VOGONs tinkerers Keropi & Tiido have been working on a new project called “The Mega Card”. Which is a replacement multimedia card designed to give better video output compatibility and more sound options for the Amstrad Mega PC. The Amstrad Mega PC was a combo computer that joined an 386 IBM compatible personal computer (PC) with a PAL region SEGA Mega Drive.
When this computer was launched in 1993, users could switch between PC and Mega Drive mode by moving the front facing panel side to side on the computers case. When moving the panel to reveal the Mega Drive portion. Users could insert a Mega Drive cartridge and connect Mega Drive compatible controllers into its ports. After which the Amstrad Mega PC would turn on the Mega Drive while leaving the PC portion of the computer running in the back ground at the same time. This ability gave users the option to switch back and forth at their leisure.
However the issues here is the fact that the Mega Drive and other 240p consoles need a 15KHz compatible monitor, where PCs and many other VGA electronics need 31KHz. Amstrad addressed this issue at the time by bundling and selling a dual sync monitor capable of swapping between 15KHz and 31KHz. Regretfully over time these monitors have been harder and more difficult to source. Leaving Amstrad Mega PC owners looking for alternative means or work arounds like an OSSC.
Keropi’s new “The Mega Card” solves one of these issues by making it more monitor output friendly. It has a linedoubler feature for the Mega Drive to allow for seamless 31KHz support among both unit modes. Eliminating the need to have a 15KHz monitor in the mix. Plus there is no scaling or frame buffering with this card either and options for scanlines are included via jumpers. Addition features with this card include network support, as well as greater bootrom support to allow for large sizes of hard disk sizes. The sound portion of the cards has been improved as well.
Bringing many features from his previous experience with the Orpheus ISA soundcard. The Mega Card will include an ALS100 chip for SoundBlaster compatibility, a Yamaha OPL3 for MIDI, and a wavetable header to support options like Serdaco’s X3 GS for more advanced Roland level of MIDI. Tying all these sound features together by combining the sound output so that users did not have to loop back the sound of the Mega Drive output portions separately.
There is currently no price or launch date set, however like the Orpheus. Potential users should begin to hear more news as this project nears completion and production. Check out links below to keep informed on the projects status and eventual launch.
VOGONs Info Post | https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?p=1003258#p1003258
Keropi’s Orpheus | http://orpheus-soundcard.eu/