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Old 24 January 2007, 14:08   #1
Jope
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Minimig core open source release coming soon

Stay tuned..

Originally Posted by Dennis: "There are now 4 working Minimig boards. The first one is here on my desk and the other three have gone to colleauges and friends. One of them is currently integrating his Minimig inside a small case complete with 5.4" TFT and stereo speakers. It looks almost like a portable (although it has no power and needs external mouse/keyboard/joystick)!

On the core front much has been done too, the OSD display is finally working. It allows the user to select/eject a floppy in DF0: and to reset the Amiga. The OSD works much like a nokia display from the PIC microcontroller point of view. The resolution is 128*64 pixels. (8 lines of 21 characters).
Also, keyboard support has been fully debugged and optimized. The whole PS2 keyboard interface now fits into 49 slices and one blockram. This includes LED support, keyboard reset and OSD control.

This pretty much means that I've completed my initial goal, recreate a console-like A500 to play games on my TV. But, as with all projects of this complexity it is not finished. There are still some features missing and some bugs remaining. To completely fix this will probably take me years. So, all things considering I think the core is ready for an open-source release. I only need to figure out the proper method for releasing the core. Opencores.org? Aminet? Own website? GPL? Any thoughts?

Anyway, the current state of the core is this:

Synthesis report:

Selected Device : 3s400pq208-4

Number of Slices: 2682 out of 3584 74%
Number of Slice Flip Flops: 3122 out of 7168 43%
Number of 4 input LUTs: 4337 out of 7168 60%
Number of bonded IOBs: 134 out of 141 95%
Number of BRAMs: 12 out of 16 75%
Number of MULT18X18s: 2 out of 16 12%
Number of GCLKs: 3 out of 8 37%
Number of DCMs: 1 out of 4 25%

This includes the following:

Agnus (1038 slices with a LOT of room for optimisation)
Denise
Paula (including floppy replacement)
Gary-equivalent
ciaA/ciaB equivalent
Amber-equivalent (scandoubler only)
PS2 mouse emulation
PS2 keyboard emulation
Automatic 2nd joystick/mouse switch.
Overlayed OSD generator

Missing from the core is the following:
parallel port
floppy write support (should be simple)
harddisk/ide support

Still standing bugs:
some silly stuff with ddfstart/ddfstop
floppy incompatiblity with some trackloaders
some silly sprite timing issuse

That is it really. I will be attending the next meeting of the Commodore user group in Maarssen to demonstrate the new board and hope to meet some of you there!

Dennis"

Last edited by Paul; 24 January 2007 at 16:51.
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Old 24 January 2007, 17:24   #2
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WOW..... a single passion has come a long way.....

well done to the pure determination of dennis me thinks...

I would love to see and have a hand-held such as a mini-mig it would be awsome...


It concerns me that Amiga Inc might try and steal it in a leagle row some how, or try and hold it up arguing kickstarts etc, but since not even amiga inc. know whom really owns them its a bit of a grey area at best.

by GPL open-sourcing the code and optimizations this will open the platform a lot, reduce the coding-work for dennis but on the flip side he would need to be keeping a tight reign on official update releases instead of letting it go completely crazy with gary v2.1 and paula v1.9 beta not working together...

by forcing a strict official release policy it will improve the mini mig platform a whole lot reducing the nightmare of conflict possibilites.

this doesn`t stop those making thier own home-brew though wich i tihnk is awsome cool...

either way....

Way To Go Dennis!!!!!!
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Old 24 January 2007, 17:35   #3
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Great to have a mini-a500! Even more impressive to have been done by one person.

After all that hard work, I have utmost respect for his decision to go open source.

He could have possibly made a bit of money from that design with an "Amiga in joystick" etc.
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Old 24 January 2007, 18:12   #4
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Old 24 January 2007, 21:26   #5
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I'd pay well over the odds for a GP2x form-factor minimig with a decent d-pad.

Fantastic news, here's hoping someone puts it to good (and easily purchasable) use!
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Old 24 January 2007, 22:18   #6
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OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, nice post thanks Jope.....

Was this from A.org posts ? (Runs off to check.)

[edit] NOICE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, Cant wait to download sources and get some copper etching solution........................

Last edited by whiteb; 24 January 2007 at 22:31.
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Old 25 January 2007, 10:06   #7
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I wouldnt be getting too excited until a source of sensibly priced boards becomes available? A Dev board is expensive and who is going to make the boards?
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Old 25 January 2007, 13:12   #8
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Have you seen the pic of the circuit board? It's only a single layer, double sided board (with silkscreen to make it easier to solder on). Maybe a bit of work for the home etcher to make, but simple enough and should be fairly cheap to send off to a commercial PCB manufacturer and get some ran off (the board is about the size of a CD case).

So I'm sure there'll be some 'group buys' and enterprising techs selling the boards reasonably cheaply.
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Old 25 January 2007, 13:47   #9
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How hard can it be to produce a board from the PCB schematics and a home PCB etching kit ? I should be able to source some stuff from Tricky Dicky Electronics.

But yeah we shall see.
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Old 25 January 2007, 14:09   #10
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Damn, this on PCI, slap it on a PC slot... would definitely beat emulation.
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Old 25 January 2007, 14:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultron
Damn, this on PCI, slap it on a PC slot... would definitely beat emulation.
errr isn't this emulation itself? Don't get me wrong I think its great but its an A500 emulator isn't it?

I'm also looking forward to Clone-A from Jens...
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Old 25 January 2007, 14:56   #12
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I Want One
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Old 25 January 2007, 21:27   #13
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sweet. Open source is the way to go. Denise can still make money. I would "buy" one even if I had the open to make my own.....
Exelent.
@mathanoid,
It may be emulation but hardware emulation should be faster than software? I don't know maybe I wrong.....
either way, good work.
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Old 26 January 2007, 02:35   #14
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More importantly, more accurate.
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Old 26 January 2007, 09:55   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superBuster
@mathanoid,
It may be emulation but hardware emulation should be faster than software? I don't know maybe I wrong.....
either way, good work.
Oh absolutely. From what i understand, the 68000 Operands do not have to be converted to x86 for emulation.. You are using a REAL 68000 = IMPROVEMENT.
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Old 26 January 2007, 15:13   #16
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The CPU is a real 68k but the custom chips are emulated.

The biggest problem with Amiga emulation has always been the custom chips, really. :-)
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Old 26 January 2007, 21:31   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope
The CPU is a real 68k but the custom chips are emulated.

The biggest problem with Amiga emulation has always been the custom chips, really. :-)
The biggest problem from my understanding, is the use of SOFTWARE to emulate the hardware.. meaning, you need BULK CPU power.., the Minimig is a hardware, emulating hardware.

Speed wise, you need *ALOT* less to get the same effect.
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Old 27 January 2007, 06:15   #18
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No, it's not a matter of power - unfortunately.

It's the timings. The chipsets, the UMA, it's all a mess, and some of it undocumented. Pardon the CPU architcture lingo, but the Amiga hardware was... fucked up.

Hopefully some of reverse engeneering done by Denis will be of use to WinUAE, too.

The chipsets on this thing are FPGA. If the reverse engeneering is good it's pretty much the same thing.
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Old 27 January 2007, 06:50   #19
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for those concerned about PCB manufacturing and pricing, Dennis just posted this on amiga.org:

http://www.amiga.org/modules/newbb/v...orumpost422749

------------------------------------------------
Gizmomelb said:
the PCB overlay Dennis released for v1.0 is single layer, double sided. I seem to recall Dennis saying previously he's gone out of his way to design a simple and cheap to manufacture board for enthusiasts.

------------------------------------------------

It is a double sided (2-layer if you like) board. I've ordered the boards here ( http://www.thepcbshop.com/ ) . I have payed about 20,- euro per board. The only thing that prevents Minimig from being mass-producing friendly is that I have mounted some components at the bottom side of the board. For DIY soldering that is not a problem however. Another good move would be to port the Minimig to an universal FPGA board. The C-One comes to mind but the FPGA's of the C-One are probably too small. The TREX C1 seems a good alternative. If one would design a simple daughterboard for the expansion slot containing the 68000 and some joystick ports, a Minimig can be built.
------------------------------------------------

Now I think Jens is bringing out a PCI FPGA board that can also run the minimig code, so there should be enough 'home brew' and commercial solutions to suit everyone.

As for hardware versus software emulation - there is no difference at all between the two! The hardware emulation that Dennis is doing is from the WinUAE code. So any emulation problems that existed in the code that he was porting to the FPGA hardware would of course still exist in the hardware minimig. Jens' Code-A Amiga emulator is modelled from observations using a logic analyser - so in theory that should provide 100% accurate emulation of an Amiga 500 (or he might have analysed an A1200 - who knows?).


It's like taking a BASIC program: 10 PRINT "HELLO WORLD"

and then converting it to C for the FPGA compiler:

main() {
printf("hello, world");
}

When the program runs the end result is exactly the same thing on both platforms, no matter how differently it is being processed by the different 'CPU's. If there was a bug in the first code example, which was then accurately translated to C for the FPGA - the same bug would be present.

Software emulation of some digital circuits on the IBM/Mac/Unix may take a lot of processing, whereas the same emulation of those digital circuits on the FPGA won't - as that is what it does better than running compiled C code.

The FPGA in the minimig appears to be mainly emulating the custom chips of the A500 plus some other minor interfacing for the circuit board (sound and video output, joystick/mouse and keyboard input). There's a real 68000 CPU to process the code and a PIC+MMC emulating the disk drive (to handle constant bit ADF images), whereas the software WinUAE has to emulate ALL of those tasks, at the correct speed/sync in a purely software environment (so it needs a lot more CPU processing power than the FPGA which is only handling Agnes, Denise and Paula emulation).

I'm really looking forward to Dennis releasing this, as we should also see the release of reasonably cheap, solid state replacement floppy drives for our REAL Amigas. There are currently many hardware floppy drive emulation projects being developed (torlus FPGA, 1541 flash drive, tnt23's megadrive, goMMC, techtravels etc.) with the majority using FPGA's to emulate the floppy drive hardware - Dennis's design is the easiest and simplest out of all of them (and what I was requesting help with last year - ie: use a cheap and readily available PIC to decode/shift decoded ADF data to a RAM space, then have the floppy circuit logic handle the RAM as if it were a floppy disk and talk to the floppy interface with known timings and reponses when queried.)

Dennis is using a PIC18LF252 based flashcard controller with FAT16 support and on-the-fly .ADF decoding with an MMC Flashcard to load fpga (so you can reprogram the FPGA with newer versions of the minimig code) + ADF files.
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Old 27 January 2007, 12:05   #20
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How about something like this?

http://www.bazix.nl/onechipmsx.html

In therory you could use VHDL to make an Amiga.
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