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The Future Was X16


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Here's a brainstorm, which can quickly be dispatched so I can get on with my normal life.

Tynemouth cooperates with 8BG to produce a modified MiniPET, which accepts Michael's KERNAL, Frank's VERA, and banked RAM (yeah I know, that's not a PET any longer, I'm just spitballing). 

8BG labels it the Commander X16.

Ridiculous I know.  Probably nothing on the PET that's reusable for the X16 anyway.

Edited by rje
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I know I'm playing Monday morning quarterback here (and hindsight is 20 20), and I have almost 0 experience with hardware (I'm more of a software guy), and see the x16 as a way for me to join a community and learn more about hardware.     So take my opinion with a grain of salt.  My questions/comments may have been addressed in earlier posts (but I have not found similar comments/responses made).

First off, I'm not trying to rip the development team.  I think they have done a good job, and I've read there has been many challenges they have had to addressed or are still trying to address.

I don't know why when they designed the x16 board they didn't go with more of a back plane design.  I'm not that much into games, so moving the snes connectors to a separate optional board, as well as several of the other components (video, sound, etc), kind of like an ancient plug and play design from the 1990s..  I guess this would complicate the design a bit, but on the other hand, if a big disaster bug was found, then it maybe easier to fix by replacing a single board, then the whole system.   Of course the main board with cpu, memory, etc  would have to be rock solid, but it could allow more of a evolution process to develop with the x16, with people designing boards for other things.    A big plus for the x16 is that it does contain a back plane with 4 expansion slots, so that is good, but I don't know why they didn't move most of the none critical functions to expansion boards and add a few more expansion slots.

I know it is a bit late to modify the x16, but thought I would throw this out there and see what other people think, and maybe why my line of reasoning is foolish. (I have little hardware experience, so I know my thinking is probably not right).

To me, the major advantage of the x16 community, is not the x16 hardware, but the x16 community.  I like the idea of having a system that is easier to maintain (available parts, etc) and having a community of like minded individuals that I can bounce questions off of, etc.

Billy

 

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Posted (edited)

Hey there, Billy.  Yeah I am essentially zero knowledge with hardware, also being a software guy.

A backplane design indeed has advantages.

I do know that, at least to some extent, the challenge of building a mutant cross between a VIC-20, C64, and some escaped lab experiment, partly motivated the hardware team.  Partly.

Strangely, it seems that hardware design is a bit of a wild West thing, compared to software design nowadays.  Software *can* be wild West, but it also *can* be designed down to the rivets, because the hardware resources -- and therefore performance needs -- can be pinned down exactly.  

Edited by rje
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On 7/18/2022 at 9:24 AM, bce said:

I don't know why when they designed the x16 board they didn't go with more of a back plane design. 

Simplicity. Building a backplane design requires more parts and more complexity. It also means you need to deal with a lot of problems that don't happen on an SBC. Among other things, a single-board computer is more structurally sound. 

Since most people will probably never slot a card in their CX16, there's no reason to make the system more complicated by requiring the use of cards when most people won't use them.

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On 7/19/2022 at 6:46 PM, TomXP411 said:

Simplicity. Building a backplane design requires more parts and more complexity. It also means you need to deal with a lot of problems that don't happen on an SBC. Among other things, a single-board computer is more structurally sound. 

Since most people will probably never slot a card in their CX16, there's no reason to make the system more complicated by requiring the use of cards when most people won't use them.

Thanks..  This seems to make sense.    I appreciate the explanation.   

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On 6/13/2022 at 4:33 PM, rje said:

Here's a brainstorm, which can quickly be dispatched so I can get on with my normal life.

Tynemouth cooperates with 8BG to produce a modified MiniPET, which accepts Michael's KERNAL, Frank's VERA, and banked RAM (yeah I know, that's not a PET any longer, I'm just spitballing). 

8BG labels it the Commander X16.

Ridiculous I know.  Probably nothing on the PET that's reusable for the X16 anyway.

Why not? Seems like a good option.

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On 7/19/2022 at 7:46 PM, TomXP411 said:

Simplicity. Building a backplane design requires more parts and more complexity. It also means you need to deal with a lot of problems that don't happen on an SBC. Among other things, a single-board computer is more structurally sound. 

Since most people will probably never slot a card in their CX16, there's no reason to make the system more complicated by requiring the use of cards when most people won't use them.

And note that to achieve the target of a stable development target for a backplane system, there would have to be a standard CPU card, video card, sound card, etc. ... and that hardware would still have to be debugged.

Also, if it's a bespoke backplane system, you don't have the advantage of existing cards that can be used as a stable benchmark to test individual new cards in the system in the context of an otherwise known working system. A newly specified backplane system is, in effect, one more hardware design subject to ongoing evolution and that can go wrong in addition to the individual cards going wrong.

Edited by BruceMcF
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