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AuthorTopic: Amiga Ranger chipset  (Read 333 times)

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Offline Kremlar

Amiga Ranger chipset
« on: March 25, 2018, 12:14:30 AM »
Was looking at the AA+ Wikipedia article linked in another thread, and clicked the associated link for the Amiga Ranger chipset article here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Ranger_Chipset

It says this:
Quote
Jay Miner made sure that the Ranger chipset was completed and fully tested before he left Commodore in hope that one day the company would release it. But at that time, VRAM was considered expensive compared to DRAM, so Commodore refused to release Ranger for its high price which was unsuitable for the low-end systems like Amiga 500 to cover its costs. Dale Luck is in possession of a Ranger system prototype, but it's unknown in what state it is.


I call BS.  Jay Miner told me that a 128 color chipset did not exist many years ago in a BBS chat.

Does anyone know where the info that a Ranger chipset was complete came from?  

I know a supposed Ranger prototype was in the possession of Dale Luck, but that was a system design prototype and not a chipset.
 

Offline LoadWB

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2018, 02:15:20 AM »
Quote from: Kremlar;837789
Was looking at the AA+ Wikipedia article linked in another thread, and clicked the associated link for the Amiga Ranger chipset article here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Ranger_Chipset

It says this:


I call BS.  Jay Miner told me that a 128 color chipset did not exist many years ago in a BBS chat.

Does anyone know where the info that a Ranger chipset was complete came from?  

I know a supposed Ranger prototype was in the possession of Dale Luck, but that was a system design prototype and not a chipset.


Considering the number of eyes at Dale's garage for Amiga 30 I would have thought something about this would have turned up.  Never know, though.
 

Offline Kremlar

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2018, 02:20:34 AM »
Quote
Considering the number of eyes at Dale's garage for Amiga 30 I would have thought something about this would have turned up. Never know, though.

I believe the prototype Ranger was found and shown at Amiga 30, but it was a very early prototype for a new overall system not a new chipset.
 

Offline Iggy

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2018, 01:49:30 PM »
Quote from: Kremlar;837789
Was looking at the AA+ Wikipedia article linked in another thread, and clicked the associated link for the Amiga Ranger chipset article here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Ranger_Chipset

It says this:


I call BS.  Jay Miner told me that a 128 color chipset did not exist many years ago in a BBS chat.

Does anyone know where the info that a Ranger chipset was complete came from?  

I know a supposed Ranger prototype was in the possession of Dale Luck, but that was a system design prototype and not a chipset.

What that states is that the chipset was designed and tested, it doesn't say it was produced.
When Lorraine was first shown, it wasn't an integrated chipset yet, just a design implemented via discrete logic.
Design and testing of a chipset occurs BEFORE its implemented in silicon, as changes become much more difficult once its in dedicated silicon.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2018, 03:55:44 PM by Iggy »
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Offline Kremlar

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2018, 05:46:51 PM »
Quote from: Iggy;837855
What that states is that the chipset was designed and tested, it doesn't say it was produced.
When Lorraine was first shown, it wasn't an integrated chipset yet, just a design implemented via discrete logic.
Design and testing of a chipset occurs BEFORE its implemented in silicon, as changes become much more difficult once its in dedicated silicon.


It says it was "completed and fully tested".  

Miner told me "Nope, never was such a thing".
 

Offline Oldsmobile_Mike

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2018, 05:57:37 PM »
Um, Wikipedia is not 100% accurate, you know. :lol:
Amiga 500: 2MB Chip|16MB Fast|30MHz 68030+68882|3.9|Indivision ECS|GVP A500HD+|Mechware card reader + 8GB CF|Cocolino|SCSI DVD-RAM
Amiga 2000: 2MB Chip|136MB Fast|50MHz 68060|3.9|Indivision ECS + GVP Spectrum|Mechware card reader + 8GB CF|AD516|X-Surf 100|RapidRoad|Cocolino|SCSI CD-RW
 Amiga videos and other misc. stuff at https://www.youtube.com/CompTechMike/videos
 

Offline Kremlar

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2018, 05:59:10 PM »
Quote from: Oldsmobile_Mike;837869
Um, Wikipedia is not 100% accurate, you know. :lol:


Of course, thus why I started this topic.  I was hoping some people might have more insight into the legend that was the "Amiga Ranger" and why some think the chipset existed.
 

Offline Pentad

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2018, 06:51:32 PM »
Quote from: Kremlar;837870
Of course, thus why I started this topic.  I was hoping some people might have more insight into the legend that was the "Amiga Ranger" and why some think the chipset existed.


Well, like most legends, it gets better and better with every re-telling. In fact, I think at this point it is expected. I've heard and read so many things over the years that I'm not sure what is factual and what is not.

From my understanding it was based around an 020/881, Carl wanted an MMU (851) for protected memory for a more modern Exec (he talks about this as one of the reasons he left), VRAM used for chip memory, and it supported a few high resolutions (1024 x 768?) and I thought a VGA mode without interlace. Again, it gets better with each retelling.

I too used to chat with Jay on his BBS (The Mission IIRC / he was Padre). He was awesome to chat with and extremely nice. Also met him at AmiExpo in Chicago and he was just as friendly and outgoing in person.  A real class act.

-P
2015 15" Macbook Pro Retina * 2.8 GHz QCore * 16 GB RAM, 1TB SSD * Windows 10 via Boot Camp * Amiga via Emulation (WinUAE in WINE Staging)
 

Offline Kremlar

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2018, 06:55:56 PM »
Quote from: Pentad;837873
Well, like most legends, it gets better and better with every re-telling. In fact, I think at this point it is expected. I've heard and read so many things over the years that I'm not sure what is factual and what is not.

From my understanding it was based around an 020/881, Carl wanted an MMU (851) for protected memory for a more modern Exec (he talks about this as one of the reasons he left), VRAM used for chip memory, and it supported a few high resolutions (1024 x 768?) and I thought a VGA mode without interlace. Again, it gets better with each retelling.

I too used to chat with Jay on his BBS (The Mission IIRC / he was Padre). He was awesome to chat with and extremely nice. Also met him at AmiExpo in Chicago and he was just as friendly and outgoing in person.  A real class act.

-P


Thanks!  I think I only chatted with him that one time, long distance charges probably kept me from calling back more often - I don't remember.

I'm glad I had the foresight to print out the chat log and keep it.  I came off as such a fan boy, but it was fun to go back and read.  I tossed so many things from that point in my life that I wish I had kept.
 

Offline bloodline

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Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2018, 09:29:36 AM »
Quote from: Pentad;837873
Well, like most legends, it gets better and better with every re-telling. In fact, I think at this point it is expected. I've heard and read so many things over the years that I'm not sure what is factual and what is not.

From my understanding it was based around an 020/881, Carl wanted an MMU (851) for protected memory for a more modern Exec (he talks about this as one of the reasons he left), VRAM used for chip memory, and it supported a few high resolutions (1024 x 768?) and I thought a VGA mode without interlace. Again, it gets better with each retelling.

I too used to chat with Jay on his BBS (The Mission IIRC / he was Padre). He was awesome to chat with and extremely nice. Also met him at AmiExpo in Chicago and he was just as friendly and outgoing in person.  A real class act.

-P


From what I've read over the years this sounds about right.

The OS team definitely wanted an MMU, but that would have introduced incompatibility with previous versions of the OS... I believe OS2.0 was supposed to be when that change over happened... but MMUs are expensive, so it never happened.

Jay spoke at great length about moving the chipset to have dedicated video RAM, the OCS strength was being about to do a lot with a relatively small amount of cheap dRAM. Video ram removes the huge bottleneck of generating the display from chipram... but video ram was expensive, so it never happened.

Commodore stuck to their tried and tested C64 strategy of just rehashing the same hardware over and over.

Offline bloodline

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Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2018, 10:00:15 AM »
Quote from: Pentad;837873
Well, like most legends, it gets better and better with every re-telling. In fact, I think at this point it is expected. I've heard and read so many things over the years that I'm not sure what is factual and what is not.

From my understanding it was based around an 020/881, Carl wanted an MMU (851) for protected memory for a more modern Exec (he talks about this as one of the reasons he left), VRAM used for chip memory, and it supported a few high resolutions (1024 x 768?) and I thought a VGA mode without interlace. Again, it gets better with each retelling.

I too used to chat with Jay on his BBS (The Mission IIRC / he was Padre). He was awesome to chat with and extremely nice. Also met him at AmiExpo in Chicago and he was just as friendly and outgoing in person.  A real class act.

-P


From what I've read over the years this sounds about right.

The OS team definitely wanted an MMU, but that would have introduced incompatibility with previous versions of the OS... I believe OS2.0 was supposed to be when that change over happened... but MMUs are expensive, so it never happened.

Jay spoke at great length about moving the chipset to have dedicated video RAM, the OCS strength was being about to do a lot with a relatively small amount of cheap dRAM. Video ram removes the huge bottleneck of generating the display from chipram... but video ram was expensive, so it never happened.

Commodore stuck to their tried and tested C64 strategy of just rehashing the same hardware over and over.

Offline psxphill

Re: Amiga Ranger chipset
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 12:45:18 AM »
Quote from: Kremlar;837789
I know a supposed Ranger prototype was in the possession of Dale Luck, but that was a system design prototype and not a chipset.

Right.

Ranger was the A1000 expansion with Zorro I cards.

I have always wondered if the UHRES functionality in ECS (not the SuperHires, that is different) was from Jay's VRAM design.

When you have VRAM then display fetches are external to Agnus, and UHRES requires external circuitry. So it's entirely possible the chip design was done but not the board design, or the board design has yet to surface. I have hoped that someone would reverse engineer how UHRES works and maybe even create something that uses it. Although the documentation only talks about 1 bit plane, you could probably use memory interleaving and use 8 VRAM chips to create a 256 colour mode. Display fetches wouldn't use any dma bandwidth.

FWIW it looks like the Ranger might have been released. This advert for an expansion for the A1000 has Zorro slots (not Zorro II) and "ranger" $c00000 ram.

http://amiga.resource.cx/adcoll/adcoll.pl?id=paljr&pg=5
« Last Edit: March 28, 2018, 09:14:00 AM by psxphill »