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Old 24 February 2017, 19:04   #27
matthey
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,284
Quote:
Originally Posted by absence View Post
The PS2 was released in 2000. By "timely manner" for Hombre I meant 1995. As you say, development was probably not far enough along for it to happen. Hombre would likely beat PS1, but it's difficult to say how it would compare to 3DFX Voodoo in 1996. To keep up, Commodore would have to move on from Hombre quite quickly by licensing a third-party graphics core, losing backwards compatibility again. Competition was ramping up fast, and even 3DFX was gone shortly after the PS2 was released.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Haynie
The initial schedule of 18 months was for the Hombre game machine hardware. There's no real OS here, just a library of routines, including a 3D package, which would probably be licensed. The Amiga OS was not to have run on this system in any form. An AmigaOS port to RISC for "Amiga" RISC machines was something those of us in the high-end group were certainly in favor of, but it was not at the time under consideration by management. Of course, at that time, Commodore was going down fast, so there no money for any of that stuff.
The 18 month schedule was for the Hombre hardware only (and specifically for the game machine). Hardware needs software support which can commonly take longer than hardware. C= management was good at delaying projects when they had money which doesn't even consider they didn't at this time. I tend to think the game machine would have been around '97-98 in between the PS1 and PS2. This is about the time that PC 3D cards were starting to become more specialized with parallel units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by absence View Post
While history has shown that it wasn't necessary to abandon CISC for RISC, I doubt Commodore had the technical resources to develop 68k into something that would remain competitive. They certainly didn't have the money.
I believe C= had the technical knowledge and resources at one time (before budget constraints at the end). They bought MOS Technologies and were using high dollar FPGA chips for logic design. They did not have the technical expertise in CISC but neither did Intel at that time. CISC is more difficult to design but the 68k was simpler than the x86 to work with. I have no doubts they could have modified the 68060 design as needed and developed the 68k expertise. They were able to modify the PA-RISC instruction set as told by Dr. Ed Hepler and also Dave Haynie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Haynie
The HP-PA was chosen for use in The RISC Project (Hombre) primarily based on the needs of that project. HP-PA code is reasonably dense for a RISC processor, the instruction set is easily extensible, the core is small enough to sit on a chip occupied by other functional units (blitter, copper, system control), etc. There is no "68000 emulation mode" in PA-RISC, the Apollos Commodore had were 680x0 based and not an issue anyway.
I do not agree with the code density statement as PA-RISC has about the worst RISC code density behind the Alpha. An SIMD would have improved this some for specific optimized code (like used for gfx) but compilers today still have trouble using an SIMD for general purpose code. The PA-RISC core was simple and small if you didn't count the L1 caches which were external with the PA-7100. The extremely large caches probably used more logic than the CPU core itself and the further the caches are from the CPU the slower they are (generally less energy efficient also).

Quote:
Originally Posted by absence View Post
Home computers were primarily used for games, so the markets weren't that different. Hombre couldn't target the business market, and would have to be a capable games machine in order to stand a chance between the PC and the Playstation.
PA-RISC was supposed to have been a target for Windows NT so C= management could have been hedging their bets. Hombre could have been used for workstations and servers (still business) but it would not have been for the PC market lacking proper backward compatibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Haynie
Supposedly an NT port is underway for PA-RISC, but not yet released. Even at that, there's no reference platform for building binary compatible systems. Clearly this could be solved by the HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) that NT talks to on all machines, kind of a higher-level BIOS. Yet despite the clear logic of that approach, the short sighted weenies who seem to control the system architectures (if you can call them that) of the Next Generation Personal Computers don't seem to have advanced much beyond the 1970s when it comes to these areas. Look no further than the PReP nonsense for a good example; Apple and IBM have spent years arguing about hardware trivialities that shouldn't be anything a "shinkwrapped OS" should ever have to be directly concerned about. Maybe NT did better, but maybe not.

Even if you had NT, what would you really have? My guess is a slower way to run Windows 3.1 programs than you current get on cheap PClones. Native NT applications are rare. Native NT applications that support MIPS and Alpha platforms, which have been shipping for quite some time, are rarer still. Rarer even still are applications compiled for PowerPC, since only Motorola is pushing that. Microsoft could have gone to a CPU-neutral distribution format, but again, why do something the right way, only the users benefit. And they're not to be trusted.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amigajay View Post
No but people still wanted a cheap computer that could play games at that time, Pentium PC's were still too expensive, people only jumped to the PS1 in 95/96 when they saw no future with the Amiga brand, if Commodore had a capable 3D machine in 95 i have no doubt it would have sold well in that marketplace.
Most PC owners had twice the CPU performance (with '486 or Pentium) of Amiga owners by '95. Even Amiga customers had no confidence in C= to change the situation by that time either.

Last edited by matthey; 24 February 2017 at 19:14.
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