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Old 04 March 2004, 16:10   #1
th4t1guy
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Anyone have a Prometheus PCI board?

I've been thinking about getting one of these. Any opinions, experiences, etc?
There's a thread at Amiga dot org talking about this, but I can't really get anything out of their non stop flame posts.
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Old 04 March 2004, 16:34   #2
Enverex
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They seem good, the only problem is that they take up pretty much all your other slots because of the position where the PCI slots plug in. They also dont actually go through any of the back ports, so you have to wire everything inside the machine....
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Old 04 March 2004, 19:47   #3
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The Prometheus is (currently) incapable of "bus mastering". The manufacturer (Matay) always promised to fix that soon and that it could be fixed by a "firmware upgrade".

I don't know Matay's current state (e.g. if they're still active, supporting the Amiga etc.), but the Prometheus is now on sale for 2-3 years and the problem is not fixed yet. There's a new american distributor who makes promising claims, but I wouldn't purchase one before that problem is definitely solved.

Without bus mastering, the only cards you'll ever be able to use with the Prometheus are gfx cards (mainly the Voodoo3/4/5 cards, perhaps OS4's Radeon driver will be released for OS3), and 10mbit NICs. No sound cards, no TV cards, no 100mbit NICs, no USB.

The Mediator from Elbox does cost quite some money. It's capable of busmastering though, that's why it supports sound cards, 100 mbit NICs (IIRC) and TV cards. Elbox are said to have pretty good support for their customers.

The bad thing about Elbox and the Mediator is that Elbox are paranoid wannabe-monopolists. It has been more or less proven that one of their drivers contains code that will destroy your hard disk if you're trying to pirate it (which is *illegal*, no matter what you think about piracy). Developers only get access to the development kit after signing an NDA, and Elbox are blocking attempts to make "OpenPCI" (a PCI standard that wants to create one single API for all busboards, Amithlon and MorphOS) work with the Mediators. In other words: you are *completely*
depending on Elbox when it comes to drivers.

Elbox offer the "Spider USB" card, which is just a standard PCI-USB card, bundled with their own USB driver (more expensive than the USB-PCI cards you can buy at your local retailer of course). However, they ship this card with an *unregistered* version of the USB stack "Poseidon". The Author stopped accepting Registrations from Elbox users, because he felt the company was playing dirty games with him (their advertsiment does not inform customers that they'll have to register the USB stack seperately, they blame the USB stack for problems of their drivers etc.). I *think* you can Register Poseidon again, but I'm not sure about that. Check this first if you need USB.
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Old 04 March 2004, 19:56   #4
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Great, so the options you have is a crap castrated board that blocks your Zorro slots, or a board with virtually no drivers, random damage, restricted USB ability and generally crap support.

Huzzah.
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Old 04 March 2004, 20:12   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
or a board with virtually no drivers,
That's not true. Driver support is actually quite good, given the fact that only Elbox are providing drivers.

Everything you need is there - you're just limited in the type of manufacturer/chipset.

Quote:
random damage,
Sorry, I forgot to say that: After the "anti-piracy code" had been detected, Elbox removed it in the next revision of the driver.

Quote:
restricted USB ability and generally crap support.
I never owned an Elbox product, but their customers seem to be pretty happy with Elbox' support.
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Old 04 March 2004, 20:28   #6
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The crap support was still refering to the drivers.

Their driver support is alot better than I remember. I have no idea what I was looking at before, but they seem to support alot now:
http://www.elbox.com/mediator_driver_guide.html

Still no GeForce PCI support though, which is kind of silly as they are easy to find and faster than the others. Ok, so nVidia are a bit lousy with their source, but I'm sure it could still be a achieved...

Last edited by Enverex; 04 March 2004 at 20:46.
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Old 04 March 2004, 21:16   #7
th4t1guy
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Thanks, Korodny. That's probably the straightest answer I've seen concerning these two products. The more I learn about Elbox, the more I like their product, but dislike their company.
I've also seen the G-rex for sale a few places, but no one really talks about that product. Is it any good? I'm also wondering who's selling the Mediator for the cheapest price. Right now, all I can find are stores outside the US, and all their prices are ridiculous.
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Old 05 March 2004, 07:08   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Enverex
Still no GeForce PCI support though, which is kind of silly as they are easy to find and faster than the others. Ok, so nVidia are a bit lousy with their source, but I'm sure it could still be a achieved...
On the PCI it's not much faster than the Voodoo 5500 (if at all). Also, even a Voodoo 3 is fast enough to outrun a PPC Amiga so you're not going to see much increase going to anything faster.

As for Elbox support, it's top notch. I bought a 4xEIDE'99 and got what I thought was a bad disk. I emailed and recieved a response (with the driver attached) within 8 hours, ON A WEEKEND!

I looked at the Prometheus because of the price, but the lack of driver support (even though it's an open system), bus master issue, and the awful way it attaches (ie. hangs inside) made me choose a Mediator.
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Old 05 March 2004, 17:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Korodny
The Prometheus is (currently) incapable of "bus mastering". The manufacturer (Matay) always promised to fix that soon and that it could be fixed by a "firmware upgrade".

I don't know Matay's current state (e.g. if they're still active, supporting the Amiga etc.), but the Prometheus is now on sale for 2-3 years and the problem is not fixed yet. There's a new american distributor who makes promising claims, but I wouldn't purchase one before that problem is definitely solved.

Without bus mastering, the only cards you'll ever be able to use with the Prometheus are gfx cards (mainly the Voodoo3/4/5 cards, perhaps OS4's Radeon driver will be released for OS3), and 10mbit NICs. No sound cards, no TV cards, no 100mbit NICs, no USB.
Not true. Matay have been offering the firmware upgrade since early last year, so presumably new boards produced since then will be fine. According to their FAQ, they will upgrade old boards from 2001/02 free of charge if you send them in. However, busmastering functionality doesn't change the fact that driver support for the Prometheus is poor. Things were looking up with OpenPCI drivers for sound cards etc. being in the works for the Prometheus board, but apparently the coder got a real job and they were never finished.
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