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Old 24 April 2019, 22:37   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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Post A314 Official thread

it's been a year in the making, but now we have finally released it to the public. The A314 co-processor memory expansion with accompanying software.

The A314 connects to the Amiga 500's trapdoor expansion connector and provides your machine with up to 1 MB of extra memory (depending on your hardware revision, Agnus chip version and the usual limitations). But wait, there's more: You will also get a battery backed-up real time clock!
Yeah... right. You may think to yourself that you already got that, and it's called the A501. Obviously we didn't spend a year to produce yet another A501 clone. We did something more.

The A314 will replace your current memory expansion, and to that extent it will do so by emulating a normal DRAM bus. The same goes for the RTC, it is also emulated. But why bother emulating chips that are readily available? Because we wanted to allow transparent DMA at full bus speed without wait states. If you have that, you could for instance connect an accelerator module, or using Amiga terminology - a co-processor.

We figured that if we could allow for a SBC (Single Board Computer) to transfer data to and from the Amiga, it could handle and off-load all sorts of common tasks that are overwhelming for the old m68k processor. A typical such SBC is the Raspberry Pi, which is the device we have chosen to build our support software for. You could choose a different SBC with a compatible GPIO header, like the TinkerBoard or the ODroid with Shifter shield, but then you'll have to adapt the support software/drivers yourself.

Bundled with the A314 is a software and driver suite, that will allow for seamless interaction from within the Amiga OS. It is written to be compatible with Kickstart 1.2, in order to include as many A500 owners as possible. The support software is built around a communication driver that allows for multiple concurrent data-streams. To this date we have created the following using that driver model:

PiDisk - A remote file system that resides on the RPi, and can be further shared from that platform using for instance SMB.
Pi - A CLI tool for executing remote commands on the RPi, delivering the results back to the Amiga, or just opening a remote Bash shell.
Videoplayer - A demo for showing off FMV (Full Motion Video) capabilities.
RemoteWB - A web-based remote desktop host, that allows you to connect to your Amiga's workbench from wherever in the world, with nearly zero performance penalty on the Amiga side.

The last two applications are creative ways of showing what you can do if you have access to the Amigas chip memory. That is the truly unique feature of our device; it allows you to directly read and write to the same memory area that the customs chips use, and do it at their speed of operation, but from a completely asynchronous platform.

We sure hope this has sparked some interest, and maybe some ideas that you would like to realize using this device. For this purpose we have given the complete project to the public domain under a CC0 license. We are currently busy writing documentation in the form of support manuals that will become available little by little
We also acknowledge that building circuit boards with fine-pitched SMD components isn't for everyone, so we decided to give away a very small number of boards to those of you that are skilled in Amiga programming, and could act as both beta testers and willing to be ambassdeours for this project.
PM me if you are interested, and tell me about your ideas.

Last edited by Eriond; 24 April 2019 at 23:19. Reason: Spelling, capitalization
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