VOGONS


First post, by data9791

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Right now there are guys taking care stuff like sound cards, memory expansions, networking, controllers, etc etc etc.
Do you think we'll ever get to see a replica 3D card come out that is compatible with the vintage API's? It would be amazing to have a DOS compatible card made with modern power that could max out everything you could throw at it from the 95/Win98e/Millennium era.

Reply 1 of 38, by The Serpent Rider

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Maybe someday. But right now it would be on very low demand, unlike something like Dreamblaster X2 or Amiga accelerator boards.

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Reply 2 of 38, by Warlord

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it has to be something that people want but can't get. thats why there were so many adlib remakes. but I personally think that is not a very good example considering just about most vintage sound cards can emulate adlib or do the same thing anyways, so theres not really a market for such a thing despite the few people that hype all of these things. NUXT is another hyped project, yeah some people have bought them and I think it's great and I'm happy about it's existence but I fell the same way.

Reply 3 of 38, by mothergoose729

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I am not a hardware expert, but I would say not likely. Replica sound cards are made from old stock chips or recycled components. There isn't a ready supply of GPU cores in the same way. The electrical complexity is also a lot higher. To replicated a retro GPU, realistically, would probably involve a decap and than reconstructing the core in FPGA. Even then, with current FPGAs, I think the limit is probably a voodoo 2. Any faster and the clock speed is too high, and/or the memory density would fill up too much space on the FPGA.

Reply 4 of 38, by dionb

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New design / replica chips is unlikely - the amount of work for those things is probably too much, even leaving technical limitations aside. However Voodoo 4/5 cards are very sought-after but VSA-100 chips are readily available. It wouldn't surprise me if someone did a PCB for that sooner or later.

Reply 5 of 38, by infiniteclouds

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I think it's only a matter of time, honestly. I'm not talking about an actual replica with source parts, but more along the lines of FPGA or maybe even some other new tech that doesn't exist yet. Eventually, yes.

Reply 6 of 38, by Unknown_K

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Replicating a 3D GPU is orders of magnitude harder then cloning an 80's audio chip.

I would think in 30 years you might be able to build a hardware replica of 90's era system (CPU, GPU, and sound) on a single programmable chip but it probably won't be cheap.

Not sure if the future is in hardware emulation or in software. The way things look today I would bet that a stand alone GPU will not be that common in 20 years when most computers are just a CPU and GPU on a single chip.

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Reply 8 of 38, by dionb

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Unknown_K wrote:

Replicating a 3D GPU is orders of magnitude harder then cloning an 80's audio chip.

I would think in 30 years you might be able to build a hardware replica of 90's era system (CPU, GPU, and sound) on a single programmable chip but it probably won't be cheap.

Not sure if the future is in hardware emulation or in software. The way things look today I would bet that a stand alone GPU will not be that common in 20 years when most computers are just a CPU and GPU on a single chip.

That reminds me of the Raspberry Pi emulating an MT-32. Possibly that is a feasible route - emulate the functionality in software on a modern system, then wire that up to the vintage hardware. There is already nGlide. If someone were to interface that to an AGP port somehow...

Reply 9 of 38, by Scali

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Unknown_K wrote:

Replicating a 3D GPU is orders of magnitude harder then cloning an 80's audio chip.

While that certainly is true, there are software implementations of 3D renderers, such as in MesaGL.
So one way to create such a device would be to put a microcontroller on some card, and modify the MesaGL code to run on that microcontroller.
Then at least you should be able to get MiniGL/OpenGL support for it. And from there, you could use existing wrappers to get Glide support.

Standard VGA functionality could also be done in a similar way, by taking the emulation code from DOSBox or such, and running that on the microcontroller.

It's still not going to be easy, but with a team of dedicated hardware/software developers, it will work 😀

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Reply 10 of 38, by Paadam

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There is even aftermarket Thinkpad mainboards built by enthusiasts for T4x/T6x series with newer i7 based hardware. It is just a matter how how much demand there is and whether there is a guy enthusiastic enough to do this.

Many 3Dfx and Pentium III-S stuff.
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Reply 11 of 38, by Tiido

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T-01VIVC-A.png
One day I'll finish this and eventually I'll look at some 2D/3D acceleration stuff, though I have no plans to outright replicate any specific hardware outside standard DOS things.
A friend bought some VSA100 chips, there's plans to make something fun with them also but that will come later 🤣.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
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mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 12 of 38, by red-ray

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Tiido wrote:

A friend bought some VSA100 chips, there's plans to make something fun with them also but that will come later 🤣.

If there is going to be a Voodoo 5 6000 compatible with >= 4 x VSA-100 for a vaguely sensible price I would like one, even more so if it's possible to read the fan speeds, voltages and temperatures.

Reply 14 of 38, by DNSDies

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Seeing some VLB cards using the VSA-100 would be pretty wild.
I'm always impressed by someone in this community showing off some kind of neat homebrew expansion card. Even relatively simple stuff like that 8-bit ISA PS/2 card.

I think at this point, we're only short of a homebrew Motherboard and Video Card from being able to make a 100% homebrew PC!

Reply 15 of 38, by Tiido

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VSA100 wouldn't be possible to attach to VLB in any sane way, they're very much PCI/AGP only.

Whole motherboards are in my todo list also 🤣. Hard part is funds, if I am gonna get a dayjob somehow I will not have any time for any of this stuff and as is I need to do unrelated projects to get funds to carry on with the stuff on the todo list 🤣.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
Newly made 4MB 60ns 30pin SIMMs ~
mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 16 of 38, by cyclone3d

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DNSDies wrote:

Seeing some VLB cards using the VSA-100 would be pretty wild.
I'm always impressed by someone in this community showing off some kind of neat homebrew expansion card. Even relatively simple stuff like that 8-bit ISA PS/2 card.

I think at this point, we're only short of a homebrew Motherboard and Video Card from being able to make a 100% homebrew PC!

There are actually homebrew motherboards and video cards.
Motherboard:
http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?691 … D-Floppy-Serial
https://monotech.fwscart.com/NuXT_-_MicroATX_ … 4_19777986.aspx

VGA:
http://www.malinov.com/Home/sergeys-projects/isa-supervga
https://monotech.fwscart.com/XTSVGA_8bit_ISA_ … 4_19697623.aspx

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Reply 17 of 38, by SirNickity

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Unknown_K wrote:

Replicating a 3D GPU is orders of magnitude harder then cloning an 80's audio chip.

I would think in 30 years you might be able to build a hardware replica of 90's era system (CPU, GPU, and sound) on a single programmable chip but it probably won't be cheap.

Not sure if the future is in hardware emulation or in software. The way things look today I would bet that a stand alone GPU will not be that common in 20 years when most computers are just a CPU and GPU on a single chip.

30 years? Good news -- it's being done today. There are 486 cores available in FPGA now. Really, it's just a case of needing the right talent to have the time, funds, and motivation necessary to bring all the pieces together.

My story is the polar opposite of Tiido's. I have lots of projects in my head. Would love to make my own sound and video cards, motherboards.. I honestly believe I'm capable of it. But I have a day job. In this life, you either have time or money. Having one pretty much always involves a trade for the other.

Reply 18 of 38, by mothergoose729

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SirNickity wrote:
Unknown_K wrote:

Replicating a 3D GPU is orders of magnitude harder then cloning an 80's audio chip.

I would think in 30 years you might be able to build a hardware replica of 90's era system (CPU, GPU, and sound) on a single programmable chip but it probably won't be cheap.

Not sure if the future is in hardware emulation or in software. The way things look today I would bet that a stand alone GPU will not be that common in 20 years when most computers are just a CPU and GPU on a single chip.

30 years? Good news -- it's being done today. There are 486 cores available in FPGA now. Really, it's just a case of needing the right talent to have the time, funds, and motivation necessary to bring all the pieces together.

My story is the polar opposite of Tiido's. I have lots of projects in my head. Would love to make my own sound and video cards, motherboards.. I honestly believe I'm capable of it. But I have a day job. In this life, you either have time or money. Having one pretty much always involves a trade for the other.

Is the documentation for say, 3dfx hardware, as descriptive as intel processors? I don't do HDL or emulation development at all, but from what I have read others say it is idiosyncrasies in drivers and GPU hardware that add the most complexity to PC emulation projects. Do you think someone could realistically reverse engineer a geforce 256 from publicly available documentation?

Reply 19 of 38, by keenmaster486

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SirNickity wrote:

My story is the polar opposite of Tiido's. I have lots of projects in my head. Would love to make my own sound and video cards, motherboards.. I honestly believe I'm capable of it. But I have a day job. In this life, you either have time or money. Having one pretty much always involves a trade for the other.

Because of these types of issues large projects like this might only happen if a company was formed and investment poured into it to meet the demand.

We have seen small projects be successful in the market. This could work but it would involve a group of talented people coming together and putting a lot of time and money into it.

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