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Thread: FPGA accelerator cards

  1. #1

    Default FPGA accelerator cards

    There have been a couple posts recently about 8088/286 accelerator cards but they are pretty hard to find these days. How hard would it be to make an 8-bit isa card using an FPGA and software cores that does the same thing that the old accelerator cards did?
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  2. #2
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    I think its feasible, but don't most accelerator cards replace the CPU rather than being an ISA card.....

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by g4ugm View Post
    I think its feasible, but don't most accelerator cards replace the CPU rather than being an ISA card.....

    http://www.electronics-sourcing.com/...rs-re-created/
    The ones I've seen plug into an ISA slot(or at least get mounted into one of the slots) with an onboard 286 CPU, you move the 8088 CPU to the card, and then a ribbon cable from the card plugs into the CPU socket. I was thinking that the same could be done with FPGA's instead of the original CPU's. It's beyond my skills I'm afraid but if someone had already done it I'd happily buy one.
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  4. #4
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    You're talking about implementing an entire microprocessor in fpga logic. You better believe it's beyond your skill level, and mine, and likely 98% of the yokels on this board. What would make better sense is to make use of an actual up, and implement the necessary support circuitry in an fpga. Still a tall order.

    Some people are developing fpga uPs. Maybe their work can be apprehended to alleviate the hurculean effort needed to roll your own.

    I have 2 Orchid PC-Turbo 186s somewhere in my stash. Each has a big old ugly asic smack dab in the middle of the board. It would be nice to melt the top of one of those asics and have a gander at what's going on. I think that may be the first accelerator card ever offered. Cool, groovy and rare in any event.

  5. Default

    Intel Edison &C are faster than any FPGA softcore.

  6. #6
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    I'm having trouble understanding your point. If you're saying installing a board that gets work handed off to it, similar to a coprocessor sort of, the board being faster then the host, any number of sbc's can fulfill such a rule. And chances are you'd be spending much less money. But if you're talking about a specific implementation that's more getmain to the topic, you'll need to elaborate.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    You're talking about implementing an entire microprocessor in fpga logic. You better believe it's beyond your skill level, and mine, and likely 98% of the yokels on this board. What would make better sense is to make use of an actual up, and implement the necessary support circuitry in an fpga. Still a tall order.

    Some people are developing fpga uPs. Maybe their work can be apprehended to alleviate the hurculean effort needed to roll your own.

    I have 2 Orchid PC-Turbo 186s somewhere in my stash. Each has a big old ugly asic smack dab in the middle of the board. It would be nice to melt the top of one of those asics and have a gander at what's going on. I think that may be the first accelerator card ever offered. Cool, groovy and rare in any event.
    That part wouldn't be as bad as you might think because people have already implemented many of the old microprocessors in an fpga. It's not something that you'd have to do yourself. I was reading a blog post just yesterday about a guy who implemented an 8088 in an fpga and used it to boot into dos.
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    What is your target speed in terms of the original CPU? That should determine your approach.

    In general, 8088-retrofit accelerators weren't all that hot. You got processor speed, but you still had to work with the original 8-bit bus restrictions. You could include memory on your accelerator to get rid of that aspect, but there are still the motherboard peripherals to keep happy.

    Other than "upgrade" CPUs like the V20 or "turbo mode" motherboard mods (putting a faster clock into the 8284 EFI input and swapping between the original 14 MHz crystal using the F/C pin connected to an unused output on the 8255), I considered the more exotic "turbo' adapters a very costly mixed bag.

  9. #9
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    There came a point where it was cheaper to buy a new motherboard.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    What is your target speed in terms of the original CPU? That should determine your approach.

    In general, 8088-retrofit accelerators weren't all that hot. You got processor speed, but you still had to work with the original 8-bit bus restrictions. You could include memory on your accelerator to get rid of that aspect, but there are still the motherboard peripherals to keep happy.

    Other than "upgrade" CPUs like the V20 or "turbo mode" motherboard mods (putting a faster clock into the 8284 EFI input and swapping between the original 14 MHz crystal using the F/C pin connected to an unused output on the 8255), I considered the more exotic "turbo' adapters a very costly mixed bag.
    6-8mhz would be fantastic
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