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IBM PC Classic Edition

An IBM 5150 in a small form factor, running on real 80's hardware and including some modern features

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The goal of this project is to build a fully functional IBM PC Compatible Computer.
It must be capable of running MS-DOS and PC software and games and, at the same time, be at least 60% of the original pc size, be capable of using modern hardware(like SD Cards) and be expansible.

Primary goals:

-100% IBM PC Compatible using the original Intel 8088

-Small form factor, inspired by the NES/SNES Classic Edition consoles

-Capability of displaying images on a modern TV or Monitor

-Capability of using standard ISA Expansion Boards

-Standard 640 KB of SRAM on board and 192 KB UMBs

-PS/2 or USB Keyboard

Optional goals(for now):

-Capability of using modern storage solutions like a SD Card or USB

-HDMI(I don't know if it's possible) or VGA Port

-Turbo Speeds (Supported by the FE2010 Chipset and Sergey's design)

-An USB Storage(Maybe using floppy emulator)

-A nice enclosure made of wood or 3D Printed

At the moment i only have access to a soldering iron and a multimeter (I don't have money to buy an oscilloscope or some fancy equipment right now) and i have to split my time between university and work, it will be harder to build it but not impossible... I'LL DO MY BEST.

The initial research for this project and the PC architecture has begun in 2017 when I finished school, but my first homebrew computer was made in 2016 that was a z80 based simple computer made in perfboard. It has passed into various revisions but now it's heavily based on the Sergey Kiselev's Micro 8088 computer Design.

  • Indecisions Already

    joao.pito11/10/2019 at 11:38 0 comments

    Ok, I haven't touched this project much since my classes begun this year, but since I have started it I had 2 ideias for this project that meet my goals in one way or another.

    I have concluded that I can make the case 50% or even 40% of the original IBM 5150 case with enough space for the main board, a small power adapter and some expansion, maybe I have to use a external power adapter if things become messy (I hope to put everything I need inside the case for full out-of-the-box functionallity), but I think the expansion is going to be a major problem, since it needs to have the same expansion capability but with restricted space. Of course that any ideas and suggestion are welcome. 

    My major ideas for this project are: 

    1st idea: Use the same board design as the Sergey's Micro XT (Use a backplane)

    I was thinking about using a small backplane vertically mounted with the standard 8-bit ISA slots, it is the way that Sergey designed his board to be. Maybe reducing the spaces between slots.

    Pros: 

    -It is fully compatible with existing ISA boards

    -I guess it is a bit less electrically noisier compared to those cheap pin headers

    -I have significantly less work to do designing boards compared to the other idea (I kinda want to have some work, otherwise I would not have started this project, but not too much work, I'm still lazy)

    Cons:

    -The boards need to be smaller since the backplane occupies horizontal space, reducing the expansion options

    -Those ISA slots are a bit more expensive and harder to find nowadays (not something i'm much worried about)

    2nd idea: Use a more compact vertically stacked board design or 8-bit PC-104

    I was thinking about using those very common pin headers that you can find in any electronics store, one on each side of the board. These connectors doesn't always give the best electrical connection but I think it does the job. In this case there would have more space available for the boards but the pins in existing designs would have to be rearranged for this new pinout or an ISA adapter would need to be used.

    The PC-104 option (used in many compact and industrial applications) is kind of a mid-term option, it uses a compatible and standard pinout, allowing existing boards to be plugged in (The information I found says that it is usually 10cmx10cm wide, so I could stick to 40% the original size). Probably this is the best option for what I want.

    Pros:

    -Cheaper connectors (I think that everyone knows that college students are not particularly rich hahahah)

    -Common parts

    -More flexibility in the design sizes, complexity, etc., since I would have the freedom to arrange the pins however I want and would not be restricted to sizes

    -PC-104 design: Compatible with existing boards (significantly less boards than the usual 8-bit ISA in home PCs)

    Cons:

    -Electrically noisier, less stable computer

    -Not compatible with existing boards

    -A bit more work to be done

    -PC-104 boards were used in more specialized applications, so it has a less variety of existing designs especially for XT class PCs (something that could be solved designing new boards or making an ISA adapter would be possible i guess)

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Keith wrote 10/23/2019 at 22:42 point

The FE2010A has an exact clone of the early PC chipset, but the NEC chips do not. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEC_V20

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dave's Dev Lab wrote 10/23/2019 at 23:01 point

yea, there are minor differences that can be handled in bios. the V40 chip is the processor and expansion together in a single chip which makes the design super easy! there are a number of bios examples that exist for this...

  Are you sure? yes | no

Keith wrote 10/17/2019 at 15:34 point

I thought of starting a similar project, but since Sergey's project and some other project in Russia, the FE2010 chip seems all but vanished. How does this affect your project? I think some kind of FPGA replacement will be needed sooner or later.

  Are you sure? yes | no

joao.pito wrote 10/17/2019 at 16:21 point

I could find the FE2010 back in 2018 when I was living in Brazil, but I agree it's very hard to find nowadays, when I bought it it had only 1 available to buy and was a bit expensive. I found this thread of 2015 that the guy appearently tried to do replace the chipset with a FPGA (http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?46427-Modern-XT-compatible-PC-on-FPGA-with-real-8088) but i didn't give it much attention and I don't know if it actually works, there are also projects that tries to implement a full 386/486 computer.

For me the most difficult part to find is a display controller such as the Trident TVGA9000 VGA controller, and I was thinking about making my own controller with an FPGA (or maybe TTL if I fell very adventurous hahaha).

  Are you sure? yes | no

Keith wrote 10/17/2019 at 17:05 point

The PC on an FPGA sounds like something someone will have thought of already. When they write the HDL code, I'll think about making an FE2010A replacement.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dave's Dev Lab wrote 10/17/2019 at 18:30 point

howdy! i've been researching this for a while as well! i've even purchase a large quantity of the the FE2010 to experiment with. the best solution for this kind of dev is actually to build the board using the NEC V40 chip. there is still a large quantity of these chips available as they were heavily used in the machine automation business in the asian markets. the V40 is a V20 combine with the peripheral chipset, the equivalent  of a 8088+FE2010 but with higher performance. as for the display, i've made significant progress with creating a CGA/MDA style video card but with VGA output!
https://hackaday.io/project/167089-isa-8-bit-video-experiments
https://hackaday.io/list/167511-experiments-in-8-bit-ibm-pc-architecture
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEC_V20

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