How actively are you using your MiST?

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How actively are you using your MiST?

I use my MiST regularly and love it
44
43%
I could use my MiST more, but there are not enough progress on the cores
31
30%
I have my MiST stashed on a cupboard
6
6%
I have sold my MiST (fell out of love for it)
1
1%
I have never had a MiST (but am thinking of getting one)
8
8%
I have never had a MiST (and probably never will)
13
13%
 
Total votes: 103

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Specraider » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:54 pm

I am sorry english is not my native language,whatever do you mean the ones i linked.?where can i find the link?
Thank you in advance

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Lroby74 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:37 pm

Gehstock wrote:We dont need Money, i have a Job and i think Sorgelig too :?:

Someone who writes instructions ,makes Videos or a Homepage would raise the motivation tremendously.

And a certain professionalism(not Exclusively from the Cores) also attracts new users and developers.

Interesting to me would be to know which cores are most used. Why hours, days of work to a core for 3 people?


i know that this Gehstock's message is quite old but the situation today has changed considerably :
there is an Italian Facebook group created by me dedicated to FPGA systems (Mist, Mistica & Mister), I did discover these devices for no less than 200 people and at least about 10% purchased them, I made an article about FPGA systems on a free online italian magazine that has been downloaded and read by at least 1000 people.

I'm not a developer, I certainly can't update cores or create new ones, but I'm in love with these products and use them every day, often in parallel to real machines, and I really hope you'll never stop supporting them.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/295501721152384/
(italian FPGAs) FaceBook group

http://www.retromagazine.net/getrm.php?id=13
(FPGAs article, starting from page 11)

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Gehstock » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:21 am

There are already 2 Facebook groups. We should not further fragment the already small community. Thanks. :cheers:

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Lroby74 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:38 am

Gehstock wrote:There are already 2 Facebook groups. We should not further fragment the already small community. Thanks. :cheers:


I have created italian group because i have difficult to manage foreign users, I'm not too good in English and I prefer to concentrate my efforts in helping my compatriots, furthermore, in the main English group (managed by my friend Juri), it is not allowed to talk about Mistica (which I personally love even more than the Mist), this is perhaps the most important reason that led me to create the Italian group

Yesterday i forgot to tell that also the page (Multilingual) created by my friend Vincenzo Scarpa was another my idea, always to promote the knowledge and the spread of these machines :)

https://www.vincenzoscarpa.it/emuwiki/p ... 1093&h=615

But, to be honest, there are also people (I know 3 of them) who have not yet bought Mist or Mistica because apart from the price that is not exactly cheap, they don't like the lack of tap management in the C64 core. (This is only informational information, not a request, just to clarify)

I wanted to say that I don't think I will ever buy a Mister, certainly not because of an economic issue, but because I don't need an ever-increasing number of increasingly powerful cores,
I need the highest possible fidelity in reproducing them, including video outputs. RGB & VGA native for CRT TVs / monitors, 2 DB9 ports, EAR & MIC ports in the case of mistica and I need to have everything in one compact system.

I need this device, as far as it can go, do it at best, and if we talk about feeling, Mist wins on the Mister, already only for the additional layer of Linux that is present on the Mister and that, even if only slightly, changes the feeling transmitted.

It doesn't change my life if I need to remove it from the Mist and put it in a PC to update or add a core or games in the SD card, I don't die if I do.

I am not looking for the convenience of an emulator, simply when I turn it on and start a core, this unit must become completely the machine that is reproduced.

Although I know perfectly well that the Mister is an FPGA, in my mind, I see it more as a super giant Raspberry ultra giant and powerful.

It's not what I'm looking for.

As long as I have a working Mist or Mistica, they will be valid for me, whether their cores are still up to date or not, exactly like original machines that i own

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Newsdee » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:15 pm

It's true, the MiST has a niche of being more "retro" tech and can be built from scratch as long as there are components.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby kolla » Wed Mar 27, 2019 1:48 pm

I don't quite get the anti-mistica sentiment.
I think it makes sense to have two types of systems, one for developers and one "simpler" (cheaper) for "consumers". Mistica probably mostly fall in the latter category, while original MiST in the former.
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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby slingshot » Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:25 pm

If only developers bought MiST, then probably it wouldn't sell more than 10 units. I bought myself as a user, then I became a developer. It wouldn't be possible with Mistica. Of course you can start to develop without the JTAG connectors, but it'll be very painful after a while.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby kolla » Thu Mar 28, 2019 11:54 am

Right. How hard would it be to modify an existing Mistica to add JTAG and satisfy developer needs?
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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby slingshot » Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:23 pm

I'm not sure the PCB was provisioned for adding the PIN headers (btw, the test pin of the ARM for activating SAM-BA bootloader is accessible? Otherwise it's very hard to recover from a bad firmware flash - it saved my MiST once from bricking).

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby ManuFerHi » Fri Mar 29, 2019 11:39 pm

Yes it is possible, Mistica's schematic I leave here. It is very easy to recover via sam-ba, there is even 2pin to activate the programming mode. As for the JTAG theme, I'm already working on a next revision, not only will it have Jtag, it will also have an expansion port to take advantage of the free pins that are in the FPGA. The last quarter of this year will be available.
Mist is not going to die, I'm even thinking about a version with a larger FPGA ep4ce55f23c8n.
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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Lroby74 » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:45 am

ManuFerHi wrote:Mist is not going to die.


I think that Mist will die ONLY if developers wants it, moving all on other biggers platforms (Mister for example), but i believe that Mist is better than Mister on many things if you are looking best possible experience for reproduce old hardware 8/16bit, mostly if used with CRTs TVs/monitors via RGB / VGA and /DB9 joysticks (except for consoles where USB joysticks / gamepads are obligatory).
Would be nice a Mist / Mistica 2 with Ciclone V (for 100% Mister compatibility) but the rest as on Mistica

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Newsdee » Sun Mar 31, 2019 7:24 am

As I may have stated earlier, MiST/ica or a similar device would have value as something that can be built from scratch if needed.

There is the risk of fragmenting the userbase and developer base with a new hardware version, though. Would we gain much more with a MiST 2? Could it receive the same cores as MiSTer?

In an ideal world one could cross compile cores between the 3 devices, but that isnt possible (afaik) since different Quartus (compiler) versions support the Cyclone III and V.

Would it be possible to at least get MiSTer cores to compile with a new device without forking the repository? That way all improvements would benefit everybody and not split the devs.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby AdvancedFollower » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:40 pm

The Cyclone III in the MiST seems powerful enough to handle all the systems it seeks to emulate. It's a shame some cores like the Minimig-AGA and Atari ST aren't updated very frequently, but on the other hand, the cores have been in development for many years and are very mature at this point, with just a few long-standing compatibility issues. I don't really feel like buying new hardware, when the small number of issues are all actually software/core related and not the fault of the hardware.

I'll probably pick up a Vampire V4 standalone if they ever become available, as that will be like a next-generation Amiga. But I'd keep the MiST around for emulating other systems like the C64, various arcade games as well as a more traditional Amiga setup.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby slingshot » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:31 pm

My opinion is that instead of forking, there can be support for multiple boards in one source tree. There are some examples for it already (sadly with lots of unmaintained parts). This would save a lot of developer effort with porting patches back and forth.
I personally think that all 8 bit cores should fit into Cyclone III EP25. If some feature not - then it can be optional for larger boards. 16 bit cores are already pushing the limits, but still fit. Of course a larger FPGA could be used for cores like SNES, just the question is who will do the work. Also I would welcome some extra IO pins, with the hope that this enhanced MiST could bring in some new developers (which the existing one didn't really do).

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Thenesis » Mon Apr 01, 2019 1:16 pm

Lroby74 wrote:
ManuFerHi wrote:Mist is not going to die.

Would be nice a Mist / Mistica 2 with Ciclone V (for 100% Mister compatibility)


The Cyclone V is marginally better than a Cyclone 3 for emulation. It uses less energy and less LEs for the same circuit but it's not worth the price difference. The difference in frequency is not much better either.

Also the Cyclone V of the DE10-Nano board is the most high end FPGA of all Cyclone products. It is sold without profit and probably with loss to motivate developpers. But inside a true commercial product it would be prohibitive and nearly nobody would buy a Mist at more than 350 euros (and at this price the seller would not make much profit).

Also the Cyclone 3 which is used in the Mist can be purposely soldered at home. The equipment necessary to build a Mist (excluding the metal case) is about a few hundred euros. Cyclone V FPGAs use BGA packaging only which needs costly equipement, and you also need a much costier PCB to support so many pins.

If you want more LEs, the best choice at the roughly the same price for twice the LEs (50000) and without BGA is the MAX 10. I has the same kind of LEs than Cyclone 3 and 4 but with flash for the configuration.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Thenesis » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:31 pm

slingshot wrote:Also I would welcome some extra IO pins.


The Max 10 10M50SCE144C8G has 101 I/O pins instead of 82 for the Cyclone of the Mist. It uses the same packaging and the same number of pins. The extra pins could be used for other external circuits (but the more circuits, the costier) or for using a 32-bit memory (which is my preference because I would use it for a multicore computer).

It also supports 300MHz DDR3 which can be useful for cores used for other things than emulation (for a fast and cheap multicore Amiga or Atari for example). And DDR3 is cheap.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Thenesis » Tue Apr 02, 2019 12:45 pm

Newsdee wrote:Would we gain much more with a MiST 2?


A Mist 2 is useless for implementing an original Atari ST or Amiga, or any 8-bit and 16-bit console. It only makes sense if someone needs more power.

Also the current implementation of the Atari ST uses a lot of FPGA resources because it uses a lot of processes instead of combinatorial circuits. It could be significantly optimized in size and speed (it would lead to a much faster STeroids mode). But is is very cumbersome to do and the original authors have already made a great job making all this works correctly.

I'm interested in another cheap FPGA board but for other purposes than reviving the past, the Mist is already perfect for old platforms.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby slingshot » Wed Apr 03, 2019 8:16 am

Thenesis wrote:
Also the current implementation of the Atari ST uses a lot of FPGA resources because it uses a lot of processes instead of combinatorial circuits.

You're comparing apples with oranges here. A "process" (it's more like a term in VHDL) can contain combinatorial and sequential logic, too.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby Thenesis » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:29 am

slingshot wrote:
Thenesis wrote:
Also the current implementation of the Atari ST uses a lot of FPGA resources because it uses a lot of processes instead of combinatorial circuits.

You're comparing apples with oranges here. A "process" (it's more like a term in VHDL) can contain combinatorial and sequential logic, too.


"always" blocks in Verilog and "process" block in VHDL are sequential code and are interpreted the same way at the end. They can contain combinatorial code but if not used wisely they often add a considerable amount of logic (registers and multiplexers) compared to pure combinatorial code outside of these blocks. Processes cannot be fully removed obviously, they are often needed, but to lower resources usage, they must be used with great care.

A lot of the code of the MiST is written inside processes. It is not optimized at all for size (neither for performance). But it's good enough for old platform.

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Re: How actively are you using your MiST?

Postby slingshot » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:53 am

Thenesis wrote:
A lot of the code of the MiST is written inside processes. It is not optimized at all for size (neither for performance). But it's good enough for old platform.

You can write both combinatorial and sequential code inside an "always" or "process" block. And it doesn't matter at all if you write this in VHDL for example:

Code: Select all

a <= '1' when b='1' else '0'

or

Code: Select all

process (b) begin
   if b='1' then a<='1'; else a<='0'; end if;
end process

Except the first might be more compact to write. More complex expressions can be written inside a process block of course. And sequential logic can be written only inside a process block by specifying a clock. Hope you're just joking with sequential logic shouldn't be used or bad (all these designs are clocked). Even a simple counter counts clock ticks, and realized with sequential logic (actually everything which maintains a state - async logic with latches is evil).

Also combinatorial logic vs sequential also a matter of the design: long combinatorial paths are reducing the max usable frequency, but can do more in one step. Registering shorter combinatorial logic allows to use higher frequencies without timing violations, but does the same job in more steps. But then you can create a pipeline for it, so increasing the max. throughput at the end. All these depend on what you want to achieve.

And resource usage of the sequential vs combinatorial: look at the Genesis VDP, it uses sequential for sprite rendering, while SMS core has a more combinatorial-like sprite rendering, separate circuit for each sprite. The result: the SMS VDP consumes more resources than the Genesis'.


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