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Old 23 February 2017, 13:48   #21
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Originally Posted by rare_j View Post
People abandoned the Amiga for Playstation and/or VGA/3dfx PC.
Any new Amiga would have to have been cheaper and better than both to keep people interested.
There's just no way Commodore could compete. Was Hombre really up to the job?
The Playstation has rather ugly 3D graphics due to lack of perspective correction (textures get warped) and low precision in the vertex position output from the geometry transformation (moving triangles stutter). Hombre could very well have produced better graphics, but would also be more expensive with its 100+ MHz CPU compared to Playstation's 33 Mhz one. If Commodore had gotten it out in a timely manner, it might have competed quite favourably against the PC though, as 3DFX Voodoo wasn't released until 1996. I don't think it would be possible for Commodore to use custom graphics chips designed in-house after that however. They would have to use third-party graphics cores like most successful arcade machines and game consoles have done ever since.
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Old 24 February 2017, 03:44   #22
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The Playstation has rather ugly 3D graphics due to lack of perspective correction (textures get warped) and low precision in the vertex position output from the geometry transformation (moving triangles stutter). Hombre could very well have produced better graphics, but would also be more expensive with its 100+ MHz CPU compared to Playstation's 33 Mhz one. If Commodore had gotten it out in a timely manner, it might have competed quite favourably against the PC though, as 3DFX Voodoo wasn't released until 1996. I don't think it would be possible for Commodore to use custom graphics chips designed in-house after that however. They would have to use third-party graphics cores like most successful arcade machines and game consoles have done ever since.
We can do a little better armchair analysis of Hombre.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Ed Hepler

Hombre was to be a complete system in two chips.


The first chip was the CPU chip and contained a RISC integer core, a blitter, a 3D colour rendering engine, audio, a CD interface, a peripheral interface, a bus interface and controllers for display and system memories.


The second chip was the video data path and contained line buffers, a colour lookup table, etc.
The "CPU chip" was doing most of the 3D, general purpose processing and could act as a logic controller.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Ed Hepler
Hombre had an integer PA-RISC core on board to act as the system processor in the low-end mode or as a peripheral processor in the high-end mode. I added a few instructions to it to help in graphics and 3D processing, much like the MMX instructions that Intel has added to the Pentium.
The "CPU chip" included a PA-RISC (probably 7150@125MHz) with SIMD (maybe MAX-2?). It sounds like the SIMD was customized and used for 3D probably giving much of the performance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Ed Hepler
I was targeting $45 (USD) for the two chips (total). This would have been our cost to produce...
There was probably a good relationship with HP as this sounds like a reasonable price. Perhaps C= finally made the deal they needed but too late.

Let's evaluate the PA-RISC 7150 (introduced in 1994) with SIMD. It was based on the PA-RISC 7100 using the same fab process but with improved circuit design to allow 125MHz. The PA-RISC was one of the first general purpose processors to include an SIMD called MAX which processed only 32 bits as 2x16 bit data at one time using a single instruction (1.9x to 2.7x fps speedup claimed for MPEG video, convolve 512x512, zoom 512x512 and H.261 video). MAX-2 could process 64 bits as 4x16 bit data at one time using a single instruction (likely 2x the performance of 32 bit MAX).

The PA-RISC 7100@99MHz (L1: 256kB ICache/256kB DCache) without SIMD could decode MPEG 320x240 video at 18.7 fps. My 68060@75MHz (L1: 8kB ICache/8kB DCache) using the old RiVA 0.50 decodes MPEG video between 18-22fps (average ~20fps). An update to the new RiVA 0.52 works now giving 21-29 fps (average is ~26fps with more 68060 optimization possible). Note that the PA-RISC 7100 was introduced in 1992 and used in technical and graphical workstations and computing servers while the 68060 was introduced in 1994 for desktop and embedded applications (less demanding and lower cost applications). The PA-RISC 7100LC@60MHz (L1: 32kB ICache/32kB DCache) introduced in 1994 with SIMD (initially 32 bit MAX but may have been upgraded to MAX-2 later?) could do 26fps decoding 320x240 MPEG. MAX not only improved the performance (finally better than the 68060 at MPEG fps) but improved the code density by replacing many RISC instructions allowing the cache sizes to be reduced tremendously. The PA-RISC 7100LC@80MHz (L1: 128kB ICache/128kB DCache) with MAX SIMD could do 33fps decoding 320x240 MPEG. The Apollo Core 68k@78MHz should be about the same performance, if not a little better, without using an SIMD (the Apollo Core with SIMD is likely twice as fast as the PA-RISC 7100LC@80MHz in MPEG decoded fps). As we can see, the PA-RISC had unimpressive performance even with an SIMD and lots of resources.

http://www.ee.princeton.edu/~rblee/H...dMicroproc.pdf

There were other 3D graphics chips which went on to use an SIMD processor in a somewhat similar configuration like the Broadcom VideoCore with ARM CPU as used in the Raspberry Pi. High end graphics boards eventually moved on to more specialized parallel processing units but have a logic controller CPU to process the I/O and feed the specialized units. It looks like this configuration allows more parallelization than an SIMD and scales better while the SIMD can be started quicker (less latency), is easier to program (relative as still not easy to program) and can improve code density (which reduces caches needed) if general purpose enough.

Could Hombre have saved C= from bankruptcy? Probably not as it was not far enough along in development. It was probably on par with the PS1 but wasn't finished so maybe would have had to compete with the PS2. Would C= have been pursuing the PA-RISC if they know now what the 68k could do as presented here? If they were smart, they would have been looking to license or buy the rights to the 68060 from Motorola (should have been cheap as it was undervalued and discarded for PPC) and perhaps add their own SIMD as it would have saved them the development effort of porting the AmigaOS to PA-RISC and they could have done it as a much prioritized effort to make a single chip Amiga (68k+custom chips) SoC. Then again, knowing C=, they would have probably tried to create a 68030 based SoC instead of 68060 based one as they lacked a tech savvy vision with good leadership.

Last edited by matthey; 04 March 2017 at 02:40.
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Old 24 February 2017, 11:19   #23
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Could Hombre have saved C= from bankruptcy? Probably not as it was not far enough along in development. It was probably on par with the PS1 but wasn't finished so maybe would have had to compete with the PS2.
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.

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If they were smart, they would have been looking to license or buy the rights to the 68060 from Motorola
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 competetive. They certainly didn't have the money.
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Old 24 February 2017, 11:26   #24
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I read somewhere a few years ago Hombre was more on par with the Saturn than the PS1, but again people are comparing different markets, the budget computer market was not the console market, 16-computer markets co-existed with 16-bit console markets, and the same could have happened with Hombre/CD64 and PS1/Saturn.

But Commodore even if they survived didn't have the right management to take the Amiga through the 90's anyway.
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Old 24 February 2017, 12:53   #25
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people are comparing different markets, the budget computer market was not the console market
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.

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But Commodore even if they survived didn't have the right management to take the Amiga through the 90's anyway.
No doubt about that, but it's interesting to imagine what realistically could have happened with less wonky management.
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Old 24 February 2017, 12:59   #26
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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.
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.
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Old 24 February 2017, 20:04   #27
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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.

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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).

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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.
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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 20:14.
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Old 24 February 2017, 22:17   #28
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They did not have the technical expertise in CISC but neither did Intel at that time.
I think you have to clarify what you mean, because it's pretty obvious to me that Intel had CISC expertise.
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Old 24 February 2017, 23:11   #29
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I think you have to clarify what you mean, because it's pretty obvious to me that Intel had CISC expertise.
RISC was gaining on CISC in leaps and bounds during the early days (it is easier to make advances in something new). Intel initially had the old brain dead CISC philosophy which was going nowhere. They were behind Motorola in technology and may have even been the ones who bowed out of the market if IBM had not made the fateful decision to choose the x86 over the 68000. Intel was losing market share fast and fighting for their lives when the 68000 came out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David House
I can tell you at Intel it [the 68000] was pretty electrifying too... it was terrifying.
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=83699

Intel was able to ramp up development using the cash flow provided by the PC economies of scale. They made mistakes (Pentium 4) but trial and error and research with persistence took them to the top. Motorola bet on PPC (68060 was not clocked up or improved as it would have competed with PPC) right as RISC was discovering that clock speeds were not unlimited, all the complexity could not be moved into compilers and code density might be important after all. CISC found ways to improve with different techniques and could use some of the same techniques as RISC. CISC became a lower clocked but more powerful variant of RISC with innate code compression which was more powerful than the original unlimited clock speed super simplified RISC philosophy.

Last edited by matthey; 24 February 2017 at 23:18.
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Old 25 February 2017, 01:12   #30
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From what you say, it seems like we agree that Intel had CISC expertise, and not only "at that time" (mid-90s). They wouldn't be able to design or produce their CPUs otherwise.
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Old 25 February 2017, 03:15   #31
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From what you say, it seems like we agree that Intel had CISC expertise, and not only "at that time" (mid-90s). They wouldn't be able to design or produce their CPUs otherwise.
Intel had knowledge to design and fab chips including CISC processors. C= owned MOS Technologies had knowledge to design and fab chips including CISC processors which was more advanced than that of Intel (MOS 6502 was superior to Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800). Chuck Peddle came from MOS and persuaded Jack Tramiel to make computers and not just calculators. Chuck Peddle worked on the Motorola 6800 which he considered the first microprocessor (not Intel 4004 or 8008 which he considered "calculator chips"). He left Motorola when they were not interested in making a low cost 6800 and created the 6501 and 6502. MOS had 70% fab success rates compared to 70% failure rates which allowed them to bring the cost of the 6502 down to $25 (every chip designer had their own fab at that time). It was so cheap that people thought it was a scam but it was Chuck's vision to mass produce them to be used everywhere. He also went on to develop the first personal computer in the C= PET which beat Apple to market (by 6 months) after deciding not to buy them for $150,000. My point is that C= had more CISC expertise with MOS and Chuck Peddle (he made the microprocessor affordable and created the first personal computer) than Intel did at the time C= bought MOS. Intel was behind MOS, Motorola and TI in their chip technology. Intel was behind at the time the 68000 came out. It was about the time of the 80286 and 80386 that Intel was catching up in technology fast using the cash flow from the PC. It is here where they were learning modern CISC techniques (same as Motorola) like pipelining and caches which did not exist before. Motorola was becoming a CISC expert too (68060) but jumped the fence to what looked like greener pastures with RISC. It is a little confusing depending on which time period is looked at but Intel was far from the leader in microprocessor technology (which was CISC) in the 8 bit era and half way through the 16 bit era. They were playing catch up and were lucky IBM chose an inferior Intel processor for their PC or they may not have even survived. Yes, Intel turned it around and was the world experts in modern CISC by the mid-90s.
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Old 25 February 2017, 05:09   #32
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So the question is, did Commodore still have enough technical resources in the mid-90s to purchase 68k from Motorola and keep up with the Pentium? Sounds unlikely to me...
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Old 25 February 2017, 06:47   #33
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So the question is, did Commodore still have enough technical resources in the mid-90s to purchase 68k from Motorola and keep up with the Pentium? Sounds unlikely to me...
Probably not because of lack of earlier leadership and lack of vision in the top executive positions. C= had legendary employee talent and impressive technology ahead of its time but found a way to squander it. C= did not have the philosophy where they would have even tried to keep up with the Pentium. More likely they would have tried to cost reduce an Amiga SoC and mass produce it for the low end of the market. They were good at cost reducing but did not understand the idea of competing in performance and features. Even with a 68060+AGA SoC for <$100 in the late 90s, would the custom chips have been upgraded or be an even bigger liability than they had become in the mid-90s (no chunky support let alone 3D support)? Would C= have found some way to bottleneck performance with not enough fast memory or lack of HD? I expect the only way C= would have adapted is under different ownership and management.
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Old 25 February 2017, 08:28   #34
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(no chunky support let alone 3D support)
No 3D support? Are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure line drawing and flood filling are features of the Agnus chip, which would mean that there IS in fact 3D support features in the Amiga's chipset.

Ok, so it's nowhere near as complex as more modern 3D hardware, and textures are out. But polygons are polygons and 3D is 3D and the Amiga does in fact support this at the hardware level all the way back to the Amiga 1000.

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Originally Posted by Wikipedia
The blitter's line mode draws single-pixel thick lines using Bresenham's line algorithm. It can also apply a 16-bit repeating pattern to the line. The line mode can also be used to draw rotated bobs: each line of bob data is used as line pattern while the line mode draws the tilted bob line by line.

The blitter's filling mode is used to fill per-line horizontal spans. On each span, it reads each pixel in turn from right to left. Whenever it reads a set pixel, it toggles filling mode on or off. When filling mode is on, it sets every pixel until filling mode is turned off or the line ends. Together, these modes allow the blitter to draw individual flat-shaded polygons. Later Amigas tended to use a combination of a faster CPU and blitter for many operations.
And as for no chunky support. The CD32 does feature C2P conversion hardware, so obviously this feature was on Commodore's engineering team's radar. And if I'm reading the information correctly the Hombre would have had native chunky screen modes.
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Old 25 February 2017, 17:59   #35
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No 3D support? Are you sure about that? I'm pretty sure line drawing and flood filling are features of the Agnus chip, which would mean that there IS in fact 3D support features in the Amiga's chipset.

Ok, so it's nowhere near as complex as more modern 3D hardware, and textures are out. But polygons are polygons and 3D is 3D and the Amiga does in fact support this at the hardware level all the way back to the Amiga 1000.
Shall we say the Amiga custom chips had no 3D specific support then? Copper chunky was low resolution 2x2 or worse and improved with AGA but only compensated for part of the handicap of not having native chunky modes. The blitter could be used to fill 3D objects which was useful until texture mapping arrived. The limits of these techniques was reached somewhere between Frontier Elite and Wolfenstein.

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And as for no chunky support. The CD32 does feature C2P conversion hardware, so obviously this feature was on Commodore's engineering team's radar. And if I'm reading the information correctly the Hombre would have had native chunky screen modes.
The CD32 C2P support required passing arrays of pixels through a register in hardware which is an extra step which is unnecessary with native chunky. It provided a speedup with a slow CPU (and no fast memory) but may have been a bottleneck with a fast CPU. It is lame support considering all the advantages of chunky and how much of the computer market was using it for higher color displays. It was not even that difficult to add as can be seen by the new FPGA Amiga chunky modes. From what I have read, the Hombre would have *only* had chunky modes. It was planned to be capable of being used as a gfx enhancement for the Amiga (Zorro III card?). Perhaps it would have overlayed the AGA or simply passed through AGA modes like the original CyberVision gfx card. The original 3DFX Voodoo 1 and 2 were 3D accelerators and did not include 2D support which came from the PC. Perhaps later it could have all been integrated but there needed to be plans to increase performance of both the 68k and 3D or they would have fallen further and further behind in competition with PC gaming (maybe nice embedded setup for set top boxes and kiosks though). We can already see that the 3D performance of a PA-7150 RISC CPU with SIMD was unimpressive. Double the clock speed of the 68060 and it could outperform the PA-7150 gfx accelerator. Add a nice SIMD and the performance could be doubled again. The 3D accelerator can turn into a 3D decelerator as happened with the S3 VIRGE (Cybervision 64/3D) and high performance PC CPUs.

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Originally Posted by https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3_ViRGE
When performing basic 3D-rendering with only texture mapping and no
other advanced features, ViRGE's pixel throughput was somewhat faster than the best software-optimized (host-based CPU) 3D-rendering of the era, and with better (16bpp) color fidelity. But when additional rendering operations were added to the polygon load (such as perspective-correction, Z-depth fogging, and bilinear filtering, rendering throughput dropped to the speed of software-based rendering on an entry-level CPU, which was unacceptable to most gamers. Due to this abysmal 3D-rendering performance, the ViRGE earned the dubious distinction of being the world's first "graphics decelerator."
The S3 Virge provides 3D acceleration on most classic Amigas because they have slow CPUs and it provided chunky (saving the C2P) while offloading the Amiga custom chips from stealing cycles from the CPU at higher resolutions and colour depths.
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Old 26 February 2017, 04:02   #36
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Intel had knowledge to design and fab chips including CISC processors. C= owned MOS Technologies had knowledge to design and fab chips including CISC processors which was more advanced than that of Intel (MOS 6502 was superior to Intel 8080 and Motorola 6800).
(...)
MOS had 70% fab success rates compared to 70% failure rates which allowed them to bring the cost of the 6502 down to $25
It's not surprising that success rates were high when they were making a chip with so few transistors. Even if we say that the 6502 is "superior", it is not more advanced than the competition. It gained its advantage by being simple instead of advanced.

You also seem to forget Intel's super-CISCy processor, the iAPX 432.
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Old 27 February 2017, 19:38   #37
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Old 27 February 2017, 22:20   #38
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It's not surprising that success rates were high when they were making a chip with so few transistors. Even if we say that the 6502 is "superior", it is not more advanced than the competition. It gained its advantage by being simple instead of advanced.
Chuck Peddle had a goal (vision) to lower the cost of microprocessors so they could be used in many more applications. It was his philosophy at MOS to actively look for and encourage improvements which made the mask process improvements possible. Other big companies were ignoring R&D and happy to collect customer money from their large market shares. They didn't want him rocking the boat (he was reprimanded at Motorola for suggesting and pushing for improvements) but he was right and his vision revolutionized and help pioneer the microprocessor market. C= would likely not have made personal computers without him. He played two huge rolls in making microprocessors affordable and personally persuading Jack Tramiel to make computers at C=. Without him, we likely would not be having this conversation.

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You also seem to forget Intel's super-CISCy processor, the iAPX 432.
According to the New York Times, "the i432 ran 5 to 10 times more slowly than its competitor, the Motorola 68000".

Intel learned a lot from trial and error. This iAPX (432) mistake is hardly an example of Intel Expertise with CISC but rather a good example to the contrary. This is the kind of project that could bankrupt a company as it likely cost much more than the 8080 to 8086 upgrade project where they were lucky with IBM choosing the 8088 (8086 variant).

IMO, Intel was no expert even up to the Pentium days. They were lucky again that texture mapped "desktop" gaming was pushing PC sales where energy efficiency wasn't important. Let's compare the Pentium and 68060.

Pentium@75MHz 80502, 3.3V, 0.6um, 3.2 million transistors, 9.5W max
68060@75MHz 3.3V, 0.6um, 2.5 million transistors, ~5.5W max*

* estimate based on 68060@50MHz 3.9W max, 68060@66MHz 4.9W max

The 68060 integer performance is known to be a little better at the same clock speed than the Pentium despite more conservative MIPS numbers from Motorola (perhaps due to inferior 68k compilers). The Pentium had higher theoretical FPU performance at the same clock speed despite its inferior FPU stack based ISA because the 68060 did not have a fully pipelined FPU but more common mixed FPU and integer code reduced this Pentium advantage. The 68060 is using ~42% less power to give similar performance with the most comparable chips chosen. Both processors are in order superscalar with only 8kB ICache and 8kB DCache. This is similar to the in order superscalar Intel Atom which Intel was trying to get down to the energy efficiency of ARM and actually did (OoO Cortex A9 while outperforming it) according to this article.

https://research.cs.wisc.edu/vertica...-struggles.pdf

What if a CPU design based on the 68060 used 42% less power than the Atom processor that beat the very common ARM Cortex A9? What if Motorola abandoned and sabotaged (by anti-marketing and not clocking up) the 68060 without recognizing its full potential? What if ARMv8 is making a mistake for embedded and mobile by going bigger when it is unnecessary and smaller is faster?

P.S. I wanted to compare the PPC 601@75MHz 3.3V, 0.6um, 2.8 million transistors but could no longer find power dissipation numbers. The PPC 601 was considerably slower at the same clock speed than the 68060 and Pentium despite having twice the caches (32kB unified L1). The shallow pipeline OoO PPC is generally power efficient and the base CPU is small in transistor count but this advantage is lost with larger caches and memory power requirements and transistor counts necessary to add performance. IBM created the PPC 405GP embedded CPU with CodePack code compression but this style of code compression still requires a large L1 ICache which CISC innate compression does not.

Last edited by matthey; 27 February 2017 at 22:27.
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Old 27 February 2017, 23:32   #39
Xebec
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IMO, Intel was no expert even up to the Pentium days. They were lucky again that texture mapped "desktop" gaming was pushing PC sales where energy efficiency wasn't important. Let's compare the Pentium and 68060.

Pentium@75MHz 80502, 3.3V, 0.6um, 3.2 million transistors, 9.5W max
68060@75MHz 3.3V, 0.6um, 2.5 million transistors, ~5.5W max*
This is a little bit of an unfair comparison -- the Pentium 3.3V on 0.6um process also shipped at 90 and 100mhz in volume (March 1994), with 100 being a full 33% faster than the 68060 ever shipped at. The main reasons for the 75 mhz version were to make Pentium work on cheaper motherboards (50 mhz bus speed instead of 66), and because of pricing pressure coming on from AMD's 5x86-120/133 chips released in 1995. I bet the Pentium 100 launched cheaper than the 68060 50, 66, or 75 mhz..

As for TDP/power consumption - somewhat meaningless in this case -- the Pentium was a more aggressive design with more transistors intended for higher performance. Keep in mind Intel also had the Pentium Pro released on November 1995, which was leaps and bounds ahead of the 68060 and early PPCs..

IMO Motorola's biggest problem was itself -- it kept pricing the 68000, and 68020/030 at exorbitant prices, didn't sell high clock speed versions of the 68K or '020 because of worry it would compete with the '030 (i.e. later 68K and 020's had a LOT of margin left in them), which in the case of our dear Amiga prevented lower end increments from improving enough to stay relevant. (An A500+/A600 with a 68020@ 25 mhz, and an A1200 with a 68030 @ 32mhz certainly wouldn't have hurt market share). The 68000 was already 6 years old by the time the A1000 launched...

The Amiga had epic engineering going for it, but EVERYTHING else going against it.. .
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Old 28 February 2017, 00:05   #40
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This is a little bit of an unfair comparison -- the Pentium 3.3V on 0.6um process also shipped at 90 and 100mhz in volume (March 1994), with 100 being a full 33% faster than the 68060 ever shipped at. The main reasons for the 75 mhz version were to make Pentium work on cheaper motherboards (50 mhz bus speed instead of 66), and because of pricing pressure coming on from AMD's 5x86-120/133 chips released in 1995. I bet the Pentium 100 launched cheaper than the 68060 50, 66, or 75 mhz..
I was comparing the CPU designs and the only way to do that was to choose as similar of products as possible.

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Originally Posted by Xebec View Post
As for TDP/power consumption - somewhat meaningless in this case -- the Pentium was a more aggressive design with more transistors intended for higher performance. Keep in mind Intel also had the Pentium Pro released on November 1995, which was leaps and bounds ahead of the 68060 and early PPCs..
At the time, power consumption was not as important for "desktop" gamers as I noted (it is much more important today). I believe the 68060 and Pentium were close in their initial target as the next generation of a CPU which could be used as the basis for further enhancements. IMO, both teams were successful in this but then the 68060 was abandoned for the PPC. The 68060 was a great CPU for embedded and mid-range desktop use where resources were limited but ignorant suits up top dropped the axe on it after the AIM agreement.

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Originally Posted by Xebec View Post
IMO Motorola's biggest problem was itself -- it kept pricing the 68000, and 68020/030 at exorbitant prices, didn't sell high clock speed versions of the 68K or '020 because of worry it would compete with the '030 (i.e. later 68K and 020's had a LOT of margin left in them), which in the case of our dear Amiga prevented lower end increments from improving enough to stay relevant. (An A500+/A600 with a 68020@ 25 mhz, and an A1200 with a 68030 @ 32mhz certainly wouldn't have hurt market share). The 68000 was already 6 years old by the time the A1000 launched...
Absolutely. Motorola had management and marketing hindrances.

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Originally Posted by Xebec View Post
The Amiga had epic engineering going for it, but EVERYTHING else going against it.. .
I agree. The biggest factor was the economies of scale from the PC boom and then 3D gaming boom putting huge cash flows in the Intel sales and wiping out their past mistakes. The RISC hype was at full steam which sold CPUs for high end computers while the 68060 did not get much attention. The 68060 was an excellent design and better suited for embedded, laptop and mid-range desktop use than either the Pentium or RISC. Sadly, the 68060 was a successful design which was mis-managed (ironically by Motorola which lived on embedded sales) and mis-marketed (practically anti-marketed by Motorola).
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