Re: FPGA/CPLD different approach

From: Nate Lawson <>
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2013 10:28:12 -0700
Message-Id: <>
On Sep 4, 2013, at 9:50 AM, Bil Herd wrote:

> I assume that $100USD is completely out of line for a chip emulator just to pick a price, I assume itís cheaper to find a system on Ebay, etc, but then are there chips that just canít be gotten any more?  Are there systems that are irrevocably unusable without some chips of the category we are talking about?

Think about it happening in stages.

Stage 1: spare parts readily available (< $50)
Stage 2: parts scarce, but available ($100)
Stage 3: parts very expensive ($1000)
Stage 4: museum use only, maybe just for display ($10000 or more)

Depending on your choice of retro device, we're in stage 1 & 2. The Apple I is a good example of a system that has reached stage 3 or 4.

BTW, what is the price for a working ceramic 6502 with date code 1975 or 1976? That's probably the proverbial canary in our chip (coal) mine.

I think it's best to wait as long as possible before jumping into replacement parts. This gives you the best options as far as technology to use. At stage 1, there's no reason except to scratch an intellectual itch. At stage 2, it starts making sense but you still have cost constraints. At stage 3, you just do a small batch custom ASIC. At stage 4, you have no cost constraints and you spend a lot of time getting everything right, even the packaging and stencil (but probably leaving a small identifier to prevent resales as a counterfeit).

Anybody have evidence of this pattern from other systems? There have to be pre-1977 systems that have been through these stages.


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Received on 2013-09-04 18:00:04

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