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Old 01-14-2007, 04:41 PM   #1
Starrfoxx
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Default What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

I find the Mediator card a fascinating product from Elbox, plus this Coldfire card with PCI/AGP looks interesting too.

What I'm curious to know is how would this work with the Amiga and what would you be able to do with it? How well does it work?

Does a PCI ethernet card work much better/reliable than a Zorro card?

How would the Amiga take advantage of a sound card and video card plugged into a PCI slot? Are there Amiga programs out there that can take advantage of setups like this, or would new programs need to be made?

I can see AmigaOS 4.0 being able to take advantage of a setup like this, but I'm not sure how something like that would affect classic programs.
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:47 PM   #2
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

The mediator works very well. The speed is very dependent on the processor card. Sound card works great with AHI, Video is very fast, Network is fastest I have seen on the 1200. I use 100mb cards. The mediator is a great product but keep in mind you can only use devices elbox supports with the included drivers.
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Old 01-14-2007, 05:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

Does Elbox provide a list of cards or chipsets supported with the Mediator? I think I'm finally going to take the plunge and buy a Mediator 4000Di. I'm assuming my best bet for video is a VooDoo card so the PCI system has a DMA buffer.

I have numerous 8139-based network cards; S3, Trident, Cirrus Logic, and ATI video cards (personally, I loves me a Matrox!); and a few various SoundBlaster or compatible sound cards. That's pretty much a full board right there, eh?

[EDIT: I found it in their website. I have a buttload of supported PCI cards, yay!]
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

That Spider card is useless. You'll cannot install the USB stack for it.

There is a WAR among Poseidon's author (USB stack) and Elbox. Wait for some weeks to see wath's happen.
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Old 01-15-2007, 06:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

@Starrfoxx:

Just a small sample of the kinds of programs that can take advantage of this stuff: games

Having an advanced 3D card on the PCI bus will be certainly much faster than using an outdated "Amiga 3D" card such as a Cybervision 64/3D or Cybervision PPC or BlizzardVision PPC.

I personally don't have a Mediator (or Prometheus, or G-Rex), but trying to collect cash for one.

As for their Dragon card using the Coldfire CPU... I can't wait! It's been demoed this year in Poland, and that's great news! (look at the latest update for photos/video: http://www.elbox.com/news_04_12_17.html#UPDATE ..it'd be great if a Polski-speaking person could translate what is being said in the videos...) Getting closer to release, which means faster Amigas for all of us! I don't know much about the architecture but my understanding is that a lot of the 68k code will work easily. I could be wrong here though. I'll let the gurus speak on that stuff.

Cheers
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

As I understand it, these new CPU boards will replace the PCI logic board at the bottom (in the case of the 4000Di, anyway) of the daughter board. Is that correct?

If so, THAT'S AWESOME. I'm strapped for cash these days due to the house and a slow 2006Q4, but I think I can shell out a couple of clams for a Mediator. Especially in anticipation for this new expansion, and especially after seeing 200MHz PPC boards go for $800-ish on eBay.
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Old 01-15-2007, 09:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

LoadWB,

I'm not sure which CPU boards you're refering to exactly. But, if you're refering to the Dragon (one board, not many, made by Elbox, more info on their site) which uses the Coldfire CPU, well then from my understanding it's sitting on a PCI card. You take this card and plug it into an existing "PCI solution" (Elbox Mediator 4000Di for example, or Prometheus or G-Rex, even though I don't know if the last two will be supported by Elbox), which itself is sitting on top of the existing existing Zorro bus of your Amiga. Therefore performance between native chips (OCS, ECS, AGA and the Coldfire CPU won't be so hot, I think ZII caps at 10MB/sec?), but performance between the Coldfire and the other *PCI* cards will be as fast as if it was on a typical PC system (ex: 32bit PCI @ 33Mhz = 4bytes*33Mhz=132MB/sec max theoretical transfer rate, which you won't ever achieve ...unless there's some burst or double-clocking magic that these PCI/CPU gurus can pull off? or perhaps with faster PCI like 66Mhz or 64bit).

Anyhow, the end result is you get backwards compatibility with your old, make that "original", Amiga hardware and new capabilities with endless PCI hardware. Of course no AGP and no PCI-X So we still can't catch up with present day PeeCeez and Macs.

A couple of questions of my own for gurus:
Many modern day PCs rely on a "southbridge" chipset to do the PCI handling, meaning that there is a bottleneck between the PCI cards and the CPU or more importantly (for DMA) memory! Does having a Dragon with a Coldfire on the PCI bus mean that we can "skip" the southbridge chip completely and let the PCI devices access memory (on the Dragon, I assume, or another PCI card), at much higher speeds? Although now that I think about it, I don't see how, as the PCI itself is limited (ex: 32bit x 33Mhz or 64bit x 33Mhz or 32bit x 66Mhz, etc), while the CPU to memory interface is MUCH faster: 64bit x 133Mhz (for PC133 FSBs) or 64bit x 400Mhz (for DDR-200Mhz double triggered FSBs) or 64bit x 667Mhz (for quad-pumped FSBs), and if you through interleaved memory access or dual-channel (NVidia motherboards) you double from 64bit to 128bit, which is MANY GB/sec, not a measly 132-528MB/sec for PCI.

Clues anyone?
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

Mediator works nicely and PCI ethernet cards work better than Zorro ones. With Zorro ethernet I got 600k/s transfer speeds at maximum, but 10Mbps RTL on PCI gave 800-900k/s and with 10/100Mbps card I got over 1MB/s.

I guess Voodoo3 (or 4&5) are the fastest gfx-cards on classic too. Those work fine with Mediator, but you have to use P96... if you prefer CGX, then it's minor drawback

About soundcards... I personally prefer Zorro cards for that, because there are ones which can decode mp3 without using CPU at all. It isn't possible on PCI soundcards atm. Luckily there's Mediator systems which can be used with Zorro slots too.

I have Voodoo3, NIC, TV-card and Spider2 USB card in Mediator's PCI slots and Delfina Lite soundcard in Zorro slot (MediatorZIV+ZorroIV busboards in A1200).

TV-card also works as cheap scandoubler. I have A1200's composite out connected to TV-card, so I can play old games through it for example.

Someone mentioned that you can't install USB stack for Spider2, but it's not completely true. You can install older version of Poseidon without problems. Registering is another issue then... too bad author doesn't want money and users for his stack. I know Elbox can be {bleep} (and also is many times), but this just isn't the right way for anyone, everyone loses in this situation. Have to say I'm with Elbox here, which is unusual
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Old 01-17-2007, 01:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

Coldfire: I hear that, it is slooooow now. Slower than 68060. Theoretically it has more benefits, but now with os 3.9 its got many incompatibility. I see the future in ppc. Maybe if shark ppc see the sun, it will be great andvantage of us. (And os4 too)
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

TV Card.

I was thinking of trying that.
How good is the picture quality compared to composite into a TV?

Also are there any advantages of using Voodoo 4 or 5 over 3?
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Old 01-17-2007, 05:57 AM   #11
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

@ da9000

Quote:
t'd be great if a Polski-speaking person could translate what is being said in the videos
"Polski-speaking" sounds a bit odd, it's better to say "Polish-speaking"

Back in the day I've gathered the most important things said by this Elbox representative seen in the videos and put it on AW.net.

Cheers,
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:33 AM   #12
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

Quote:
Having an advanced 3D card on the PCI bus will be certainly much faster than using an outdated "Amiga 3D" card such as a Cybervision 64/3D or Cybervision PPC or BlizzardVision PPC.
Mediator solutions (although fantastic pieces of hardware) are PCI>Zorro bus bridges.

More VideoRam... OK (on CSPPC) ... about bandwidht is the one that your Zorro bus permits.

CyberVisionPPC (and BVisionPPC) are comnected directly to the miniPCI expansion bus of CSPPC/Mk3/BlizzPPC.

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Old 01-17-2007, 06:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

The dragon does have AGP, It will also work with the shark PPC. I assume people you buy the dragon will probably buy the Shark so in essence between the two you are going to pay about a grand for a dual processor solution for compatibility issues. The cyberstorms comand a high price and these will too but hopefully the new setup will allow more functionality for newer software and hardware.
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Old 01-17-2007, 09:44 AM   #14
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Default Re: What can be done with a Mediator board and PCI cards?

TiredOLife: I don't know if there's much difference with composite on tv or tv-card.. neither is too good But it goes if you don't have better solutions.

Voodoo3 is said to be most compatible, so it's safest bet. Maybe 4 or 5 could be faster in some areas? Voodoo3 3000 is somehow faster than Voodoo3 2000 according to p96speed.
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