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News ZX Spectrum Next rips through its crowdfunding goal

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Gareth Halfacree, 24 Apr 2017.

  1. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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  2. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Looking at the Kickstarter page, it appears that if you're not afraid to do a bit of dremelling then you can actually stick the Next motherboard inside an original Spectrum case :D Seems like absolute sacrilege to abuse an original shell like that, but I guess there'll be a decent number of dead Speccies out there that could be used for this purpose.

    I absolutely loved my Spectrum+. It was my first ever computer, at the age of 8, and was the machine that got me into computer games and programming. But I have to say that I don't really see the point in a new Spectrum these days, other than as a nostalgia trip for former Spectrum owners. If you want to play Spectrum games then emulation is pretty much perfect these days (playing in a browser means you don't even need an emulator as such), and if you want to get into programming then there are going to be far more cost-effective solutions than this (and Sinclair BASIC wasn't great anyway). I wish this project all the best, but it just seems a little redundant to me.
     
  3. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    I wonder if the keys all fall out when you turn it upside down? :D

    Love the idea but man, that is spendy. One for when it comes out I think.
     
  4. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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  5. David

    David RIP Tel

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    **Checks the price tag**

    [​IMG]
     
  6. IanW

    IanW Grumpy Old Git

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    The original cost £125 for 16K & 179 for 48K back in 1982. Is £215 really too much?
     
  7. Jimbob

    Jimbob New Member

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    A couple of years ago I took a BBC Model B and refit it with a Core i3, 8GB RAM, SSD and Windows 10. Had the original Keyboard, speaker and tape drive lights working too. (-:
     
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo Bargaining chip

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    You'll find that the Beeb housing will outlast the next ten generations of PC innards. :p
     
  9. Speed

    Speed I'm all you need!

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    I assume this has nothing to do with the rather trouble stricken Spectrum ZX Vega+?
     
  10. David

    David RIP Tel

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    Yes. In 1982, the Z80 processor probably helped, from a value for money point of view. It doesn't have quite the same impact now that you can emulate the whole thing on a bog standard RPi.
     
  11. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Nowt at all, bar the fact that Rick Dickinson was hired to do the design for both.
    There's a distinct difference 'twix emulation and implementation on an FPGA, though. This thing is absolutely 1:1 hardware and software compatible with original Spectrum gear, some of which is getting pretty rare and spendy in its original form: the Romantic Robot Multiface, which is included as standard on all ZX Spectrum Next models, will set you back £50 or more on your auction site of choice, then you're going to need an AY-chip audio board (£40 for the Zaxon AY-Magic), a Kempston joystick interface (£5 or more when you include postage), an SD card interface (£66 for a DivMMC Future, which includes the Kempston interface so you can ditch the prior add-on), mouse adaptor, composite mod, and so forth - and that doesn't even get you the hardware sprites, 256-colour mode, additional memory, 7MHz Z80, RGB, VGA, or HDMI outputs, new and reliable keyboard that won't break, or the ability to use a Raspberry Pi as an accelerator board.

    £175 (plus £10 postage) for the main model, lacking only Wi-Fi and an RTC, compares very favourably indeed to £50 for a decent-quality original ZX Spectrum plus £40 for a Zaxon AY-Magic, £66 for a DivMMC Future, and £50 for a Multiface (£206 total.)

    Disclaimer: the process of writing the news piece convinced me to plonk down my hard-earned for the upper-end model with Wi-Fi and RTC. Excite!
     
  12. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm just a jaded and cynical old barsteward, but personally I still can't see the point of owning one of these, beyond satisfying nostalgia. I just don't feel any sort of urge to fire up a Spectrum, despite the countless hours I've spent using one in the past. If I do want to play any of the old classic Spectrum games once in a blue moon (Quazatron being my personal favourite) then I can do so on an emulator. Okay, it might not be exactly the same as sitting on the floor of the living room in my parents' house in front of a 14" TV, fiddling with the volume and tone controls on a tape deck, but times change :D

    And just for the record, satisfying nostalgia is a perfectly valid reason to buy one of these, so I'm not trying to pass judgement here :D
     
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  13. jb0

    jb0 Member

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    THIS is how you do a retronostalgia product! No X-in-1 TV game boxes, no crap emulators, no stripped-down barebones experience. An FPGA configured to work like real hardware, with a full suite of expansion connectors. Add an SD card reader and HDMI encoder, don't use them instead of the original IO.

    Open-sourcing the whole thing is icing on the cake.


    Really, there's only one choice they've made that I can find fault with: it's a flipping Spectrum! Sure, it was popular, and there's a lot of nostalgia, but... it is still one of the worst computers ever made.
     
  14. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    S'fantastic, innit? The others have all started with vague Spectrum compatibility then removed features, this thing starts with complete compatibility then adds features from there. Lovely.

    Have you seen the Turbo Chameleon 64? It's an all-singing all-dancing expansion cartridge you can plug into a real Commodore 64, or you can use it as a standalone Commodore 64 - or, just 'cos, an Amiga. I'd love one, but it's €250...
     
  15. jb0

    jb0 Member

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    I had not seen it before! It is definitely a neat piece of gear, and I find the dual-purpose "C64 expansion cart/standalone C64" design exceptionally cool.


    Seen too many lazy ARM-and-emulator boxes lately. Which, sure it is EASY, but it is such a waste of perfectly good effort. Most recent one was a C64-ish on one of the crowdfunding sites. Crammed an ARM in a custom case and now he's talking like he's created God's gift to Commodore users.
     
  16. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Last few hours of the campaign now. Final stretch goal tally: SLX9 FPGA replaced with SLX16, 60% more gates; socketed memory; Next-specific sequel to Jas Austin's REX; Next-specific Dizzy game; 1MB of RAM as standard; wire-bound manual; Dreamworld Pogie and a new Castlevania; Internet Toolbox with game downloads, Twitter API, and multiplayer; Nodes of Yesod remake; posh packaging; video tutorial series by Jim Bagley on writing a ZX Spectrum Next game from scratch; and not one but *two* joystick ports.

    I also may have upped my pledge so I can get a board in August ahead of the machine proper in January (assuming it goes to schedule, which crowdfunded stuff never does.)
     
    Last edited: 22 May 2017
  17. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

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    I'm inclined to agree.
    I'm not immune to retro charm and nostalgia but I do find myself looking at kickstarters like this and wondering whether once the the dust settles exactly how much of that dust will settle on unused hardware with limited scope that seemed like a great idea at the time.
     
  18. Speed

    Speed I'm all you need!

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    NEW DIZZY GAME!! :jawdrop: :naughty: :D
     
  19. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Yolkfolk represent!

    The campaign closed last night at £723,390 from 3,113 backers, making it to my knowledge the highest-funded vintage computing campaign in crowdfunding history.

    Looking forward to getting my board in August, if everything goes according to plan (and the FPGA switch, sockets, extra memory, and second joystick port don't delay things too badly.)
     
  20. Speed

    Speed I'm all you need!

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    :thumb:

    I was quite annoyed the previous Dizzy kickstarter failed, so this is good news indeed!
     

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