V4Z80P: The 8-bit laptop

[Phil] over at Retroleum has cobbled together a clean, well put together laptop based entirely around a Zilog Z80 microprocessor and a pair of Spartan II FPGAs. These FPGAs allow him to reduce the number of devices on his board, and therefore cut his production cost as well as device size. He even managed to integrate a salvaged PSOne screen. The laptop comes complete with [Phil]‘s own Homebrew OS as well as a great graphical vector based demo.

Sure he’s updated the project in recent years to shrink the board, speeding up the Z80, and increasing the peripheral speed and functionality, but we’re suckers here for a total package hack. Seriously though, check out the newest version of the device as well as the backlog that shows the project growing over time.

Thanks to [Steth] for the heads up.


  1. javajunkie says:

    Reminds me of my first laptop.

  2. Richard says:

    That’s so cool it hurts… lovely work Phil :-)

  3. raith says:

    maybe I should build one of these, I have a few pieces from an old laptop laying around.

  4. cbob says:

    Whoa, The Sinclair laptop that never was.

    (now I’m off to pine for the days of frugal memory management & tight code as the norm)

  5. Parker says:

    But my TI 84 Plus SE has a 15mhz Zilog Z80 processor. Just kidding. Great job and nice construction.

  6. DeKay says:

    That’s one big bezel!

  7. hairymnstr says:

    Just a clarification:

    I’ve been following Phil’s site since V2 with great interest, it was a significant inspiration towards my own Z80 projects. This is a fairly old project, current development is definitely around the V6Z80P+. As far as I’m aware however there has never been any attempt to “virtualize” the Z80 as the article states, even the latest has a real Z80 and an FPGA to replace the “glue logic”.

  8. strider_mt2k says:


    Reminds me of Pandora a little, only without the lame excuses and bullshit.

  9. James Munns says:

    @hairymnstr after I reread his update of the v6, I realized that I had mistakenly assumed he had virtualized the Z80, something he talked about doing in the v4 (but hadn’t implemented).

    Thanks for pointing that out, i’ve updated the article to reflect that.

  10. Derek says:

    @strider_mt2k – You’re obviously not a member of the industry. If trolling is your M.O., go back to 4chan until your ready to try talking out of your mouth as opposed to your ass.

    I’m sure we’ll still be around.

  11. George Johnson says:

    This is great!! I LOVE the Zilog Z-80!

  12. Vince says:


  13. tbase says:

    @cbob- there was a Sinclair “laptop”, I used to do tech support for them, even talked to Mel Torme once :-)


  14. DO WANT says:

    i want one

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