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View Poll Results: Are you interested in purchasing a ZX Evolution/ZXEvo/PentEvo/PentEva?
Yes 0 0%
No 7 50.00%
Undecided 2 14.29%
What is a ZX Evolution? 5 35.71%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
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Old 23 September 2011, 04:27   #1
TheRogue
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Gauging interest: ZX Evolution

Hi guys,

I am in the process of ordering a ZX Evolution (aka ZX Evo, PentEvo, PentEva) from the manufacturers in Russia. The ZX Evolution, for those unfamiliar, is the greatest Spectrum clone of all time. In the USSR, and later the Russian Federation, the spectrum was very popular. The Russian speccys are VERY different from what we know in the west though. They have numerous enhancements, including much better graphics modes and so on, and there is tonnes of software to go along with the hardware. The two major Spectrum compatible lines in Eastern Europe are the Pentagon (and it's successor the ATM Turbo) and the Scorpion. The ZX Evolution is compatible to both. It is an FPGA based miniITX motherboard, and when shipped is in Pentagon/ATM Turbo 2+ compatible mode. With a ROM change, it becomes Scorpion compatible. The specs are as follows:

  • Z80 3.5 MHz (classic mode)/ 7 MHz (turbo mode without CPU wait states)/ 14 MHz (mega turbo with CPU wait states);
  • 4 Mb RAM, 512Kb ROM;
  • MiniATX board, 2 ZXBUS slots, power ATX or +5,+12V;
  • Based on fpga (Altera EP1K50);
  • Peripheral MCU ATMEGA128;
  • PS/2 keyboard and mouse support;
  • Floppy (WDC1793) Beta-disk compatible interface, IDE (one channel, up to 2 devices on master/slave mode), SD(HC) card, RS232;
  • Video out: RGB, VGA (scandoubler);
  • Sound: AY, Beeper, Covox (PWM);
  • Original keyboard and joystick support;
  • Tape interface (in/out);
  • Real-time clock.
If people are interested, I can see about making a large order from the manufacturers. The price I am paying is $130.00USD plus $30.00USD shipping to Canada.

In addition, there are two hardware expansions available, the NeoGS General Sound/MP3 ZXBUS card, and the TurboSoundFM 12 Channel (6 channel AY/6 channel FM card) dual YM2203 sound card. The NeoGS is $80.00USD and the TSFM is $30.00USD. The manufacturers website is http://nedopc.com.

When in scorpion mode, all of the features of a Scorpion ZS 1024 turbo+ with ProfPZU ROM expansion are supported.

Based on this, is anyone interested?
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Old 24 September 2011, 02:48   #2
Minuous
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TBH it sounds grossly overpriced, it would make more sense to get a cheap IBM PC or Amiga and emulate on that. Also it doesn't seem to actually be Spectrum compatible, which is surely more important than compatibility with obscure Russian variants.
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Old 24 September 2011, 04:12   #3
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It's looks alright. But I would want it to be compatible with the software from here. If you live in the countries these clones were popular in then great. But I can't see myself buying one.
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Old 24 September 2011, 11:21   #4
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if its anything like the Pentagon/Sorpion/ATM machines then alot of software will run on this but i would like this confirmed first.as for the price,well its not that expensive for something thats new really.

like i say id go for compatability first,but if all peaple want is a games machine it probably wont be worth buying,over a say spectrum 128.and load the games in via ipod and cassette adaptor.
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Old 24 September 2011, 12:02   #5
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I dont want to buy one but - I have no money but I have looked at buying a clone before - I like these Russian clones

What is some of the software that takes advantage of the more powerful hardware?

Last edited by Retro1234; 24 September 2011 at 13:01.
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Old 24 September 2011, 18:50   #6
roy bates
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Boo View Post
I dont want to buy one but - I have no money but I have looked at buying a clone before - I like these Russian clones

What is some of the software that takes advantage of the more powerful hardware?

anything maths intensive say 3d games.the same effect of having a supercpu on c64.and there was alot of that on the spectrum.

regards roy.
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Old 25 September 2011, 00:09   #7
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Ok, to answer some questions. First of all, the default mode it runs in, which is Pentagon/ATM Turbo 2+, it is compatible with most but not all Speccy software. If you load the Scorpion core, it then becomes compatible with just about all original speccy software, as the Scorpion had great compatibility and the core makes it 100% scorpion compatible. When it comes to the comment about original speccy software compatibility being more important then compatibility with "obscure russian variants," that's not necessarily true. There is tonnes and tonnes of software out there that has been modified or written from scratch to take advantage of this advanced hardware. These machines were some of the most popular micros in eastern europe for a long time. The russian coders hacked or wrote tonnes of programs, in ways totally unseen in the west. There are many games hacked or written to take advantage of 16BPP colour. Here are 2 screenshots I quickly grabbed off the ATM Turbo website. Keep in mind there are many more games then these, these are just 2 of the games listed on the site. This site has many more, and there are MANY more not listed on this site.





Many of these games and programs are in english, there is another visual novel game very similar to the one in the first screenshot that is in english that shows off the capabilities of these computers very well. It's called Seasons of the Sakura and is available on the ATM turbo website. As for the price this is the cost that I am paying for my board, there is no markup whatsoever, and for an FPGA based computer is that really a high price? Compared with something like the C1 or the One Chip MSX it's almost nothing. I don't mind if no one is interested, but I just think it's unfair to say that 130 US Dollars is "grossly overpriced" considering that it's brand new hardware, with revision C just being designed this year, and that it is a fully reconfigurable FPGA based board. Am I wrong? Also I would like to clear up a typo in the specs. The specs say it is a MiniATX board, but that was the last revision, the new revision is actually MicroITX. If anyone wants to experiment with the computers this board can run as, I have attached an emulator and the appropriate bios files. A note to mods and admins, these bios files are legal to distribute in this way, so don't worry. Please note this emulator doesn't emulate the actual ZX Evolution, just the computers it can run as, and even then not at full speed or with perfect compatibility, it's just for you to get an idea. There are two versions of the emulator, one for old processors without SSE, and one for new processors that support SSE. I am 99.9% sure that no one will need the NoSSE version, but I included it just to be safe. The emulator is all hotkey driven, there are no dropdown menus. Push F1 for a list of hotkeys, and to start out, push Alt+F1 to open the config box. Once I receive my board, I will take photos and do software compatibility tests for anyone who is interested.
Attached Files
File Type: rar UnrealSpeccy035b2SSE.rar (549.8 KB, 119 views)
File Type: rar UnrealSpeccy035b2NoSSE.rar (552.0 KB, 118 views)
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Old 25 September 2011, 20:31   #8
Retro1234
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Yeah its fascinating Ill check out the emulators
One of the things ive found before is alot of Web pages seem to be in russian have you got any web links - English

Are clones still sold cheaply in Russia as a cheap computer or now its just for the hobby market like here.
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Old 25 September 2011, 22:33   #9
TheRogue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Boo View Post
Yeah its fascinating Ill check out the emulators
One of the things ive found before is alot of Web pages seem to be in russian have you got any web links - English

Are clones still sold cheaply in Russia as a cheap computer or now its just for the hobby market like here.
Just about all the pages for these computers are in Russian, although most of the software is in english (doesn't make sense I know, but it's true). I will put together a list of google translate links and post them later. As for the clone market in Russia, it's hard to nail down. I think these days they are starting to wind down to just hobby computers, but for a very long time people used these as their main computers. The attitude is, if it works for me for all this time, why do I need something else?
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Old 26 September 2011, 16:42   #10
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It sounds like a reasonable price, actually. Minimig (a similar FPGA even if the emulation core loaded into emulates a more powerful system) costs pretty much the same. Still, Spectrum emulation is pretty darn accurate these days, so I guess the question becomes "is it worth paying $130 for a cool gadget that does basically the same thing as a $0 computer program" If I wasn't almost broke, the answer would be "yes", but since I am a broke student, the answer is "not right now"
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Old 27 September 2011, 23:33   #11
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Just want to give everyone an update. I have paid for my ZX Evolution, NeoGS, and TurboSoundFM yesterday. Roman has told me that my board will ship in a few days. So once it arrives if anyone has any questions regarding software compatibility or such things I will be happy to do tests for you.
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Old 28 September 2011, 02:56   #12
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Here is a demo that really shows what this hardware can do. This demo was written for the Pentagon 1024SL, and as such will run on the ZX Evolution. It uses the NeoGS sound card as a hardware accelerator, and the TurboSoundFM for sound. It really is a good example of why this hardware kicks some serious ass. Enjoy!

[ Show youtube player ]
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Old 28 September 2011, 03:15   #13
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nice demo,funny its just what i thought it would be like.

roy.
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Old 28 September 2011, 07:11   #14
TheRogue
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roy bates View Post
nice demo,funny its just what i thought it would be like.

roy.
What do you mean?
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Old 28 September 2011, 10:28   #15
roy bates
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sorry for that .its fast just as i imagined.

is there any chance you can show it running a 48k or 128k game?.i know it will work.
but it will prove it will work.

but i dont think anyone will buy one just to show/write a demo on.its not a negatve as most peaple will want backwards compatibility with older software(i would).
if you show one or two games running it will prove a point.

EDIT:ile pick a couple of games at random,the sentinel and castle master.it should be able to cope with those two.

roy

Last edited by roy bates; 28 September 2011 at 10:39.
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Old 28 September 2011, 11:59   #16
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I will absolutely do that as soon as my board arrives, I will demo some random software, or anything that someone wants me to on both the PentEvo and ScorpEvo cores, so people can see how it performs in both modes. I will post the videos/results as soon as I have them.
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Old 28 September 2011, 12:01   #17
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thankyou.

roy
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Old 30 September 2011, 06:15   #18
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Just a quick update. NedoPC has put my parcel in the mail today, so depending on the speed of Почта России and Canada Post, I should receive it soon. Videos and pictures will follow shortly.
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