ZX Spectrum today? More than alive!

    At the request of a few habraly people, I give a telegram about the state of affairs of the zx-specurum today. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to write absolutely about everything, so I’ll do a brief review of modern hardware and emulators, on which this hardware can be virtually felt.

    I will write for an ordinary habracheloveka, not spektrumista :), so for more detailed information, use the links at the end of the article.

    What is spectrum for you? This is probably a warm tube loading sound from a tape recorder, Manic Miner and Elite. Perhaps this is TR-DOS, 128kb of memory and an AY music chip. Or maybe it's Scorpion-256, ATM Turbo, or even Profi.

    In any case, all this is hopelessly outdated, littered with dust on the cabinets, and probably does not even work, but, nevertheless, a few words about the "classic ex-USSR Spectrum":

    CPU : Z80, 3.5 MHz. Turbo up to incomplete 7 MHz
    RAM is possible : from 48Kb to 1Mb
    Sound : beeper, AY chip (synthesized 3-channel sound)
    Tape : there is
    FDD : 720kb floppy disks (by default TR-DOS only supports 640kb)
    HDD : connection is possible, the most complete software support in the is-dos system

    We should also talk about the video - 256x192 pixels + 32x24 color attributes: for each block of 8x8 pixels there are two colors (one PAPER color for disabled pixels; and one INK for enabled); plus an area around the screen called BORDER (you can also set the color); more details - speccy.info/256x192

    Although the small size of the video memory allows the 3MHz processor to cope with graphics output more easily, the result often does not live up to expectations.

    Bells and whistles graphics

    In addition to the long-known " hardware multicolor " modes , 512x256 and Gigascreen , there are also:

    384x304 - the screen area expands to 384x304 pixels, the rest remains the same (attributes on the 8x8 square). Due to the complexity of implementation on Spectrum clones other than Pentagon and the terrible addressing of video memory (the expanded area is divided into 9 blocks scattered from memory), it has not received distribution. speccy.info/384x304 16 colors per pixel

    - As the name implies, gives spektrumistov what they could only dream of before - every dot on the screen in its own color. However, the video memory size increases by 4 times, and in addition, the processor slows down on a real spectrum (therefore it is usually used only in turbo mode). However, the mode is promising, there are several games and demo. speccy.info/16col 256 colors per 2 pixels - "upgrade" mode 16col. Two neighboring points are doubled, and the result is 128x192 mode with 256 colors. Support in hardware is experimental, and without a variable palette is of little use. Flash-Color - by mixing INK and PAPER, about 46 different colors are achieved. However, since all the same attributes are used (per 8x8 pixel block), in reality it doesn’t look very good.

    speccy.info/Flash_color 16col + palette + gigascreen Programmable palette is the same twist that is vital for 16col and 256col modes . There are several solutions; one of them is realddp.narod.ru/zx/pal444

    Sound twists

    In addition to Covox , Sound Drive , DMA Ultrasound and General Sound , released back in the Stone Age :), the following devices were invented:

    TS (Turbo Sound) - is another AY sound processor, expanding the number of sound channels to six. www.nedopc.com/TURBOSOUND/ts.php

    TSFM (Turbo Sound FM) - “upgrade” Turbo Sound mode. In addition to 6 channels of AY-sound, a 6-channel sound chip is added (FM synthesis, similar to the chip used in the Sega Mega Drive console). www.nedopc.com/TURBOSOUND/ts-fm.php

    Neo GS is an updated version of the General Sound board . Like General Sound, is, in fact, a separate computer with its own processor ( Z80 at a frequency of 12MHz for GS , 24MHz for NGS ), memory (from 128Kb to 2Mb) and a sound module: 4 (8 for NGS ) channels of sound that play samples from memory. In addition to this, the Neo GS has an SD / MMC reader, a hardware mp3 decoder and a DMA mode for exchanging data with the Spectrum memory. Neo GS can also be used as an accelerator for calculations - arbitrary code can be loaded into the device’s memory (in a regular GS too, but unlike NGS , in a regular GS there was no DMA - hence the very slow speed of information exchange between the spectrum andGS ). www.nedopc.com/gs/ngs.php

    Zx evolution

    ZX Evolution or PentEvo - this is the most modern Spectrum. Unlike other (not so modern) spektrum, Pentew on board has everything that a modern person needs - an integrated PS / 2 keyboard and mouse controller, drive and hard drive controllers, SD card reader, RS232 (aka COM port).

    There is also a very important feature - there is a scandbler on board, which allows you to connect the Penta to almost any VGA monitor (even an LCD); so now you don’t have to buy TV tuners, EGA monitors and TVs.

    It is impossible not to mention the presence of FPGA on the board; this allows you to change the computer configuration without a soldering iron (not on the fly, as it was possible in Sprinter, but also pretty good).

    www.nedopc.com/zxevo/zxevo.php- Learn more about zx evolution.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fI_St1IeWQ - Comrade AAA talks about the Pentew.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYmyuF2UVWg - the most demanding demo on the Spectrum (requires 16col + tsfm + neogs) successfully runs on the Pentew.


    RGB to PAL coder - allows you to connect the Spectrum (or any other device with RGB output) to a regular TV. www.nedopc.com/PALCODER/palcoder.php

    ZXMC (ZX_Multi_Card) is a very versatile device. Allows you to connect a regular PC keyboard and mouse to the Spectrum. It has an RS232 port on board, better known as a COM port (allowing you to connect, for example, a modem), and a real-time clock (RTC). zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=609


    All the emulators below are designed to emulate a modern Spectrum, not the good old black box with rubber keys :)


    Unreal Speccy is an emulator that supports the maximum amount of new hardware (including Neo GS). zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=1512 , dlcorp.ucoz.ru/forum/23

    Unreal Speccy PPC - port for PocketPC (old version, no new versions). Despite the problems (sometimes the drive is “turned off"), the best for PocketPC does not exist. Currently development is stopped. and.intercon.ru/#r20 , zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=4982

    EmuZWin is a good emulator with a GUI. zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=1345

    * NIX

    ZEmu- you will not praise yourself - no one will praise :). An emulator of a modern Spectrum for * NIX platform (there is a version for Win32) with support for extended memory, extended video modes (including 16col) and extended sound in the form of Turbo Sound FM. There is no GUI (more precisely, self-written on the SDL). Currently development is stopped. zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=2480 , version from mkoloberdin: github.com/mkoloberdin/zemu

    XPeccy is an actively developing emulator with a GUI on QT. Apparently so far only under x86 Linux. zx.pk.ru/showthread.php?t=9479

    useful links

    zx.pk.ru - the main zx-forum.
    dlcorp.ucoz.ru/forum is another major zx forum (a forum of dissatisfied with zx.pk.ru policy).
    www.nedopc.com - here you can buy modern Spectrum and buns for them.
    speccy.info - speccy wiki.

    trd.speccy.cz - a storehouse of toys adapted for TR-DOS.
    zxaaa.untergrund.net - a huge zx-demo archive.
    zxtunes.com - AY music archive. You can listen online.
    speccy-live.untergrund.net - news related to the Spectrum.
    community.livejournal.com/emulate_su- I was told in Habrapost, in a very great secret, that in this community there will soon be many articles about the Spectrum. Subscribe if interested (and even now there are many articles about retro-iron).

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