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-   -   First public demonstration of Dragon(Elbox) (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=26474)

ppill 11 November 2006 17:58

First public demonstration of Dragon(Elbox)
more info to follow. Watch this space or keep your eyes out on this site http://www.ppa.pl, it's in Polish but there should be some photographs of the board in action apearing there shortly. The presentation took place in Kraków, Poland.

Brass 13 November 2006 08:36


Originally Posted by ppill
more info to follow. Watch this space or keep your eyes out on this site http://www.ppa.pl, it's in Polish but there should be some photographs of the board in action apearing there shortly. The presentation took place in Kraków, Poland.

This reminds me of the days of the adventure game the hobbit.

Command> Wait
You wait, time passes, you wait some more..

Its not even here yet and the PC has moved on to PCI-e, it feels like we are forever running while attached to bunji cords.

keropi 13 November 2006 08:46

@ppil: are you in any way involved with elbox???

ppill 13 November 2006 12:35


Originally Posted by keropi
@ppil: are you in any way involved with elbox???

I'm not their employee.

Could anyone merge this thread with the one in prb.Hardware, thanks!

kriz 13 November 2006 13:06

Also some new videos of this hardware;

http://dahoo.untergrund.net/other/az_xvid/ Some videos, I havent seen them all since Im at work... But its cool news =)

(These are the much smaller xvid version)

ppill 13 November 2006 13:28

More details:
The board has a couple of very useful connectors(apart from the CPU, PCI and AGP slots):
-one for debugging the CPU
-another one for flashing the card's logic (this can also be done in '020 fallback mode' form amigaOS -- the flash memory is simply available at a specific address the os has access to [if anyone has seen the short clips mr. Binek form Elbox is using a prog called CoreEye to show this feature)
-and two more for the fast ethernet controllersX2 and USB2.0 and four UART-like ports(highly configurable) integrated in the ColdFire chip[Elbox will offer an attachment with the necessary ports in place that can be placed on a towered systems' back plate]
-an ATX power slot + things like LEDs, etc.

I don't know if drivers for these integrated controllers are available just yet but mr. Binek believes that end users will go for cheap PCI equivalents(well actually I would prefer to use the integrated ones)

As far as speed is concerned the card has to emulate some instructions and this results in slowdown with aplications that use these heavily. With emulation the speed varies between a 040 and 060 CPUs. When a program is compiled especially for the CF it really picks up but you need the sources to do this(Elbox is in touch with some authors of software titles[no names as yet] to provide such versions). There are compilators available on the Amiga that can produce CF code and a pc program that translates 68k asm to CF asm.
Elbox is also trying to port AROS that can use a1200's h/d to this board.

The video doesn't show a dvd being decoded but a TV card with a stand alone DVD player plugged into it.

I'll try to keep you posted as I learn more :)

Ahh.. SysInfo recognises the board as a 030 clocked at 1700MHz :)

ppill 13 November 2006 13:36

copy and paste from another board -> aw.net

"In one of the videos, Elbox said that they are using the MMU to do some PCI related things. There is a possibility to write a software that uses MMU but since it is not compatible with 68k MMU, the existing software won't work. Someone said that such software will be needed (for example for debugging purposes). Elbox answered that they are aware of it but most of the users won't need such thing (since user programs don't use MMU)."

In the video mr. Binek mentions that a new version of mmu.library would be needed to utilise the mmu under amigaOS.

kriz 13 November 2006 14:27

The dvd with a tv output was rather lame, I would rather see some VCD being played, also mp3 and other stuff...

But lets see now :)

ppill 13 November 2006 17:16

[YAK] on aw.net made a much more thorough list of Dragon's features that were discussed in the videos than myself and here it is:

"I have made a small compilation of what was said on the first two videos when the Elbox guy explains some things. I'm sure that most of you don't userstand a thing so I wanted to help.

1. Dragon will be able to work with faster CPUs, also those which aren't produced yet but are planned.

2. What's on the main board.
2.1. CPU slot
2.2. AGP slot
2.3. 5 * full PCI 2.2 slots, 33/66 Mhz, 3 x 3V, 2 x 5V
2.4. The PCI Engine from the CPU is used, as opposite to the Mediator where Elbox's own PCI Engine was used (it was implemented in MACH chips there). As a side note: The CF PCI Engine is fully compatible with other Freescale CPUs, like PPC used in Efika.
2.5. Dragon has 2MB of flash memory. 1MB is needed to enable booting by the CF and enable Kickstart to run on the CF. The other 1MB is reserved for other purposes, for example booting from network.
2.6. The big Lattice chip. Its main function is to bridge the A1200 motherboard to the CF. The main problem Elbox come across when designing the Mediator was that in most of the A1200 accelerators there are only 24 CPU address lines available on the slot (which was an incompatibility with Commodore specification, there should be 32). This forced them to use "windows" technique there. On the Dragon, the CPU is on the same side with AGP and PCI so it can directly address these cards. The Bridge chip allows the CF to address the A1200 mainboard. Anything that is on the mainboard, can be accessed by the CF. And not only by the CF, also by the PCI cards. For example a PCI card can create its buffers in CHIP memory and exchange the data using CF's DMA-channels.
2.7. RTC clock.
2.8. The flash memory can be flashed by software. If something bad happends and one ends up with trashed/erased flash, the CF won't work (of course). In this case the 020 jumper can be used. It disables the Dragon and computer can be booted using the 020 CPU. In this case the flash memory is still visible and can be flashed too. So, the firmware flashing won't be dangerous anymore.
2.9. Other jumpers: flash write protection, RTC clock write protection, PCI Wake Up enable, PCI clock selection, LEDs, Power/Reset buttons.
2.10. The long on-board connector gives access to four fully programmable UARTs of the CF.
2.11. The small connector (which TBH I cannot find) is the JTAG connector for on-board chips.

3. What's on the CPU board.
3.1. MCF5475 CPU running at 266MHz (410 MIPS)
3.2. Two DDR-266 slots.
3.3. The small side-connector is a diagnostic connector. Using the CPU lines available on it the processor can be debugged and traced. For end users it's mostly useless.
3.4. The big side-connector gives access to additional functionality of the CPU. For current CPU this is two Fast Ethernet ports and USB 2.0. They plan to release an additional card which will connect to this slot and give access to the ports on the backplate. However, they said that most of the users will probably use PCI cards instead.

Again, this is just what I've understood from the videos. Some technical info like the CPU model was taken from elbox.com. The sound quality of the videos is poor and my knowledge is limited but I've done my best. I don't take any responsibility for any mistakes."

keropi 13 November 2006 21:17

I only wish they would integrate an AUTOMATIC aga/rtg switch on this...

rare_j 14 November 2006 02:26

This coldfire thing seems like a nice idea, but look a bit further into the detail and it's so knobbled that it's about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Brass 15 November 2006 11:39

I personaly would like to see RTG that means RTG I.E the amiga video mem is taken over by the new hardware and thus all the graphics can be displayed through the video card on the Dragon. none of this switching who hah.

Zetr0 15 November 2006 12:59

unfortuntely my friend, unles they start cutting the video and logic chips off the a1200 board the wont be a way :((

they could however either add (a) scan dblr / flicker fix the a12 signal out or (b) RGB to gfx card input (this would be a cool port to have personally

the only problem is cost and i doubt enough cheap pci/agp graphic cards could support this feature. And when one looks at it price wise you can get a decent digital monitor switcher and a tv/video to SVGA converter for arround £40


i have to admit i do like the board though it has a lot of potential IF it get released... i wanna see if i can clock a coldfire at 350mhz :D

dambuster 06 December 2006 23:06

Still want one - especially as im wanting to tower up one of my 1200's, and have all the std PC related bits lying arround the house just waiting.
A release date would be nice - after all my letter to santa is still waiting to be posted and could easily be ammended.

dambuster 09 December 2006 22:36

Perhaps I'm looking at this board from a different perspective than most, my amiga's are fairly standard - a1200 + 030 apollo lite, a1200 + 8mb ram, cdtv, a1500 + gvp combo, all m/cs fitted with wb3.1 (inc cdtv dunno why its not got any extra ram).
My new project is to tower up one of the 1200's, and the dragon seems almost perfect, ive already got the PC expansion bits, and im in the fortunate position of not having spent a fortune already upgrading tp 060/power PC. As the majority of the software i use is workbench based the libs will work fine for me.
I hope it is released and the sooner the better

ppill 10 December 2006 00:29

Elbox plans to release this beast by the end of December :) but don't hold your breath...

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