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Old 05 November 2015, 11:33   #100
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Originally Posted by matthey View Post
I agree that the Apollo core is potentially much stronger at single core integer performance than most old and low end RISC processors but how much is difficult to estimate.

1) Is the Apollo core in an FPGA or in a real ASIC?
2) Does the Apollo core have a good compiler and instruction scheduler?
3) What kind of caches and memory are used?
4) What kind of algorithms are used?

I believe an FPGA Apollo core could outperform, at the same clock speed, most Thumb 2 ARM processors (where power efficiency is more important than performance) in single core performance. PPC is generally stronger but ARM has been closing the gap with deeper pipelines, OoO and recently a new ISA. The G3 PPC processors are old, simple and power efficient shallow pipeline designs (limits clock speed) but do have some advanced features like reservation stations and large caches (needed for PPC performance). The Apollo core in FPGA could retire more integer instructions per cycle, would be considerably faster per cycle at multiply and would not suffer from RISC load/store bubbles but a good compiler with instruction scheduler is still imperative to take advantage of the 3 integer units and 3 op code fusion without OoO.

Some of the pseudo ASICs are affordable in small unit quantities but it is not clear how much of a performance advantage there would be. I have my doubts after reading up on some of them. A real ASIC Apollo/Amiga SoC is probably the way to go if it could be afforded but (one time) NRE costs would likely be $250,000-$1,000,000. This would probably require production of 10,000 to 100,000 units per year to make the per unit costs affordable and pay for the NRE costs in a reasonable amount of time. This is why I approached embedded companies for non-Amiga use sharing.

Amiga FPGA graphics "mop the floor" compared to real AGA graphics but I doubt Amiga ASIC graphics would be much, if any, faster than your older Radeon graphics card. An Amiga ASIC production process would be older to hold the cost down and the Amiga technology is not optimized for high speeds. However, 2D performance has reached the point of diminishing returns and gains are barely noticeable. An Amiga 3D design would need to be developed or bought with either likely many years behind new commodity graphics cards. There would be a small advantage of using integrated graphics and graphics memory without going through a bus.
Trying to compete with modern graphic cards in 3D area is a crazy idea. Perhaps offering some low level routines in FPGA so that 3D games could be optimized a little but more does not make sense. 68k needs as much as possible horsepower and RAM. The strength of Amiga was 2D gaming so there should be the focus, trying to compete with PCs today in 3D area makes no sense.
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