MiSTer is an open project that aims to recreate various classic computersgame consoles and arcade machines, using modern hardware. It allows software and game images to run as they would on original hardware, using peripherals such as mice, keyboards, joysticks and other game controllers.

MiSTer is a port of the well-known MiST project to a larger field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and faster ARM processor. MiSTer provides modern video output through HDMI (VGA and analog audio are still available via an optional daughter board). It’s based on the Terasic DE10-nano board.

Here are some improvements over the MiST board:

  • Altera Cyclone V SE FPGA with 110,000LE (41,500ALM) and 5,570Kbit of Block RAM.
  • ARM Cortex A9 dual-core CPU at 800MHz.
  • HDMI video and audio allowing connect to any modern monitor/TV.
  • DDR3 1GB available for both ARM and FPGA.
  • High speed ARM<->FPGA interconnect due to both being in the same chip.
  • Linux on ARM provides support for many I/O devices and file systems.
  • Board is mass-produced by a large manufacturer and freely available for a relatively cheap price 130USD (99USD for students/professors).

Due to a larger FPGA, bigger systems can be created. It’s also possible to add more support from the ARM side. For example, TZX tape format can be parsed on ARM and then sent to FPGA. Firmware is not limited by code size or available RAM. It’s even possible to emulate some parts of system through ARM that are not available in the FPGA (resulting in a so-called hybrid emulator).

MiSTer scales original video resolution to a standard HDMI resolution (usually 1280x720p60), so you don’t need to look for some ancient monitor with VGA input supporting non-standard resolution and frame rates. For purists, VGA is still available, and it outputs original video resolution.

FPGA Cores

Historical Computing

Early Computers

Eastern Computers

8-bit Computers

16-bit and 32-bit Computers

Console – 1st and 2nd Gen

Console – 3rd Gen

Console – 4th Gen

Console – Portables

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments