Overview Features Instructions Performance Forum Downloads Products OrderV4 Reseller Contact

Welcome to the Apollo Forum

This forum is for people interested in the APOLLO CPU.
Please read the forum usage manual.
VISIT APOLLO IRC CHANNEL



All TopicsNewsPerformanceGamesDemosApolloVampireAROSWorkbenchATARIReleases
The team will post updates and news here

Roadmap Standalone for AMIGA and ATARIpage  1 2 

Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4553
25 Oct 2016 06:07


As many of you will know already, we are working right now on our new card layout - which is optimized for mass production.
 
Based on the same features we will do both cards for all AMIGA models as also new Standalones.
 
We expect the first bigger batch of these Standalone to receive this year, and plan to be able to start normal sales beginning of next year.
 
 
These standalones can be made both AMIGA and ATARI compatible.
 
In regards of AMIGA/ATARI chipset one could either instantiate already existing and tested chipsets - or we could work together on merging our SAGA chipset with an ATARI chipset.
 
As already announced some time ago - we will open source SAGA when its done.
 
In regards of ATARI Testing and TOS hacking, and also Chipset development - we would need some help - as none of us if experienced here.
 
So if you are an ATARI expert and want to help to make this happen then please contact us on IRC.
 
We hope that our standalone from its feature set can give a new live to both retro platforms.
While we have no final price yet - our plan is to offer you the highest possible value, most memory, and best performance for the money.




Roman S.

Posts 149
25 Oct 2016 09:15


Great news! Could you give some information about planned standalone board ports?

- joystick? mouse? keyboard?
- serial? parallel? USB?
- clockport? SPI?
- floppy?
- IDE? SATA? SD card?
- DIGITAL-VIDEO?
- other?



Ole Eitels

Posts 15
25 Oct 2016 11:21


Nice!
I didn't expect work to start on stand alone systems this early, to be honest.

I got 5 amiga's but it is still good not to be dependent on the old hardware to get a fix.

Open sourcing the chipset could become a big help to other Amiga projects around, i think.

What is the future for the actual cpu+fpu+mmu? is it going to be open-sourced too when finished, or is it going to remain a proprietary product - maybe even an asic?

(Personally i didn't thought anything of this to ever be open-sourced, so this is a nice surprise.)


Wawa T

Posts 695
25 Oct 2016 12:48


I think the cpu core will remain closed at least for the foreseeable future. But i understand, why, and consider this the right choice. The offer to open the chipset extensions is a nice gesture and attitude though.


Thierry Atheist

Posts 618
25 Oct 2016 15:20


I don't think they should open source anything.

All the big players and most anyone else turned their backs to 68K/OCS/ECS/AGA.

Why should any breakthroughs be offered to others' endeavours so that they could somehow incorporate it into x86 or arm or PPC (etc.) contraptions???

Their instruction fusing/branch prediction and the making for allowing use of "transparently" (right word?) mixing of 32 AND 64 bit instructions while coding is THEIRS. On top of that a unique "sort of" MMU and "AMMX"....

Then throw in something unseen before, like the internal registers to measure CPU performance!

This is all kinds of amazing stuff that AMIGANS led to the GENESIS of!!!

(Or, it isn't really that incredible, as my quite limited knowledge and understanding of what CPUs' internals are like from all of the hundreds of designs released over the years actually do. In which case, ignore this rant.)


Christian Z

Posts 7
25 Oct 2016 19:20


Are you maybe confusing "open source" and "public domain"? Open source software (e.g. under GPL) still allows them to protect their IP from misuse. So I see no reason why (parts of) the board shouldn't become open source.

Plus, honestly I think you're overestimating the breakthroughs quite a bit. I don't think Intel, AMD, NXP, et al would even be interested in the CPU & chipset designs. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice design, but nothing you wouldn't find in any modern CPU, anyway.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4553
25 Oct 2016 19:28


To answer your question.
 
The standalone has all really important connector you need to have a usable system with keyboard, mouse, joystick and internet.
I actually do not want to advertise the board now - as its not ready to sell to users today. So normally I would have prepared to keep silent about it until is ready to sell.
But to make it well working for Atari users - we need some help from Atari people upfront.
 
 
Regarding the Opensource.
While I own some Patents, I personally think that Patents hinder innovation - and I would prefer to live in a world without patents.
The situation with the AMIGA and ATARI chipsets is that even low cost FPGAs are strong enough to run these chipsets at 100 MHz - which is perfectly fine for mine and your needs. So we really not need an ASIC for them.
 
With the CPU, the story is slightly different.
You can not have enough CPU power.
And if still dream about a revival of 68k - a good Cpre with 500 or 1000 MHz would really help.

Now the APOLLO 68080 is internally a very modern CPU design and is internally fully pipelined. This means its very comparable to for example the VIA x86 CPUs.

Of course FPGAs are always slower than ASICs and especially the low priced consumer FPGAs can not reach super high clockrates. So while we can reach 100Mhz in lower FPGA, and 200 MHz in higher FPGA.. reaching something like 1000 MHz we could only do in an ASIC.

Now doing an ASIC version will be a lot of work - and also will cost a big amount of money we talk here quarter million $USD or more.
 
So doing this will be much easier with some investors helping us. We spoke with investors already about this - and they clearly told us if we Opensource then they will not invest.
So open sourcing would clearly risk the ASIC option.
   
To make this clear  - we are currently focusing on FPGA designs.
And we do NOT plan to go the ASIC route anytime soon.
So this is not a promise that we will have ASICs.

But we do not want to make this option impossible in a year or two.

 
 


Christian Z

Posts 7
25 Oct 2016 19:48


Gunnar, thanks for explaining your rationale regarding the CPU core.

As for the chipset/peripherals, however, I still think open sourcing is the right direction, e.g when you mention needing help with the Atari compatibility.

For example, I tend not to contribute to closed source projects (in my spare time).


Peter Heginbotham

Posts 176
25 Oct 2016 19:56


Todays Random thought: Is there any merit in spliting the CPU Core and (SAGA, Audio, I\O etc) into seperate FPGA's


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4553
25 Oct 2016 20:04


Peter Heginbotham wrote:

Todays Random thought: Is there any merit in spliting the CPU Core and (SAGA, Audio, I\O etc) into seperate FPGA's

First of all it would increase the total price.


Peter Heginbotham

Posts 176
25 Oct 2016 20:13


Would you not use a cheaper for the Media FPGA.

Anyway the think was around keeping the Apollo Core Closed source and a more open policy for the media fpga. Anyway like a said random crazy thought.




Roman S.

Posts 149
25 Oct 2016 20:35


Can't agree more about putting just the CPU into ASIC: my post CLICK HERE :)
 
Quarter of million USD is a lot, but not that much. Philippe Lang managed to raise over 150.000 USD to manufacture a new batch of improved A1200 cases...


OneSTone O2o

Posts 159
26 Oct 2016 15:09


Hello, this is great news. The point is that the german ATARI ST community (atari-home.de) is very sceptic. They are afraid that not many peoples (if any) of the community will  help you, they talk from experience with Firebee and Suska where developement actually only goes very slow. That's strange, they are those who could help, I don't understand them...

Let's see what the international community (atari-forum.com) thinks.

If I can have fullfilled one wish for the standalone version:

Please do the mainboard in a PC standard form factor, something like MinITX, MicroATX or so, so that the user has choice of different chassis.

Maybe even in a formfactor that also it can be built in into some of the keyboard computers (Amiga 500/600, 520/1040/MegaST) with some modifications of the chassis. (USB-Adapters for Amiga and ST keyboards are available)


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4553
26 Oct 2016 15:16


oneSTone o2o wrote:

If I can have fullfilled one wish for the standalone version:

Sorry you come to late for wishes affecting the layout.
The cards are done already.

Would you mind pinging me on IRC?


OneSTone O2o

Posts 159
26 Oct 2016 15:40


This evening I can try to irc you. From here (office) not possible.


Martin Soerensen

Posts 231
26 Oct 2016 15:58


I know the layout was done by now, but at least I hope it is something that is easily integrated into the newly designed A1200 chassis. At least that would make a lot of sense in my mind.


Roger Andre Lassen

Posts 97
26 Oct 2016 16:49


An Atari version.. hmm.. fail to see the point. There cant be many Atari users out there compared to Amiga.

MY 2 cents! i dont want a discussion, just stating MY opinion.



Lord Aga
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 97
26 Oct 2016 17:14


Martin Soerensen wrote:

I know the layout was done by now, but at least I hope it is something that is easily integrated into the newly designed A1200 chassis. At least that would make a lot of sense in my mind.

Well, we have to be able to use the original Amiga keyboards, one way or another :)
Possibility number two: Aim for the A2000 mobo form factor :D


OneSTone O2o

Posts 159
26 Oct 2016 18:30


Lord Aga wrote:

  Well, we have to be able to use the original Amiga keyboards, one way or another :)
  Possibility number two: Aim for the A2000 mobo form factor :D

Does not make sense if the Standalone-Vamire also supports ATARI mode. There are USB-adapters available or for "do it by yourself" to connect an Amiga or ST keyboard.

I hope it is not such a board layout with connectors in all direction which makes it difficult to have some nice chassis. Look at MiST and Firebee, designwise these chassis are ugly. Something in direction MiniITX/MIcroATX/... would be best because there is a big choice of chassis. Unfortunatelly they did not.


Thierry Atheist

Posts 618
26 Oct 2016 20:14


Christian Z wrote:
Plus, honestly I think you're overestimating the breakthroughs quite a bit. I don't think Intel, AMD, NXP, et al would even be interested in the CPU & chipset designs. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice design, but nothing you wouldn't find in any modern CPU, anyway.

Hi Christian Z,

Okay, so I may not understand all that I'm reading about what's being done "under the hood", but we are getting some very unique features, that unlike in the x86 architecture where it's muddled and inaccessible to the average computer software coder, we can FLY with it, because the OS does not interfere with coders' goals and aspirations.

They're even building this CPU/GPU unit partially "on requests" by the very people that desire to own them!!!

The competitors have BILLIONS of dollars advantage against what we're doing; DON'T REVEAL ANYTHING TO THEM, I say.

posts 39page  1 2