22.11.2008: Software and hardware update for the C-One
The C-One is unique with it's architecture until today: The central components can re-configure each other while the machine is running. If you wanted to do this with a traditional computer, you'd have to exchange PCI cards or even the processor while it's turned on. The process took a few seconds, reminding the user of the speed of computers of the 80's. Although the C-One always aimed at resembling computers of that decade, that kind of speed is not acceptable for a current machine. FPGA developer Tobias Gubener has re-written the startup-procedure of the C-One (comparable to the BIOS of a normal PC) from scratch to overcome this.
The new software is called "Newboot" and it's free to every C-One owner. It is not necessary to work on the C-One's hardware, as it's just a flash upgrade. Still, the performance of the new startup is stunning. Instead of the elderly 80's design, the C-One now welcomes you with a graphical menu and almost triple speed. While browsing through the menus, the FPGAs on the board are re-configured a number of times without the user even noticing. With Newboot, the C-One has made the final step to everyday-usability after a development time of five years.
With the FPGA Extender card that's available since yesterday, the C-One even overcomes the limitation of emulating only 8-bit systems. Tobias Gubener has ported Dennis van Weeren's Minimig as a first demonstration of the new capabilities: In addition to VIC-20, C64 and Amstrad CPC, the C-One can now run 32-bit systems like the Amiga. The FPGA capacity of the C-One is increased almost by a factor of five with the extender board! The technical data in short:
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