Videl replacement graphics card for the CT60

Updated March 4th 2012

With the CT60 the Falcon has become the fastest Atari available, at least when it comes to computation speed. One area where it still lacks greatly is Graphics. The SuperVidel project tries to remedy this.


Just think about it; the falcon already has good sound abilities, which it has always had, and the CT60 brings it up to a good speed level. The most limiting factor for graphics intensive applications now will be writing to the STRAM to update the screen. If you do some calculations on the available bandwidth of the STRAM, a refresh rate of about 30fps is all that even the CT60 will be able to achieve. These calculations are made from assumptions of a 320x240x16bit screen, an available memory bandwidth of 5.5MB/s for the STRAM, and that the CPU performs updates of the whole screen continously from FastRAM to STRAM.
This is where our project comes in. We're designing a Videl-replacement graphics card, which will connect to the CT60 bus slot. The card aims to be 100% compatible with the old Videl chip at the register level.

Features as of 2012-03-04

(features marked in italics are planned to be released after the boards are shipped, with various degrees of likelihood)

SVEthLANa ethernet board

Here are a few photos of the early but well functioning prototype of the SVEthLANa. Its measures are 70x28mm. The final board is slightly longer, and it will be orange like the SuperVidel. :)
SVEthLANa pic #1SVEthLANa pic #2

Prototype boards

Here is another picture of our prototype boards taken just after we got them in january 2009.


We have got some questions over the years, which we'll answer here:
  1. A standard case, with a standard CT60/63: Only one board fits below the keyboard, since the upward address connector barely touches the keyboard. Look at this picture:

    Here you see a photo taken from the left of the falcon below the keyboard. The EtherNat is the only board mounted here, not the SuperVidel, but it will be the same situation. The keyboard rests on the address connector that you see pointing upwards in the middle of the picture. We had to remove a screw on the bottom of the keyboard since it bent some of the pins on the EtherNat. You should do this on your keyboard too if this case applies to you. Also do it if you just have an EtherNat...

  2. A standard case, with a CT60/63 that has been moved backwards by using our version of Rodolphe's CT-extender:

    Notice the silvery extender board in front of the CT60, which moves the CT60 a few centimeters back. There is another one (not visible) below the CT60 for the other motherboard connector. The benefit of using the extender boards is that all boards that are stacked on the CT60 expansion port are out of the way of the keyboard:

    Note though that only two boards fit vertically (SV + EtherNat, we can't know the height of other boards of course), since the ceiling of the plastic case is in the way. The extender boards have been soldered to the bottom of the CT60 by first removing the old CT60 female hole mount headers, and then inserting the extender male headers from below and soldering them in place. This is necessary to only lift the CT60 about 2mm above its original height. If we had kept the original female CT60 headers, the whole CT60 would have been raised about 10 mm and it would have hit the ceiling of the falcon case with its SDRAM DIMM. We will of produce the extender boards with the SuperVidel, but we won't be able to help anyone with the soldering work of attaching the extender boards to the CT60. Anyone who has basic soldering skills can do it, but it takes an hour or so.