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Topic: MB03+ Ultimate

MB03+ is first hw interface supports esxDOS with DMA. Both versions IDE and MMC are included and you can easy and fast switch between it. MB03+ has two micro SD and one Compact Flash slot. More info at https://www.facebook.com/mb02plus/

128.land.com

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Re: MB03+ Ultimate

I proud to announce MB03+ Ultimate will be available through ByteDelight e-shop in the future.

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Re: MB03+ Ultimate

If you are interested about buying of MB03+ Ultimate , please send me PM or on messenger FB or contact ByteDelight eshop. It helps me to better arrange next manufacturing. Thanks a lot. Price is about 399EUR.

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Re: MB03+ Ultimate

MB-03+ Ultimate- introduction
Author: Shrek, translation to English by Hood 27.9.2019

Today I received a brand new interface called MB-03+ Ultimate. Apart from others, hosting FPGA this device is not meant as a substitution for hardly breathing old ZX machines but as an expanding interface for real Speccy (48/ 128). Some may object that it is a foolish idea to carry good old Speccies around fans meeting praying for them to survive the way but it makes a sort of sense in times when everyone can build his own e.g. Harlequin (even my son who is 9 could do that with my little help). Yes, MB-03+ Ultimate is a multi-device but so was his predecessor and I personally did not mind. In its times MB-02+ could do things other systems could only dream of. With ease we used all MB-02+‘s advantages (DMA, RTC, 512kB RAM paged in lower memory, tape emulation…). Ok, with MB-03+ Ultimate comes one disadvantage. You could threaten a naughty Atari or a cheeky C64 user to flap his head with a bit more massive MB-02+. It was all packed in well-made sheet metal case so other 8 bit platformers just got shut up. MB-02+ had its authority weight wink MB-03+ Ultimate is packed well in a printed plastic case, which hardly can do any damage to an Atari or C64 user.

Now specifications:
•    PCB dimensions: 10 x 10 cm
•    power source taken directly from ZXS (hurray, I really hated that on MB-02+)
•    FPGA Xilinx Spartan7- XC7S50 484 pins- the core of MB-03+ Ultimate
•    16MB SRAM + 4MB Fast SRAM + 2MB FLASH + FRAM 8KB (system info, bios config); all is expandable through extra slots, if needed
•    RTC
•    CompactFLash (IDE) and two slots for microSD cards
•    WiFi module- type ESP 8266
•    two USD ports- the first for firmware update, the second for K-Mouse
•    compatibility with MB02+, MBIDE, BSDOS308, DivIDE, DivMMC, ESXDOS 0.8.7 and Residos ensured
•    Z80 DMA
•    integrated sound cards: 3x AY- Turbosound, SAA1099, SoundDrive/Stereo, Covox, Specdrum and General Sound
•    Ultimate firmware- easily configures your MB-03+
•    two expandable slots

MB-03+ Ultimate parameters are breath taking and you might feel slightly at loss: what the hell I need it for? Truly, the time will show it. There is no WiFi support yet on MB-03+ (remark from the translator: in time of translation Shrek is finalising WiFi routines, enabling file download from Internet, Time synchronisation through WiFi is available already+ WiFi connection). All is prepared hardware-wise but the software is missing. According to LMN’s info, FPGA’s capacity is filled up by only 25% so still plenty of space for further development although I cannot think of other meaningful ideas to implement. The time will show it. Let’s have a look at how work on MB-03+ looks like.

After you connect MB to your ZX Spectrum there appears a neat animation with selection:

1.    BS Dos 3.08 with HDD patch (this is what I’ve been used to)
2.    DivMMC- this is what I’ve been getting used to;)

MB-03+ is also prepared to boot BS Dos Ultimate though it cannot run it at the moment since it is in development and Busy will be the heroic author. You can also run diagnostic tool and test your Spectrum, memory ULA timing, etc.

Work with BS Dos 3.08 is just like I remember it from the past only BS Dos seems to me a far lot quicker but this can be a placebo, impressions of the new hardware. EsxDos works flawlessly too and all works the same way as DivMMC, which I am used to. So nothing really to take me down. What did took me down was the moment I run MOD player or games adapted for General Sound (Chase H.Q. and its turbo boost „Oh, shit!“ exclamation cannot be forgotten). I started to feel there is really anything new under my hands and that added value of this HW is high. My ZX Spectrum can do a lot now without having tons of add-ons which is a pleasant bonus. And it would require tons of add-ons if I wanted to had all the functionality without MB-03+. I am sorry, I wanted to write a detailed review full of beneficial information with kind and quality humour but now I have no time. I really want to finish Chase H.Q. and listen to some music…;) Besides, MB-03+ host also LED Matrix showing AY channel volumes at the moment.

Finally, some not so good quality pictures of MB and thanks to LMN for sending me a first piece to my hands. In the course of time, I will be publishing new information and experience with this piece of hardware.

Photo gallery to be found here: http://mb-maniax.cz/2019/09/04/mb-03-ul … edstavuje/

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Re: MB03+ Ultimate

MB03+ Ultimate- my first days
Author: Shrek, translation to English by Hood 27.9.2019

No worries, lads, after a longer while here comes an article, which will not be presenting my pseudo creations. On the other hand, it will present my pseudo opinions so I do not know which is better. wink I own MB03+ for almost 3 weeks and I must admit I have not switched on any other machine than ZX Spectrum with this device (except for KapliCon, where I switched on Sinclair QL for 5 minutes).



Let’s summarise my own pros:

•    Sound capabilities- new MB integrates many sound interfaces so for most of the time (except for time for ZX gaming) my loudspeakers pour our various sounds. Amiga’s MODs, 3x AY 9 channels, etc. there are many capabilities and I love sound qualities and possibilities of the new MB.
•    Coding- I mainly did coding on ZX Spectrum and I still love this activity. I already have produced two little programs, which work with MB03+ WiFi module in the last week. I have started works on an online MOD player because I do not like switching between individual disks (regarding that we still have to use disks of max 2 MB capacity where you cannot store many MOD files, then online MOD player is a comfortable solution). Speaking of music and coding, I really love that feature when I play a MOD, push the NMI button, switch to BASIC, run Prometheus assembler and code, and listen to the MOD at the same time. Coding has become even nicer discipline on ZX Spectrum during listening to MODs and other music stuff.
•     System selection- what is my very favourite is that I can choose between BS Dos and EsxDos. Not always I feel like having looking for files on MBD disks, so I switch to EsxDos and look for what I need in its NMI browser, find it and run it. This was welcomed mainly by my son Ondra, whom I do not want to explain what is MBD, what for are commands like @, $, NEW.



Now for my dislikes, or what I fear of:

MB03+ Ultimate is a disk driver, which hosts quite a big FPGA chip, which is currently filled up only by 25%. It could be a good news considering a fact that LMN is a person trying to meet every user’s demands (which is also a good news, innit? wink, so I would not like to see it turning it the wrong way as ZX Spectrum Next (with its own instructions, Z80- DOWNHL, math coprocessors, sprites, SID). I love ZX Spectrum as it is and I like extending its capabilities to show to the world that we can make it connect WiFi, communicate on IRC channel or download files with an FTP client. This is all feasible with Z80 instruction set. Why should I need SID, OPL player or math coprocessor? Shouldn’t I rather place ZX Spectrum to a drawer and use different computers instead? Personally, I would abandon all those things and solve system related things, like adding FAT 32 reading/ writing to the FPGA. Indeed, nothing for what a true ZX user would be proud of but coders would accept this feature with a warm welcome and relief. More such examples could be realised but it is not necessary for now. LMN has the last word, he is the author of MB03+ Ultimate and I will be watching closely the way this interface will head to. It is a lot of fun coding for this device so far. I try to make use of MB capabilities up to the max. Imagine MB Commander supporting FAT 32 or FTP transfer. We have only discussed such things in the past and no one would really want to venture into it. Writing FAT driver is a sheer drudgery. Whereas on MB03+ it would and could be sorted out on hardware level. I do hope MB03+ will not follow the same path as Zx Next, that would be a real misery. And I do swear, if I will see SID emulation on MB03+ I crush it! wink

Please, do not take the previous paragraph negatively- I am excited about MB03+, I am running it on daily basis and I am glad to have it. I just have to write what have been written wink