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AuthorTopic: New AmigaOne information  (Read 4261 times)

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Offline System

New AmigaOne information
« on: February 25, 2002, 09:20:43 PM »
More information from Eyetech's Alan Redhouse was posted to the Mailing List.  In fact, most of the major concerns from the Amiga community have been boiled down and addressed directly.

You can see the original here or simply read more



From the AmigaOne Mailing List via YahooGroups


> As far as I know, there won't be any on the Show site as none us knew about
> the new arrival until Alan arrived at the venue and, following that, none of us
> had any time to take any pictures!
>
> I would imagine these will appear on Eyetech's site once Alan has recovered
> from snow blindness / tiredness!
>

First of all thanks to everyone on this list for their patience. We have been working very hard to get something demonstrably working rather than just announcing more promises. Ideally on Friday we would have announced that the A1 was going to be at the show, but at that point the board was locked up in British customs. We didnt pick it up from UPS's Durham depot  (120 miles from the show) until 7:30 saturday morning and had no idea whether it had survived the journey from the other side of the world until we configured it at the show and switched it on.

Secondly, Fleecy and I were plannning to sit down and make sure that we issued a jointly acceptable, coordinated, news release on the A1. But he got snowed in in Cumbria, so we cant now do that until later in the week. Expect
a major web site update on both our and Amiga's sites next Monday.

But in the meantime I'm going to repeat here some of the things I said at Alt-Woa as some of the 'authoritative' postings on this list (& ann) have been off in the realms of fantasy and bear little if any relationship to what I actually said.

But first a bit of of background.

Yes I do read this list and try to filter out and take note of what is said (apart of course from the rude postings). The main feedback that has come out over the last year can, I think, be summarised as follows:

CPU speed concerns
Memory speed concerns
Provision of legacy peripherals (FDD/Serial/Parallel/kb/mouse)
Provision of integrated peripherals
AGP speed
Will it run Linux?
But I dont have/want/will never buy an A1200
Will it fit in in an EZTower mk1-5/RBM/xyz tower?
It costs too much (interesting this one as the price has never been
announced)
and, of course
Where is it?

In October 2000 when we laid out the design for the A1, there was no commercially available 'northbridge' chip (the interface between the CPU, memory and PCI bus) at the relatively small quantities that we needed at an
economic price. 'Southbridge' chips were available (these handle the system timing, interrupts etc and, traditionally also embed the lower speed peripheral functions such as IDE, USB etc), but clearly these do not come with a built in A1200-PCI bridge - which would have to be built in custom logic. It therefore made economic sense to build a custom southbridge chip - but without the integrated peripherals (these were available on separate chips at low cost anyway) which incorporated the A1200-PCI bridge. Things were going nicely until May/June . . . . and you know the rest, or most of it anyway.

By the time OS4 development had been signed off in early November the world had moved on. Commercially available PPC northbridge chips were available, and coupled with off-the-shelf southbridge chips, were able to deliver better price performance than the original A1 custom chip design, and (since the big boys had already been using them successfully) without the risk of bugs intrinsically present in any custom logic implementation. This meant that the only custom logic function needed was the PCI to A1200 bridge.

Alongside this many people had expressed a wish only to have a stand-alone A1 board, without the need (or ability) to run hardware-hitting applications. In addition Hyperion have been making better than expected progress in decoupling the chipset dependancies in the OS with a result that it will cease to be reliant on the Amiga chipset quite soon now. (Of course
hardware hitting applications will still to a greater or lesser degree need access to a genuine Amiga chipset). Given this, we thought it would be sensible to try to provide Amiga chipset availability as an a option, so that the main A1 board would not have to carry the cost of providing this connection - in terms of PCB and component real-estate and in requiring a custom tower to mount it in. The upshot is that Escena has come up with a solution which allows the bridge to the A1200 chipset to be made from a PCI card, via ribbon cable, to the A1200 edge connector. The use of a ribbon
cable also solves the 'will it work in an xyz tower' problem, as there is (within limits) quite a wide range of A1 & A1200 relative board positioning that can be used. Theis A1200 bridge will be an additional cost item for
those who need it.

So with Escena concentrating their efforts on the bridge card, and us deciding to use off-the-shelf north and south bridge parts for the main
board it made sense to subcontract the design and manufacture to experts in this field, who, surprise, surprise, are far east based (hence the problem with customs on Friday). The board (currently) runs an open firmware-compatible bios and runs PPC linux (which is how we know that the hardware works properly before OS4.0 is released).

In terms of timeframes the board is now ready to go into production, with a lead time of 4-6 weeks. However we will not press the button until we can be sure that OS4 will be ready to run on the board in the same timeframe. OS4
is scheduled to go into beta during March, and we will make A1 boards available to help with this process. When we get the thumbs up from Hyperion we will start production and they will be with your local dealer around 6 weeks later.

In terms of specification the entry level board will run a 600MHz G3 CPU and will come with this soldered in place, thereby keeping the costs as low as possible. After the first production run we will be producing boards -
obviously at a higher cost - with a cpu carrier so that cpu's can easily be interchanged to suit your speed and pocket requirements. As G4's fall in price we may also offer a soldered in place G4 cpu option as well. What happens if you buy an entry level board and want to upgrade it in a year or so's time? Well exactly the same as when you bought a similarly priced accelerator a couple of years back and want to upgrade to a faster one. You either sell it privately or trade it in to the dealer where you purchased it. In fact in the PC market, depite all processors being socketed, hardly anyone ever changes the cpu to improve the computer - they nearly always have to buy a (at least) a new  motherboard as well. We're just being upfront
about it!

So lets revisit that feedback list again:
  • CPU speed concerns -- G3/G4 to their current clocking limits
  • Memory speed concerns -- 133MHz FSB (DDR doesn't help PPC's I am told)
  • Provision of legacy peripherals (FDD/Serial/Parallel/kb/mouse) - On board
  • Provision of integrated peripherals - 2xUSB (motherboard) + 2 more on headers; LAN; AC97; MC97; UDMA100
  • AGP speed - 2x (although this is still a red herring in my view)
  • Will it run Linux? - Yes
  • But I dont have/want/will never buy an A1200 - Fine by me
  • Will it fit in in an EZTower mk1-5/RBM/xyz tower? - Yes (subject to xyz definition - not sure about wooden towers)
  • It costs too much (interesting this one as the price has never been announced) - A1 including 600MHz G3 cpu at current component prices and exchange rates GBP  350/USD500/Euro 600 excluding local taxes and shipping.


And before anyone (who probably has no notion of real manufacturing and development costs) pipes up that they can buy a xzzz PC motherboard for $2.49 from Walmart remember this is for a board being manufactured in the
(very?) low thousands, not by the million. (And don't forget that a 240MHz 603 ppc blizzard with 060 cost around ukp550 ex tax when they were last available - those were the days ;-) )


  • Where is it? - In my office running Turbo Linux at the moment. In your

dealer as soon as OS4 is ready.

[/LIST]
More on the website next week

Thanks for your patience

Alan
 

Offline Kees

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2002, 10:08:34 PM »
I'm really getting confused now ... are things REALLY going to happen ????? :-)
Kees Witteveen
Amiga.org

** Cool Signature **
 

Offline Coder

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2002, 10:22:39 PM »
Indeed they are. The (Amiga boing) ball has started to roll. And it cannot be stopped. :-D

Coder
Check it out - I found the ass-end!
 

Offline redrumloa

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Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2002, 10:23:21 PM »
Seems like it!! Finally things are comming together and the 'community' is getting excited. I think sales of the AmigaOne and OS4.0 are going to be better than expected, probably much better than expected. I don't expect them to sell millions initially, but ALOT more than the couple dozen that the doomsayers(emulator users) were projecting.

It's funny, wasn't this what Petro announced ~6 years ago? A new computer w/PPC chip and OS4.0 to be PPC based? Then of course we know how many companies screwed it up wanting to go in other directions that the community balked at. Funny how this has come full circle, a little late... VERY late... But the Amiga is still alive and this may do it... Get some users back.. Aaaah..


Jim
Someone has to state the obvious and that someone is me!
 

Offline Coder

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2002, 10:37:45 PM »
Yep the 'community' is getting excited. Really because the things being said by the people working on it or not just words. Progress has been made and is still being made.

Offcourse there will be still people not believing it or saying it will all go out like a candle. But what do they know? Nothing. I do suspect some "Windows worshippers" hanging around and trying to disturb things. :-D I do have a pc with Windows, but only to remind me how lucky I am that I can buy/use an Amiga!

Coder
Check it out - I found the ass-end!
 

Offline MoribundToot

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2002, 11:16:44 PM »
I may not have posted to the amiga.org site before but I have been around wishing the Amiga back for the past squilion years.  I have sadly been working on PCs as a programmer for far too bloody long and cant wait to get my hands on an AmigaOne.

Woo Hoo, let the good times roll
 

Offline System

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2002, 11:50:24 PM »
10 Years a long time to wait and it's finally paid off.

I can't wait until I get one of these things.

Well done Eyetech

~Betajaen
 

Offline Maddestman

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2002, 12:57:26 AM »
WOO HOO!!! :-)
I sometimes wish I hadn\\\'t traded my A1200 for an A4000/040...
 

Offline Maddestman

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2002, 01:00:23 AM »
So does this mean I can change my sig now?  :-)

Or a perhaps sadder note, does this mean that trading my A1200 for an A4000/040 all those years ago wasn't such a good idea?  :-o
I sometimes wish I hadn\\\'t traded my A1200 for an A4000/040...
 

Chathurawind

  • Guest
Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2002, 09:14:09 PM »
>But I dont have/want/will never buy an A1200 - Fine by me

OK, but how about an answer to this:

"I don't have/want/will never buy an A1200 BUT I DO HAVE AN A4000!  Is there any solution in the works for us?"

If the AmigaOne/A1200 bridge is now optional, will there be an optional AmigaOne/A4000 bridge?  (PCI card to ribbon cable to ???)  Or at least an open spec for a third party to make one?

I'd love an AmigaOne that STILL RUNS A VIDEO TOASTER/FLYER.  I also don't want to give up my GVP PhonePak.  And I would prefer to not have to maintain a separate box just for them.
 

Chathurawind

  • Guest
Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2002, 03:03:20 AM »
Sounds like you're going to want an Elbox + SharkPPC to handle the Toaster and GVP Phone Pak.  Personally, I think the expectation of most was that people would migrate to the AmigaOne.  Hopefully, someone will do a  conversion of the PCI based Toaster to help the Amiga gain some momentum in the video industry.
 

Chathurawind

  • Guest
Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2002, 08:20:03 PM »
>Personally, I think the expectation of most was that people would migrate to the AmigaOne.

I don't dispute this.  However, rightly or wrongly, I demand backwards compatibility.  Otherwise I'm just buying an expensive box to put next to the one I've already paid for.  One of the things I've always loved about the Amiga is the ability to do more than one thing at once with one box.


>Hopefully, someone will do a conversion of the PCI based Toaster to help the Amiga gain some momentum in the video industry.

This would be great, but no help to me.  Again, forcing another expensive hardware purchase to replace something I already have that already works.

FWIW, A4000 desktop w/CS MKII 060.  Not thrilled about the idea of being forced to upgrade it to PPC either.  

Gotta register one of these days...
 

Offline mongo

Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2002, 08:47:38 PM »
I wonder how much the 1200-PCI bridge card will cost? With the right software you could plug one into one of those cheap all-in-one integrated x86 PC's and use it as a cheap and fast accelerator + IDE + USB + Gfx + Sound + Ethernet expansion. Sure, you wouldn't be able to run any PPC software or OS4 but it would be a cheap, killer expansion for the 1200.
 

Offline redrumloa

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Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2002, 02:41:10 PM »
"FWIW, A4000 desktop w/CS MKII 060. Not thrilled about the idea of being forced to upgrade it to PPC either."

You are kidding right? I have a A3k with MK-II 060/66 also and the only reason I havn't upgraded to PPC yet is the CS-PPC is far too expensive and far too unreliable. The 68K series cpu had it's last update with the 060 and that was a LONG LONG time ago. As much as I love my mk-II the speed is simply far too slow for modern computing. You wouldn't really rather try to stay with 060 would you? The AmigaOne will give you a complete new MB with at least 3X the performance of the CS-PPC for half the price.

I'd order one now if it was for sale.
 
 :-D
Someone has to state the obvious and that someone is me!
 

Chathurawind

  • Guest
Re: New AmigaOne information
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2002, 09:17:26 PM »
>>"FWIW, A4000 desktop w/CS MKII 060. Not thrilled about the idea of being forced to upgrade it to PPC either."

>You are kidding right?

Not at all.  "Forced" as in anything beyond 3.9 won't support 68k.  I'm running 3.5 now, and don't see much reason to go to 3.9 even.

>the CS-PPC is far too expensive and far too unreliable.

That's the impression I've gotten as well.  I'd rather spend the money on an AmigaOne or else a PeeCee and OSXL/Amithlon.

>As much as I love my mk-II the speed is simply far too slow for modern computing.

Hmm.  "Modern computing."  I keep seeing this phrase used to justify any number of hardware "upgrades."  My MKII is the 50Mhz version, the only time I wish it were faster is when rendering in Lightwave (which I don't do nearly as often as I used to).  Anything else, does what I want it to do just fine as is.  Maybe I'm not "modern."

>You wouldn't really rather try to stay with 060 would you? The AmigaOne will give you a complete new MB with at least 3X the performance of the CS-PPC for half the price.

But won't give me backwards compatibility (see above).  And if I'm not getting that, I might as well emulate instead, and keep my A4000 for the Toaster/Flyer.

Don't get me wrong...I think the AmigaOne (whichever flavor) will be a wonderful thing.  I just don't see it doing what *I* want.  I'm fully aware I do not represent the majority.