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I've been thinking recently about the technical feasability of somebody making a new retrocomputing platform aimed at hobbyists.

Specifically I've been wondering if it would be possible to design a system based on 8-bit era technology that had both a MOS 6502 and a Zilog Z80, but without crippling either processor.

Usually when I bring up this topic people just say "The Commodore 128 did that decades ago" and that's the end of the conversation. But the Z80 on that system was severely crippled and it seems to have never been used for anything other than running CP/M slowly, even though it has access to almost the entirety of the machine hardware.

Anyway that the background. But I'm not sure if:

  1. Questions about designing such a system would be on topic here.
  2. Whether questions would even be possible that are not "too broad".
  3. If users of this website would even be interested.

This is not about any other feasability concerns other than the technical ones so please don't bring them up. Please also don't bring up that there are many emulators. You can bring FPGA as long as it would implement a system also technically buildable in real retro components.

Anyway, if point 1 and point 3 are in fact OK here, I'm interested in thoughts regarding point 2.

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  1. Questions about designing such a system would be on topic here.

They are kind of an inbetween. While direct questions about certain hardware and features (like Refresh, Bus Contention or Address Decoding) wthout relation to old computers have been made and received usually well, questions asking about fantasies about new designs tend to be not welcome.

  1. Whether questions would even be possible that are not "too broad".

As usual, by asking specific and on a historic base.

A question about 'what feature would be cool to have for my new supercalifragilistic C64-killer' is for sure nor suited here, but asking how to integrate a SID is. There have been questions about in time video chips and designs, not all well received, but still fine for RC.SE.

  1. If users of this website would even be interested.

Now that is where it gets broad ... broad as this is a rather brad community. Some love to go off topic, others want to keep it within. It's safe to assume that many members are interested in things like railroads, travel or cars, still, such questions are a no-go - even if direct related to classic systems.

But in the end, 'interest' is not a criteria here.

Bottom line: It comes down to each question being tied to old hardware/software and their understanding. If it is it doesn't matter if one looks for knowledge to understand some old machine or build a new one.

Or from a different angle: If it is about speculation and vague design, then there may be way better forums than RC.SE.

Anyway, if point 1 and point 3 are in fact OK here, I'm interested in thoughts regarding point 2.

Being to broad or not has been topic on several (Meta) discussions, so that's not as much of an issue. So it's all about focusing it on concrete issues - usually easy after having done basic research in the area.


Remarks:

This is not about [...]

Gee, don't be so negative.

But the Z80 on that system was severely crippled and it seems to have never been used for anything other than running CP/M slowly, even though it has access to almost the entirety of the machine hardware.

Even when trying to ignore all the CPC developments (all the way to multitasking and real time Video), which was maybe too 'European' for some, there's the still whole MSX world which for sure explored and extended the hardware. CP/M was, if at all, just a minor usage in the beginning. It's worth a look.

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  • The "negative" stuff is due to many experience on other forums and other SE sites with answers and comments missing the point and derailing or closing the topic. Often by wrongly assuming an XY problem. That might never happen here, you might be lucky (-: Anyway I'm a technical guy but not a hardware guy and fumbling is prone to "too broad". Especially in the beginning. For instance if I asked if any board design would be possible without crippling one of the CPUs? To some that's yes/no, to others it's too many possible answers. – hippietrail May 3 at 12:19
  • @hippietrail Well, I would belive if someone misses the point at all, the question text doesn't contain what the OP wanted to ask in first place. And if one acknowledges the points brought up, but adds more information, than I'd take it as a bonus. Now, broad questions are quite frowned upon here. The most basic rule for RC.SE is do your research first. If done, such a question shouldn't come up, but you should have a basic idea what the design is you want to do - which then only needs to be asked in a historic/retro context. – Raffzahn May 3 at 15:09

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