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Old 30 June 2019, 12:00   #1
rthorntn
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Best way to add graphics/ethernet/USB to A4000

Hi,

I'm building a 4000 board with 68040 from scratch and I would ideally like to add graphics, ethernet & USB what is the best way to do this in 2019?

I have 16Mb RAM.

I haven't decided on how I'm going to encase it.

Graphics support is really about getting a decent resolution on a modern monitor.

Thanks.

Richard
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Old 30 June 2019, 15:31   #2
trixster
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The most modern all-in-one solution is likely to be the forthcoming ZZ9000

https://shop.mntmn.com/products/zz90...amiga-preorder

Another option for Ethernet/usb is something like the rapid road/X-Surf combination

https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/produ...-surf-100.html

Or go down the mediator route and use cheap pci NIC plus PCI USB plus an old Voodoo3 or Radeon 9200

Or find a Deneb for usb and usb Ethernet dongle.

RTG can be done relatively cheaply using a new-ish mmntm card, or the VA2000... or go classic rtg and find a CV64/3d, CV64 or Picasso II or IV
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Old 01 July 2019, 11:46   #3
Kin Hell
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The only thing I could say is the Mediator route has already a set Benchmark in terms of compatibility. Sure, Elbox hardware have had their own issues over the years, but the ZZ9000 is new & not yet readily available with the USB side of this Development not being available when it's released.

Afaik, there are several PCI USB options without the need for the Spider card which would be a cheaper solution for a USB resolution over X-Surf with Rapid Road. Don't get me wrong here either; - I've owned & used Rapid Road & it's an awesome solution for a Big Box Amiga, just the cost in comparison.
I'd also recommend Voodoo over Radeon for a Gfx PCI solution on a Mediator board. - Much easier to set up & better overall results. Do not get blindfolded thinking you can instantly have more system Ram for a Radeon. It doesn't quite work the way it all sounds.

It's a shame you're not going 060 with Fast Ram too. - Huge difference.
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Old 01 July 2019, 12:18   #4
rthorntn
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Thanks trixster!

Thanks Kin Hell!
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Old 01 July 2019, 16:43   #5
trixster
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Ive gone the mediator route in my 4000 and I’m absolutely content with voodoo3 for rtg and a cheap pci NIC. If I didn’t have a deneb I’m sure I’d be happy with a spider or cheap flashed usb pci card. I have used or owned an x-surf / rapid road combo so I can’t comment on them.

I use a CV64 and Deneb in my 3000 to get rtg / usb / NIC and that’s a great solution too, albeit not a ‘cheap’ one.
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Old 01 July 2019, 20:16   #6
nogginthenog
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I'm happy with a CyberVision 64/3d and X-Surf-100 in my A4000. No USB as I don't really have any use.
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Old 01 July 2019, 23:57   #7
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Does somebody sell these flashed Mediator compatible NEC chipset USB PCI cards actually?
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Old 02 July 2019, 00:42   #8
grelbfarlk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spudje View Post
Does somebody sell these flashed Mediator compatible NEC chipset USB PCI cards actually?

They show up on Amibay from time to time. If you have a burner it's pretty trivial to do yourself. Though actually finding one of the half dozen NEC USB cards that work might actually be more difficult.

Regarding prices it might help to consider the total cost after the A4000 is together and working:

1) Mediator $300, Voodoo or Radeon $50, NIC $5, Sphyder $20, PCI Sound card $20. Total ~$395 Another benefit is you can be one of those loonies like Trixster that also puts a 1GHz PCI CPU board in the machine later though you lose one of the above cards since there are not enough slots for all on a desktop.
2) All Zorro: Some Z3 Zorro RTG card, lets say you get lucky and find one for $150. Xsurf-100+Rapidroad will be another $200 at least. Total ~$350. Pros/Cons: USB and Ethernet will be faster than on the Mediator surely but video will generally be slower.
3) ZZ9000 €299.00. Has potential to have USB, Ethernet, SD interface, Flicker Fixer and an ARM coprocessor. Pros/Cons: Early hardware and software, unknown what all it will do when it's finished in a couple years. Lots of unknowns, though might be amazing.

Last edited by grelbfarlk; 02 July 2019 at 01:45.
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Old 02 July 2019, 02:32   #9
Signman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grelbfarlk View Post
3) ZZ9000 €299.00. Has potential to have USB, Ethernet, SD interface, Flicker Fixer and an ARM coprocessor. Pros/Cons: Early hardware and software, unknown what all it will do when it's finished in a couple years. Lots of unknowns, though might be amazing.
I thought a release of this was coming in a few months. Do you mean that this will be a work in progress when released?
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Old 02 July 2019, 02:45   #10
grelbfarlk
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Quote:
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I thought a release of this was coming in a few months. Do you mean that this will be a work in progress when released?

Isn't all Amiga hardware a work in progress when released?



I don't know specifically what the release status is or what should be expected to be working when it reaches commercial release. I'm just emphasizing since others mentioned it, that there are a lot of unknowns with this board. I just wouldn't expect all of it to be working on first general release-though it might. The older sister board the MNT VA2000 is more or less out of stock and might not be produced further but had many updates after the initial launch. I would expect that it will be quite some time before it's doing all that it is capable of, I'd bet money on that.
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Old 02 July 2019, 19:55   #11
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On USB, bear in mind that the answer depends on what you want to use it for. For flash drives and the like, the mediator route is a good one. But if you want to run a USB sound card, for example, forget the mediator and buy a Deneb if you can find one.
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Old 02 July 2019, 21:01   #12
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Deneb's go for what nowadays? 500 Euros? Insane
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Old 03 July 2019, 03:55   #13
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Is this a max-out-this-machine-no-matter-what project? If yes, ignore this post.

Unless you're good at metal work, forget about towering the A4000 - tower cases are hideously expensive and very hard to find 2nd hand. Elbox will happily sell you a new one for 600 Euros...

A Mediator bus board will cost you 320 bucks, plus whatever you have to pay for compatible RTG, USB and Ethernet cards and 25 Euros for a TCP stack. Elbox' USB driver used to be hardcoded for the rebranded generic PCI card they were selling for 80 Euros ("Spider"), not sure if that is still a problem.

Without a Mediator, USB is a no-go. RapidRoads are unreliable crap that might die if you hot-plug a USB device while the system is running, Denebs are extremely expensive - because nobody wants to buy a Rapidroad anymore.

So, the mediator alternative looks like this: Get a graphics card, something supporting Z3 (Picasso IV, Cybervision 64 (3D)...). But keep in mind these usually come with 2/4 MB RAM and 25 year old graphics chips. If you want Highcolor or Truecolor modes, a "decent resolution" they can handle would be something like 1280x1024 - for 150+ bucks. The X-Surf 100 will set you back about 130 bucks, plus 25 bucks for a TCP stack.

About USB:

Basically, USB is good for connecting USB mice and using mass storage devices for file transfer - that's it. Yeah, you could also connect a USB soundcard to your Amiga if you're really, really bored. Or a USB fan...

Ethernet is much more comfortable for file transfer, or you could simply use a CompactFlash<->IDE adapter for that purpose. And for connecting USB or PS/2 mice to your Amiga there are much cheaper options available that do not require running a USB stack and are much more compatible with old software/games.

I don't see a need for USB on an Amiga.
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Old 03 July 2019, 07:19   #14
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I’d vote for the XSurf100 with a RapidRoad.
Internally, you could add an USB hub. NZXT has some.
On an XSurf100, the RapidRoad uses a special connector that will give maximum speed way beyond any clock port speeds and comparable to a Deneb.
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Old 03 July 2019, 11:30   #15
trixster
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I find usb to be a very useful addition to an Amiga. It’s very convenient for quick, reliable file transfer between other Amigas and PCs. It’s also a good way to get cheap Ethernet using a usb NIC if you’ve run out of zorro/pci slots.
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Old 03 July 2019, 11:33   #16
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It's also convenient for setting up CF cards for other machines using a real Amiga. :-)
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Old 07 July 2019, 10:50   #17
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I have recently stuck a mediator board in my a3000 and I have to say it is an excellent product. It was really easy to set up (even for an edjit like me) and I had a working radeon 9250 and soundblaster 128 in under an hour or two. It added 96mb to system RAM without trouble. The extra RAM feels about as fast as a zorro bigramplus but I have heard it is probably slower. I have not fitted a spider USB as I heard about speed and compatibility issues and because I was aready so happy with x-surf100/rapidroad combination. Using it on the x-surf card is so much better than on the clockport. Sysinfo reports 7-8mb/s on compact flash cards and I have not had any stability problems unlike the one attached to my 604n. I have not found a single USB item which has not worked including cheap ebay usb sound cards, USB3.0 SATA/IDE converters and digital cameras. All credit to the phenomenal Poseidon stack!

I did not see a need for USB on an amiga until I tried it and since then have never looked back. It is without a doubt the easiest file transfer method for a big box amiga. I use it most frequently for mounting other amiga hard drives and copying over files. USB sound cards via AHI are actually very good too.

My main reason for the mediator is that I would like to fit a PCI PPC card at some point as a cheapish way to try out PPC software.

Oh, and hopefully at some point Stephen Leary (Terriblefire) may work on an 060/RAM card for big box amigas- he has dropped a couple of hints in his streams. If he can pull that off the it would be a look cheaper than a used cyberstorm. Let us not discourage him.

The MNT ZZ9000 does look like it could be the answer to all the worlds problems in a single zorro slot if it all comes to fruition but again, only time will tell.
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