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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!

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosLord View Post
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!

Quote:
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!

Quote:
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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!

Quote:
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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Old 11-11-2012, 06:29 PM   #31
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

2GB would make for one hell of a RAM disk.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:31 PM   #32
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthey View Post
You have never had a buggy program allocate all your memory?
Some kind of runaway Malloc() in a loop or somesuch? Nope.

Quote:
Vbbc is the only program that has ran out of memory for me on a high optimization level but it also has some bugs.
Maybe it ran out of memory because you didn't have 3GB installed

With 128MB, you have only filled 1/32 of your memory map with actual memory. Maybe Vbcc just expects more.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:51 PM   #33
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

I would be happy to put support behind the UltimatePPC for the above but have a new source for USB, Ethernet, FlashROM style KS boards, SATA solutions and such. FPGA seems like a great way to integrate new hardware into Classic architecture and a more current PPC option that runs the OS 4.1 would keep me happy. Let us not forget that vintage USB solutions go for $200+, NIC's for $100+, PPC's $800 to $1,200, etc.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:41 AM   #34
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

Ok guys, I think some people are getting carried away and taking this in a direction that I didn't want. I can see what you guys want long-term and I will do everything I can to make it happen long term, but I need to think short-term as well. What I want from you now is what do you want NOW. What sort of thing, a realistic thing that can be done some time soon would you like produced? Think small. Don't think super-high-tech-revolutionize-way-we-use-our-Amigas, think small upgrade boards, think little projects. What's something simple that you'd like to have? Anything that's no longer in production that could be resurrected, like I am doing for the Thylacine? I promise you I will take all of your suggestions into consideration and really give a go at a fancy new accelerator or even replacement motherboard, but this is a long way away still, several months at least. Also, let me say again for those who missed it:

I AM NOT GOING TO PRODUCE COMPLEX MULTILAYER BOARDS WITH SUPERFINE TRACES IN HOUSE.

I think this has been a misunderstood issue and one that has taken away all the credibility of this project in the eyes of those who really understand PCB fabrication. I am well aware of what is involved in producing such things, and I have no desire to either spend many tens of thousands (at least) on the equipment or try and attempt to laminate my own multi-layer boards (the concept makes me shiver even thinking about it) so banish that thought. I am fully aware of how much cheaper it is to do it through a company, and I absolutely will be doing that. For simple small projects involving single or double sided boards with no internal layers, I will be doing the production myself because for single boards or small runs I have worked out I can save money and pass the savings on to you. If I get an order for 50 Thylacine boards for example, I am not going to make them all by hand, I will send them out. If I get someone who wants 1 and I have no other orders I can bundle together at the time, then I will churn it out myself because it's cheaper for me and cheaper for you.

Please don't take me as being rude, I love your suggestions and I love the ideas people have expressed, but can we please move the discussion away from the long-term and theoretical and more to the concrete short-term? I value every one of your thoughts and suggestions, but let's not get caught up on one thing and lose sight of what I'm really trying to do initially.

Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:58 AM   #35
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaosLord View Post
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.
Umm... The Raspberry Pi uses an SoC. That's System on a Chip in case you haven't heard the term before. It means the CPU and GPU are both on the same chip. Surely you don't want the ARM v6 processor introduced into the design, do you? Also, only the user-level registers are documented publicly for the GPU. The video BIOS for it is still a closed-source binary blob.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:49 AM   #36
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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
What I want from you now is what do you want NOW. What sort of thing, a realistic thing that can be done some time soon would you like produced? Think small.
Some sort of USB solution for wedge Amigas ?
Keyboard membrane replacements ?
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:12 AM   #37
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Some sort of USB solution for wedge Amigas ?
Keyboard membrane replacements ?
A USB solution for the A500 will be no problem to offer immediately, I will do up a version of the Thylacine for the A500. The 600 and 1200 will be a bit more difficult, but I think some sort of clockport solution shouldn't be very hard to accomplish.

Keyboard membranes will be offered in short order. Someone on another forum is sending me a bunch of membranes for me to either clone outright or make functional equivalents of. My equipment can already handle keyboard style membranes with no issue, so I will keep you posted as to the progress on those.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:37 AM   #38
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

Whoa man you are really great
I'll have to find some additional jobs so I can buy everything you make

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A USB solution for the A500 will be no problem to offer immediately, I will do up a version of the Thylacine for the A500. The 600 and 1200 will be a bit more difficult, but I think some sort of clockport solution shouldn't be very hard to accomplish.
Yes, well A600 and A1200 need it more I wouldn't have much use of it on my A500. But sure would on my A600 and A1200. Still, A500 will get more important as IDE interfaces on various cards start selling.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:51 AM   #39
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Originally Posted by Lord Aga View Post
Keyboard membrane replacements ?
Yuk, membrane keyboards Isn't it time our Amigas got quality mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches?

Quote:
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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.
You're kidding, right? I mean, signed pointers and signed size arithmetic? What the hell were they thinking? Makes no sense at all.

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Old 11-12-2012, 04:00 AM   #40
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Default Re: New project for the benefit of all classic computing!

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Yuk, membrane keyboards Isn't it time our Amigas got quality mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX switches?
Do you mean complete new keyboards altogether ? Or to modify the existing ones ?
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