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Chips of memory: A Nostalgic Rebirth of the Classic Z80
Bringing Back The Past: Zilog Z80
DukeRem

For many, the first taste of computing was a basic 8-bit microprocessor in the 1970s. Now, with the recent end-of-life of the Zilog Z80, comes a nostalgic rebirth.

body: Silicon Valley, long known for its innovative spirit and technological advances, is now witnessing a surprising twist. A group of engineers has come together to bring back to life a piece of hardware history - the Z80 8-bit microprocessor. While the original Z80 is now outdated and Zilog continues to sell derivatives like the eZ80, a new project called Rejunity aims to offer an open-source version of the classic Z80 core on real hardware, thanks to TinyTapeout’s ASIC project.

The proposed 2-tile implementation on TinyTapeout 7 may not match the original 40-pin DIP chips of old, but it represents an important step in preserving a slice of computing history. By comparing this open-source z80 core with an original chip fabricated using a 19th-century process, we can gain insight into how technology has evolved. Though this initial run is more of a demonstration than a practical solution, it raises the possibility of a future revival of open-source, real Z80s or other chips. In the meantime, nostalgia lives on through emulators and this new endeavor.

highlights:

  1. Nostalgic rebirth of the classic Z80
  2. Open-source Z80 core on real hardware
  3. Comparison with original 1970s-era chips