Has this already been discussed and dismissed? Would such a casing possibly be even cheaper or would it be more complicated?

Edited by Falken
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After seeing Perifractics video with the great advances he made with the casing design (thumbs up!) an idea popped into my mind. I'm sorry if this has already been discussed and dismissed (I didn't find a reference to that).
I wondered whether there would be interest in a smaller version of the X16 case. It would then only have room for a single expansion card (through a riser board) of course but it would be much flatter and more compact. Possibly many people will not require all slots. Idk, the idea of a more portable unit holds a certain appeal to me. Am I alone in this? Has this already been discussed and dismissed? Would such a casing possibly be even cheaper or would it be more complicated?

Splitting the options especially during startup is expensive. Even if a smaller case was used it does nothing unless the board is smaller too. So now you are talking two versions of the board. Making more variations is always more expensive as a whole.


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14 minutes ago, Lorin Millsap said:

Even if a smaller case was used it does nothing unless the board is smaller too.

The board can stay exactely the same. I'm simply thinking of a casing that is less high.

Edited by Falken

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The board can stay exactely the same. I'm simply thinking of a casing that is less high.

The case is already less high.


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10 minutes ago, Lorin Millsap said:

The case is already less high.

I might have phrased that in an unclear way, please excuse that. I meant a design for the casing that is less high than the current design, by using something like a riser card:
 

risercard2.jpg

Edited by Falken

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I was wondering if such a design were attractive and acceptable to the potential userbase even if it meant less expandability at first.  Also I wondered whether that could result in a lower entry price.

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I’m gonna so no it’s not useful or attractive. The team is not seriously considering that route. Especially as it does not reduce the footprint. Necessity is the mother of invention. Here there is no necessity to reduce the height.


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11 minutes ago, Lorin Millsap said:

Especially as it does not reduce the footprint.

If it does not help bring the price down though, I also see little use of considering this.

I was reminded of the route from the Amiga 1000 to the Amiga 500. Of course the Amiga 1000 was the better computer, but the A500 sold better as a product, even though it offered less capabilities in term of expansion.

Edited by Falken

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After seeing Perifractics video with the great advances he made with the casing design (thumbs up!) an idea popped into my mind. I'm sorry if this has already been discussed and dismissed (I didn't find a reference to that).
I wondered whether there would be interest in a flatter version of the X16 case. It would then only have room for a single expansion card (through a riser board) of course but it would be much flatter and more compact. Possibly many people will not require all slots. Idk, the idea of a more portable unit holds a certain appeal to me. Am I alone in this? Has this already been discussed and dismissed? Would such a casing possibly be even cheaper or would it be more complicated?

Thanks for the thumbs up. What you are describing is some thing we discussed and debated at great length internally about six months ago. Long story short that is likely what the phase 2 design will be as I showed in the video. The case is less tall but may still allow for a right angle expansion card inside, and possibly and external expansion card adapter to allow for cards to sit outside the machine, like those C64 cartridge port expansions. 🕹️


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic
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Just seen Perifractic's video and I have to say that this ticks all the boxes for me. Expandability is paramount; that's what kept me glued to my old Apple II back in the day.

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16 minutes ago, JayZee72 said:

Expandability is paramount; that's what kept me glued to my old Apple II back in the day.

I'm guessing we are all very much rooted in the personal experience we had with computers back in the day. I really liked the semi-portability you had with systems like the Spectrum, Amstrad,C64 and later the AtariST and the possibility to take it places. Either to friends, because not all of them owned a computer or to school on occasions. I believe a friend of my brother even took his Spectrum to holiday camp once. 🙂 I didn't think much about expanding these machines, they were good for me as they were. Expandability only became interresting with the first PCs I owned.

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55 minutes ago, Falken said:

I'm guessing we are all very much rooted in the personal experience we had with computers back in the day. I really liked the semi-portability you had with systems like the Spectrum, Amstrad,C64 and later the AtariST and the possibility to take it places. Either to friends, because not all of them owned a computer or to school on occasions. I believe a friend of my brother even took his Spectrum to holiday camp once. 🙂 I didn't think much about expanding these machines, they were good for me as they were. Expandability only became interresting with the first PCs I owned.

The thing is, doing it for the CX16p doesn't make sense when the CX16c will be a smaller card and so allow an EVEN SMALLER case than would be feasible for the CX16p.

It seems like the market for the kind of case you are talking about would cluster more toward the smaller and less expensive CX16c. Meanwhile the people who want to pay the extra price for greater expandability are going to cluster around wanting a case that supports that expansion.

 

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I'm guessing we are all very much rooted in the personal experience we had with computers back in the day. I really liked the semi-portability you had with systems like the Spectrum, Amstrad,C64 and later the AtariST and the possibility to take it places. Either to friends, because not all of them owned a computer or to school on occasions. I believe a friend of my brother even took his Spectrum to holiday camp once. I didn't think much about expanding these machines, they were good for me as they were. Expandability only became interresting with the first PCs I owned.

You’ll like the handle on the side of the X16P then


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic
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1 hour ago, Perifractic said:

You’ll like the handle on the side of the X16P then emoji6.png

I wonder if someone could attach a small LCD or OLED screen to the front of the case and rig up a way to store the keyboard, and have something like an “SX16.”

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I wonder if someone could attach a small LCD or OLED screen to the front of the case and rig up a way to store the keyboard, and have something like an “SX16.”

Yuck. There are reasons laptop form factor won out because it accomplishes those goals more elegantly. But that’s not part of our project goals.


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Sure. This is not a feature request. Just thinking about how there are some retrocomputing fans who are weird like that. 😄

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3 hours ago, Lorin Millsap said:


Yuck. There are reasons laptop form factor won out because it accomplishes those goals more elegantly. But that’s not part of our project goals.


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I still think the Kaypro II is the sexiest 8 bit computer.

I mean, just look at those metal sides and those square corners....

image.jpeg.e35f26ed0acd9433f8d48ef8eaa643db.jpeg

And, likewise, I still look with envy at the "lunchbox" computers, which now cost several thousand for the case alone.
image.jpeg.65cfeb445732c50389065e4b3b6d834a.jpeg



Laptops are convenient for a certain set of people, but sometimes you want a real, full size system you can take with you. The lunchbox form factor can't be beat for portable power. 

 

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My daily driver was once an Amstrad PPC640 ... I got it as a grad student, because the stock was being sold at a liquidation discount. I had a parallel port external hard drive, but also used it to work on it in two floppy mode in the car when driving the kids to Pop Warner football.

It was like a "worst of both worlds" hybrid between a lunch box and a laptop ... less powerful than a lunch box and less sexy than a laptop.

 spacer.png

Edited by BruceMcF
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On 2/8/2021 at 2:18 PM, kelli217 said:

One of these, then? AmstradPPC640.jpg

(macadamiaman via Wikimedia)

Quite. That was the system that I wrote a brute force maximum entropy estimator in C for my dissertation ... which took FOREVER to run. It would have been much faster using an annealing algorithm, but I couldn't wrap my head around that one.

I couldn't afford to keep it in batteries to make it "portable". I was able to run it off my car's cigarette lighter to make it car-mobile, but as I said, at the expense of leaving my external parallel port hard drive at home.

Edited by BruceMcF
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I realize this may sound like a really dumb idea, but...

How about, when the time comes to engineer the Commander X16c, the team simply doubles the motherboard layer count, puts chips on both sides of the PCB, and, on the side facing up, use PC Card slots with some customized pinout for expansion?  It should permit more hard silicon and ASICS from its big brother onboard, and thus be more hackable for those who prefer it that way while still being a better fit in a keyboard-console or even laptop form factor.

Or maybe I'm totally off base.

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18 hours ago, Kalvan said:

I realize this may sound like a really dumb idea, but...

How about, when the time comes to engineer the Commander X16c, the team simply doubles the motherboard layer count, puts chips on both sides of the PCB, and, on the side facing up, use PC Card slots with some customized pinout for expansion?  It should permit more hard silicon and ASICS from its big brother onboard, and thus be more hackable for those who prefer it that way while still being a better fit in a keyboard-console or even laptop form factor.

Or maybe I'm totally off base.

Because "c" stands for both "compact" and "cost reduced". Swapping to surface mount versions of the 65c02, VIAs, SRAM, flashROM, integrating the surface mount VERA system into the same board, replacing all of that glue logic with a CPLD and going with one slot, with optional riser board expansion to two or four slots would get the cost down.

The hackable one is the " p" one. The lowest cost one, period, and also the one that might fit into a keyboard case is the "e" one. The lowest cost version of the one with a real 65xx processor is the "c" one.

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I realize this may sound like a really dumb idea, but...
How about, when the time comes to engineer the Commander X16c, the team simply doubles the motherboard layer count, puts chips on both sides of the PCB, and, on the side facing up, use PC Card slots with some customized pinout for expansion?  It should permit more hard silicon and ASICS from its big brother onboard, and thus be more hackable for those who prefer it that way while still being a better fit in a keyboard-console or even laptop form factor.
Or maybe I'm totally off base.

Sounds like you’ve been watching Halt and Catch Fire.


Perifractic, X16 Visual Designer
http://youtube.com/perifractic
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