The 4164 DRAM memory chips can be found inside old 8-bit computers like Atari 800XL and Commodore 64. In this blog I will try to explain how they work by going through the datasheet and then building a breadboard with an Arduino to look at the operation in more detail. You can also watch this on youtube.
In my previous blog, I have written a bit about the remake of the PCB board for Atari 800XL computer. Now I will describe the process of acquiring all the parts needed to build it.
To house my set of MiSTer PCBs boards, which are: IO Board v5.6, SDRAM extra slim (XS), USB Hub v2.1 connected with USB Bracket with L-shaped connector, I wanted to 3D print a case. Unfortunately I could not find a design one that met all my needs, so I decided to remix existing Thingiverse designs and combine them into this case.
There are a few simple assembly steps required to dress up your DE10-Nano board and transform it to a fully functional retro machine.
As a child I have owned an Atari 800XL. This 8-bit computer always had a special place in my heart. After almost 35 years I have decided to dive a bit deeper into the circuitry of this now called retro computer. What better way to start than to remake the PCB from scratch.
When you need to connect more then one USB device to your DE10-Nano FPGA board then you need to use a powered USB hub. It is possible to use normal hub, but it is way cooler to connect the one that is custom designed for the MiSTer project.
MiSTer project that is installed on the DE10-Nano board can only output video using the on-board HDMI connector. However if you want to get the real retro gaming experience then you can attach the MiSTer IO Board. Among other things, this add-on board let's you output 15KHz analog RGB video and audio signals that will let you connect to a CRT monitor. This blog post describes how to build such a board.
In order to connect your DE10-Nano board to VGA or other RGB output, you need an I/O Board. This PCB board and assembly instructions are available on the GitHub pages of the MiSTer project.
Getting FPGA cores of your favourite retro systems onto the DE10-Nano is very easy. You can run them in matter of minutes.
The Terasic DE10-Nano board is based on Altera Cyclone V SoC chip. It is a hybrid of ARM processor and FPGA that lets you do amazing things, among which is run cores of vintage computers. But as always it is good to start with making a LED on the board blink.