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      /  What should "entry level hardware" be like?
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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 17:13:47
#41 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 10677
From: Norway

@yetihw

Well it needs to be delivered in quantise to be cost effective, considering that AmigaOS has it's limited use. It be good to support other operating systems as well, sell more and drive the price down, or to pay back on the developments costs quicker. Linux is one option.

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yetihw 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 17:51:04
#42 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 1-Mar-2005
Posts: 156
From: Cleveland Ohio

@NutsAboutAmiga

thats exactly y I want to buy one, I definitely would love a cool pc that runs the amiga os amoung others like linux I mean honestly as a techno geek how cool its the dream machine, and being able to run with the others on hardware considered outdated by those who use a bloated os, whose revenue for the os depends on the sale of more and more hardware will prove a vaulable point to the ignorant.

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Fransexy 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 17:59:31
#43 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jun-2004
Posts: 2316
From: Elche (Alicante), spain

@thread

Quote:
What should "entry level hardware" be like?


Something like THIS, perhaps?

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nzv58l 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 18:16:04
#44 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Oct-2003
Posts: 1640
From: Michigan

@olegil

Quote:
I have a firm belief that someone could make a motherboard based on the AMCC440SPe with 3 PCIe slots (x16 (8 active lanes), x4, x4) and 4 PCI slots for less than $300. Including onboard GbE and serial ports (PS2 mouse/keyboard and/or serial console). Based around the MPC8548E the card would have PCIe for graphics (x8 in x16 connector) and 6 PCI slots in one or two busses.


So why do we need serial, PS2 Parallel, keyboard? All these connections can be made using the USB ports. Is it really cheap to add these things and in addition I think they just take up more room and make the board larger for no reason. Those old ports are really outdated. I would rather see a better graphics slot than these old ports so someone can attach their 15 year old printer to or old keyboard to. Just go USB and save the cost of having a bunch of old stuff. A user could still use their old printer or keyboard if they get an adapter for USB.

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jkirk 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 19:35:44
#45 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 28-Jan-2005
Posts: 3347
From: Georgia (usa)

@nzv58l

Quote:
So why do we need serial, PS2 Parallel, keyboard? All these connections can be made using the USB ports


sure you can but remember unless the bios supports it the usb peripherals won't be initialized until the os starts. so if there is a problem with the setup and you are kicked to command prompt you can forget entering anything.

also there is also the potential to have bandwidth problems while ps2 is pretty much dedicated(unless the usb port is dedicated for keyboard/mouse.) imagine scanning a picture, downloading a file to a usb harddrive, etc,etc, you will run out of allocated bandwith fast.

Last edited by jkirk on 31-Jan-2006 at 07:38 PM.

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Manu 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 19:39:04
#46 ]
Super Member
Joined: 4-Feb-2004
Posts: 1561
From: Unknown

@thread

Quote:
What should "entry level hardware" be like?


It should be these beauties

http://www.fujitsu-siemens.com/Resources/234/133336638.jpg

Tried out a P 1510 today, in fact I an writing this on it.
How cool can a notebook be :)

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FithisUX 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 19:43:30
#47 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Jun-2005
Posts: 119
From: Unknown

@Thread

Mmm.... maybe something like this cheap buddy http://linuxdevices.com/news/NS2906321047.html !!!

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CodeSmith 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 19:54:12
#48 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 3045
From: USA

@Fransexy

Hey, that looks pretty cool! Pretty cheap, too


@FithisUX

MIPS again? I thought this had already been dismissed...

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nzv58l 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 20:15:21
#49 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Oct-2003
Posts: 1640
From: Michigan

@jkirk

That's the first sensible reason why they have those old portsf that I have yet heard. So for crying out load, this is basically a new platform, it should be a chance to break away from all this old junk that is adding expense and not adding much useability. Just convienience for those that want to use old hardware who should really invest in something a bit newer.

On another note, for me it doesn't bother me to have a selection of hardware that is officially supported by the OS. If I need to buy a certain graphics card or sound card then that is what I will get.

I really think we need an entry level machine that is as cost effective as possible. Any corners that can be cut should be. We just need to get the OS in more peoples hands to build a development base. Even with the small amount of current developers I think OS4 has progressed as well or perhaps better than any other non-Win, Mac or Linux OS. I would not use a CPU for it that is no longer available. It does not have to be a powerhouse, but it needs to be available and cost effective.

I think it is also important to have a flagship machine that has massive amounts of power and features as a lure into the Amiga. That way the flagship gets the attention and the bargin machine get the sales for those who can not afford the mother ship.

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billt 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 20:19:51
#50 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3021
From: Maryland, USA

Oops, should have been a PM to olegil. sorry.

Last edited by billt on 31-Jan-2006 at 10:56 PM.

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jkirk 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 20:54:48
#51 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 28-Jan-2005
Posts: 3347
From: Georgia (usa)

@nzv58l

Quote:
That's the first sensible reason why they have those old portsf that I have yet heard.


they have tried to go away from the old ports(and i have tried one of them.) anyway as long as everything is going smooth and not much going on the usb bus everything is fine but when you load the bus it is a pain in the arse.

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olegil 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 21:08:18
#52 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Aug-2003
Posts: 5886
From: Work

@nzv58l

An ATX motherboard has room for quite a few PS2 ports without becoming larger.
The serial ports are already there, why not use them?

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nzv58l 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 21:21:03
#53 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Oct-2003
Posts: 1640
From: Michigan

@olegil

I was thinking along the lines of a new board design from the ground up. I guess it should be a decision on what is cheaper to make for an entry level machine. Seems that most people want things cheap when it comes to the bottom line. I think we could get by with about 3 slots and if an option to use an adapter to expand it some than that would be plenty for an entry level machine.

How about a removable CPU. Does that seem like a necessity or should it be soldered in to save on cost even though it would be a slower bottom line CPU?

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FithisUX 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 22:32:03
#54 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Jun-2005
Posts: 119
From: Unknown

@CodeSmith

No, it is a SH4 (Sega saturn) . Sorry, I couldn't resist. But it's an interesting reading.

But that is why I love MIPS64 -> http://www.cray.com/products/xd1/architecture.html , the latest processors from PMC have HT.

Last edited by FithisUX on 31-Jan-2006 at 11:20 PM.
Last edited by FithisUX on 31-Jan-2006 at 11:16 PM.

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asymetrix 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 22:48:09
#55 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 788
From: United Kingdom

@nzv58l

I do not know much about hardware design, but i would think that C= did it right.

I think C= Amiga motherboards were cheapest to make because they did not follow standard PC motherboard design.

new Entry level Amiga motherboards should be made that have NO PCI, NO DIMM, NO AGP.

Why ? what will this acheive ?

This will reduce the number of layers required (i think) and make it cheaper to make such a motherboard.

Any expansion should be like the A1200 expansion port to allow THIRD p;arties to create PCI/AGP addons for anyone who requires more features than the onboard GFX and SND.

The motherboard could be further streamlined by having one big connector on the motherboard for all mouse/keyboard/usb/sound output.

We could have a dedicated faceplate that has usb/ps2/serial ports on that, which is part of the case and all that is required is a lead to join this plate to the Amiga Connector, complete with all hd, power leds.

By NOT having usb/serial/ps2 ports on the motherboard itself should reduce the complexity of the motherboard and having less parts should lower the price and by having a connector like this, Amiga motherboard design can be standardised and quickly improved with little effort.

I think for now we can all live with onboard graphics, sound, memory and maybe a cpu from Freescale.

With a constant supply of cheap motherboards/ systems, we can only then recreate our user base slowly and steadily.

asy





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TheDungeonDelver 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 23:06:06
#56 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Apr-2004
Posts: 812
From: Unknown

@PhantomInterrogative

PI, something to keep in mind about the wonderful expandability of the Amiga with the whole CPU-on-a-card upgrades and whatnot is that this wasn't necessarily a "choice" made by Haynie et.al.; as he has stated on at least one occasion, C= flatly refused to give engineering and R&D the money they needed to produce cutting edge 68k systems or explore the future properly; there was never an option for an Amiga user to go to a faster machine at the rate that IBM-compatible and Mac (and compatible, at the time) users could. They included CPU slots and incorporated CPU upgrade into the bus architecture designs of the Amiga because otherwise, there wouldn'tve been any serious power-ups.

If you could go back in time and give C='s R&D department a billion dollars for designing new Amiga systems do you think they would've said "Well, let's keep on designing systems that can be kludged together and kept running for two or three or four or ten years" or "Man, this is great, now we can get serious about building high-powered machines"?

I'd guess the latter.

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billt 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 31-Jan-2006 23:34:34
#57 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3021
From: Maryland, USA

@nzv58l

The biggest problem in our microscopic market is trying to balance the features we'd like with the price they will cost. A removable CPU adds to the cost. The plug, the socket, and the module PCB all add to the price, as does any extra testing effort because of it.

People don't want to pay $800 for a freakin motherboard+CPU. I can't say they're wrong in that, I didn't like paying that much myself. That means cheap parts, which means slow and/or less features. For those who want more than a 5200 or G3, it's going to cost. G4's ain't cheap in small quantities. Consider US$12000 for a lot of 36 end-of-lifed G4s like are in XE boards, which comes out to US$333/chip. It's hard to make a $300 computer like that, even if you manage to get into any price breaks with a couple hundred units you still won't break into the cheap Amiga motherboard market without cutting some corners. From what we've heard of Troika and ACK, they've gone with less performance and less features than was possible, but they wanted to try and approach an acceptable price. I'd love a fancier G4 or a G4, I'd love PCI-Express, but I don't want to pay another $800 or more for a motherboard to do it. It's going to be quite difficult to get a board with the features I want for an acceptable price.

I agree with those saying PS/2 and parallel and serial ports are no longer necessary. For my KVM switch I could use PS/2 to USB widgets, as the KVM is only PS/2. It'd cost me another $30 or so, but those without such a thing might save a few bucks by just using their USB keyboard and mouse. But, if we all want to keep our old printers and stuff, then building them into the board would be cheaper than all the USB adaptors. Parallel printer USB adaptors cost around US$40 around here...

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IonMane 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 1-Feb-2006 0:34:17
#58 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 18-Apr-2003
Posts: 550
From: Adelaide Australia.

@olegil

Quote:
Indeed. The motherboard will have the same basic cost in all configurations, it's work hours designing it and the cost of the CPU that is different between different boards.

For the really tiny machines you want as much onboard as possible, but who here can really say they have any sort of nostalgia regarding a VIA southbridge? Not me, that's for sure.

I try to live by the slogan "simpler is better". Why make a lot of fuss when you can get straight to the point and have a working solution in a fraction of the time?.


I agree completely.
However I would like to get away from legacy ports such as serial and parrallel, but there is no need to go overboard and run everything including drives from USB as well.

Personally I like KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Whatever harwarde does become entry level the single most important thing must be that everything works straight out of the box, is rock solid reliable and bug free. We certainly do not want SE/XE sound DMA etc problems again.

I agree with Olegil pretty much across the board here, but what I really think we need is for someone to really take the reigns and offer a complete "Amiga" solution. By that I mean someone who gets the lisence so he can have OS4 ported to whatever hardware he wants it on.....not this crap of 1 license per piece of hardware.The one guy buys Troikia ACK and whatever else is available. Put it in a standard box with the hardware setup that offers certain customization. We need to rebuild identity, have a professional looking system and keep things nice and simple.

Selling just motherboards is really a slap dash way to do things in my opinion.

I would really like to see one guy/company put these boards into a nice Fantasy case (and another model for greater expandability) and sell them as complete systems using ONLY hardware that we have drivers etc for to produce a fully supported and reliable system.

We need slots, thats for sure, and we need to try to future proof the boards as much as possible which means PCI-E and USB 2.0 and so on.

My thoughts are a bit scattered but I am sure you guys get the gist.

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nDude 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 1-Feb-2006 0:48:00
#59 ]
New Member
Joined: 12-Jul-2004
Posts: 5
From: Unknown

As I see it if there should be any real point to it the hardware must have a some kind of drool factor.

$500 or $800 for something thats underpowered , unatractive and more or less useless compared to a standard pc is very expensive.

Say instead if you could move the entry level to say $1500-$2500 and that machine would be something like:

4 Cell cpu's
2 GB high performance ram
2 video inputs
2 video outputs
SATA raid/USB2/FW/7-in-1 Card reader
PCI-E slots
GBethernet
~150 Gb HD
Any decent midrange graphics chip
Any decent suround audio chip with digital out
Amiga joystick ports :)
DVD writer
Stereosystem style box and brackets for rackmounting

Including a high quality video editing and broadcasting software package.

Sure it's expensive but it would atleast do justice to an Amiga label and who wouldn't save up for one ?

Target markets ? TV stations/renderfarms/Amiga fans/HTPC/Developers dying to play with cell/PS3 devs/kiosks etc...

Would it be possible or realistic to build one ? probably not unless Sony did it as a computer version of the ps3 with some compatibility :-O

/dream off

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olegil 
Re: What should "entry level hardware" be like?
Posted on 1-Feb-2006 15:34:43
#60 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Aug-2003
Posts: 5886
From: Work

@nzv58l

I'm not quite sure we're discussing the same thing here. I gave a proposal, do you mind arguing in the same context?

You need to be able to have SATA, USB, graphics (sound can be USB based, like the Audigy 2 NX). Ethernet is typically on-chip for SoCs. So a minimum of 3 slots, possibilities for extending this to 5-6 slots (That would be excactly what I'm designing here )

All SoCs have serial ports, therefore wiring up a serial port as console costs next to nothing and gives a HUGE benefit when USB isn't onboard. I'm not certain whether PS2 keyboard is necessary (it adds little cost, but some programming either in an MCU or in the bootloader / OS), but you're gonna want a serial console for when #### starts hitting fans.

Onboard SATA, USB and Graphics is of course going to make the design smaller, but who here can really claim to compete with STLabs on their sub-$20 SATA controllers? I know I couldn't design that card in thousands for even REMOTELY close to the same price, so I don't think it's worth the try.

Normally you don't put a BGA on a connector (the CPU cards in the AmigaOnes and Macs are more or less _the_ exception), and all PPC processors currently come in BGA packages. The only connector I know of that can handle DDR2 is the MegArray(TM), I dread to think of what you'd pay for something that was good for 2.5Gbps (PCIe).

Of course, the first question is, do you want CPU + NB or SoC? Keep in mind there's currently (virtually) NO useful desktop-NB (AGP / PCIe graphics and PCI / PCIe for peripherals would be more or less the ONLY demands I have from a desktop system) in the PPC world, but there's a multitude of SoCs with desktop possibilities (PCIe for graphics is a BIG step up from just PCI).

So at the moment, SoC with enough slots to last for a while makes a heck of a lot more sense from an economical point of view than CPU + NB + SB + Sound + Ethernet + SATA. It's not going to be mini-ITX, but I'm trying to shoe-horn 3 PCIe slots, 2 DDR2 channels and a CPU with on-chip ethernet into a 12x19 cm PCB, for crying out loud. Even if I fail and end up with 13x20 that's still one SERIOUSLY cute PCB

(the tower prototype is now measuring 15x23x27 cm, with 5 slots, DVD, HD, floppy (or a multi-card reader for USB), and internal PSU. You ain't gonna find much in the same class that is smaller )

And the user can choose whichever graphics card he wants, I don't make the choice for him (which has been the biggest gripe people have over the A1, as I see it).

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This weeks pet peeve:
Using "voltage" instead of "potential", which leads to inventing new words like "amperage" instead of "current" (I, measured in A) or possible "charge" (amperehours, Ah or Coulomb, C). Sometimes I don't even know what people mean.

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