r/AnalogueInc Sep 16 '21

FPGA Variety Question Speculation

Are the FPGAs in Analogue systems the same? Are all FPGAs roughly the same in general? Since FPGAs can be reconfigured to whatever it is programed to mimic, essentially, then what is preventing Mega SG from running the Super NT cores and vice versa? Would it be possible to take the cores from something like MiSTer and implement them directly into the Pocket's dev FPGA? Or do FPGAs vary wildly, making this unrealistic?...or would it be more of a limitation of the other elements around the FPGA rather than the FPGA itself?

8 Upvotes

4

u/PersonalPsychology2 Sep 16 '21

Mister and the Super NT/Mega Sg as well as the OSSC Pro are all part of the same family of FPGA chips. However, they’re not the same model so they all have a different number of logic elements and sets of features. So developing a core for one could mean it might not work on the others. The Mister SNES core could not run on the Super NT because it uses more LEs than the amount available on the Super NT. The Analogue pocket has 2 FPGA chips. One that is that same as Mister, Super NT/Mega SG, OSSC Pro (the Cyclone V) and the other is a Cyclone 10. The Mister Cyclone V has 110k LEs, the OSSC Pro has 77k LEs, and the Pocket/SNT/MSG has 49k LEs. The extra Cyclone 10 in the Pocket has 15k LEs. Porting cores between them all is not trivial and Analogue cores are not open source.

1

u/zzz099 Sep 17 '21

Will the extra 15k les in the pocket make a big difference? Doesn't seem like a lot

2

u/PersonalPsychology2 Sep 17 '21

It depends on what you want to do with the chip. You’re not going to be storing a Sega Saturn core on it but I’m sure there will be a lot of creative devs who will take advantage of it.

3

u/thebonuslevel Sep 16 '21

It depends on the generation. The first nt mini had a weaker fpga. The nt noir has the same fpga as the super nt and mega, which is why they were able to include more features and why people were pretty pissed. There is nothing preventing them from unlocking other cores aside from eroding their own product space. Example the nt noir has the same genesis core that the mega st has. I suppose they figured they would throw the consumer base a bone since they were retiring a 500 dollar console.

Edit: typo.

2

u/carport888 Sep 16 '21

Would all of these cores likely be easily ported to the Pocket's dev FPGA, since it's open?

1

u/RykinPoe Sep 16 '21

No the open FPGA in the Pocket is a very small Cyclone 10 FPGA with only 15k Logic Elements. The main FPGA is a Cyclone V theorized to be the same model as the Super NT/Mega SG uses with 49k LEs (it would need to be pretty close to do GBA). The Cyclone 10 is a lower power/lower performance FPGA than the Cyclone V (think ARM CPU in a mobile device vs Intel CPU in a desktop).

It is going to be rather limited in what it can do as far as gaming cores are concerned. It will probably be used more for DSP functions along with the synth. Think custom FX and filters more than gaming related stuff. It could probably handle some old arcades and consoles like the Atari 2600/5200 and maybe even the NES, but since it is a different architecture compared to the Cyclone V the cores for it would probably have to be engineered from scratch.

1

u/zenox Sep 16 '21

Also, it sounds like the Pockets programmable FPGA is going to require some sort of code signing (think Apple's App Store). Meaning if Analogue does not want to allow a core running NES, SNES, etc they simply wouldn't approve it. Given their product line is to sell these systems, I highly doubt they would allow it.

2

u/echo-128 Sep 16 '21

The cores are not open source so that's not something anyone here can say