Released today on the ZX Spectrum Vega+ Indiegogo page is a huge heap of technical specifications relating to the upcoming release of the latest handheld retrogaming device, the ZX Vega+. Covered in this news release – amongst many other pieces of information – is the screen, software & memory. Take a read below to see what’s coming and also check out the new images of the PCB and screen.
This is this first of a number of updates we will be making over the next few days including a tiny film (we think you will like), news on delivery and a bit of “house-keeping” from the team at Retro. Several of the more technically-minded visitors to our website have asked about the electronic hardware and software of the Vega+, so here we summarize the key elements.
The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ is a hand-held games console, compatible with all ZX Spectrum software. It has a 3.5 inch TFT colour LCD with a resolution of 320 x 240. Its power supply is a rechargeable lithium ion battery. We expect most users will play with their Vega+ while on the move and away from home. But in addition to the LCD, the console may be connected to a TV or monitor by a composite video cable.
Electronics – The Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega follows Sir Clive Sinclair’s philosophy of component reduction. It consists of just three commodity chips:
- The micro-controller – an ARM9 based core
- The dynamic memory – 16Mb DDR SDRAM
- The data storage memory – 64Mb SPI Flash memory
The ARM SOC (system on a chip) is a Freescale MCIMX233DJM4C. In the original Vega product we employ the 128 pin LQFP (“low profile quad flatpack”) version of this device, which has 128 pins. In the Vega+ we need more pins in order to cater for the USB connection for users who wish to attach a keyboard, and we therefore use the 169 pin BGA (“ball grid array”) version of the device. The SOC is the core of the design, and performs all of the work necessary to run ZX Spectrum software.
The SDRAM stores the video, audio and game code being executed. The Flash memory stores the system and games software library.
The circuitry itself is tiny, covering a PCB area of just 145mm x 65mm. The PCB incorporates a micro-SD Card socket, enabling future software updates and additional games to be loaded by the user.
Software – A key part of the Vega design is the special emulation software that tricks the Freescale SOC into behaving like a ZX Spectrum, including the replication of the ZX Spectrum’s unusual and characteristic display. This allows many thousands of Spectrum games to be played on the Vega+.
Capability -The Vega produces high-quality stereo audio and video signals. There is an in-built speaker and a socket for a standard headphone jack plug which allows for stereo output. The video signals and audio can be fed to a television through a composite video cable terminated by RCA phono plugs. The TV output is capable of producing PAL and NTSC signals, making it compatible with televisions across most countries throughout the world.
The Vega+ will support games written for the 16K, 48K and 128K models of the ZX Spectrum, and includes new features such as the ULAplus extended colour palettes, recently developed by members of the Spectrum community.
Standard micro-SDCards are used to load user software into the Vega+, and are easily accessed through the product’s user interface. Game files are accepted in TAP, Z80 and SZX formats. The Vega+ may be configured on a program-by-program basis through special keymap files which tell the Vega+ which ZX Spectrum keys to map to which Vega+ buttons, the title of the game, any POKES that need to be applied and which model of ZX Spectrum the game is intended for. There is an on-screen menu offering the support of a virtual keyboard for key mapping. Keymap files can be provided for any of the built-in games, allowing users to reconfigure them to their own preference.
The Vega+ will automatically update itself if an SDCard is inserted containing a new version of the Vega+ firmware, and these will be released regularly to introduce new features.
To Keep updated on all the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ news check out their website here http://retrocomputerslimited.com/
SEE ALSO: Follow all of our ZX Vega+ coverage