The Spectrum Coming Next

I’ve been out of the loop somewhat but recently I heard of a new retro-computing project called the ZX Spectrum Next. It’s an update of the original Sinclair Spectrum Plus but with lots of added bells and whistles. I grew up in the 8-bit microcomputer era and learned lots on an original Spectrum Plus. The chance to get my hands on an updated machine is exciting.

Spectrumnext Black

The Spectrum Next rendered in black.

There is a fledgling website for the machine at http://www.specnext.com/ but for the convenience, here is a current list of specs as of 9th May 2016:

  • Processor: Z80 3.5Mhz and 7Mhz modes
  • Memory: 512Kb RAM
  • Video: ULAplus featuring expanded video modes and colours
  • Video Output: RGB, VGA, mini HDMI
  • Storage: SD Card slot, with DivMMC-compatible protocol
  • Audio: AY-3-8912 or FM2149 audio chips (selectable) with stereo output
  • Joystick: DB9 compatible with Cursor and Interface 2 protocols (selectable)
  • PS/2 port: Mouse with Kempston mode emulation or an external keyboard
  • Extras: Multiface functionality for memory access, savegames, cheats etc.
  • Tape support: Mic and Ear ports for tape loading and saving
  • Expansion: Original external bus expansion port and accelerator expansion port
  • Accelerator board: GPU / 1Ghz CPU / 512Mb RAM

A Facebook group dedicated to the machine can be found at: Spectrum Next Facebook Group and there has been lots of support there for the makers and plenty of suggestions and comments on the design.

The Spectrumnext Rear

The Spectrum Next Rear

The Spectrumnext SD-Card Slot

The Spectrum Next SD-Card Slot

The makers intend to crowd-fund the machine and supporters are eagerly awaiting the announcement on when this will take place.

What’s this got to do with AVRs you ask? Well, one of the things I always wanted on my original Spectrum Plus was a general purpose I/O port. Commercial boards were just to expensive for me at the time and I didn’t have the knowledge to design and build one for myself. So my wish is to design a good AVR based general I/O port for the Spectrum Next. The Spectrum Next will be fully compatible with the original Spectrum’s rear expansion connector and should be fairly easy to interface a design. I’d like to have 8 buffered digital inputs and 8 buffered digital outputs.

There is discussion that the Spectrum Next will feature a port to add an ESP-8266 WiFi module which opens up lots of possibilities for networking.

If you are interested in the Spectrum Next, I highly recommend you check out and bookmark the official website and join in the discussion on the Facebook Page. And watch for updates on my interface design here once I have a Spectrum Next to play with.

The Spectrum Next rendered in White

The Spectrum Next rendered in White

Many thanks to Henrique Olifers for the use of all images.

 

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.