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AuthorTopic: Haynie's Garage Sale  (Read 34180 times)

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Offline lsmart

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #105 on: April 21, 2011, 07:14:08 AM »
Quote from: mailman2;632009

Since this was not done, the AGA chips were crap compared to what was in 1992 in PC, Mac, Atari.
Because the Aga chips were crap, the external graphics card based on pc chips were in Amiga absolutely necessary.


I am sure this isn´t Dave Haynie´s fault, but it was indeed a problem. Remember that Amiga had it´s place as a multimedia powerhouse in the late 80s. People knew of the great stuff you could do with it. Yet if you went to a store in 1993 you would get the impression that GFX on the PC were more advanced, because they were running slideshows with better monitors and higher image quality. They couldn´t really show something that moves, because it was still too slow, but the customer didn´t know that.
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #106 on: April 22, 2011, 10:32:13 AM »
Quote from: bloodline;632023

Dave worked on the 8bits mostly, he had very little to do with the Amiga "big custom chips", read his posts!.


I probably did explain that I was never a chip designer at Commodore.. I worked on the hardware systems. We had three groups: "chips", "hardware", and "software".  Chip designers design ICs, that's pretty clear. Hardware guys like me put a bunch of ICs together to create a complete computer. Software guys put the code inside a ROM that makes that hardware actually do something.

But as far as 8-bit vs. Amiga... I worked on two 8-bit projects, the TED and the C128, from October of 1983 though July of 1986. After that, it was Amigas all the way, until I left Commodore in June of 1994, a few months after the bankruptcy. That was Amiga 2000, Amiga 2620/2630, Amiga 3000, and the first AA and AAA systems. I did a little work on the A4000 too, which was based on my A3000+ prototype, but that was mostly Greg Berlin and Scott Schaeffer... I was on to AAA by then. I also designed the A4091 (SCSI controller), and a whole slew of things that Commodore never released.
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #107 on: April 22, 2011, 10:52:32 AM »
Quote from: drHirudo;632012
Don't forget about the 8-bit Paula in the later Amiga models, that was cool in 1985 but obsolete in 1989. WTF? The AppleIIGS had better sound by then.


ICs need money to change... millions. Commodore's problem was simple: small budget. So the things that could be done very well by hiring brilliant people who worked twice as hard, that we did well... particularly the software. Some things could be done at the system level... where I worked. Sometimes it was just fixing things.. there's a serious bug in the AA chips that I worked around at the system level (a blitter busy synchronization thing), saving time and a revision of the Alice chip.

But the big problem was money. They were paying top bosses, like Irving Gould and layer, Mehdi Ali, way too much cash. Like, one year Ali made over $3 million, the company wasn't even doing that well. The top guy at IBM that year made under a million. Same with Apple and most of the other companies. Management wasted money on useless execs, rather than spending it where it would actually help.

And sometimes, they just broke things for no good. Of course we knew that the AA chips were hardly state of the art in 2002. In fact, they were supposed to only be low-end. We started the AAA project in 1988, expecting a release hopefully in 1992. The low-end guys, particularly George Robbins (A500 designer) got nervous about being able to do anything with AAA in a $500 computer. So the "Pandora" project got started in 1990 or so, and later came to be known as AA.

I had the first AA prototype, the A3000+ (basically an A3000 with a bunch of other stuff), working first in February of 1991. AAA was already late by then -- again, due to money. AA was a good exercise, and our only option for the high-end anyway because of this. But the  the main reason you didn't see the A3000+ out as a product in early '92 rather than the A4000 in late 1992 was management screwing with Engineering.

Mehdi Ali had taken the reigns of Commodore sometime in late 1990 or early 1991, and around June of 1991, he started messing with Engineering. So the A3000+, which had been on target as a real product, became a "development platform" only... in fact, we were absolutely forbidden from putting one in an A3000 case (Fish and I designed it to fit, naturally). The new guy they brought in to run Engineering, Bill Sydnes, spent his first six months killing off as many projects in-progress as possible, just to make sure that the previous management looked bad. It was total and complete insanity... I nearly quite over the whole mess.

The A3000+ fixed what I could fix. It had an AT&T DSP in it, which could control either a stereo DAC/ADC chip (CD quality stereo in and out) or a modem audio chip (mono in and out, with phase correction... in theory, capable of doing 9600 baud). We also worked with AT&T in Allentown, convinced them to sell us a large package of math routines for cheap (they thought of the DSP as replacing dedicated hardware, not the idea of it being a general purpose resource), etc. AT&T's VCOS/VCAS operating system was a near perfect match to AmigaOS. The DSP could multitask, and it shared main memory with the A3000+'s CPU card. Anyway, I wrote a paper on it for the 1991 DevCon, which you can read here: http://www.thule.no/haynie/research/a3000p/docs/a3000p.pdf.
 

Offline bloodline

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Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #108 on: April 22, 2011, 11:06:24 AM »
@Dave

:(

Offline Kesa

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Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #109 on: April 22, 2011, 11:28:07 AM »
Quote from: hazydave;633036
http://www.thule.no/haynie/research/a3000p/docs/a3000p.pdf.

Davyboy where have you been hiding this from? Absolutely brilliant. It's a shame you put it up here for everyone to read cause you could have made a fortune on ebay if you wanted to (just kidding) :)
« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 11:31:20 AM by Kesa »
Even my cat doesn\'t like me.
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #110 on: April 22, 2011, 08:04:01 PM »
Quote from: Kesa;633047
Davyboy where have you been hiding this from? Absolutely brilliant. It's a shame you put it up here for everyone to read cause you could have made a fortune on ebay if you wanted to (just kidding) :)


There's a bunch of stuff up on http://www.thule.no/haynie. I didn't start this, but once I found out about it, I sent them everything else I had. This has been around since the mid-1990s or so.
 

Offline haywirepc

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #111 on: April 22, 2011, 08:28:04 PM »
The DSP co-processor is brilliant, especially for the time.
 
A3000+ blows away the 4000. What were they thinking not producing this instead of the 4000?
 
Dave, was it simply a cost issue?

Steven
 

Offline F1Lupo

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #112 on: April 22, 2011, 09:06:15 PM »
@ hazydave

wow..thanks for the insight Dave..amazing & yet sad info
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Offline desiv

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #113 on: April 22, 2011, 09:49:17 PM »
I remember when I was in College, there a news bit somewhere that listed highest paid technology business types, and I remember at least Mehdi being there in the list above people from like IBM and Compaq..  At the time, I was thinking that was just crazy...
I mean, I loved my Amiga, but higher paid than the big guys??
Of course, I didn't realize that they were gutting engineering at the same time.


desiv
Amiga 1200 w/ ACA1230/28 - 4G CF, MAS Player, ext floppy, and 1084S.
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Offline Amiduffer

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #114 on: April 23, 2011, 05:32:05 AM »
Dave, since you're around, I have a question.

I still use my A3000D and think its a damn fine computer. However, I just have to know; who in hell designed the case? Why shrink it to such a size that you couldn't fit a Toaster (properly) or install a CD drive as you could with the A2000. Thanks if you can clue me in.
Amiga 3000D UP and running! Hear that clicking. 8)
Amiga 3000D & 4000D in storage sadly.
 

Offline Zac67

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #115 on: April 23, 2011, 10:00:26 AM »
Actually, that's pretty easy to answer: the 3000 came out (mid '90) before the Toaster (end '90) and before CDROMs began to become popular (Yellow Book is from '89). 5.25" drives & bays looked pretty obsolete at the time it was designed.

And isn't the 3k so much prettier than the 4k just as it is? ;)
« Last Edit: April 23, 2011, 10:02:29 AM by Zac67 »
 

Offline pwermonger

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #116 on: April 26, 2011, 12:08:38 AM »
Remember, the 2000 was not designed with a 5.25" bay for a CD-ROM drive (though as with mine in the end and to now that is what it has). That bay was put there for the 5.25" floppy drive for the Bridgeboard. By this time PCs were moving to 3.5" floppy drives so even if you decided to install a bridgeboard you likely would not need the large floppy bay so it seems they decided not to let it mar the design.
PCs were getting rid of 5.25 (until optical replaced the large floppy causing the bay to stay)
The Mac II line IIRC also didn't have 5.25" bays.

Seems back then you'd be thinking they weren't that important.
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #117 on: April 29, 2011, 09:01:08 AM »
Quote from: haywirepc;633141
The DSP co-processor is brilliant, especially for the time.
 
A3000+ blows away the 4000. What were they thinking not producing this instead of the 4000?
 
Dave, was it simply a cost issue?


My friends, if it were ONLY a cost issue. No, it was a stupidity issue.

The A3000+ was mine, mine, all mine! Well, Randell Jesup and Eric Lavitsky (outside consultant) were integrating VCOS/VCAS (the DSP OS) into AmigaOS to go with. The DSP3210 was pretty impressive... it only did 32-bit floating point, but 5x-10x faster than the '040. Apple tapped all our hard work convincing AT&T to sell us the software cheap, a year later, in a series of Macs (Quadra AV or something like that).

The year was 1991, and Mehdi Ali had just appointed Bill Sydnes (the PC Jr. and Franklin Computer guy) head of Engineering. Sydnes first mission was basically just clobbering everything we were working on at the time. So I was basically forced to turn the A3000+ into a development-only platform (the last Rev was dubbed "AA3000" rather than "A3000+", I'll have schematics up one of these days). In fact, we were only allowed to mount these to a block of plywood, not allowed to put them in cases (mine, of course, was in a case... I did the computer graphics for the "Deathbed Vigil" on it. Didn't end well, though... while on loan to a friend, it was stolen).

The other machine we had in the worked was Joe Augenbraun's Amiga 1000+. This was probably the machine that would have really boosted the Amiga's profile. It sat squarely between the A500/A1200 and the A3000/A4000... detached keyboard, two Zorro slots, a new CPU socket, etc. The intent was to ship at around $800 in 1992, with AA chips and a 25MHz CPU (probably an EC020 or EC030, but still).

So, after killing these machines, Syndes went on to mess with the other project in the works. George Robbins was working on a project called the A300... a sub-A500 class machine. He had even worked out a super-cheap Genlock, which was probably going to be built-in.... George knew analog way better than I did at the time, and I was one of the better analog guys all told (George also designed the VIDIOT hybrid, which does the D/A conversion in the A500 and A2000, as well as the A500 and A1200). Syndes has all these changes made, still promising $50 less cost than the A500, but delivering $50 more cost. That was the A600, and as soon as it was done, they cancelled the A500, enough though it was still selling quite well.

They also tried to create a sub-A3000 machine, which was internally called the A2200, but which everyone else called the A1000jr (after the PCjr, of course). This was going to have ECS chips, not AA, and only Zorro II slots, but otherwise based around the A3000 architecture, with Augi's cheap IDE (a couple of PALs... IDE/ATA without DMA is really easy to do) replacing SCSI... that was Joe and Greg Berlin. They knew it wasn't what we wanted, but you sometimes have to listen to the boss.

Here's where the unique nature of Commodore comes in. Commodore did so well internationally because each region had their own marketing and sales company, which ran pretty independently.  Sometimes, over the years, you'd see a cool prototype shown off at a CES or Comdex that never made it out. Sometimes it was Jack or some other boss killing it off, but sometimes there just weren't enough orders from the various sales companies to justify production. And that's just what happened to the A1000jr. No orders.

Greg and his team immediately began work on a machine internally dubbed the A3400, which ultimately became the A4000. It was also very A3000-based, but other than the lack of SCSI, not so bad. And it of course did use the AA (Pandora, AGA, etc) chipset, based on the work I did on the A3000+.

During the A2200 project, Greg asked Scott Schaeffer to design "the cheapest 68040 card known to mankind". Scott had done our first '040 card, which you never got to see. This was actually at the A3000 launch in 1990... we had hired Scott specifically for this... he already had '040 experience, even though it hadn't shipped yet. And in fact, we had one of the first OSs actually functional on it... so early, in fact, that was had to get official permission from Motorola to show it off. Which we got... and then the managers decided not to show it. That card was pretty big, with its own L2 cache.

The main reason it wasn't announced at the time was compatibility -- the '040 was designed to run way hotter than any chip we had used in the past; this was right before CPUs started always having heat sinks on them. There was real concern that the '040, and particularly that large module, wouldn't be kept cool enough in the A3000. So no announcement, and that card was cancelled.

So Scott's cheap '040 card was Greg's very good idea to make the A1000jr less embarrassing, at least via upgrade. When the A4000 came around, this was ready, so it became the A4000's default CPU card.

-Dave
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #118 on: April 29, 2011, 09:04:42 AM »
Quote from: Amiduffer;633189
Dave, since you're around, I have a question.

I still use my A3000D and think its a damn fine computer. However, I just have to know; who in hell designed the case? Why shrink it to such a size that you couldn't fit a Toaster (properly) or install a CD drive as you could with the A2000. Thanks if you can clue me in.


I think Herb Mosteller designed the case. There was a very intentional decision to make it compact -- that was a thing back in the late 80s, making a slightly lower profile computer. I didn't have any problem with that, but yeah, they should have ensure the Toaster fit properly. By the time we realized this was a problem (well, hey, if NewTek had sent me a Toaster...), it was too late. We did fix that on the A3000T, which was being planned at the same time we were finishing up the A3000.
 

Offline hazydave

Re: Haynie's Garage Sale
« Reply #119 on: April 29, 2011, 09:06:38 AM »
Quote from: desiv;633148
I remember when I was in College, there a news bit somewhere that listed highest paid technology business types, and I remember at least Mehdi being there in the list above people from like IBM and Compaq..  At the time, I was thinking that was just crazy...
I mean, I loved my Amiga, but higher paid than the big guys??
Of course, I didn't realize that they were gutting engineering at the same time.

Two sides of the same coin, really... there's only so much money to go around. Commodore was spending a very low percentage of income on Engineering, compared other similar tech companies, and a crazy amount on upper level executive salaries. That is not a sustainable business, run that way.