68060 based QL system?

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Do you want a 68060 based QL system?

No, better improve speed of FPGA based 68K
12
43%
Original Q60 with video updates
5
18%
New 68060 system design
11
39%
 
Total votes: 28
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Dave
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Dave » Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:35 pm

Good to see you all keep it friendly and light, even when I am not around! :P

DMA for a proposed new design would be useful, if only for the "configure transfer and get on with core duties, I'll check when it's finished" aspect that reduces load on the CPU/OS *greatly* even if it doesn't hugely increase the speed of the transfer. As many tasks are CPU-bound, they can continue relatively unharmed.

DMA systems, even if not significantly faster by design, don't exhibit many of the 'locking' behaviors of non-DMA systems.

One of the big snags of the option of improving the Q68 is if the original supporters who have already bought a unit will get upgrades, and if those upgrades will carry the same heavy mark-ups of the Q68 itself. It would be good to see a self-administerable option to upgrade a system that doesn't require sending the unit internationally to Derek, for many of us. A JTAG programming cable and download should do it. The only reason not to do something like this would be to keep the ability to program ICs within Peter and Derek's personal control.

This is why I voted for new 68060 hardware of discrete devices that can be understood and upgraded - and that represent an open system - which will always beat out a closed and secretive black box system, in my mind.

I have an embedded application with customers that would ideally suit the Q68 system, but it needs to be tightly integrated. Even thinking of trying to license it to use in this custom system gives me a headache. The level of support it would receive would be unworkably low.

This is why I decided anything I personally produce along those lines will be Open Source.


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Peter
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Peter » Wed Apr 25, 2018 6:42 pm

Dave wrote:One of the big snags of the option of improving the Q68 is if the original supporters who have already bought a unit will get upgrades, and if those upgrades will carry the same heavy mark-ups of the Q68 itself. It would be good to see a self-administerable option to upgrade a system that doesn't require sending the unit internationally to Derek, for many of us.

I admit the Q68 is relatively hard to update, a design restriction. But this has a positive side also: It had to be well designed and stable from the start. Experience shows that easy updates often lead to immature releases. For example look what happened with the other Sinclair retro project, the ZX Spectrum Next. Although they had a budget maybe 500 times larger, and a whole team of developers, the customers went through many problems from non-working keyboards, instabilities, to video issues. Without easy updates, I'm quite sure they'd have fixed that before shipping. ;)

Dave wrote:I have an embedded application with customers that would ideally suit the Q68 system, but it needs to be tightly integrated. Even thinking of trying to license it to use in this custom system gives me a headache. The level of support it would receive would be unworkably low.

This is why I decided anything I personally produce along those lines will be Open Source.

Which gets relevant only if you actually finish/ship. :P

I decide this from project to project. I released the QL-SD hardware as open-source. While I will keep the Q68 proprietary, as long as Derek and me find that easier to live with.


duncan
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby duncan » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:05 pm

Hi Peter,

As for Q60 flatscreen support, there is a solution in test phase, just not ideal, as it leaves one third of the screen black. There are three test machines, and I had no negative reports yet. Picture quality is reported to be quite good, just not extremely sharp as on the Q68.


If and when you are happy to release the your screen solution please let me know as I would like to have this for my Q60.


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Dave
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Dave » Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:08 pm

Peter wrote:
Dave wrote:One of the big snags of the option of improving the Q68 is if the original supporters who have already bought a unit will get upgrades, and if those upgrades will carry the same heavy mark-ups of the Q68 itself. It would be good to see a self-administerable option to upgrade a system that doesn't require sending the unit internationally to Derek, for many of us.

I admit the Q68 is relatively hard to update, a design restriction. But this has a positive side also: It had to be well designed and stable from the start. Experience shows that easy updates often lead to immature releases. For example look what happened with the other Sinclair retro project, the ZX Spectrum Next. Although they had a budget maybe 500 times larger, and a whole team of developers, the customers went through many problems from non-working keyboards, instabilities, to video issues. Without easy updates, I'm quite sure they'd have fixed that before shipping. ;)


That is indeed a positive. It is a stable platform.

Peter wrote:
Dave wrote:I have an embedded application with customers that would ideally suit the Q68 system, but it needs to be tightly integrated. Even thinking of trying to license it to use in this custom system gives me a headache. The level of support it would receive would be unworkably low.

This is why I decided anything I personally produce along those lines will be Open Source.

Which gets relevant only if you actually finish/ship. :P


How long did it take you to develop Q68 from inception to release? I’m confident I’m still at about half that time, so I don’t feel too bad. I do wonder just what a person has to do to get you off your high horse, though. You ask people for their opinions and then you tell them they’re wrong. Why ask if you’re only going to accept the answers you already agree with? It must be nice to be so certain.


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Peter
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Peter » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:40 pm

Dave wrote:You ask people for their opinions and then you tell them they’re wrong.

Are you aware that I agree to what you wrote about DMA?

Dave wrote:Why ask if you’re only going to accept the answers you already agree with?

I asked because I wondered (and still wonder) how people see 68060 systems today, and keep watching the poll with interest.
I just disproved a specific, technically wrong point regarding Q60/ISA/DMA/datarate, and did not foresee the fruitless dispute that would result. Sorry for that.

I found the vast majority of answers constructive, and of course more answers are welcome.

Dave wrote:It must be nice to be so certain.

I haven't decided for one of the options yet, nor whether I would do the work myself. At least in theory, there are more hardware designers.

Actually I am quite uncertain, because fact remains that emulation will be faster, no matter how optimized the design.


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Peter
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Peter » Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:28 pm

duncan wrote:Hi Peter,

As for Q60 flatscreen support, there is a solution in test phase, just not ideal, as it leaves one third of the screen black. There are three test machines, and I had no negative reports yet. Picture quality is reported to be quite good, just not extremely sharp as on the Q68.


If and when you are happy to release the your screen solution please let me know as I would like to have this for my Q60.

Hi Duncan, thanks for your interest.

At the moment, I have nobody who would program and distribute the chips. And I haven't asked Derek, because he already shoulders so much work making Q68. If nobody volunteers, I would probably just release the JEDEC (programming) file for the video chip as freeware. Hope that is okay.


Derek_Stewart
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Derek_Stewart » Thu Apr 26, 2018 2:22 pm

Hi Peter,

I could probably find the time to programme the chips.


Regards,

Derek
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tofro
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby tofro » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:46 pm

Is there any hope for Q40 owners to benefit from this?

Thanks,
Tobias


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Peter
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby Peter » Thu Apr 26, 2018 5:11 pm

Hi Tobias,
tofro wrote:Is there any hope for Q40 owners to benefit from this?

Yes, the same hope as for the Q60. ;)
Peter


duncan
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Re: 68060 based QL system?

Postby duncan » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:50 pm

I have nobody who would program and distribute the chips.


I know nothing about programming hardware nor do I have any equipment for this, but if the only way to get the Qx0 on to a flat screen is to do it myself I would need clear guidance as in step by step instructions, as to equipment and how to do this, assuming the set up was affordable.



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