Faster/wider CPU...

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Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:25 am

So there is no need for yet another new QL board.

newest ones seem to cover HW demands quite well.

They fail at QDOS/compatbiles point, but as this is the point all practicall solutions would fail, it seems there is no need for yet another HW attempt.

Quite the opposite, it is time for new, TNG QDOS.

To be honest, I never liked SMS/Q too much. And WRT to SuperBasic... It was kind of cool at the time, but now it is unuseable,a lthough it would have to be present in some form in all compatibles, I guess...

BTW, is it just my perception or would QL indeed, beefed up, with GUI etc converge to Amiga ?

IOW, projects are not that different. Albeight SuperQL would not need to emulate AGA and could use that logic for something else...


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thorsinclair
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby thorsinclair » Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:35 am

Every new development is very welcomed, Dave's one based on a 68K, Peter Graf's one based on FPGA but also what Memorylane did is very good and brings the little QL world forward. Others I forgot?

I'm not sure about exisiting boards like Natami and if QDOS or as said above Minerva could be adapted. This board was mantinoned in the past but the discussion did not go further, same for fpgaarcade.com, another FPGA solution and Firebee which is a Atari compatible board based on coldfire. Seems that we need our very own solution :-)

Anyway I didn't know that Peter Graf's FPGA QL design is finished ... any more details available?

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:09 am

very new development is very welcomed, Dave's one based on a 68K, Peter Graf's one based on FPGA but also what Memorylane did is very good and brings the little QL world forward.

Why ?

Multiple projects just dissipate the workforce with no real benefit. I'm not forbiding anyone from following his path, I'm just saying that board like this is at this moment as good as it gets.

Natami seems to be available.Activity on their blogs and forums suggests taht their project is nearing finish line.

And even if you don't like their internal architecture, well then, you can reconfigure FPGA to your liking.

If it is big enough for SuperAmiga, it should certainly be big enough for superQL...
Last edited by Brane2 on Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:29 am, edited 1 time in total.


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thorsinclair
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby thorsinclair » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:26 am

They have produced 8 boards which were given to developers and there is no release date for the boards to be available to consumers. I agree that it should be possible, but who will do the job?? I just meant with my earlier post that also in the past this did not raise interest ... at least as far as I am aware.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:35 am

So, by "Peter Graf project is finished" you mean to say that he has solved both parts of the puzzle ( HW and FW one) ?

If so, his solution could offer real benefits.

If not, then Natami could very well be optimal solution at this point.
It is available and QDOS part of the problem is no more painful on Natami than on any other solution in sight.


BTW, those 68050/070 specs do look impressive. This thing would eat native QLs for breakfast.

I do miss support for 1920x1200, but even 1600x1200 should look AWESOME on QL...


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Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:39 am

And WRT to availability of the boards, I doubt there would be much of the problem to get a board, even if only a PCB.

They sent them only to developers so that they would avoid being nagged by hordes of "users".

I don't think they would feel against sending a few more copies to another developer herd.

It is in their interest, after all. More people make bigger market, which mean lower prices etc.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:23 pm

Dave wrote:The EC and HC variants both do that. I can, however, obtain EC variants for less than half the cost of a similarly clocked HC.

I'm curious if there's a simple way to have a faster CPU than the 7.5MHz of the 68008, and/or if there's a simple way to have wider memory accesses, and still use the onboard facilities, like the gold cards do, but without lots of heavyweight custom logic.

I am looking at whatever comes out of this thread being an open-source design.


But to return to originale theme:

1. Muxing the 16-bit bus of the 68000 to 8-bit doesn' require "heavyweight" custom logic. It is a bit more than a multiplexer with couple of registers.

2. You can do bus width conversion inside a CPL, along all functions of ULA1.

3. "modern" 68EC000 is a screamer. it can run FAR faster than declared. I remember running one at 60+ MHz. And I suspect it could go even higher.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Dave » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:28 pm

Brane2 wrote:Well, then. You can use either this or wahtever Peter Graf is offering.

I can't use what Peter Graf is offering because he isn't offering it.
Brane2 wrote:Take a look at their 68050/68070 performance figures, btw. it runs at 100-150 MHz and executes two instructions per clock. WIth many new instructions, possibly extra registers, vectoring units etc etc.

Interestingly, one of the great challenges of the Super Gold Card was disabling all the extra functionality of the 680X0 to make it behave as much as possible like a 68000. QDOS isn't very happy on CPUs that behave even a little differently to a 68000. It freaks out if timings change, or flags, or interrupts...

Brane2 wrote:OTOH, Amiga is much more complicated than the QL, so Natami was significantly more demanding.
But all that hardware ( blitting units etc) can be put to very good use inside new QL...

I'd be surprised if anyone could write in OS/driver support for any of those features. Or, if it would even be useful.

Brane2 wrote:It seems to me that you are not just after better TNG QL, but that the quest itself has some religious overtones for you.

Not at all. I think the deal with me is that I don't care what the hardware is that the OS runs on. The OS is the tool, and the hardware is just a device to run the tool. There's a world market for maybe 100-200 more QLs *EVER* so it certainly isn't worth my effort to dive into FPGAs.

Brane2 wrote:Board is cute, it's probably cheap or at least affordable, most if not all of it content is open-sourced and open for modifications, what else do you need ?

Skills? Resources? Time? Money?

What are you working on? :)


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:02 pm

Dave wrote:
Brane2 wrote:Well, then. You can use either this or wahtever Peter Graf is offering.

I can't use what Peter Graf is offering because he isn't offering it.


I thought you said that his version is finished. Why wouldn't he offer it if it's true ?

Anyway, even if so. that still leaves Natami...

Interestingly, one of the great challenges of the Super Gold Card was disabling all the extra functionality of the 680X0 to make it behave as much as possible like a 68000. QDOS isn't very happy on CPUs that behave even a little differently to a 68000. It freaks out if timings change, or flags, or interrupts...


But, as someoune pointed out before, QDOS is not an option for you anyway. It's buggy, lacks features and above all, you have no rights to copy it and use in your HW.

SMSQ fails for similar reason, which means that you are either left with Minerva or writing your own version.

During this phase you shoul iron out all of those old kinks.

I'd be surprised if anyone could write in OS/driver support for any of those features. Or, if it would even be useful.


Come on. You don't need FAST circle/ellipse drawing, scrolling, polygon filling etc ?
Or do you think sluggish drawing on QL was a feature and that it was carefully calibrated for stoned user ? :mrgreen:

Not at all. I think the deal with me is that I don't care what the hardware is that the OS runs on. The OS is the tool, and the hardware is just a device to run the tool. There's a world market for maybe 100-200 more QLs *EVER* so it certainly isn't worth my effort to dive into FPGAs.


Quite the opposite. "Dealing" with FPGAs will give you one more skill that you will be able to take advantage later on. QL might be relict, but FPGAs are here to stay. Also, such board could very quickly find its use elsewhere.

Brane2 wrote:Board is cute, it's probably cheap or at least affordable, most if not all of it content is open-sourced and open for modifications, what else do you need ?

Skills? Resources? Time? Money?


Skills you can acquire. Same with resources. Development SW is free of charge and board is cheap.
Time and money are less of an issue with this FPGA board than with yours "let's solder and wirewrap shitload of OOoooold chips and see what happens".

What are you working on? :)


At the moment, I am struggling to reach profitability trough other small projects ( small board with PIC, stabilized variable PS etc etc), but I do have plans to start working seriously with FPGAs.

I'll say more if/when it reaches point of being useable and offer it in some open fashion, somewhat like these Natami gyus.


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Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:14 pm

Dave wrote:Interestingly, one of the great challenges of the Super Gold Card was disabling all the extra functionality of the 680X0 to make it behave as much as possible like a 68000. QDOS isn't very happy on CPUs that behave even a little differently to a 68000. It freaks out if timings change, or flags, or interrupts...


They wanted to cover every possible obscure case. You could probably live happily ever after even if some stupid app, written by some cretin stops working.

I have been able to lift ULA's clock up to 32 MHz. This enabled me to connect QL to VGA monitor.
But I had to lift the voltage so high than my ULA1 died after some time. So I lowered the clock to some 28MHz and QL worked fine.

Besides microdrives and probably serial ports, but who cares about that.


There is old serbian proverb saying that sex without penetration is fantasy od perpetual virgins.

So, in which group are you ?

You can't have it both ways.
Either

you stay with "same old same old" on 7,5 MHz CPU on 8-bit bus, microdrives and 1200 bps half-functional SERial ports on weird connectors...

or

you make step into unknown and learn something new.

Or maybe you have found some third way ? :mrgreen:


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