divIDE is an ATA (IDE) interface which takes your ZX Spectrum computing to a whole new level. No longer you need to operate with ageing media such as audio tapes or diskettes which is why many enthusiasts stick to emulation. Instead, you can put your software collection on a hard disk, CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Zip drive or even CompactFlash card and experience your favourite games, demos and utilities the way they were meant to be run - and even better. Using file system drivers already available, many users find their Speccy box again a live platform - time for you to make the switch? ;]
feature highlights
  • divIDE is fully 16-bit (1)
  • divIDE works on all ZX Spectrum flavours (16, 48, 48+, 128, +2, +2A, +3 and clones)
  • Thanks to divIDE's onboard logic you can expect transfer rates up to 218 KB/sec (bottleneck being only an INI/OUTI instruction latency) (2)
  • divIDE has its own 8 KB of flashable shadow ROM to host operating system core, leaving your original ZX Spectrum ROM intact. Additional 32 KB of RAM accessible as 8 KB memory banks are present.
  • divIDE's auto-mapping feature transparently maps shadow ROM at important entry points enabling standard tape emulation, BASIC extensions, NMI menu and DISCiPLE/+D or BetaDisk emulation.
  • divIDE's MAPRAM feature makes it possible for developers and users to test new software without the need of reflashing their working system in shadow ROM.
  • divIDE works with all ATA-compatible devices (there are no known compatibility issues) (3)
  • Available software supports widely used emulator formats (TAP, SNA, Z80, SCR). Just download your all-time favourite games from the web, burn them to CD and play!
  • You can get your DIY kit (board and components) for as little as 20 EUR (14 GBP). This is basically a cost of components, otherwise it's completely free.

divIDE software
Currently there are two major operating systems, one bare-bone system (TBIOS) and also emulator for Linux/UNIX available:
  • DEMFIR (DTP's Emulator Files Runner) handles ISO 9660 file system found on CD-ROMs. You can use either CDs or unfragmented ISO images stored on a disk, CompactFlash etc. DEMFIR supports TAP, SNA, Z80, MFC and SCR files. You can download these from numerous software archives such as World of Spectrum. As it is possible to fit thousands of games to a single CD, DEMFIR might turn your Speccy into huge retro-gaming console. Important note: DEMFIR is read only.
  • MDOS3 is a divIDE enhancement of MDOS/MDOS2 systems which were used in D40/D80 disk units. MDOS3 is a full-featured OS working with diskette images and supporting up to 4 virtual drives. One of its divIDE-specific features is a tape emulator. With huge D40/D80 software base available this might be an option for "true" Speccy user - go ahead and try it.
  • TBIOS is basically a hardware testing utility. If you just built your divIDE you will probably want to flash this. TBIOS source code is available for starting developers as a demonstration of how to interface with ATA devices, how to handle shadow ROM entry points etc. Some goodies are included, such as divIDEo player and dithvIDE picture viewer.
  • Spediv (divIDE emulator) is a divIDE-enhanced version of Spectemu - an open source ZX Spectrum emulator. Spediv contains its own ATA layer emulation and works with filesystem images. Overall it's a very handy tool for divIDE software development and testing as there is no need of loading code to actual hardware. Although still being in beta version, it is able to emulate any current divIDE software.
Note: another OS, codenamed FATware is actively being developed. It will handle FAT16 volumes allowing easy portability between your PC and Speccy. We are also encouraging skilled developers to write BetaDisk emulator. divIDE handles BetaDisk entry points therefore writing a replacement of TR-DOS disk routines should be a manageable task.
technical documentation
divIDE schematics
divIDE board layout
divIDE programming model - description by author (I/O ports, memory mapping)

divIDE 5.7b - complete project file
divIDE 5.7c - complete project file

The latest hardware revision of divIDE is 5.7c. There is only a small change in board over 5.7b (the list of used components remains the same).

For more thorough (albeit spartan) resource please visit author's website. It contains latest Eagle project and GAL logic along with all necessary material needed by professional board manufacturers. It also contains various utilities, technology demos and hosts cfIDE project - a free (and handy) CompactFlash to ATA adapter through which you can connect a CompactFlash card to your divIDE. - valuable resource of ATA/ATAPI related documents including ATA standard drafts. - practical information for ATA/ATAPI developers, including sample device driver source code.
logo - download "official" divIDE logo
small logo - small logo designed for Speccy screen
SCR logo - small logo in SCR format

Contact Zilog (hardware author) with any divIDE-related questions, also if you want to get your own DIY kit.

Contact me with issues related to this page and FATware system.

(1) Compare with "ZX Spectrum +3e" project where 8-bit interface actually reduces your hard drive to half size.

(2) Compare with ZXATASP containing 8255 chip making interfacing not-that-easy. The actual transfer speed here is about 68 KB/sec (in fact about 3.2 times slower).

(3) Some interfaces (including ZXATASP) have a list of incompatible hardware.