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Old 03 March 2013, 08:54   #661
Mr B
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It's a shame perhaps, but on the other hand, mine never was intended for use with a ACA500, and most likely will never leave my A1200. Chances are we will see faster accelerators down the line, that will support the ACA500, simply since Jens knows it's out there, and he's developing against it.

I still think emulated CPU-cores will be the fast alternative, "in a few years".
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Old 03 March 2013, 13:49   #662
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Originally Posted by roy bates View Post
one more question if you will,is there an a500 or revision of 500/+ this card is known to not work with,or undocumented in any way.
i cant really see this being the case,but i'll ask anyway.
There are indeed lots of different A500 versions: Not just different mainboards, but also different chipset combinations. So far, I have only tested with PAL-clocked Amigas (28.37516MHz base clock) and four different motherboard revisions. However, if you take into account that there are two Gary versions and four different Agnus versions, all possibly installed on a PAL or an NTSC board (which is clocked at 28.63636MHz), you get to 64 permutations that must be tested. Not all 64 permutations make sense (for example old Agnus versions don't work on Rev.8 and new 8375 Agnus does not work on non-Rev-8), but I still have quite some testing ahead of me.

Ultimately, I don't expect too much difference between all the boards and chipsets. The one thing I won't be able to test is 8372B-based 2M Chipram expansions, because I simply don't have one. This is where I'll need help from the community - I'll get to that when I'm confident enough to order the boards and start production.

Jens
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Old 03 March 2013, 15:24   #663
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One more question: what about internal PC emulators, such as the Vortex ATOnce, that go on the 68000 slot, with the 68000 plugged over it?
Are they expected to still work with the ACA500?
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Old 03 March 2013, 15:36   #664
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Originally Posted by Calabazam View Post
One more question: what about internal PC emulators, such as the Vortex ATOnce, that go on the 68000 slot, with the 68000 plugged over it?
Are they expected to still work with the ACA500?
It is highly unlikely that this will work. If you have a memory-map of that product and if you can tell me if it's using DMA, I may be able to make a more precise predition, but at this point, you should prepare to remove it before you can use the ACA500.

Jens
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Old 03 March 2013, 16:24   #665
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Originally Posted by Schoenfeld View Post
There are indeed lots of different A500 versions: Not just different mainboards, but also different chipset combinations. So far, I have only tested with PAL-clocked Amigas (28.37516MHz base clock) and four different motherboard revisions. However, if you take into account that there are two Gary versions and four different Agnus versions, all possibly installed on a PAL or an NTSC board (which is clocked at 28.63636MHz), you get to 64 permutations that must be tested. Not all 64 permutations make sense (for example old Agnus versions don't work on Rev.8 and new 8375 Agnus does not work on non-Rev-8), but I still have quite some testing ahead of me.

Ultimately, I don't expect too much difference between all the boards and chipsets. The one thing I won't be able to test is 8372B-based 2M Chipram expansions, because I simply don't have one. This is where I'll need help from the community - I'll get to that when I'm confident enough to order the boards and start production.

Jens

thanks for the reply,you even answered the next question i was about to ask about 2m chipram boards,i suppose i can try one and see

yes, the two revisions i was interested in was the revision 6 500 and the revision 8 500+ with 512kb and 1mb of chipram.
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Old 03 March 2013, 18:17   #666
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2M Chipram expansions will generally work, it's just one special type that uses the A3000 2M Agnus (8372B) that I can't test here for lack of equipment. However, the community is quick: I already have a reliable tester who offered to take his (rather special) 2M chipram expansion out of his CDTV and put it into an A500 for testing, so this will also be covered.

Another thing that will "generally work" is trapdoor memory expansions (even the larger ones with up to 1.8M using a Gary-adapter), and the more sophisticated ones with Gary-adapter and CPU-adapter for added chipram with 1M Agnus.

Flickerfixers (internal, external and mixed internal/external models) will also work with the ACA500. Only things that will conflict are the ones that go on the CPU port (side port) or the CPU socket.

Jens
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Old 03 March 2013, 20:35   #667
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@Jens

Can you give the ACA's dimensions as a stand alone product (with and without a CF card installed) and measurments with an ACA12XX installed please?

I would like to see if the ACA500 can fit inside a GVP/590 sidecar.

Danke im Voraus
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Old 03 March 2013, 21:04   #668
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@Jens

Can you give the ACA's dimensions as a stand alone product (with and without a CF card installed) and measurments with an ACA12XX installed please?
I haven't taken precise measurements, just some unprofessional pics with a meterstick. Size of a CF card should be known.

Additional chip on the back of the prototype is +2M fastmem, which will be offered for 30,- EUR more to all those who have screamed for more memory. I doubt that anyone is willing to pay that, but the question came up more than once, and it will likely be possible to pay for the additional work and parts with 30,- EUR. Can't promise that it'll be exactly this price - maybe VAT will have to be added on that. I won't be able to tell until we have assembled a few units.

Jens
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Old 04 March 2013, 01:46   #669
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Originally Posted by Schoenfeld View Post
Additional chip on the back of the prototype is +2M fastmem, which will be offered for 30,- EUR more to all those who have screamed for more memory. I doubt that anyone is willing to pay that, but the question came up more than once, and it will likely be possible to pay for the additional work and parts with 30,- EUR. Can't promise that it'll be exactly this price - maybe VAT will have to be added on that. I won't be able to tell until we have assembled a few units.

Jens
What drugs are you on Jens??? $40 for an extra 2MB ram when folks can buy a 4MB auto-conf board for their a500 for the same money ($40) or for an extra $10 an 8MB auto-conf board from Kipper2k !!!!

Frankly I think you are not taking the 500 market seriously!!!!!!
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Old 04 March 2013, 05:17   #670
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Guess you didn't read the bit where he stated that he doubted anyone would actually go for it, but it's at least on the table, as an offer, due to public demand. You don't have to buy it, you know.
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Old 04 March 2013, 05:26   #671
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Guess you didn't read the bit where he stated that he doubted anyone would actually go for it, but it's at least on the table, as an offer, due to public demand. You don't have to buy it, you know.
Of course no one will buy it when it's so stratospherically priced!

If Kipper can add an extra 4mb ram to his board for $10 why cant Jens price his extra 2mb ram more reasonably? My guess is he doesn't want to be reasonable!

Jens makes some great products (I have his aca1220) but his whole attitude to a500 owners has been absolutely terrible from from day 1!
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Old 04 March 2013, 05:54   #672
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I have a different guess. I'm guessing the memory for these are more expensive, and i'm thinking he has to either run a batch of cards with the larger memory-configuration, which means either stopping a production run, and switching reels, or running a extra production run, or, he has to manually remove the memory from finished boards, to replace the memory on them, and then replace them, again, manually. And, then, most likely he has to reprogram em as well. I'm not seeing either as a realistic option, for unknown, and infinitely small production-runs it's fast getting crazy expensive.

Kipper, on the other hand, builds small, dirt simple tech, doesn't pay for machine time to solder much, or most of his stuff, but rather builds to order manually, and call it a personal interest, or a hobby he can make a few buck of if he's lucky. And yeah, i've got nothing but respect for Kipper, and his craft.

There is a huge difference. I'm not sure, but if he sticks to his tweaking, your likely to get a fair bit faster memory from the ACA500, but if you can live with the slower memory, he already said 2Mb chip upgrades most likely will work, so, just get one of those instead?
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Old 04 March 2013, 06:23   #673
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Jens has been pleaded with from very early on to increase the memory from 2mb to something more reasonable - by making an optional 2mb he's making a rod for his own back and increasing costs. if he were sensible he'd just make the board 4mb as standard an be done with it - he admitted a few pages back that ram costs him SFA.
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Old 04 March 2013, 08:54   #674
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in all fairness,even if memory isent costing alot,passing a board back through production does cost money.

disigning a redisigning boards multiple times to perfect it also costs time and money,even if you do it on your own time,it would stop other projects while thats worked on.

anyway,its better if jens answers this.its not really for me to say as it may make it worse.
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Old 04 March 2013, 09:39   #675
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Jens, do you predict When The Aca500 wil Be ready To Be sell On amigakit And So?
I Waant It Now Hahaha
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Old 04 March 2013, 10:29   #676
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The additional 2M are located on the back of the PCB, where the pick&place machine can't reach it. It must be placed manually.

In addition to that, the CPLD firmware and the software need patches. As many people already wrote, you're not paying for the RAM chip, but for the whole functionality. The RAM chip does not fit the space on the other side, and if I tried, it would get bigger, making the whole production run more expensive. That's not an option - the ACA500 was always planned to be an extremely low-cost product, and "just enough memory" is part of that concept.

Sure, I could put the second RAM chip on the other side and make the whole product more expensive for everyone else - with the drawback that board size makes the majority of the cost, and I'd scare off those who really just want the 79-EUR-version, which would not be available at all in that case. As an effect of that, quantities would go down, and the base cost (development, machine setup, tooling) must be paid for with fewer units, making them even more expensive. So yeah, I'd save a bit with the larger PCB - maybe 5,- EUR. So.. everybody happy with an ACA500 for 104,- EUR? I doubt that.

The only reason why I put the additional RAM place on the back was a few guys over on a1k.org who were bragging about the kind of money they'd be willing to pay for a 4MB version. They now have a chance to put their money where their mouth is.

If anyone here has a viable concept, please present it. Just complaining about the price and comparing memory prices doesn't cut it. Total project cost is what you need to calculate. There is a risk involved, and that introduces an unknown factor which needs to be priced. If anyone here can take the risk out of the equation, for example by pre-paying for a couple of hundred units, please step forward.

Back to technical things:
I have just verified the VBR function of the ACA500. As I wrote sometime last week, the initial plan was to make a special function for the WHDload ESC-key. However, it turned out to be not too complicated to introduce a general move of the vector base to a reserved fastmem area. This area is just 512 bytes at the end of fastmem and won't be added to the freemem list - just in case someone here is worried about a conflict with stack.

The flash contains a resisdent command called "acavbr", which can be started in a shell. Moving the vector base into fastmem has two advantages: System performance is a tiny bit better, and WHDload can add it's keyboard handler in a way that no game can do anything against it.

Measuring the performance advantage is hardly possible. Neither AIBB, nor Sysinfo show any better ratings. Only the logic analyzer shows that fetching the vectors takes a few cycles less. The only measurable advantage is on IRQ-heavy operations such as serial transfers and HD/CF operations: My CF card transfers about 4KBytes per second more with the vectors in fastmem :-)

Jens
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Old 04 March 2013, 10:43   #677
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Frankly I think you are not taking the 500 market seriously!!!!!!
The problem is that he is. By going for a configuration that has the basic features one need with a price most are willing to pay he will be able to cover a large portion of the a500 market. So he has the entire market in his mind, not those who want to max out their machines for the sake of it.

So if you want more memory, that will be an exception from the usual production and thus a subject to higher cost than the mass market version.

Just like you spec a low end car with every extra you can, it'll end out costing what a well equipped higher end base model cost. Exceptions include not only part cost, but labor cost.
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Old 04 March 2013, 10:50   #678
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Hmmm, oh well we'll see what the final product looks like and if there is a decent case available from a 3rd party.
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Old 04 March 2013, 11:24   #679
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Originally Posted by Schoenfeld View Post

If anyone here has a viable concept, please present it. Just complaining about the price and comparing memory prices doesn't cut it. Total project cost is what you need to calculate. There is a risk involved, and that introduces an unknown factor which needs to be priced. If anyone here can take the risk out of the equation, for example by pre-paying for a couple of hundred units, please step forward.
Not me... Jens you're still the man
It causes me some confusion when people starts complaining and comparing Jens stuff with other vendors, dJos if you're not happy just don't buy it and go for your country man product.

Once again i have to say that Jens is doing more for the comunity than any guy i ever met around the fóruns and it's great to see someone wiling to risk with a business like this.

I guess people should try to help giving ideas and making questions about Jens products instead of trying to kill his product with bad publicity.

Let's focus on what's important so we can see a new product for our beloved 500 soon.

Peace
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Old 04 March 2013, 11:29   #680
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ive just had a thought,yep another one.

is it a viable option to have a 68010 on the board to add more usefullness to the base card,or are the parts to hard to source and to far/late into disign expense wise?

its no big deal either way it was a thought that popped to mind after realising some problems with whdload and a 68000 etc.

it may sound like a silly thing to ask since it was made to take another card in the back,but..
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