When the Raspberry Pi came out, I decided to add a FPGA to it to enhance its functionality and provide non-software ( hence no virus nor easily hack-able ) functions for development. ( Like cryptocurrencies algorithm or key generation and keeping ).
In this arrangement the FPGA provides high speed and high precision maths function, the RaspberryPi can provide network connection and display.
During the development, as I have a large collection of NES and SNES games, I decided to make a FPGA implementation of the NES / SNES. I have around 300 SNES games and all of them run smoothly.
I raise this project because I wish to bring this hardware to you the DIY enthusiastic, or electronic hardware designers or hobbyist.
I also want funding to increase my collection of SNES library so I can do more testing on different games and perfect the design.
Most of the funding will goes to the production of modules. ( it is very costly to buy the FPGA, you can check digikey for the price ) However, I hope more people can pitch in to have a module, prebuild and pretest for themselves and make interesting projects of their own. The remaining fund will aid me to further test SNES and NES modules and we might even proceed to make N64 modules later or fully open-sourced the NES projects.
The parts use for the module is Xilinx XC7A35T - 256 ( a 16x16 1mm BGA ) and a 128K byte RAM. Its worth mentioning the FPGA foot print suits many different densities, the largest is XC7A100T. Please refer to the data sheets for exact specification. XC7A35T with 128K RAM is enough to build an SNES + NES + Atari2600 system on a module with around 80% utilization.
In using FPGA modules, I also outline a method to outsource manufacturing and the designer still retains complete control of units produce, to keep things short, if interested you can found the outline in my opensource projects in opencores org and search for project CXD9731, refer to the README.pdf files there, this is my opensource project and you can evaluate the quality of my works there too.
Risks and challenges
The module hardware is very mature, I had done more than 7 revision of the board. There is not much challenges there except for production, if my fundraising is successful, I will continuously report on the item sourcing and production progress. I know quite a few manufacturers which certainly can meet the stringent requirements of FPGA and BGA board productions.
The challenges ahead are for the RaspberryPi interface, to develop a user friendly interface, in the snapshots ( gallery photos ), you can see the user interface is already there and further testing and it will be completed.
For the SNES / NES award, as I don't have each and every games in my procession, I will in the mean time collect more games with the fund raised and test, so I can only guaranteed when delivered next February it can run at least 300 games.
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