Sinclair’s ZX Spectrum celebrated its 35th anniversary on Sunday, and fans have celebrated with the launch of a hardware revival on Kickstarter. The ZX Spectrum Next differs from other Spectrum revival projects in that it is a full-fledged computer, rather than a keyboard or plug-and-play console. Not only that, but it’s an evolution of the original hardware – compatible with original software and accessories, but with new capabilities and expansions. The industrial design has been handled by Rick Dickinson, ensuring an authentic Spectrum look.
At the heart of the ZX Spectrum Next is an FPGA running as a significantly upgraded Speccy. The Z80 CPU has 3.5MHz or 7MHz modes, the default 512KB RAM can be upgraded to 2.5MB, hardware sprites and a 256 colour mode have been implemented, and there are three AY audio chips and an FM unit for your aural pleasure. RGB, VGA and HDMI video output are all included. It’s also possible to use a Raspberry Pi Zero as a cheap accelerator board, adding a 1GHz CPU, 512MB RAM and a dedicated GPU. If the unit delivers on its promises, it could well be the last word in Spectrum models.
A £99 pledge will get you a bare board, and £175 will get you a full machine. £215 upgrades that to a ZX Spectrum Next Plus, with a real-time clock and Wi-Fi module included. The project has already passed its £250,000 funding goal, and the project’s estimated delivery date is July 2018. For more information or to back the project yourself, click here to visit the ZX Spectrum Next Kickstarter page.