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Thread: Project: Micro 8088 - Chipset-based 8088 XT compatible processor board

  1. #1
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    Default Project: Micro 8088 - Chipset-based 8088 XT compatible processor board

    Hi,

    Micro 8088 is the latest addition to my do-it-yourself IBM PC/XT compatible system series of boards.

    This board uses a fairly common Faraday FE2010A chipset, which is also used in the Commodore PC10-III, PC20-III and Colt, and apparently in the Intel Wildcard 88 module.

    Other than that, it includes the following:
    - Two 512 KiB SRAM ICs, providing 640 KiB of base memory, and optionally supporting up to 192 KiB of UMBs (a SPLD is needed to enable UMBs)
    - 128 KiB Flash ROM for the BIOS (64 KiB are actually mapped to the system memory)
    - On-board AT2XT adapter, so that newer keyboards with PS/2 interface can be used

    In addition to the standard 4.77 MHz CPU clock frequency, the chipset also supports 7.15 MHz and 9.54 MHz turbo clock frequencies.

    The board contains only 15 ICs and about 30 discrete components, and it is fairly easy to build. It does require a universal programmer capable of programming Flash ROMs, PIC microcontrollers, and (optionally) SPLD/GAL ICs.

    The detailed documentation and design files are available in the Micro 8088 GitHub repository.

    Please PM me if you're interested in building the board. I have some PCBs and FE2010A ICs available. The ordering information is also provided on the RetroBrew Computers Board Inventory page

    Thanks,
    Sergey

    Micro_8088_Assembled_Board-1.1-Small.jpg
    Last edited by sergey; December 6th, 2017 at 02:20 PM.

  2. #2
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    That is awesome! Thanks Sergey! I can envision some pretty small form factor XT's coming out of this!
    Bobby.

    (Looking for Olivetti M24/AT&T 6300 Keyboard - but I'm in AUS!)

  3. #3

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    Looks awesome!

  4. #4
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    Default

    IMG_20171206_113952942_LL.jpg

    I already have mine running. Need to get my CF ide card installed, that'll be tomorrow...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by keenerb View Post
    IMG_20171206_113952942_LL.jpg

    I already have mine running. Need to get my CF ide card installed, that'll be tomorrow...
    Nice! Thanks for posting the picture.

  6. #6
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    Sergey, just curious--did you consider using a more-heavily-integrated CPU, such as the NEC V40?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Sergey, just curious--did you consider using a more-heavily-integrated CPU, such as the NEC V40?
    Yes, I actually did a few years ago. I don't remember now why I gave up on this idea... Maybe has to do with the availability of that CPU, or the system being locked to that particular CPU. To me it is kind of fascinating that Intel 8088 had so many clones and several redesigns, e.g. 80C88 by OKI and Harris, and NEC V20.

  8. #8
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    It's surprising how few POACH designs ever succeeded in the marketplace (e.g. C&T's F8680 or the ZF MIcro ZFX86). I wonder if the ultra-small PC is less sensitive to processor architecture and ARM-based designs are perfectly fine for the tiny PC market. I don't think Intel's Edison ever got anywhere either.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    It's surprising how few POACH designs ever succeeded in the marketplace (e.g. C&T's F8680 or the ZF MIcro ZFX86). I wonder if the ultra-small PC is less sensitive to processor architecture and ARM-based designs are perfectly fine for the tiny PC market. I don't think Intel's Edison ever got anywhere either.
    Good question. I can think about a few factors here:
    - PC was always about the performance, and in case of desktops (especially in 80's-90's) - modularity and upgradeability.
    - Even when the cost was a concern, fairly cheap options were available. For example various 8088 based boards in mid 80's, low-end 286 boards in late 80's, AMD 386SX in early 90's, various 486 implementations later, and so on...
    - For many industrial applications that require PC compatibility, PC/104 and ISA/PCI form factor SBCs worked pretty well, and didn't require building your own motherboard
    - For some smaller, lower power embedded applications, PC compatibility was not a concern (but more of a burden, adding more hardware and software complexity), and 80186/80188, and later 386EX (and perhaps some NEC V-series) were successfully used there
    - These designs came in too late: C&T F8680 - 8086-compatible in 90's?, Even NEC V40 appeared sometime in late 80's when PC manufacturers already made cheap 8088's using either discrete logic, or chipsets.

    Looking at ZX Micro ZFX86 - it seems that they target a niche market - someone who needs 486-compatible systems/motherboards in the modern times.

    Edison... many reasons why it didn't do so well. Such as:
    1. Failure to identify and target specific audience. Was it for makers? Or was it for serious embedded users? The module didn't quite cover the needs of any of these two groups.
    2. Poor choice of Linux distribution - home-built Yocto based image, vs. something Debian-based. They've just lost most of the potential users to that
    3. Weird decision not to provide video output
    4. Weird decision to use Arduino as development environment. The Edison board is way too overpowered, and yet has a limited connectivity, and slow I/Os with unpredictable latency for typical Arduino use
    5. Poor choice of the board interconnect. I've spent quite some time soldering the high density connector on this board. Definitely not user friendly.
    6. Lack of continuity, no follow-up modules. Intel Joule was somewhat of follow-up, but they've changed the form-factor, rearranged the connectors.

  10. #10
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    The NEC V40/50 was a product pretty much set to compete with the 80188 and it saw a fair amount of use. I used to have a disk duplicator with one as the processor and I know that it made its way into some early laptops. The benefit was that, unlike the 80186/80188, the integrated peripherals were pretty PC-compatible. The other advantage was that it was a CMOS design, before the 80C186 hit the market.

    But I suspect that the real reason for the V40/50 was to take advantage of the fight with Intel over microcode.

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