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-   -   Vampire v2+ user feedback requested. (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=87692)

Sinphaltimus 23 June 2017 12:29

Abandoned Topic - Sorry it to rubbish.
 
As someone eagerly awaiting the shipment of my Vampire board I'd like to hear from those of you who have already received yours and your general feelings about it including the Pros and cons you've experienced so far.

I understand GOLDv2 is the standard right now so many of these might change once/if you make the switch to GOLDv3.

What is going amazingly great for you? And what utter disappointments have you experienced so far?

What is your original Amiga hardware configuration?

About me and my expectations:
I only own one Amiga. As far as I am concerned, i was a huge fanboy back in the day and worked with my Amiga a lot. When it all came crashing down, I was very angry, hurt and upset by it all. The Amiga has died for me. It is dead. The PPC variants I never accepted as an Amiga nor anything to come after the A4000T, that was just my thinking back then. I promptly sold off everything and bailed for the IBM-PC clones.

But I will never forget the excitement I experienced. The Amiga solidified my interest in computers and digital art expression as well as technical prowise. It has and will continue to hold a special place in my heart but I am not stuck with the old ways. Purchased the bulk of my current system off of ebay about 6 years ago and packed it up when the hdd started giving me issues. I only played with emulation for some game memories here and there. The current iteration of the Apollo Vampire is the only reason I took it out again and set it up and am currently enjoying anticipating what it will become.

I will also mention that WinUAE played a big part it my interest as well. But I like old hardware and retro fitting new technologies to it, modding it etc...

I am running an A500 rev5 with full ECS and 1MB chip ram only. I have an external original DF1 and a GoTek internal DF0, GVP Impact Series II HD+ with a SCSI2SD adaptor as my boot system using FFS, SCSI CD-Rom and a Zip drive. PC mouse (via adaptor) and the video modulator NTSC.

When I get my vampire I will install a CFcard adaptor and make that my primary boot (PFS3_aio-handler). Although I can play games on the Amiga I likely won't do much of that until GOLDv3 is installed so I can play AGA games. I want to use it for content creation (Music, animations both 2D and 3D) and generally tweak and customize the system to my liking.

Being a game developer on Android, PC and the TI-99/4a, I may want to do similar on the Amiga even if it means using game creation software since my coding experience is limited to GML and TI-Basic. I use Gamemaker Studio on PC and for Android. Been lurking at OpenBOR and RedPill Topics. I recall briefly using some game construction programs back in the day but never got far.

These are things I've done on my original A500 back in the day so with acceleration and 128MBs of ram along with fast IDE it's going to be much more powerful than I have ever experienced.

What are your recommendations for tweaking and customizing? What utils and programs seem to work best and which ones do not?

These questions are specifically for those who are experiencing the new Vampire accelerators, please do not comment on the project itself, the product itself or throw your opinions in if you are not a current end user of the product.

I really want the Pros and Cons - if you are regretting it I want to know specifically why, what did you want it for and why is it falling short for you?
same goes for why you love it if you do.

And let's not discuss GOLDv3 until it is released to the public and you gain experience with it. I understand a lot of folks feel strongly about Gv3 with the current info they have but all of that could change by the time it's downloadable for all so let's hold off on that until we have it in hand please.

demolition 23 June 2017 13:19

Generally I really like both my Vampires as I have one in both my 600 and 500. The only minor letdown is the fact that I have not been able to make the SD controller work reliably, but seeing as we can now get ~10MB/s through the IDE port this is less of an issue, although I am still hoping it will be fixed at some point in the future.

Having an RTG card in a wedge Amiga is one of the best things about the Vampire IMO.

I am eagerly awaiting the possibility to get all video (and perhaps even audio as they have demonstrated) through HDMI and that it will have an FPU one day so I can run all the nice Amiga demos made for 060 out there, but even if those features are never released, it is still a very cool product (and good value for money even).

Pros:
Very fast 680x0 compatible CPU
Plenty of fast memory
RTG
IDE controller (on V500)
Much improved IDE speed
KS3.1 included

Cons:
SD storage driver not yet working 100%
V600 can be tricky to install for some users
HDMI output is not really HDMI compliant so an HDMI repeater might be needed to get a stable image

So the cons are minor for me and can be worked around.

Sinphaltimus 23 June 2017 13:34

Quote:

Originally Posted by demolition (Post 1167109)
...... The only minor letdown is the fact that I have not been able to make the SD controller work reliably, but seeing as we can now get ~10MB/s through the IDE port this is less of an issue, although I am still hoping it will be fixed at some point ........

You're specifically talking about the micro sd correct? I keep forgetting all about that when I read it is not bootable yet. So you're saying there are issues using it as normal storage? Being I forgot all about it, it's a non-issue for me as well. So when it is stable it'll just be an added bonus.

As for HDMI, do you think the non-compliance may not be an issue or a bigger issue dependant upon how the end display responds to it? Should I be looking at hdmi repeaters now to avoid heartache?

Mr-Z 23 June 2017 13:52

It's not really that the signal is not compliant but the strength of the signal can be a problem.
So just to be sure use a HDMI repeater (5 euro on fleabay one will do) and keep cables as short as possible and place repeater as close to the source as you can.
I have 1.5m of HDMI cable+repeater no problems at all on my V600.

Sinphaltimus 23 June 2017 13:54

Great, thanks for that tip and information. Very much appreciated.

demolition 23 June 2017 13:58

Yes, I am talking about the built-in Micro SD slot. I don't know if anyone have been able to make it work 100% but I have tried 3-4 different cards without success. The error I get is some error message from PFS3. Sometimes it can run well for 30 mins before I get see the error but 99.99% stable is not good enough to rely on, so I am not really using it except for file transfers using FAT-formatted cards in my 500 since that is the easiest way to move files in and out. In my 600 I just use PCMCIA for transferring stuff and the SD slot sits idle for now.

The fact that the 'HDMI' port is not really HDMI may be an issue but it might also not be an issue as some people don't get the problems. It depends on the resolution (or rather pixel clock) that you want to use, the length of the HDMI cable and the sensitivity of the input stage of your TV/monitor. Just try it out without the repeater first and then you can just add it if the signal is not stable. Without the repeater my monitor blacks out for a second every 1-2 mins when it tries to resync to the signal. It gets quite annoying after a while, but after I added the repeater the problem is gone 100%. Possibly the repeater might also decrease the load of the output pins of the FPGA, so in theory that could protect it from damage.

Sinphaltimus 23 June 2017 14:08

For 8 bucks I just went and purchased one. Shipping included in that price. I'd rather be prepared. Thanks again.

Signman 28 June 2017 00:39

My sd card works well but isn't hot swapable. Have to reboot if I take it out when transferring files.

I too like the Rtg workbench and the speed is nice. When I can use just one monitor that will be a big plus.

Sinphaltimus 28 June 2017 00:53

I read someplace there is extensive work being done on the SD card driver.
The end goal I think is to make it bootable but I image hot swapping it might be something for them to do as well. Especially if it's not a boot partition. Perhaps make a reboot necessary if the SD you remove is bootable and no reboot if it's not. Maybe a system configurable utility to "eject" the SD card and throw a reset warning if it happens to contain the boot partition or SYSTEM:.

-Acid- 28 June 2017 01:03

For me the biggest con is it's not the Amiga in my eyes. It's goal is to replace the Amiga and since buying it I cannot see the point in why I did so. It will never be fast enough for modern web browsing and will never have full on java support or hd video watching/editing etc. 3D games on the Amiga were a fascination because the Amiga was not supposed to be able to do those things with such limited hardware, it's what makes demos so much fun.

At the time when asked I said in the poll I wasn't interested in a stand alone version, but the way it's going that is the only one that makes sense. A stand alone continuation of 68k Amiga's is what the Vampire's aspirations should be imo, adding a Vampire to an existing Amiga is going to be a waste of an Amiga soon enough once they get all the features fully working.

Sinphaltimus 28 June 2017 01:26

That's an interesting take. I think a stand alone Vampire is the goal.

Do you already own accelerated Amigas with a lot of ram excluding the Vampire?

Can you do modern web browsing and have full on java support or hd video watching/editing etc on any of your other Amigas?

As I originally posted, I've got a meager A500 1MB chip ram total and only. I think the Vampire is a good bargain for me on my A500.

I am also interested in the stand alone Vampire. But I like the idea of still being able to do Midi, have original floppies and my SCSI controller if only for additional storage. So the existing Vampire is exciting to me because I can still plug Amiga original peripherals in to it.

In a few months it won't look like an Amiga anymore when I transplant it into an atx case. My Amiga case is very brittle and has been crumbling. Already without the lower half of the upper housing around the keyboard.

Although it stole my heart as a youngster, I'm excited to see where it is going, even if it means going to a stand alone Vampire eventually for me personally.

EDITS: Fixed typos.

Akira 28 June 2017 01:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by -Acid- (Post 1167993)
A stand alone continuation of 68k Amiga's is what the Vampire's aspirations should be imo

The problem seems to be "what exactly is this continuation supposed to be?".
And I can't help but feel it's 20 years too late anyway.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Sinphaltimus (Post 1167997)
Can you do modern web browsing and have full on java support or hd video watching/editing etc on any of your other Amigas?

No. Not even the PPC ones. Because of lack of a modern browser. And there's no modern browser because nobody makes it for Amiga OS.
Can the hardware deal with a modern browser? ABSOLUTELY!

For example, I use a lot tenFourFox, which is a modern browser for PPC Macs (G4 and G5) based off Firefox. It's up-to-date with all Fireox updates and runs great on G5s, bit slow on G4s.

Quote:

the existing Vampire is exciting to me because I can still plug Amiga original peripherals in to it.
But they are useless if the old software doesn't work with it and there's no new software that uses it.

Vampire is a great concept, but it's also bringing forth as heritage the major Amiga drawback: lack of interest in the platform by modern developers.

Remember when the A1200 and CD32 came out, what the issue being told in many magazines was? That they did not come out with any "killer apps".

What is the Vampire killer app that will make it a must buy? Currently, there isn't any.

Problem is Vampire is an indie development, so what Commodore should have done (lure tons of devs in by giving them free and early access to hardware, promising they would publish their software and maybe fund their development somehow) is impossible for the Vampire team to do.

After being convinced I needed a Vampire inside my A600, and after not getting one when they were cheaper because my preorder got "lost" and then I couldn't afford it and then everything just went crazy and price went up, I realized I didn't really want to turn my Amiga into whatever the Vampire would have turned into, but became interested instead in the prospect of a standalone version, much like what happened with -Acid- but without actually owning one.

Nowadays, my interest is depending on a major factor, and that is development support. I will only buy one if I think there are some killer apps I can run on it that are worth the purchase.

I have in the past adopted a system early on and then became terribly disappointed or had the system being cancelled on me really early. For example, I bought the Gamepark Caanoo really early on because it seemed to be great, and hardware-wise, it was! But the dev community remained with Gamepark's older consoles and then they jumped the Caanoo in favor of other ARM based platforms. I ended up having to sell the machine which was very hard, with such a small software library, mostly ridden with GP2X shovelware unoptimized for the Caanoo that ran worse than in the lower-spec'd GP2X!

Sinphaltimus 28 June 2017 11:25

Thank you for your opinion Akira, I really want to keep this topic on topic for actual users of the vampire. I'd love to hear back from -Acid- in response to some of my questions.

There are a lot of topics here where people get to voice their opinions, Pros, cons etc... I started this in the hopes of only hearing back from people who have and use the vampire board. I want to get a sense of what others expect of it, the pros and cons, what makes them love or hate it with actual hands on usage.

-Acid- seems to have the need for online modern web browsing and watching videos so I can see the disappointment there. I'm not so much concerned with that at all but his opinion may help shape the decision to buy or not for another would be purchaser of the Vampire who wants the same as -Acid-.

Perhaps a proper topic for non-owners and non-users of the vampire might be "I didn't purchase a Vampire board and here is why.." but that's not the point of this topic.

Oh, and I was an early adopter of somethings myself. The GP2X was a huge disappointment for me as well. But let's not digress.

Thank you.

-Acid- 29 June 2017 00:28

Yes I already own accelerated Amiga's, an A4000 060 with CV64/3D, 030 A1200, 060 1200 (with a Mediator Voodoo etc) and an A500 A600 CD32 and another A1200. But to be fair, I usually just end up playing and doing stuff that doesn't need the power.

Not being able to use the web and view hd video was more an example of why I don't see this going anywhere. In the real world - beside gaming - most people do little else with their pc's in my experience. On the Amiga stuff like coding, tracking, pixel art creation and other cool stuff like that just doesn't require much processing power.

When I got my Vampire in the post (in the last month) I was wondering what I would do with it. I've never been much of a Doom type game fan (except the UT series on pc) so i'm not finding much to interest me in those but using brute force to do 3D died out 20 year ago when Voodoo cards came out. Most of the games that are using the power are conversions and you could have played these games perfectly decades ago on the PC, but soon enough they'll run out of games to convert because there is no 3D hardware acceleration available.

It's like Akira said imo, there is just no software development to use the extra power so what is the point in having it? This would have blown us away 20 year ago, now it's still a big step up in power in Amiga terms but without software that's relevant to today's computer use is there any need for it? Even two decades ago, some form of 3D graphics hardware would have had to have been added to keep up with game developments.

I've come to realise that the Amiga is a 2D computer and there is little point in trying to give the power to make it do 3D tasks this late in the day. Without commercial software companies pushing things along where is any of it going? You could be sitting there with fastest most powerful computer in the world but without software written especially for it it's just a box of high spec parts.

This is all my opinion on the subject of course, and for anyone reading this - if the Vampire is exactly what you want then i'm happy you're happy. I don't say my opinion is the right one for everyone, just the right one for me.

Sinphaltimus 29 June 2017 05:07

The Amiga is a 2D computer. I think that's a great way to put it. I don't have any itches to play doom on it, but it does resolve all of my current setbacks at a cost for hardware that isn't already physically aged. I know what I want to do with it, and that's pretty much exactly what I did with it back in the day, cheesey 2d animations and music with some casual gaming thrown in when time permits.

I'm guessing a lot of people have beat the dead horse in to the ground with existing Amiga offerings on classic hardware so the desire for new means something else entirely. Yes, it would be great to see amiga applications developed to take full advantage of the vampire hardware. New fresh Amiga specific offerings you can't have without the Vampire. And lot's of it. I'll take that journey. But I'm not expecting or yearning for it as I feel I never had the opportunity to use my Amiga to it's fullest potential back in the 90s.

My decision to get one is personal and selfish. I appreciate everything you have to say about it. My expectations are different. I hope I can set aside the time to utilized the Amiga again for the stuff it does well for me. Stuff that is simply impossible to enjoy in its current configuration.

TjLaZer 29 June 2017 07:25

For me being able to play ADoom on my A600 at 35+ fps on a ECS screen was well worth it ;)

Sinphaltimus 29 June 2017 15:06

I get the feeling a lot of Amigans are using them for gaming. I feel like a minority in that group. there are games I enjoy on the amiga like The Immortal, Barbarian (not psygnosis version), Swords of twilight and probably a half dozen or so more. There are games I never played before that I may check out at some point, but for me, the Amiga opened up a world of digital multimedia and I like the retro style these days.

It's not impossible to do on modern PCs but I rather enjoy working within certain constraints rather than trying to imagine what those restraints are and replicating them on a modern machine. A speed boost, all the ram I ever dreamed of (on the Amiga), IDE and a modern display. All for somewhere around $350 US. And it's not hardware I have to worry about dying any day now. With new features being introduced with each core release.

I suppose my topic here is a bit selfish also. I'm looking for the easy get up and go path. I want to know where the dissapoints are for existing users of the Vampire so I can avoid experiencing that. And what is working well in addition to gaming. Anyone doing art and animation or music on their Ax00 computers loving the Vampire addition compared to without?

Seriously, look at my current config, what I want to do and the cost/features of the vampire. I'd be excited as anyone to see NEW programs specifically targeted for the Vampire development. But as it stands now, I just want to be able to run the old programs with more ran and a performance boost.

At some point this year, my Amiga will look like a PC and be integrated with my existing PC setup. That is to say from a single seat, I have my modern PC with 4 screens. One of the screens will be shared with my Amiga, TI-99/4a and Windows 98 box, all with a single keyboard and hopefully mouse (have to figure that out on the Amiga since this USB mouse adaptor is finicky with PS/2 compatibility).

So essentially, I can run all of these from one location at will without emulation. That's pretty much my goal. Win98 box is strictly for old games, TI-99/4a is for learning new old stuff and development, Amiga for my creative retro itch and PC for everything else.

Sinphaltimus 12 July 2017 01:50

Well, I'm not off to a very good start here. Hoping to hear something back from the Apollo Team on this issue...

http://forum.apollo-accelerators.com...php?f=7&t=1782

EDIT: Making progress with CFCard but still running into some issues. GVP SCSI controller still not operational with Vampire. See above link for future updates, won't update this topic again until CF Card is completed and/or GVP issues resolved.

Akira 12 July 2017 17:14

Well, no wonder Vampire is incompatible with decades old hardware accessories.
But your latest post over there seems to be hinting at some software version compatibility problem maybe, since SetPatch is failing.

Sinphaltimus 12 July 2017 17:26

Yeah, I really wanted to wait until Goldv3 was ready but have been encouraged to take a look at v2 and this all happened. I have asked about the GVP SCSI controller working or not weeks ago and had heard from several users that theirs is working. Which is why I'm starting from scratch with a new WB install. first I'll get the CF Card and Vampire working which seems to be going OK until the SetPatch error, but once that is sorted, I'll go back to the GVP and attempt that from scratch as well. Since I'm now a "Vampire user" i can supply a lot of feedback here in my own topic for others to follow as I progress through this.

Certainly is not going as smooth for me as it seems to have gone for others. I really haven't seen any reports of people going through each and every step in their posts or videos, only after the fact (once they are up and running) - so perhaps my experience will prepare others who may run in to the same issues.

I've abandoned classicWB on this Amiga so I don't have to figure out all the things preinstalled that could be an issue. And I've decided to get a Pi3 for my Amiga gaming fix. I really want to use my amiga for retro multimedia content creation and game development via OpenBor and Red Pill. Even if I develop in emulation, I want to be able to test on actual hardware so the extra ram, speed and video output is beneficial to me.

One thing i noted, with the default SetPatch Quiet, the system starts fine. so I'm wondering if this is a cloanto WB issue and why I would need the altered Setpatch as specified in the Vampire core readme instead of just leaving it as it was.


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