MAKERS OF the latest ZX Spectrum revival have announced the final hardware specs for their creation.
The ZX Spectrum Next project is unlike the recreated ZX Spectrum or the Spectrum Vega in that it plans to provide backward compatibility for old tech and bring it up to date with a variety of modern adaptations.
All this will be housed in a 21st century reboot of the ZX Spectrum Plus case from the 1984 edition of the best-selling machine, designed once again by Rick Dickinson who designed the original.
The specs include a Xilinx FPGA, up to 2.5MB of RAM, internal GPIO with all free FPGA pins, and options for RTC, ESP8266 module, internal sound and a second micro SD slot.
Firmware will allow compatibility from international variants of the machine, including Radastan, Timex Hi-Color and Timex High Resolution. It is believed that the machine will also be compatible with the Sam Coupé Spectrum Clone from the early nineties.
Enhanced sound from Turbo Sound Next will offer nine channels PSG and FM, and it's also compatible with regular Turbo Sound and Internal AY. Joystick modes will include Kempston, Sinclair and Cursor.
A PS/2 port will allow external keyboard and mouse (although you'll need to provide a splitter for both), a tape interface with OTLA support if you really have six minutes to wait for a game to load, ULAplus, and even support for the legendary Romantic Robot Multiface that could take instant memory dumps at the touch of a button.
There's an external bus board and an accelerator board, allowing you to hack the Next to do even more, and an HDMI port because they'd be insane not to.
The website is currently down, but the team is very much active and a Kickstarter is expected to launch soon.
As one Kickstarter begins, another finishes. The first ZX Spectrum Vega handheld consoles from Retro Computing are expected to begin shipping within weeks after smashing funding targets earlier this year, following a certain amount of brouhaha in the ranks that we won't dwell on here.
Sadly, the third recreated ZX Spectrum appears, for the moment, to be dead in the water after a dispute over manufacturing. No software is currently available, and there's been no comment from the manufacturers. µ
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