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Documentation about the Vampire hardware

Core 3.0 for A500 V2+page  1 2 

Steve Knox

Posts 13
07 Jun 2021 15:39


Core 3.0 for A500 V2+. 
Here we go again you might say, but I only found out last night from a post Manuel Jesus made in a FB forum, that development on Core 3.0 has been cancelled, and this was stated in this post on the Apollo site:
EXTERNAL LINK

There's no specific mention of the complete cancellation of Core 3.0 in that post though, only that it's on hold.

I've been using a Vampire A500 V2+ on an A1000 since 2017, and for a long time I've wanted a solution to the limited ChipRAM of the A1000.  I could swap the Vampire into my A2500 to make it way more usable, but I bought the Vampire specifically to bring my A1000 back to life again.  That's the only reason why I bought the Vampire - that a stable Core 3.0 would unlock larger ChipRAM.
 
I don't care about AGA capability - I have an A1200 for AGA.  All I want is for Core 3.0 to manage and increase ChipRAM.  I know the V2+ FPGA is limited, but can V3.0 development be restarted to encompass ChipRAM?  I'd be prepared to pay for Core 3.0, if necessary.

Can we have a clear and unambiguous word from Apollo on if Core 3.0 development has been cancelled?


James Husted

Posts 70
07 Jun 2021 16:54


Team have said all along that once they have perfected AGA on Vampire 4 these improvements will be backported to V2, I think there was some talk of space issues in the V2's FPGA but this was quite a while back and seeing the magic the team have worked on the V4 I would imagine that they will have so work arounds/solutions to these issues... however the V4 is long from finished so I sugest you use your Vampire for what it can do today and not what it might do in a couple of years!


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5404
08 Jun 2021 06:06


Steve Knox wrote:

  I've been using a Vampire A500 V2+ on an A1000 since 2017, and for a long time I've wanted a solution to the limited ChipRAM of the A1000.
 

 
I fully understand your wish and it makes good sense.
We have developed what you want.
Of course as every development, also this development needs FPGA space. The FPGA used on the V4 has enough space for this but the FPGA used on the V2 is much smaller, in fact to small to use this.
  So yes we have developed this feature but because of space requirements it can only be used with the bigger FPGA of the V4.
 


David Suter

Posts 39
08 Jun 2021 13:58


Hmmm...

Can we please atleast have ECS graphics through DIGITAL-VIDEO ?
68080 CPU, RTG and ECS should fit.
We dont need 16bit sound, well atleast I dont.
Memory management should just be an adjustment for people wanting more chip mem.




Stefano Briccolani

Posts 576
08 Jun 2021 16:16


From what I understand both V500 and v600 are 'feature completed'. Space constraints don't allow more features than the actual implementation.
Still actual 'performance' of those cards is impressive today as they give you the fastest 68k cpu and fpu on the market, the fastest RTG board, plenty of fast ram, sd, easy connectivity and a very fast Ide (on V500).
So I think we should be happy with what have been accomplished to this day. And to be fair the team surely hinted to this possibilities but clearly stated in every place that you should 'buy the cards only for what they offer NOW'.
I personally would not exchange the FPU, the RTG, the floppy drive, the serial/midi and parallel ports for the ability to have ecs/aga on the hdmi, and I think majority of people will agree on that, it would be an unfair exchange and probably is better to wait for the next-generation of vampires that surely will be able to incorporate those features without sacrifying FPU, RTG and all the connection on the Amiga .


Eric Gus

Posts 452
09 Jun 2021 01:48


Stefano Briccolani wrote:

        I personally would not exchange the FPU, the RTG, the floppy drive, the serial/midi and parallel ports for the ability to have ecs/aga on the hdmi,
       

   
   
Stefano Briccolani wrote:
   
    and I think majority of people will agree on that,
   

   
  I disagree totally..
       
  I would gladly and willingly in a heart beat trade it to get PAL display modes on my NTSC display modes only locked A500 along with more than 512kb chip .. sure that is a no brainer easy trade don't even have to give it more than 5 seconds thought really.. without that extra chip ram whdload is functionally useless and RTG offerings are slim and by in large uninteresting (and please dont talk about unobtanium megachips and destructive mods)
 
       
  I know I am not alone in this feeling.. obviously, there are many others who feel the same. 

And I bet a number of A1000 owners perhaps feel that even more so since they are even more hamstrung with even less chip available to them.
       


Stefano Briccolani

Posts 576
09 Jun 2021 06:53


I think there's a misconception here.. Taking 2 megs from Vampire fast ram to become 2 megs of chip implies a complete ECS reimplementation in the fpga to work.
Reimplementing the chips you loose all the connection with your amiga and there's no space on v600 and V500 to have both ECS/AGA reimplementation and FPU and RTG.
For having more chip ram there are working solutions like swapping a500 for an a500+ or adding the ACE2 (that doesn't imply soldering at all). For RTG and FPU there are not equally viable solutions (a graphic card will cost at least double than a complete a500+ system and wouldn't work on any a500).
     
I run a forum in Italy and we had a couple people who were absolutely anti RTG/FPU and pro AGA because they cared only about whdload games. The fun thing is that when directed to try the alpha core 3 they never wanted to give it a try. That core will give a clear idea of what this solution implies, and works pretty well on a500. Is not fully stable just because that core (even without RTG and FPU) completely saturates the fpga space.
  The V600 and v500 cards are on the market from 6-7 years now, and are still the best value for money on the Amiga market (even the newer warp560 despite costing a lot more doesn't have digital video out for the chipset, increased chip mem, or AGA on OCS machines).
      Today we can have a bigger fpga for the same price or less than 7 years ago so a new board who can incorporate almost all the features of the v4 is a possibility in the near future. This would be a better solution than an half-baked one for me..


Herbert Markart

Posts 44
09 Jun 2021 11:16


@gunnar
  Would it be possible to provide different "Sets" of functions?
  For example:
  Gold3 - Graphics Set: AGA yes, but with no network and CF
  Gold3 - ECS Set: Extra Chip Mem with network but no CF
  ...
  I just want to know if this would be even possible to make.
  So one feature loss for the other feature.
 
  I know this would be very much work and development to do so.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5404
09 Jun 2021 11:37


Herbert Markart wrote:

I know this would be very much work and development to do so.

 
The FPGA on the V500/V600 is 100% full.
Its impossible to add new features and even small bug fixes are nearly impossible and take huge amount of time to make them happen.
 
The V4 has a twice as big FPGA.
For this new bigger FPGA we did develop many nice good features as:
  - 16bit audio
  - Amiga video promotion to DIGITAL-VIDEO
  - 100MB Ethernet
  - USB for Joypads

Using the same FPGA for accelerators in future would make it possible to also provide these features for accelerators.
 


Steve Hodson

Posts 12
09 Jun 2021 17:55


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

Herbert Markart wrote:

  I know this would be very much work and development to do so.
 

 
  The FPGA on the V500/V600 is 100% full.
  Its impossible to add new features and even small bug fixes are nearly impossible and take huge amount of time to make them happen.
 
  The V4 has a twice as big FPGA.
  For this new bigger FPGA we did develop many nice good features as:
  - 16bit audio
  - Amiga video promotion to DIGITAL-VIDEO
  - 100MB Ethernet
  - USB for Joypads
 
  Using the same FPGA for accelerators in future would make it possible to also provide these features for accelerators.
 

After Raptor, is definitely time for a V4/500 V4/1200....unify features across the product line and simplify development :D


FRAXINOUS Eric

Posts 40
09 Jun 2021 20:39


Ok, as we can see, the V2 is at the end of its life even for the correction of bugs... I understand much more why there's no return when we found bugs as there's no space into the fpga to correct bugs... It's time to switch yo v4 but i'm a little sad :(
For me, the v1200x12r7667b_gold213rc2 version is the last usable version.


Eric Gus

Posts 452
10 Jun 2021 06:01


Stefano Briccolani wrote:

I think there's a misconception here.. Taking 2 megs from Vampire fast ram to become 2 megs of chip implies a complete ECS reimplementation in the fpga to work.
  Reimplementing the chips you loose all the connection with your amiga and there's no space on v600 and V500 to have both ECS/AGA reimplementation and FPU and RTG.

No I fully get all that.. no misconceptions here, yes to do it, you basically have to move all the custom chips into the FPGA as those chips all share the chip ram bus .. yep, got it, no allusions or confusion here on that, there is no way to mince it any other way.. have since day 1 .. I have no longing "need" to have OCS/ECS out of the analog RGB port and I am perfectly fine loosing that along with the floppy, serial and parallel ports as well in trade.

Actually my V2/500 runs Gold3 Alpha now actually and has since Gold3 Alpha was released .. and I am really fine with the tradeoffs implied with this.. no FPU, no RTG, no floppy no serial/parallel ports, etc.. I just wish that Gold3 Alpha could be updated to reflect the more recent tweaks since it was made, for me, this is the ideal core in my A500 .. it does everything I want it to .. I just wish it was a bit more bug fixed than it is.




Eric Gus

Posts 452
10 Jun 2021 06:05


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Using the same FPGA for accelerators in future would make it possible to also provide these features for accelerators.
 

Then what we need is a Vampire 500 V4+

:-D


Steve Knox

Posts 13
10 Jun 2021 08:39


Why did my posts get deleted?




Steve Knox

Posts 13
10 Jun 2021 08:42


My reply was deleted:

"I fully understand your wish and it makes good sense.
We have developed what you want.
Of course as every development, also this development needs FPGA space. The FPGA used on the V4 has enough space for this but the FPGA used on the V2 is much smaller, in fact to small to use this.
  So yes we have developed this feature but because of space requirements it can only be used with the bigger FPGA of the V4."

I won't buy a V4 to get the features the V2 was promised to have.
 


Steve Knox

Posts 13
10 Jun 2021 08:44


This post also got deleted:

When was it decided that the V2 was not capable of having the features which were promised from the outset of sales for the V2?


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5404
10 Jun 2021 08:48


Steve,
 
I think the Apollo-Team always very clearly stated:
"Only buy the Vampire card for the features available now."
 
Never buy the cards for features we might do, or plan or try or work on ... as we might run into problems and might not be able to finish all we try.
 
The Apollo-Team put a lot of work on the development on AGA and on trying to fit it into the smaller V2 FPGA. Literally we spend over 2 years work on this.  It was clearly communicated that its not fitting.
 
Your posts claiming that the Apollo-Team "does not hold word" are incorrect and in my opinion very rude and impudent.
I would prefer if we not let the discussion go this way.


Steve Knox

Posts 13
10 Jun 2021 09:08


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

Steve,
   
  I think the Apollo-Team always very clearly stated:
  "Only buy the Vampire card for the features available now."
   
  Never buy the cards for features we might do, or plan or try or work on ... as we might run into problems and might not be able to finish all we try.
   
  The Apollo-Team put a lot of work on the development on AGA and on trying to fit it into the smaller V2 FPGA. Literally we spend over 2 years work on this.  It was clearly communicated that its not fitting.
   
  Your posts claiming that the Apollo-Team "does not hold word" are incorrect and in my opinion very rude and impudent.
  I would prefer if we not let the discussion go this way.

I have not seen it anywhere that Core 3.0 won't fit on the V2, and the promised features won't be delivered.  Where was it communicated, Gunnar?  That's all I asked.


Steve Knox

Posts 13
10 Jun 2021 09:12


By the way, Gunnar - I think it's very rude and impudent to remove legitimate questions by customers from your website, without any reason or response.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5404
10 Jun 2021 09:19


Steve Knox wrote:

I have not seen it anywhere that Core 3.0 won't fit on the V2, and the promised features won't be delivered.  Where was it communicated, Gunnar?  That's all I asked.

I think you have a misunderstanding here.
Lets get this clear:
It was never promised that V2 card will have AGA included.
Only the V4 was promised to include AGA.



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