We’ve seen a lot of retro builds around the Z80. Not many are as neatly done or as well-documented as [dekeNukem’s] FAP80 project. Before you rush to the comments to make the obvious joke, we’ll tell you that everyone has already made up their own variation of the same joke. We’ll also tell you the name is a cross between an old design from [Steve Ciarcia] called the ZAP80 and a reference to the FPGA used in this device.
[dekeNukem] says his goal was to create a Z80 computer without all the baggage of using period-correct support chips. You can argue about the relative merits of that approach versus a more purist build, but the FAP80 has a 5 slot backplane, VGA output, a PS/2 keyboard port and more. You can see one of many videos showing the machine below.
The machine started out hand-wired but because of noise issues, it is now on a printed circuit board. In addition to the GitHub page, there is an extensive set of blog posts with videos detailing the machine’s design and construction. Not all the blog postings are tagged so you might have to look around a little, but there is a lot of detail about the project. If the blog postings aren’t your thing, there’s a sort of visual tour, too.
You could argue that a Z80 computer that uses an FPGA, a CPLD, and two ARM chips for support is a little strange, but it does make for a powerful and simple system. However, we’ve seen other Z80 systems supported by more modern devices. We suppose, though, that you could just simulate the whole thing in an FPGA or bigger CPU.