An Update on the Neutron

So. Remember that old project I made like one or two posts about? The Neutron retro microcomputer? Yeah, it’s not exactly a microcomputer anymore. I have changed my end goal. Now I want to make a 16-bit game console, something similar to a Super Nintendo or a Sega Genesis, but not compatible with either. What does this mean?

  • The Neutron will still be using a W65C816S microprocessor, now with a target clock frequency of 8 MHz instead of the full 14 MHz.
  • There will be one FPGA to handle both audio and video output.
  • There will be one chip, either an FPGA or CPLD, to handle de-multiplexing the processor’s address and data lines (because Western Design Center thought making the data bus act as the most significant byte of the address bus sometimes was a good idea, even though it really isn’t and just complicates things).
  • System RAM and Video RAM will be separated. Amounts are currently unknown.
  • There will be at least one slot for an SD card, so you don’t have to deal with battery-backed Save RAM in the cartridges.
  • There will be 4 controller ports. It is currently unknown what the controller ports will be, or what inputs the controllers will have.
  • There will need to be a cartridge slot mapped to one half of the memory map (8 MB).
  • Half of cartridge space (4 MB) will be banked using the same method (or a similar method) as used in the 8-Bit Guy’s Commander X16 project, for a total of 4 MB * 256 Banks = 1 GB in that one area. The other 4 MB area is static.
  • There will be a parallel expansion port, because who knows what people will want to make.
  • Audio/Video output is indeterminate at this stage. I’m hoping for something capable of both digital and analog output. Perhaps something based on DVI-I Single Link, which would be capable of both VGA and HDMI compatible video out, as well as some pins for analog audio out and (maybe) composite out.
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Ashton Snapp

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