Faster/wider CPU...

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Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:11 am

Thanks.

Minerva soruces look _great_ . Heavily documented, easy to follow and understand. At least as much as I did have the time to browse trough...


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby dilwyn » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:25 pm

Brane2 wrote:I've checked SMSQ/E main site.

And download the source. But it seems that beside pure asm sources there is no documentation.

How is one supposed to use these sources ?

EDIT: I have just found "QDOS SMS Reference Manual.pdf" and "QPTR update document for SMSQ/E" on Marcel Kilgus site...

In addition to what Rich mentioned, visit the SQLUG site http://www.jms1.supanet.com/SQLUG/gwilt/gwilt.htm, where George Gwilt has a package explaining how to use his GWASS assembler program to compile SMSQE. On that page, scroll down to the Articles section where you'll find SMSQE Compilation with Gwass.

(Sorry for late reply, I only just remembered about it)

Dilwyn


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Brane2
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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Tue Feb 07, 2012 3:40 am

Thiss might be of interest to original poster.

Here is a guy who instantiated whole Atari STE on FPGA ( 68000, shifter, blitter, keyboard controller, floppy controller, GLUE, MMU, blitter, DMA, video shifter...the complete lot )

he also added a couple of more modern interfaces, like EIDE, CF, sampled sound etc.


Project is named Suska and all sources are available for download under GPL licence:

http://experiment-s.de/en/

Boards seem to be on the expensive side, but it is understandable. This is long-term project, labour of love and quantity is probably very small...


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:30 pm

I recommend looking at sources.

Some simpler ones are very informative, even if you don't know much about VHDL.

Also 68000 sources are nice.

Although I can't see why did he use whole 9500 CLBs just for 68000. It seems as if he was not using inherent memory. At least in spartan, LUT ( lookup table - used for generating any output function from ( usually 4, 6 in Spartan6) N input signals)) can be used as a small, fast RAM, ROM or FIFO.

In older spartans, you can usually get 16 bit dual port RAM. So with just 32 CLBs you can cover all Dx and Ax registers...

BTW, if you are looking for CPLDs for simpler stuff Lattice's MachX02 seems ideal. It is cheap and dense.
At least, compared to other CPLDs on the market. Its structure is like of other FPGAs from LAttice and Altera, they just seem to call it CPLD for marketing reasons- it is smaller than models from other "FPGA" series from Lattice.

And btw, for those wondering about which is the best FPGA on the market, these guys seem to have strong opinion on the matter:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM2hnra55Hs&list=FLBkK2wCRXsKlpdU0V6FOHPA&index=2&feature=plpp_video

:mrgreen:
Last edited by Brane2 on Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:02 pm

@Dave:

I know, I know.
You are going to say: I hate all that programmable stuff. Why would I want something like MachXO2 ?

This guy has an answer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_USk-HNgPA


:mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Dave » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:25 am

Without viewing the videos or following the links, I would NOT say "why?....." or "x is better"... In fact, I think it would be great if someone who knew that stuff inside out would do it, and share it with the community so we could all feed back into it and make it real.

All the ideas and suggestions in the world are worth less than one, single, working computer that people can plug in and use. Whatever it's made from.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:53 am

I didn't mean to be offensive or agressive.

I just read through Natami's forum and stumbled up on various stuff.

Some was informative ( like Suska ), some was hilarious and somewhat on topic, so after salvos of uncontrolled burst of laughter died down, I though it might interest someone here...


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Dave » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:28 pm

You have mad skills. Why don't you do it? :)


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby Brane2 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:25 pm

Not so much "mad" as "wide and shallow".

I would love to do it, but now it is not the time. I have to solve other, more existential problems first.

Also, I have acquired some fundamental principles through all this years and basically it boils down to this:

- life is short
- i am inquisitive
- there is no point in investing significant time only to redo things that have been done before.

So, for me, Ql is worth redoing only as an idea. If you take a look at QL programs, there is probably not one of them that you would really use.

This means that compatibility with original is really low priority. It might mean something if this would attract significant number of orders from QL crowd, but judging from activity on this forum, this seems unlikely.

OTOH, there seem to be many former and present QL programmers here and keeping basic concepts alive might mean some new applications.

Amiga crowd sees FPGA as lifeline. Without it, they would be dead, since successor machine has to be intimately compatible with so many things.

QL OTOH was bare minimum in original. So many things were minimal or missing, so they don't need to be recreated. Which means that one can create them more freely...

Yes, one could slap some flash, 68SEC000 and static RAM together and replace ULA1 with smallish CPLD for good measure. And it wouldn't take that much to program it.

But the end result wouldn't be worth it IMHO.

One could make step further and replace ULA2&SPC with simple, cheap PIC, but then significant number of hours would have to go just for tweaking OS, programming PIC etc.
All that for 16-bit micromachine that couldn't even drive simple 17" LCD to its max resolution and colours.

One could go step furthere and do some 68K clone on FPGA, but to what end ? Their 68050/70 at 100 MHz is impressively fast, comapred to native 68000 at 8MHz, but it is midget, compared to some modern ARM, let alone x86. AMiga crowd does it to recreate all those Amiga demos, but there is definite ( and rather low) limit of pleasure to be have from those.

QL had no such complex chips in the original and no one remembers it for its graphical mastery or audio capabilities.

For me, FPGA has its definite appeal, but not as compatibility sandbox. I see it as a computing platform. It is easy to see its power for highly specific tasks, but using it for more general computing _effectively_ is less obvious.

So, it boils dpwn to two paths. Either:

- use FPGA in some highly parallel configurations that no one else ( at least from retro crowd) has foreseen yet.

- use small, cheap and effective CPU/MCU for computing, possibly with FPGA only for peripheral functions.

Both paths could cater for existing 68K code with some extra efforts.

At this point, I am just analyzing the data and saving it for later use.

I think Natami and many other crowds are making mistake in closing the project- not anyone can participate. he has to be chosen and his purpose has to be Amiga oriented. Ha can't effectively use board for anything else. Also, Amiga crowd can't get the board, even if it would accept its limitations.

So, develepment is going in its 4-th year and no mere mortal has really saw Natami in flesh.

If I decide to take a stab at it, I'll prefer using ( where feasible) open-source programs and open the project for public participation and/or possible forking.

I took my time reading DVI specs and it seems even orginary FPGA could drive it effectively albeight not to the limits of full dual-link DVI, but even 1920x1200 should be more than enough.

I installed Xilinx Webpack 13.4 and Lattice's Diamond ( and I'm still waiting for license file - one that gets sent automatically seems corrupt) to try MachOX2.

I doubt that I'll "like his small package and balls" :mrgreen: - I' m not of that sort of polarity, but those thingies seem interesting nevertheless. They are cheap, they are flash-based ( so no need for extra serial flash with configuration and FPGA is almost instantly on) and they have user accessible flash ( so one could boot his softCPU from that FLASH and no extra pins are needed for external FLASH) etc etc.

It even has DDR-II RAM interface. Quite and arsenal for "cheap CPLD"...

In short, I don't have enough data yet, to commit to such thing, even if I could do it financially at the moment.


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Re: Faster/wider CPU...

Postby thorsinclair » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:35 am

I'm curious and interested to see what will come out of this. What will be the project? Sth like a Mega QL, improved hardware and OS?

....



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