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A DEC PDP-1 implementation on an FPGA #VintageComputing

Via YouTube, Twitter, and GitHub, this is FPG-1, a hobby project doing a DEC PDP-1 computer implementation in FPGA. It’s made for the MiSTer retro gaming system. The video you are seeing is recorded from the on-board HDMI output by using AverMedia EzRecorder.

DEC PDP-1 is a computer designed and produced in 1959. Considering the pace of change in computing, that might seem like the prehistoric age. However, it is also surprisingly modern and proves a point that the basic concepts still withstand the test of time.

This project is trying to re-create this computer in FPGA and enable running the first real computer game, SpaceWar!, on a modern display and gamepad. It is designed to run on the MiSTer platform, a retro gaming system based on the Terasic DE10-Nano FPGA board.

The implementation is done in Verilog, a hardware description language specifying the structure and behavior of digital logic circuits. This is not a software emulation because there is no CPU executing it.

Since this is my first Verilog project ever and its purpose was to teach myself about FPGA, don’t expect too much. Beginners often make mistakes or break best practice. Please keep this in mind. Advice and suggestions are welcome!

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More details at https://github.com/hrvach/fpg1. Great work!

Note: Ben Gurley (1926-1963) is the engineer who designed PDP-1 in 3 months. His tragic fate was a great loss to computer science and engineering.


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