Saturday, December 10, 2016

Adelaide Retro Computer Group Meeting December 2016

On December 9th we held the last Adelaide Retro Computing Group meeting for 2016, with a BBQ and a free for all retro theme! We got to see some great systems and a very interesting presentation by  Alexis on his home built Retro computer!

Given that this was the last meeting for the year, we decided to hold a BBQ to celebrate and it didn't take long for the food to be eaten up!

Theo and his son were busy with BBQ duties:

Was nice to see attendees relaxing and chatting about all things Retro:

Soon though everyone was making their way into the main hall for the event, and we certainly had some interesting systems brought in to display this month! 

To start with is this rather special PC Engine LT - a portable PC Engine with built in screen and TV tuner! This system is very rare now and very expensive to buy if you can find it - thanks to Paul from Retrospekt for bringing this in!

Definitely couldn't resist having a few games on this amazing system. I also have a PC Engine, but not a portable one like this!

Next up was a Nintendo Entertainment System - yes, an original one, not the recently released NES Mini version which has been selling out everywhere globally!

Special mention goes to this classic Tempest branded Retro console system!

Here the system is being put through it paces:

I had a go at Alien Invader - it was quite good fun!

I decided to bring along my Commodore 64 with 1541 Ultimate II, WiFi Internet expansion and three new 2016 cartridge games released for the Commodore 64 for people to play - Jam It, 2048, and Moonspire. Here the Commodore 64 is running a X-2016 demo called Nothing but Petscii!

Moonspire was particularly popular during the night:

Also I brought along my recently rebuilt Amiga 4000D, with Picasso IV graphics card, X-Surf 100 Ethernet card, USB, Big Ram 256MB Zorro expansion, Cyberstorm PPC 060/240Mhz PPC accelerator, DVD drive, two floppy drives and a 200Gb IDE Hard disk!

It is also now setup with new A-Eon Technology Prisma music card, which allows the Amiga to play MP3, M4A, FLAC and WAV files at full quality without using the CPU, leaving the Amiga able to do other things - something which is impossible without this card normally!

Here I am with my Amiga 4000D on the night. I had plenty of questions about both systems during the night and was happy to explain the latest upgrades for the Classic Amiga systems in 2016.

Paul from Retrospekt also brought along his trusty Amstrad CPC464 system which was busy with games for most of the night!

A special treat also for the December event is this rare Atari Falcon 030 system. I have never seen one of these systems before and it was great to see one working and running a number of demos, games and even linux(!) during the night!

Here is Linux build running on the Atari Falcon - who would have thought:

The raytracing real time demos shown on the Falcon were very impressive:

John Paul Parker brought in this original ZX Spectrum system:

It certainly got plenty of attention!

Next to this was a special built Raspberry Pi running emulation of Retro systems inside a Sega Master System II case, with SD Card and keyboard ESC mapping to the power button for games that needed it.

Macintosh Retro system were well represented too, with this Powerbook and PowerPC  Power Mac system on display:

This Mac Classic was also on display:

We even had a clamshell iBook G3:

Systems continued to pop up everywhere, including in the centre tables as the room quickly filled up with machines!

This MIST FPGA system was brought in, running Amiga 1200 AGA core system:

This Commodore 64 that was brought in had an interesting Commodore Sound Expander cartridge expansion module installed, and it was busy playing plenty of great music and SID tunes during the night!

Here is an Atari 1040ST with Xenon 2 Megablast being played:

Sega was not missed out, with the Sega Saturn, Megadrive and Sega Master System all up and running games to enjoy on the night:

The hall was busy with plenty of new faces and regulars too:

On the PC front, we also had this retro IBM PC 8086 system, rebuilt over the course of 2016 and ready just in time to bring to the meeting to display!

Here is the internals - the whole case has been reconditioned and looks terrific - some typically huge hard disks (size, not capacity!) and floppy drives were on display too:

Also George brought in this luggable portable(!) IBM PC:

Here is George chatting with some of the attendees on the night:

Alexis was our guest presenter for the evening, and he had us all very interested in his personally built Retro computer system, running CP/M:

He hand soldered the boards and connections himself, setup the lighting systems and switches, hard disk controller and firmware logic himself - it was a three year project:
The hard disk is broken up into 8MB partitions (maximum addressable size for the 8088 CPU and hard disk controller limitations:

Here is the rear view of the system

Here you can see the boards he put together with the interface ports for the various cards he created for the computer functions:

It was a very interesting presentation with some demonstrations of system memory monitoring, as well as games and programs shown running on the system. We were all impressed with the wealth of knowledge Alexis has and being able to finish this impressive project himself:

It was a great night and we want to thank everyone for coming to the Adelaide Retro Computing Group events throughout 2016.

We look forward to seeing you all again in January 2017!

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