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Old 11-11-2012, 02:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by TheRogue View Post
November, the electroplating gear (for through-hole plating) is being constructed, the box break and sheetmetal equipment will be purchased in short order, the vacuum pump desoldering station is in the shop, the rework station is on its way, and so on...
You do of course realize that any type of high speed device requires multi-layer boards? You won't be able to fabricate boards like that unless you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the proper equipment. The reality is that I can't even buy the raw materials to hand make double-sided boards for what I can buy fully finished boards for! You are much better off spending your money on things that will help you and leave circuit board production to a full time production house.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by ChaosLord View Post
If you can fit 2 or 3GB on the board it would be really great! It could be The Final Accelerator(tm) If u can get 3GB on it then nobody can ever make one better than yours. I know that 3 is an odd number so 2GB could be "good enuff". I donno how big 1GB and 2GB ram sticks are these days. I am just a lowly software guy.

I have been told that something like 1GB of the Amiga's address space is reserved for hardware addresses and addons and stuff. So we can only ever make use of 3GB of RAM just like Windows XP 2003.
The AmigaOS 3.x has a few issues with memory over 2 GB. The most significant bit of the address is used by an OS function for something else. Some programs may have problems with memory over 2GB as this is a negative number if using signed math where it shouldn't be used for addresses. I have over 100MB of memory and I only run out when a poorly written program takes it all. I'd rather have 128MB of 1T-SRAM or RLDRAM to go with my 68060. Add a full speed PCI slot, SATA interface, 100MBit Ethernet and USB on a new motherboard or accelerator card and that's about all I need .
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

I'm with the others calling for a new 060 card with 1 or 2GB of RAM. It would be even better if the card included a P96-compatible RTG chip with at least 4MB of graphics RAM and a fast bus to the 060 proc.

Also, the 060 accelerator should include SATA ports rather than the old 50-pin SCSIs used on the Blizzards.

Please target the A2000 in addition to the A1200 and A4000, et. al.

Sounds like a winner.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:56 PM   #19
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

Wish someone would build a 1ghz-3ghz 68060 workalike accellerator card that will have 1-6 gigs of ram...
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:11 PM   #20
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

And I wish my pants were made of gold !!

Yeah highly unpraticle, but since it's never gonna happen anyways, why not go all the way ?

It's quite clear that the thread-starter doesn't fully comprehend what he is talking about.

Just have a look at some of the projects running at a1k.org (I think some similar projects run on EAB). Yep those guys are doing accel-cards, RAM-expansions and even full Amiga-replacements boards and none of them is etching their cards in te basement, the all use proffesional tooling companies (and at the prices i see quoted from time to time anything else wouldn't make sense even for the simplest of PCBs).

Well o.k. Herzi will do his prototyps "electron-cloud"-style, but thats surely not an option for stuff you plan to offer on sale.

Edit:
Mind you the projects the thread-starter mentioned would be doable basement-style (just not in a practical/reasonable way) it's more that some of the early responders carried this thread into lala-land.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:15 PM   #21
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

2GB of RAM would be the absolute safe limit for OS3.x, simply due to the signed pointer / size arithmetic that goes on here and there as mentioned by matthey.

Of course, the only reason to include such a large amount would be because you can and it's probably not that expensive to do so. There's not a lot of 68K software that would be able to make a serious dent in it. Sure you might be able to get away with much larger images in say ImageFX, but performing any realistic image processing on images that large on even a fast 060 isn't going to be much fun.

If you are going to integrate any sort of RTG, don't listen to the 4MB suggestion. Give it 256MB or so, so that it can handle modern resolutions and it's not likely to page BitMaps. It would also justify all that RAM, if you went for some sort of unified solution.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:35 PM   #22
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by matthey View Post
The AmigaOS 3.x has a few issues with memory over 2 GB. The most significant bit of the address is used by an OS function for something else.
It is not a problem that AllocMem() can only allocate 2GB of RAM.

I hereby unilaterally declare, without U.N. approval: NewAllocMem()

NewAllocMem() allocates memory above the 2GB barrier and it uses the TLSFmem memory allocation algorithm so it is very preferable for all new programs to use this new memory allocation routine rather than the old, slow, fraggy AllocMem().

Now if we get a board with 3GB of RAM on it, not only will the 3rd GB be used by new software, it will be used more than the first 2GB since software using it will run faster and have longer uptimes.

Quote:
Some programs may have problems with memory over 2GB as this is a negative number if using signed math where it shouldn't be used for addresses.
No Amiga program has ever had a problem with memory over 2GB because no Amiga program has ever been allowed to allocate memory over the 2GB barrier.

Any new software will work with NewAllocMem() and if it has a bug such as you outlined it will be observed and fixed.


Quote:
I have over 100MB of memory and I only run out when a poorly written program takes it all.
What does that mean?
You have programs that allocate memory they don't need just for no reason?

Or you are using software ported from Linux that allocates itself a large buffer because they just assume that everyone has 1GB or more?



Quote:
I'd rather have 128MB of 1T-SRAM or RLDRAM to go with my 68060. Add a full speed PCI slot, SATA interface, 100MBit Ethernet and USB on a new motherboard or accelerator card and that's about all I need .
The SATA interface is a really really good point. Would be nice to use modern hard drives, and be able to use them at a decent speed. That requires the SATA controller to be on the accelerator. But Thomas said that adding a SATA controller chip is very expensive or complicated or maybe it was both, I can't remember. That was why he did not put one on the Natami MB.

As to Ethernet and USB, those are good ideas too but there are already readily available solutions for the Amiga so they are of lesser importance.

I am not saying that having all those features on an Accelerator card would not be totally awesome, but I think we have completely exceeded the time and money he is willing to put into the project
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:40 PM   #23
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

So, here's what I'm thinking. It seems like from all over the place accelerators and RTG cards are the most in demand. Seems to me that building an accelerator with an RTG card and SATA built in would be the best idea. That way regardless of what system you use it on, from an A500 to an A4000 , you have access to RTG and SATA as well. I know that by that logic everything from ehternet to sound should also be on board but I think once you start doing that you get a project stalled by creeping featurism. Perhaaps it might be wise to include some sort of high speed expansion header to add things on at a later date.

I think I need to clear something up cause I'm getting some confusion from some people. All multilayer boards or things with superfine traces will not be fabricated in house. The equipment for things like that is out of my reach. Only the simple doublesided boards and flexible boards suitable for keyboard membranes and the like will be done in house on demand. Things like accelerators and so one will be fabricated through contractors. The point is that for simple stuff I can build it on demand with quick turn around. The electroplating gear is simple stuff for plated through holes. The boards will be produced with different methods depending on what they require. I have factored all the costs in and this is the way that works for me.

@haywirepc: That is way beyond what I'm capable of. You're not going to get speeds like that from an FPGA, that is going to the realm of having custom chips fabricated. I don't have the resources or the knowledge to design a microprocessor from scratch. The only way I could see something like that POSSIBLY being done is to use some other processor (x86, PPC, ARM) running some sort ofassembly language 060 emulation code. Even then, as matthey said, you won't be able to address more then 2GB of RAM.

@Akiko: I absolutely won't forget the CD32 either. Maybe we can look at a new CD32 accelerator/expansion system.

The tower kits from Elbox are ok, I have one for my A4000. The problem is I had to modify it to take my CSPPC/CVPPC. I would want to design one that everything fits without shoehorning. We'll see how it goes.

So to summarize: The design for a new accelerator will most likely consist of a final mask revision 060, 1-2GB RAM, an RTG 3D card, SATA, POSSIBLY USB, and an expansion header for new addons. Sound good?

In the meantime, keep the suggestions coming, and if anyone knows of any hardware for any system that has schematics/layouts and code available, I will add them to the list!
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:52 PM   #24
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by Karlos View Post
There's not a lot of 68K software that would be able to make a serious dent in it.
If we had a 1GB RAM card we could run
Web Browser
Image FX
7zip
a game

BAM!
?Out of Memory Error

Its easy to use a smeasly 1GB of RAM.

I didn't even have to put some files into the RAM: disk in my example.

If we all had 3GB of RAM we could all use our RAM: disk to do a lot more useful things. And we could quit being stingy with our hard drive buffers. We could have our partitions set up with the amount of hard drive buffers we actually need rather than some slow cut down number that we can survive with.

etc. etc.

There are a million things we can do with 3GB of RAM.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:32 PM   #25
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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If we had a 1GB RAM card we could run
Web Browser
Image FX
7zip
a game

BAM!
?Out of Memory Error

Its easy to use a smeasly 1GB of RAM.
Don't get me wrong, more RAM is always good and as long as it's not a factor in the price of hardware, the more the merrier. However...

Quote:
There are a million things we can do with 3GB of RAM.
You'd need to do more than write an additional allocator. The moment anything allocated above the 2GB boundary, you can't guarantee it won't end up being passed by reference off to something that will assume it can't have been and do something stupid thanks to signed 32-bit arithmetic.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:42 PM   #26
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by Karlos View Post
Don't get me wrong, more RAM is always good and as long as it's not a factor in the price of hardware, the more the merrier. However...

You'd need to do more than write an additional allocator. The moment anything allocated above the 2GB boundary, you can't guarantee it won't end up being passed by reference off to something that will assume it can't have been and do something stupid thanks to signed 32-bit arithmetic.
This is exactly why I said 1GB-2GB, more likely 2GB.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:34 PM   #27
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

If you are going to add RTG to the card then might I suggest something cheap and well documented with tons of example source code for the driver writers: The same chip that the Raspberry Pi uses.

Also you could have 3GB on the board with 2GB useable by the CPU and the 3rd GB could be used by the gfx card. Just an idea.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:44 PM   #28
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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The moment anything allocated above the 2GB boundary, you can't guarantee it won't end up being passed by reference off to something that will assume it can't have been and do something stupid thanks to signed 32-bit arithmetic.
What you are saying is completely true.

I am just not convinced that the potential bug you describe is anything more than an extremely rare phenomenon.

Millions of people have 32-bit computers and I have never heard of any of them having problems when they added the 3rd GB of ram.

Have you ever had a 32-bit computer start malfunctioning when adding the 3rd GB of RAM?
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:54 PM   #29
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

2Gb is fine, I'm currently getting by on 32mb.

As I've said before, a 100Mhz 060 with modern fast memory (eg 2GB of it) coupled with 060 compiled software/OS will make things more interesting in Amiga classic land.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:59 PM   #30
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by ChaosLord View Post
What does that mean?
You have programs that allocate memory they don't need just for no reason?
You have never had a buggy program allocate all your memory? Vbbc is the only program that has ran out of memory for me on a high optimization level but it also has some bugs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosLord View Post
The SATA interface is a really really good point. Would be nice to use modern hard drives, and be able to use them at a decent speed. That requires the SATA controller to be on the accelerator. But Thomas said that adding a SATA controller chip is very expensive or complicated or maybe it was both, I can't remember. That was why he did not put one on the Natami MB.

As to Ethernet and USB, those are good ideas too but there are already readily available solutions for the Amiga so they are of lesser importance.

I am not saying that having all those features on an Accelerator card would not be totally awesome, but I think we have completely exceeded the time and money he is willing to put into the project
Actually, what would be great and practical would be full speed PCI slots for GFX card, SATA, ethernet and USB. A new motherboard fitting a common tower standard with empty 68060 CPU slot, fpga for the custom chips (MiniMig code is available), PCI 5-7 full speed slots, ATX power supply connector, 2-3 1MB MAPROM flash slots (AROS kickstart needs 1MB kickstart) and 1-2 GB of ram. It should be priced $500-$1000 U.S for the motherboard.
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