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Old 24 June 2016, 10:16   #1
headkase
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Overclocking Blizzard PPC

Hello, and thank you very much for your dedication to WinUAE Toni.

I have been experimenting with AmigaOS 4.1 FE over the last few days trying to come up with an optimal configuration.

The Cyberstorm A4000-based emulation is nice and fast but limits you to 128MB of RAM which is just not good enough to do anything serious on the desktop.

The Blizzard A1200-based emulation allows 256MB of RAM and that is actually quite decent, enough to do much more than the Cyberstorm.

However, the Blizzard PPC is clocked much lower than the Cyberstorm and also has a slower hard-drive access time as it is IDE instead of SCSI.

I don't know how technically feasible it is but how about overclocking that Blizzard PPC processor and also the IDE interface? Allow the options to change the processor clocks and like accelerated floppy access do that as well to the IDE interface.

If that is even possible then it would make the Blizzard emulation the go-to emulation considering it may be easier to do that than raise the 128MB limit on the Cyberstorm side.

Thanks.
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Old 24 June 2016, 11:47   #2
Toni Wilen
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It has nothing to do with CPU speed. There is some unknown emulation issue (could be qemu, could be blizzard board io bits working incorrectly) that probably causes it.

I am not interested in debugging it, too many unknowns and it is PPC related too.. Most likely any hardware level OS developer that has access to all documentation would find it very quickly. If they would care.

PIO IDE can never be as fast, emulated DMA is practically instant (host side simple and quick memory copy), PIO needs much more work from both emulator and emulated driver. I am 100% sure someone wuld be able to create working SCSI driver very easily now because it can be debugged under emulation. It makes debugging really easy and fast vs real hardware.
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Old 24 June 2016, 11:51   #3
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if they would have really cared they would long since have released a kernel image with prebaked paravirtualized drivers included.

Suffice to say, you can be sure they dont care :-)
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Old 24 June 2016, 12:06   #4
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Darn it. Thanks anyway Toni. I hope there is some hope on the Cyberstorm front then with increasing the maximum memory. 128MB is way too small especially considering that the OS takes ~60MB of that on a bare desktop.
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Old 24 June 2016, 13:47   #5
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@headkase

There are better and smaller footprint OS's you could employ on your CSPPC - from CW3.9, AROS, BSD or vesions of AmiKit, CW3.9 with 4.x make-over - to even Amiga OS4.1 (But I would suggest a FAST ATA device with this Software as native IDE is woeful!).

Sadly though for up-scaled productivity software - 128MB is limited - to be fair by today's standards 2GB is limited LOL!

You may be aware of Statchu (here and on www.amibay.com) he can upgrade the PPC card to faster PPC chips (350MHz) for additional power both on the CSPPC and the BPPC - sadly you are still limited to 128MB RAM - with the A4000 however you can upgrade that with a ZorRAM to give you a further 128MB - 256MB per card - with the A1200 one is sadly stuck with 256MB while in a desktop.

With the BPPC one can upgrade the A1200 with PCI (GREX or Mediator) from this you can use a shared portion of the Graphics Card memory - adding upto 512MB from a 256MB PCI Graphics card and the BPPC's own 256MB of RAM.

So there are options on physical hardware.
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Old 24 June 2016, 14:29   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions Zetr0.

I'm not looking for physical hardware though, just emulated nostalgia.

I wonder how much it would take to donate to make enhancing the emulation a priority?
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Old 28 June 2016, 00:38   #7
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Hey Toni,

I don't mean to bother but can you think about it for a bit and then reply.

Two enhancements:

1) Fix up the Blizzard PPC QEMU emulation for the "io bits" or whatever the root cause.

and

2) Write a SCSI driver for Blizzard so that hard drive access matches Cyberstorm.

For your reply, are you interested in either of these, will they eventually happen anyway, and would you accept a bounty to get them to happen faster. If a bounty, how much and where can I donate what I can in the hopes others would too?
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Old 28 June 2016, 00:43   #8
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@headkase -

A handful of us have asked Hyperion (do they own AOS4? I can't even remember now) to enable ZIII memory expansions in OS4. In emulation, ZIII memory should be hypothetically just as fast as any other memory. My advice would be to reach out to those guys and ask them to update OS4 to use ZIII memory expansions, then you can use as much as WinUAE will allow!
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Old 28 June 2016, 01:02   #9
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I am waiting on my forum account to be activated over at Hyperion. Once that happens then I will do.

The only reason I am asking for BPPC enhancements is the 128MB limit in CSPPC. As said, at an empty workbench you have half your memory free of 128MB but in the Blizzard you have three-quarters free of 256MB.

And alternate, if Hyperion is not interested at all, is that instead of BPPC fixes create some kind of solution that allows more than 128MB for CSPPC. The goal is more RAM available to a PPC regardless of implementation.

Edit: One other thing to consider is that the Cyberstorm PPC and Picasso IV ROMs are part of the Amiga Forever 2016 purchase. So if CSPPC RAM increase was the eventual solution then there would be a full path to legal emulation for everything.

Last edited by headkase; 28 June 2016 at 01:21.
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Old 28 June 2016, 02:36   #10
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Yeah, ultimately, the emulated RAM bottleneck right now is in software. Hypothetically implementing instructions to respect ZIII RAM takes the "restrictor plate" off of OS4 and lets us emulate the ideal OS4 machine. The only other nice-to-have would be uaegfx support which would rival a Radeon card
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Old 28 June 2016, 08:43   #11
Toni Wilen
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Quote:
1) Fix up the Blizzard PPC QEMU emulation for the "io bits" or whatever the root cause.
Not going to happen without more documentation. (if there is even any problems)

This is pure "not enough information" case. Not even information to know if there actually is something wrong!

Quote:
2) Write a SCSI driver for Blizzard so that hard drive access matches Cyberstorm.

For your reply, are you interested in either of these, will they eventually happen anyway, and would you accept a bounty to get them to happen faster. If a bounty, how much and where can I donate what I can in the hopes others would too?
DMA based 68k drivers won't work in OS4 and I won't create any drivers from scratch. It is far too painful. (without huge donations, at least).

I have volunteered to debug (and fix if possible) apparently already existing but buggy BPPC SCSI driver using emulation. Nothing has happened. As usual.

...

And for the last time: emulator can't help with RAM issues. It is pure OS/software problem. It would be like modifying PC emulator to "enable" dos support more than 640k of base ram. It is not doing to happen without updating/patching dos itself.
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Old 28 June 2016, 08:49   #12
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I've been poking around on the Hyperion forums and they said at one time they did have working code on real Amigas that used Zorro III RAM as executable RAM. They ended up deciding however that it was not good enough because on real Amigas Z3 RAM is about three times slower than the accelerator built-in RAM. The performance just wasn't good enough on real Amigas. Now, under emulation that should be a non-issue. Unless WinUAE forces the Z3 RAM it emulates to "real speeds." If it doesn't then there is still hope for more RAM under emulation.

What I will do, once they approve my forum registration, is start to ask around there and see what comes of it. That would be the OS software solution if the stars align properly.

Thank you Toni.
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Old 28 June 2016, 08:57   #13
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Everyone knows that. Everyone also knows that (user adjustable, default off) option was later added (2 or so years ago?) but it was never released (due to non-technical reasons).
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Old 28 June 2016, 09:06   #14
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I'll have to implore them to release it. A simple financial fact I'm hoping to sway them: emulated Amigas represent a much larger potential-purchaser pool than just their physical machines make them in money.
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Old 28 June 2016, 10:27   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by headkase View Post
I'll have to implore them to release it. A simple financial fact I'm hoping to sway them: emulated Amigas represent a much larger potential-purchaser pool than just their physical machines make them in money.

Sadly my friend this argument has been made to them before, many times, by many people sadly it appears that they are too tied into selling hardware (which is old and depreciated).

But don't let that stop you, do your best to make the argument - perhaps they may change their paradigm and look at selling the software for use under with a little support for it.
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Old 28 June 2016, 20:22   #16
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Agreed with Zetr0. I've been down this road with them in the past and my requests were met with the sound of crickets.

But please, don't let that discourage you from trying! Who knows, maybe they'll be reasonable.
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