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Thread: Most "accessible" CP/M Machine

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    If you're going for vintage hardware and want to run real floppies, make sure anything you get takes common media: soft sector 5.25" DSDD is probably the most ubiquitous from the CP/M era. Machines like the Amstrad PCW8256 are neat and capable, but finding 3" CF-2 disks can be a pain in the USA. Similarly, the H89 is a neat machine but many (most?) come with a hard sector controller for the internal 5.25" drives, and hard sector media is getting hard to find anywhere.

    The Kaypro line is a good choice, as is the Tandy Model 4. I've heard it said that the most numerous CP/M computer was actually the Apple II line with a Microsoft Z80 SoftCard (or functionally identical knockoff). S-100 stuff is neat and usually my go-to for CP/M currently, but there will definitely be tinkering! Vintage single boards like the Ampro LittleBoard make for super nice systems, but they're both rare and expensive nowadays.
    There aren't many more modern designs that incorporate a floppy interface, the only one that comes to mind is the N8: https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/d...ards:sbc:n8:n8
    It also boots ROMWBW so therefore uses CPM, but includes a 9918, an AY soundchip and plenty of interfaces. The board is about $20, but you will be shopping for pulled/NOS chips for the video/audio and I think some support chips too, in case that makes you nervous.

  2. #42
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    Sergey's Zeta SBC includes a floppy controller (indeed, it is designed in the spirit of the Ferguson BigBoard and Ampro LittleBoard and can mount to the bottom of a 3.5" drive), and there's now a floppy controller for the RC2014, too!

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtherabbit View Post
    Yes that's definitely a requirement. Single sided double density drives should be ok too since you can put a double sided disk in them and only read one side, correct?
    Yep, that'll work fine. Single-sided does make the system feel kinda "small" on 5.25" since you'll be limited to around 180-190 KB per disk, but that's still usable. You'll just swap disks more often

  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    there's now a floppy controller for the RC2014, too!
    *desire to know more intensifies*

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by glitch View Post
    Yep, that'll work fine. Single-sided does make the system feel kinda "small" on 5.25" since you'll be limited to around 180-190 KB per disk, but that's still usable. You'll just swap disks more often
    Dual drives would be helpful, you'd only need one disk for a bootable CPM system but you won't have a lot of space left over. That's the way I used my old Kaypro II years ago.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtherabbit View Post
    *desire to know more intensifies*
    http://www.smbaker.com/z80-retrocomp...troller-boards

    A S.M. Baker project, seems he really likes hacking on his RC2014!

    Quote Originally Posted by bifo86 View Post
    Dual drives would be helpful, you'd only need one disk for a bootable CPM system but you won't have a lot of space left over. That's the way I used my old Kaypro II years ago.
    Same, bootable disk with whatever software in A: drive, working disk in B: drive. Don't forget to CTRL+C

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    I wouldn't get too hung up on floppies. Even if you get working drives they tend to be less reliable than they used to be. Unless you are very lucky (last year I got a mint unopened 'found in the back of the warehouse' Apple II clone drive!) the heads are old the mechanisms worn and the media is aging.

    You can get the same feel using a bit banged SD card (and on a 4MHz Z80 not a dissimilar speed)

    It also depends on period IMHO. For the 'early CP/M' feel then I don't think much beats the RC2014 based kits and being faced with a pile of bits. It's not quite the same - there is no +/- 12v to fight, the parts don't cost $70 if you blow one up, and you can ask for help on the internet but it's not dissimiliar. It's also a good basis IMHO for then dealing with real retro kit, because you've got some idea how to work with it and debug/fix it.

    For late era CP/M then in the EU the Amstrad PCW is hard to beat and once you change the drive belt usually pretty solid.

    The joys of single drive systems - typing the command name space control A to load it and error, then keeping a 0 length file on the other disk so it would run whatever was loaded. Thank the gods for BIOSes that learned to pretend you had two drives and prompt for changes.

    Alan

  8. #48

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    Yes, a PCW is a great CP/M Plus machine. Very cheap, especially in the UK. Reliable once sorted. Usually comes with a printer. However, it has very slow screen refresh in text mode and a cheap feeling keyboard. Also no serial or parallel ports. There are add on devices for this (notably the Amstrad CPS8256) but they are a bit rare. On the plus side there’s an IDE drive available which gives you 13 8mb partitions on a CF card or DOM. Details here in case you are interested: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/UIDE...Z-80_computers. Also a RTC module: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/URTC..._Z80_computers.
    Last edited by JonB; December 27th, 2019 at 01:56 AM.

  9. #49
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    Other processors can also run CP/M, such as 68000. Here are my collection of 68K running CP/M68K that I've developed in recent years. By chronological order, the first one is Tiny68K with 16 meg of DRAM and serial EEPROM bootstrapping; the 2nd one is repurposed ADC MPU board based on 68302; the third one is Tiny68K redesigned for RC2014 bus; the 4th one is G8PP+68008, a member of Generic Processor Prototypes; the 5th one is based on P90CE201, a 68000-like micro-controller by Phillips; and the most recent one is Kuno, P90CE201 for Arduino Mega enclosure.
    Bill
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  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmo View Post
    Other processors can also run CP/M, such as 68000. Here are my collection of 68K running CP/M68K that I've developed in recent years. By chronological order, the first one is Tiny68K with 16 meg of DRAM and serial EEPROM bootstrapping; the 2nd one is repurposed ADC MPU board based on 68302; the third one is Tiny68K redesigned for RC2014 bus; the 4th one is G8PP+68008, a member of Generic Processor Prototypes; the 5th one is based on P90CE201, a 68000-like micro-controller by Phillips; and the most recent one is Kuno, P90CE201 for Arduino Mega enclosure.
    Bill
    Now you'll have to try to get it running on a Sega Genesis or Neo*Geo - they have both a 68k and Z80 to play with

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