I've recently really wanted to try and design a computer system around a retro 8-bit CPU such as the Zilog Z80 or the Intel 8080, and I would appreciate some sanity checks! I was inspired by Ben Eater's series on making a breadboard CPU, and I've built a large section of his project using the TI 74LS series TTL chips. Now, I was wondering if it was a reasonable project to design a retro computer based on the Z80, 8080, or other comparable 8-bit CPU. (perhaps the Motorola 6800?)
I understand that I'd have to get printed PCBs for any sort of reliability (no breadboards at this scale!) or at least get some solder-on boards. Also, I would have to get chips from unconventional sources (used or niche shops).
I've researched the Intel 8080 and it seems that they made (at least back then) a wide range of companion chips like the memory controller, IO controller, a chip that generated all the necessary system clocks/signals, etc. That seems rather convenient, but I worry that those companion chips would be even harder to acquire than the CPU itself.
I have a pretty good conceptual understanding of how these basic CPUs work, as well as a general understanding of assembly, machine code, stacks, instructions, etc.
Is this an impossible undertaking, or something that has been done many times before? My final goal would be to get some simple C compiler working, like Small-C, along with a terminal.
Edit: For future visitors, here is a link to a site with a very barebones Z80 implementation: http://searle.hostei.com/grant/z80/SimpleZ80.html