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Old 20 December 2004, 13:23   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
Didn't Mick Tinker re-implelent the AA chipset in a single ASIC that ran at 20x the original speed for his BoXeR motherboard project?
There is no way that he could afford an ASIC, perhaps an FPGA, but not an ASIC and I doubt that the size of FPGA's back then could fit the AGA chipset and be cost effective.

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Whatever happened to that anyway?
Like all reasonably interesting projects it got canned. Personally I believe that the biggest loss was the Siamese PCI board or "Amiga on a PCI card" product. This would have been very cool today for classic compatibility in both PC's and A1's.

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Originally Posted by Photon
I also contend that a PPC computer is not an Amiga, since it's a different architecture and doesn't run Amiga software natively.
I agree that the A1 and the Pegasos are NOT Amiga's. However an A1200 with a Blizzard PPC or an A3000/A4000 with a Cyberstorm PPC most definately ARE Amiga's, they do run Amiga software natively and I think you'll find they are the most common PPC in our community. Sorry if I didnt make myself clear but that is what I was talking about :P
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Old 20 December 2004, 13:44   #22
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Quote:
There is no way that he could afford an ASIC, perhaps an FPGA, but not an ASIC and I doubt that the size of FPGA's back then could fit the AGA chipset and be cost effective.
Maybe it was an FPGA then, but it was single chip whatever it was:
http://amiga.emugaming.com/boxer.html

I wonder where those prototype boards are today

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Personally I believe that the biggest loss was the Siamese PCI board or "Amiga on a PCI card" product
Absolutely! I was at the World Of Commodore '98 in London when they announced that and almost put down a cash deposit on one. Maybe I should have and it would have tipped the balance

Last edited by girv; 20 December 2004 at 14:08.
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Old 20 December 2004, 14:02   #23
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@methanoid: Elbox must have written (or bought) a missing opcode emulation layer if they have OS3.x booting on the Dragon and I guess it will be transparently used by all OS legal software to run unmodified. Any non-OS legal software will either need to be modified to remove the non-Coldfire instructions or need to install its own emulation layer to handle them.

Its a similar situation to the 060 today as it does not implement all the instructions found on earlier chips, so you need to patch or emulate as I described above. For OS legal software you have emulation layers like CyberPatcher or OxyPatcher and the 68060.library; non OS legal software is generally patched to remove and work around the unimplemented instructions.

But ColdFire is a lot more different to 680x0 than 68060 is to 680x0!
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Old 20 December 2004, 14:19   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
Maybe it was an FPGA then, but it was single chip whatever it was
Looking at the 2000 Boxer board there are THREE FPGA's onboard. Two are relatively large Altera Flex10k's.

If you look at the 1997 Boxer... it's got one Flex10k and a whole A1200 chipset.

I still think it would struggle to get the entire AGA chipset onboard. Perhaps that is why they never got released? They couldnt source enough AGA chips for the 1997 boxer... they tried to develop their own and ran out of time or FPGA space.

Very interesting.

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I wonder where those prototype boards are today
More importantly where is the VHDL / Verilog for the AGA implementation? I'd love to get my hands on it.... I was thinking about doing it myself... but if it's already been done (If you cannot tell I am a digital hardware engineer)
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Old 20 December 2004, 14:30   #25
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Quote:
More importantly where is the VHDL / Verilog for the AGA implementation? I'd love to get my hands on it.... I was thinking about doing it myself... but if it's already been done
Forgive me, I'm just a little software guy But that would be an interesting project
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Old 20 December 2004, 14:36   #26
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Especially as the persons who re-implemented the C64 and Atari2600's made in the region of $250,000 dollars

I'm not that mercenary, I think if I have a go at it it will be open source... ala http://www.opencores.org so that if I get bored someone else could pick up the code and we dont have another boxer.

I'd need a license from whoever owns the Amiga hardware rights. I wonder if Mick Tinker's license is still valid? In the unlikely even that he or someone who know's him is reading... contact me.

Last edited by alexh; 20 December 2004 at 14:42.
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Old 20 December 2004, 14:43   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
Didn't Mick Tinker re-implelent the AA chipset in a single ASIC that ran at 20x the original speed for his BoXeR motherboard project? Whatever happened to that anyway?

@CFou: Coldfire chips don't have a MMU so WHDLoad development on them will be limited I'm sticking with the 060 for now.
It's mad news I need mmu .....
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Old 20 December 2004, 16:48   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
@methanoid: Elbox must have written (or bought) a missing opcode emulation layer if they have OS3.x booting on the Dragon and I guess it will be transparently used by all OS legal software to run unmodified. Any non-OS legal software will either need to be modified to remove the non-Coldfire instructions or need to install its own emulation layer to handle them.

Its a similar situation to the 060 today as it does not implement all the instructions found on earlier chips, so you need to patch or emulate as I described above. For OS legal software you have emulation layers like CyberPatcher or OxyPatcher and the 68060.library; non OS legal software is generally patched to remove and work around the unimplemented instructions.

But ColdFire is a lot more different to 680x0 than 68060 is to 680x0!
So for example a great prog like WHDload (which everyone should register!!) could load the "patch layer" as well as the other bits it needs and bingo.. all your old games still running on your nice new Dragon A1200 system ??

I wonder how much faster than an 060 it really is with the "emulation" in place...

I do wonder tho if it isnt a case of "too little too late" as this is what Mediator and A1 should have been.....
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Old 20 December 2004, 19:34   #29
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So for example a great prog like WHDload (which everyone should register!!) could load the "patch layer" as well as the other bits it needs and bingo.. all your old games still running on your nice new Dragon A1200 system ??
Kind of, in theory, yes its possible

Someone would have to buy Wepl a Dragon system (register more WHDLoad folks!), persuade him to port WHDLoad to it, then either persuade him to extend WHDLoad to include a ColdFire unimplemented instruction exception handler and emulation code or persuade all the patch authors to update their patches to modify the unimplemented opcodes in the games.

Quote:
I wonder how much faster than an 060 it really is with the "emulation" in place...
Me too. The features that are missing from ColdFire are very commonly used and would take some time compared to the original to emulate. I guess many games would be ultimately limited by custom chipset speed though, unless alexh gets his way

Quote:
I do wonder tho if it isnt a case of "too little too late"
I think they mentioned they couldnt have done it before now as only the latest ColdFire cores have sufficient 680x0 compatibility to make it feasible.
Maybe v5 will be a full 680x0 clone, except at 500Mhz If they'd just add a MMU and some more addressing modes...
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Old 20 December 2004, 19:34   #30
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Better information: Differences between ColdFire and 68K

@CFOU: don't cry, I was wrong The latest CF cores include a MMU! Not sure how compatible it is with the 68060 however but it exists at least!
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Old 20 December 2004, 22:18   #31
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ive spoken personal with elbox and they told me that this board will be released in any way...

so if someone think it will never be released he is/was wrong...
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Old 20 May 2005, 15:42   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
Kind of, in theory, yes its possible

Someone would have to buy Wepl a Dragon system (register more WHDLoad folks!), persuade him to port WHDLoad to it, then either persuade him to extend WHDLoad to include a ColdFire unimplemented instruction exception handler and emulation code or persuade all the patch authors to update their patches to modify the unimplemented opcodes in the games.


Me too. The features that are missing from ColdFire are very commonly used and would take some time compared to the original to emulate. I guess many games would be ultimately limited by custom chipset speed though, unless alexh gets his way

I think they mentioned they couldnt have done it before now as only the latest ColdFire cores have sufficient 680x0 compatibility to make it feasible.
Maybe v5 will be a full 680x0 clone, except at 500Mhz If they'd just add a MMU and some more addressing modes...
Girv,

I had an email from Elbox regarding this as I asked them specifically about WhDLoad. Below are some quotes from their response

Q: How are the missing OpCodes dealt with?

A: The main way of functioning OS3.x on DRAGON is a 5475.library, which
works in the same way as 060.library.

Q: If Elbox provided some technical info it is quite possible for authors of key 680X0 software like WHDLoad could make patches. WHDLoad could use a Tooltype to load a patch layer for each game patch so that gamers with Dragon could play their games still.

A: Our developer Dept. plans to publish DRAGON SDK, with complete info how to optimise software for ColdFire. Apart of that some Amiga softare developers are just in contact with us in this matter.


I'd suggest that we test Elbox on this... someone who has a technical brain (ie not me) could ask some specific questions to aid Whdload working under Coldfire and see how helpful a response they get. Personally loading a game from HD with an added Tooltype "COLDFIRE=On" or whatever seems just what the doctor ordered. Not being able to play games with the Coldfire kinda makes the whole thing pointless!
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Old 20 May 2005, 18:57   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methanoid
A: The main way of functioning OS3.x on DRAGON is a 5475.library, which works in the same way as 060.library.
And there's the problem - I think it would be hard to activate 5475.library when WHDLoad is running.

In my own limited little brain I think WHDLoad replaces the OS when active so no pre-existing OS libraries are availble to WHDLoad itself or the game/patch code. If that's the case then WHDLoad would need to provide an alternative unimplemented opcode handler within itself in order to run 68k code on a Dragon board.

Maybe Wepl can say different though?
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Old 20 May 2005, 21:03   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
And there's the problem - I think it would be hard to activate 5475.library when WHDLoad is running.

In my own limited little brain I think WHDLoad replaces the OS when active so no pre-existing OS libraries are availble to WHDLoad itself or the game/patch code. If that's the case then WHDLoad would need to provide an alternative unimplemented opcode handler within itself in order to run 68k code on a Dragon board.

Maybe Wepl can say different though?
So Wepl puts his specific questions to Elbox so that WHDLoad can support Dragon... it is in Elbox's interests to be as helpful as possible!
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Old 20 May 2005, 23:48   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girv
And there's the problem - I think it would be hard to activate 5475.library when WHDLoad is running.

In my own limited little brain I think WHDLoad replaces the OS when active so no pre-existing OS libraries are availble to WHDLoad itself or the game/patch code. If that's the case then WHDLoad would need to provide an alternative unimplemented opcode handler within itself in order to run 68k code on a Dragon board.

Maybe Wepl can say different though?
MOVEP instructions are already absent from 68060 instruction set, and whdload emulates them in a transparent way. Games do not need to be patched specifically.

Then why not for the Coldfire instructions. But I agree, we'd have to buy a ColdFire to Bert
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Old 21 May 2005, 00:01   #36
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Elbox ought to GIVE him one, not us buy him one. Anyhow I've registered.. maybe if more people did Bert could buy one himself?
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Old 23 May 2005, 08:47   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methanoid
Elbox ought to GIVE him one, not us buy him one. Anyhow I've registered.. maybe if more people did Bert could buy one himself?
Whereas you can have a powerful whole Linux PC for the price of a PPC board where you have to recompile all your applications and no game really uses, I would be ok to pay full price for a coldfire (aka 68080)

680x0 compatibility (even if it is approximate) with better speed than a 68060 is incredible news in 2005 !!!

Of course I'd buy it only if WHDLoad supported it or planned to support it properly (or that would mean that all the patches should be redone)...
That would amount to buying 2 of them and sending one to Bert
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Old 23 May 2005, 10:18   #38
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Of course we'd buy it if we could run our old games with WHDLoad... Elbox would have to be brain dead not to see that one free board for Bert would mean LOTS more sales for them.

We all prefer a 680X0 solution (well the sensible ones do!)
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Old 23 May 2005, 19:42   #39
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Some answers from me

If the board is released I will try to support it. (Will not spend time on before this.)

The differnces between CF and 68k seems to be large. Often used Opcodes and Adressing Modes are dropped. I think this will have an serious impact on performance. Also many apps/games running under WHDLoad have their stack in chipmem this will degrade emulation performance. The VBR at 1MB boundary is annoying, but workaround should be possible.

Single stack in CF may cause incompatibilites which may require install adaptions.

The emulation of unsupported instructions and addressing modes should work as current with the 68060 ones. I think the CK68KLib will do this. The WHDLoad core will need adaptions tough.
Using the 5475.library I would like to avoid because it would be incompatible with using MMU exclusive by WHDLoad (as it current is).

MMU support of the CF will be probably possible. I have not yet checked which functions the CF-MMU provides or what the differences to a 68040/60 are.

So, first the hardware must be out then we will see further
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Old 19 June 2012, 13:47   #40
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@Part of my subscription review,prune and revival process@

Are Elbox still actually in business? What ever happened to Dragon? Did they admit why they failed to ever release it?
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