The tranZPUter is a hardware concept and design for upgrading vintage computer systems by supplanting the original microprocessor to provide a ZPU ecosystem with physical presence.

The name is derived from: A TRANsformable ZPU compuTER as the base CPU in the original FPGA design was the ZPU Evo.

The design concept advanced to upgrade a Sharp MZ-80A computer which not directly related to the ZPU, but provided the mechanism to replace the original Z80 with a more powerful version and extending hardware functionality (ie. RAM) with the ZPU acting as an I/O processor which could also double as the primary processor. This concept continued as the tranZPUter project.

The concept continued to evolve and in order to more rapidly advance the design, an ARM Cortex-M4 processor was added as an I/O processor creating the tranZPUter SW project. The primary purpose was to develop the software base using a more mature processor ecosystem (ARM) as the ZPU Evo was still under development, limited to the GCC v3.4.2 C/C++ compiler and bugs much more difficult to locate and resolve. The design added USB connectivity and SD card storage creating the platform on which to develop ZPUTA and zOS operating systems which are the embedded software of the I/O processor inside the tranZPUter design. This software targets the ZPU or the ARM Cortex-M4 processors and also provides the platform on which a software based cpu controlling the host hardware can be envisaged. This design was coupled with the Sharp MZ-80A Video Controller upgrade, an FPGA design which would allow pixel graphics and advanced features to be realised on an MZ-80A host.

The coupling of a tranZPUter SW and FPGA Video Controller led to the tranZPUter SW-700 design and was initially targeted at the Sharp MZ-700. This design added a wealth of hardware features such as a 24MHz Z80, 512K-1MByte RAM, a 512 macrocell CPLD and a 75K Logic Element FPGA allowing for alternative hard (FPGA) and software (Cortex M4) processors, full VGA graphics capability, SD storage, USB connectivity and the ability to host the Sharp MZ Series FPGA Emulator, allowing an MZ-700 to become (through hardware emulation) any of the Sharp MZ-80K..MZ-2200 series machines.

Please click on a link in the menu to explore the various tranZPUter concepts and designs.