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Old 21 September 2008, 16:54   #1
Paul_s
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Question Whatever happened to the AAA chipset?

Was it ever completed and what stage did they get to if so. I'm sure I heard about the chips being prototyped but Commodore shortly died thereafter

Would be cool if it ever surfaced
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Old 21 September 2008, 17:36   #2
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Its was and is still just a prototype. You can find some docs at http://www.thule.no/haynie/
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Old 21 September 2008, 19:24   #3
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I dont think it was even a prototype was it? Just a collection of ideas that never got made.
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Old 21 September 2008, 19:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
I dont think it was even a prototype was it? Just a collection of ideas that never got made.
No. According to D.Haynie, they were ready to get into production.
Before CBM went upside down, engineers were already working on Hombre since management decided to kill the AAA project due to high costs IIRC.

The "Deathbed Vigil" documentary is a nice source of information, as well as some other Haynie interviews.

(There's an interesting interview with Ed Hepler here btw)

Last edited by skan; 21 September 2008 at 19:52. Reason: update + typo galore!
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Old 21 September 2008, 20:43   #5
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Yep in the Deathbed Vigil Video he actually shows the AAA Board. He mentiones that he took one and another one or two where taken hoem by other Developers.
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Old 21 September 2008, 21:52   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skan View Post
There's an interesting interview with Ed Hepler here btw
The guy sounds a bit of a marketeer, or a liar, you choose. The interview date is 1997 and he thinks that the hardware he developed in 1994 would have still been competitive with the consoles of the day (i.e. N64) Yeah right, with no hardware rendering and no floating point?

Last edited by alexh; 21 September 2008 at 21:59.
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Old 21 September 2008, 22:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
The guy sounds a bit of a marketeer, or a liar, you choose. The interview date is 1997 and he thinks that the hardware he developed in 1994 would have still been competitive with the consoles of the day (i.e. N64) Yeah right, with no hardware rendering and no floating point?
Haha sure, the greatest liar of all times! The guy who's been defined by Dave Haynie himself as "the Carl Sassenrath of chip designers", the one who designed the AAA chipset almost all alone and an 80Mhz 68k Verilog core ages before the MiniMig! Thanks, I just had a great laugh! ;D
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Old 22 September 2008, 10:19   #8
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I've no idea who he is, I am just going on his comments in this interview.

The N64 had partial hardware transform and lighting, hardware rasterising, texturing and filtering, hardware shading and a damn powerful 90MHz RS4000 MIPS processor.

Now either Ed Hepler did not realise the capabilities of the N64 at the time of the interview (it would have only been out for about a year in Jap, perhaps a few months in EU) or he just had overly fond memories of his work and its capabilities.

There is no real skill in creating a 68k core. It is so well documented that with enough experience with the architecture and a bit of spare time I am sure he could have created anything. Many universities have 1st year HDL projects to create CPU's.

P.S. 80MHz fully synthesisable 68k in 1994 = bullshit! The process technology just was not good enough and the synthesis tools not good enough to reach such speeds. Full custom hard macro designs were only just reaching such speeds.

Last edited by alexh; 22 September 2008 at 10:33.
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Old 22 September 2008, 10:36   #9
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This Link to BBoAH shows the "Nyx" Prototype AAA Board

http://bboah.amiga-resistance.info/c....cgi?HARDID=35

Silicon did obviously exist but in very small numbers

TC
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Old 22 September 2008, 10:51   #10
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I've seen such prototype photographs... you'll notice that lots of the chip sockets are empty?

But Dave said there were only a handful of chips... so they did get made. Interesting stuff.. I like the bit about the Andrea having a design fault and having to be FIBed. A technique I've seen other teams in our company have to do

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Old 22 September 2008, 11:54   #11
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In the Deathbed Vigil Video you see this board with chips.
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Old 22 September 2008, 12:38   #12
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@AlexH

Yeah sure, Ed Hepler's a liar, so is Dave Haynie.

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Old 22 September 2008, 13:05   #13
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If you say so

I've never read an article where Dave Haynie "stretched the truth" as much as Ed Hepler appeared to the above article. It's mainly this one comment that got me:

Quote:
Vidar: How do you think the Hombre [1993/4] would compare to the current [1997] consoles?
Dr. Hepler: I believe that it would have been competitive with any of the game consoles currently available.
Technology stands still for no-one. Even if we take into consideration that the chips for these consoles were probably finished a year before the consoles release there is still a big gap. Plus the technology for the N64 was developed by Silicon Graphics who had a decade of 3D experience under their belt. I guess we'll never know for sure

BTW: Where is the article where he says he created an 80MHz 68k in verilog while at commodore?

Last edited by alexh; 22 September 2008 at 13:28.
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Old 23 September 2008, 01:28   #14
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I think one of even more of the AAA board wer sold on Ebay some years ago, but cannot remember if they were populated with chips or not ?!
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Old 11 December 2009, 23:26   #15
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Sorry for the shameless bump, but I found this thread again by chance and completely forgot to answer back then... ;P

@alexh
I never stated he made an 80mhz 68k in 1994 and/or at Commodore!
I only said he did, and that was around 1997 IIRC (when he used to run his own company, VLSI Concepts or something....)


EDIT
I found something here: Dave Haynie interview, just go to 41m onwards. I guess it dates around 2000 then.

Oh, btw: sorry for overreacting with all those ""


Last edited by skan; 12 December 2009 at 00:11.
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Old 12 December 2009, 02:04   #16
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Thanks for posting back. Nice interview.

I wonder if there are any technical details out there about what Hombre might have been like in rasterising capabilities?

All academic. The gfx chip for the PSOne was a very small team who had only one previous 3D processor under their belts so who knows.
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Old 12 December 2009, 11:01   #17
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Another Haynie quote (2003):

"If you don’t know the details, Hombre was a fresh start. It was to be a two-chip design, with a graphics chip and a controller chip – basic functions like floppy could be done elsewhere. You had chunky graphics, either 16-bit or 24-bit, no LUT as I recall. In 16-bit mode, you could have up to four playfields. The controller chip sported a RISC CPU, something PA-RISC compatible that Ed designed, extended with new instructions for 3D manipulation. Ideally, the CPU would be the main CPU when used in a console machine, and maybe run OpenGL when driven by another CPU (low end Amiga-replacement, high-end system on a plug-in card). "

(taken from here)

It seems quite clear 3D capabilities of Hombre only exist on some forgotten paper and/or in the mind of Hepler, sadly.
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