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      /  A-EON Frequently Asked Questions and information
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tomazkid 
A-EON Frequently Asked Questions and information
Posted on 2-Mar-2010 23:58:50
#1 ]
Team Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 11660
From: Kristianstad, Sweden

This information below is received from Trevor Dickinson /tomazkid:

To kick things off, I’d like to offer A-EON’s thanks to the moderators of AmigaWorld for giving us the opportunity to use this developer’s forum to present more information about the A1-X1000 project to the Amiga community. Many of you have a lot of questions about A-Eon and the hardware we are producing, and this thread allows us the opportunity to present our answers in one place for your easy reference.

This first installment of FAQ answers has been compiled from some of the many public and private requests for information we have received since the A1-X1000 hardware announcement. These answers should help clarify some of the most frequently asked questions, but we know there will be many more. If you have a question that you would like answered, please send them by email to amigaworldfaq@a-eon.com and we will do our best to address them. Due to the sheer volume of questions we are unable to answer every question directly, but we’ll endeavour to answer as much as we can in this thread over the coming weeks.

FAQ Week 1.

Q. Who is A-EON Technology and what relationship does it have with Hyperion Entertainment?

A. A-EON is independent company established to finance the development of new high specification AmigaOne hardware. The principals include Trevor Dickinson, Tony Moorley and Ben Hermans. A-EON is licensing the AmigaOne name, AmigaOS and related Amiga trademarks from Hyperion-Entertainment.

Q. Who are Ben Hermans, Trevor Dickinson, Tony Moorley?

A. I think Ben Hermans, who has been closely associated with Hyperion Entertainment and AmigaOS4 development for many years, needs no introduction.

Trevor Dickinson is an Amiga enthusiasts and part-time Amiga journalist who purchased his first A2000 in 1988, although his first computer was actually a Commodore PET 4032 acquired in 1981. Throughout the 1990s he used Amiga computers (A3000 & A4000’s) in his business for graphics, video and DTP and in recent years has sponsored many Amiga software developers through a Hardware Loan/Donation scheme.

Tony Moorley is Trevor’s close friend and business partner. They have worked together for 35 years in several successful non-computer related business ventures.

Q. Why is A-EON funding new hardware for the Amiga market?

A. To be honest it’s a labour of love for some of the A-EON founders (mentioning no names), however we still believe there is a real demand for high-end Amiga computers.

Q. Why was the teaser website made well before the X1000 is launched, and when can we expect to see an updated website?

A. First of all we hope you all enjoyed the teaser website as much as we did. Even thought we knew the answers, we really enjoyed the twisted mind games played by Andrew Korn, who devised the puzzles. It was good to see the Amiga community gripped by the puzzles and working together to solve them, and like most Amiga enthusiasts we really enjoyed the ride.

The puzzle pages were constructed because we knew the community was expecting to hear something about Hyperion’s MAP at that time, and we wanted to provide some fun and intrigue rather than taking the usual boring press release route. It was something for the Amiga community (although it attracted quite a bit of useful attention beyond) rather than a formal announcement, which will of course follow when the time is right, closer to release.

For similar reasons, we will have a more traditional corporate website at the A-EON address when we are ready to go fully public. To keep the community informed until then, we’ll be maintaining a small web presence with information summaries, updates, media, features and so on. Expect that to go live in about a week. Of course we will continue to provide regular updates through this forum.

Q. Who is designing/building the hardware? When can we know the details of the engineering team?

A. Prior to beginning the actual development, we assembled a hardware review team which included key AmigaOS4 developers. After some intensive research and discussions, the team drew up a “wish list” specification for the ideal AmigaOS4 computer.

Having decided on the specification, we located a well established company with a successful track record in hardware design and production and considerable experience with the PowerPC, and commissioned them to develop a brand new motherboard to our requirements. The design team responsible for the “Nemo” motherboard is a group of very talented and enthusiastic engineers, who have done an excellent job of producing a motherboard designed specifically as a power machine for the Amiga enthusiast’s market.

Our engineering partners are obviously a very important part of the story. We are sure the community will be as impressed with them as we have been. We anticipated the massive interest that the announcement of new AmigaOne hardware would create within the community and wanted the designers to be able to concentrate on finishing the project, which is why we haven’t formally introduced the partnership yet. We will of course release full details as soon as we can.

Q. Will the A1-X1000 hardware initially be released with AmigaOS4 or Linux? Will there be ports of AROS or MorphOS?

A. Although we are not averse to other Operating Systems being ported, our primary objective is to provide a modern power platform to showcase the advanced features of AmigaOS. The A1-X1000 has been developed specifically to run AmigaOS4 and will be supplied with OS4 from the beginning.

Initial low-level porting of AmigaOS4.1 to the A1-X1000 hardware is already complete. Work on device drivers is progressing nicely, and this is what the AmigaOS developers will be concentrating on for the next little while. The A1-X1000 hardware brings a lot of features, such as PCI-e, that are new to the Amiga platform, and of course AmigaOS has to be updated to take full advantage of them.


We will keep you updated with progress on the Operating System as the team reaches new milestones, and we hope to post some screenshots of AmigaOS4 in the near future.
Note: More information will be added after issue #83 of “Amiga Future” magazine is released in early March, which contains an interview with Trevor Dickinson.



Quote:
This thread itself will be locked for comments, but you are of course free to discuss it in some other thread outside the Developer Projects Forum.

Last edited by tomazkid on 04-Mar-2010 at 02:50 PM.
Last edited by tomazkid on 03-Mar-2010 at 12:00 AM.

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tomazkid 
Re: A-EON Frequently Asked Questions and information
Posted on 13-Mar-2010 23:10:23
#2 ]
Team Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 11660
From: Kristianstad, Sweden

FAQ week‭ ‬2:‭ ‬Xena and Xorro

This week‭’‬s‭ ‬Q/A update focuses‭ ‬on the features and capabilities of the‭ ‬Xena‭ ‬customisable chip‭ ‬and‭ ‬the associated‭ ‬Xorro‭ ‬bridge slot which have certainly generated a lot of interest with the Amiga community.

Questions:‭ ‬Does Xena have access to main system RAM‭? ‬Will there be an expansion board with more XCore chips available upon release of the X1000‭? (‬TJ Marsden‭) ‬How many Vcc/Gnd pins are in Xorro‭? (‬Len‭) ‬Will there be an AGA emulator for Xena‭? ‬Why did you pick Xena‭? ‬Why are you including it on the motherboard instead of as an add-on‭? (‬Too many to mention in many variants‭)‬.‭

Answers:‭ ‬As we get closer to launch,‭ ‬we‭’‬ll provide a technical spec of the Xorro slot.‭ ‬This is something our hardware people will provide,‭ ‬so please forgive me if I get any of the details wrong‭! ‬I‭’‬ll answer to the best of my knowledge,‭ ‬but you‭’‬ll have to wait for the full details.

Xorro has‭ ‬9VCCs and‭ ‬38‭ ‬GND lines,‭ ‬configured‭ ‬very similarly to a standard PCIe‭ ‬8x connector.‭ ‬The biggest difference is that Xena uses‭ ‬+5v lines where the PCIe connector calls for‭ ‬+12v lines.‭ ‬Xena shares connectivity with a series of CPU GPIO connections to the Xorro JTAG port for control and debugging.‭ ‬The rest of the Xorro slot exposes Xena‭’‬s data links to the outside world.

The exact layout of Xena‭’‬s I/O isn‭’‬t something that can be stated because it‭’‬s a software configurable thing.‭ ‬That is part of what‭’‬s so interesting about it‭! ‬The data pins can be configured in a lot of different ways depending on the application,‭ ‬but in terms of wiring we have roughly one quarter of Xena‭’‬s output lines connected to the CPU local bus and three quarters to the Xorro slot.

It is not our intention to try to use Xena for AGA emulation.‭ ‬We haven‭’‬t even looked into the feasibility of it,‭ ‬it‭’‬s just not a good use for Xena.‭ ‬This kind of task is much better left to the CPU.‭ ‬Please don‭’‬t think of Xena as simply being a few extra MIPS of CPU power,‭ ‬that‭’‬s not what it‭’‬s about at all.‭ ‬The XMOS hardware excels at configurability which makes Xorro and Xena a very exciting combination for hardware hackers.‭ ‬We expect people to use this to make interfaces to all kinds of legacy devices,‭ ‬as control hardware and so on.‭ ‬It‭’‬s also an event driven rather than an interrupt driven processor,‭ ‬able to respond near instantly to input,‭ ‬a real advantage for precision data sampling or ultra low latency state machines,‭ ‬for example.‭ ‬That makes it suitable for some quite different applications to a‭ ‬conventional processor.‭ ‬We suggest people visit www.xmos.com to do some reading,‭ ‬and take a look at all the work being done by enthusiasts and hardware manufacturers with the XMOS hardware if they want to understand more about this.‭

A-EON is concentrating on getting the X1000‭ ‬out,‭ ‬and does not currently have any firm plans regarding expansion boards.‭ ‬We imagine it will take some time for people to come to grips with Xena‭’‬s capabilities before there‭’‬s likely to be much use for a multi-processor expansion‭ ‬board.

It was suggested to us by our‭ ‬hardware partners who have a lot of experience working with XMOS products,‭ ‬and we were convinced.‭ ‬As for why Xena,‭ ‬the answer is simple.‭ ‬It‭’‬s a cheap addition to the board,‭ ‬so this is hardly a deal-breaker as far as the AmigaOne X1000‭ ‬is concerned.‭ ‬We‭’‬re making the most powerful AmigaOne yet regardless of Xena.‭ ‬On the other hand,‭ ‬we wanted something special,‭ ‬and‭ ‬Xena provides that and as an added‭ ‬bonus,‭ ‬we have now specified the new‭ ‬500MHz variant which gives Xena a‭ ‬25%‭ ‬performance boost.‭ ‬By including Xena on the motherboard we ensure that every X1000‭ ‬owner has one,‭ ‬and that makes it a baseline feature that is safe for‭ ‬3rd parties to support.‭ ‬By including Xena,‭ ‬we give the X1000‭ ‬certain capabilities that no other computer has as standard.‭

In some ways,‭ ‬you could say that Xena is a gift to the Amiga‭’‬s geek heritage.‭ ‬It‭’‬s going to be difficult for many people,‭ ‬even experts,‭ ‬to really get to grips with the idea quickly,‭ ‬simply because it‭’‬s non-conventional.‭ ‬I doubt many people foresaw all the tricks you could pull off with the Copper,‭ ‬either.‭

Bonus question:‭ ‬Isn‭’‬t it dangerous providing people a slot that they might damage their computer by connecting the wrong voltages to‭? (‬Various‭)

Answer:‭ ‬Please don‭’‬t connect your microwave oven into your PCI slots,‭ ‬or wire your USB ports to the mains.‭ ‬Computers have connectors,‭ ‬as otherwise they would be rather pointless.‭ ‬Xena is no different in this regard than any of the other connectors.‭ ‬Don‭’‬t plug something into it that isn‭’‬t meant to go there,‭ ‬and don‭’‬t apply random voltages to the pins.‭ ‬We don‭’‬t really understand this question.‭ ;)

Finally,‭ ‬thanks to everyone who sent in questions,‭ ‬keep them coming.


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tomazkid 
Re: A-EON Frequently Asked Questions and information
Posted on 2-Apr-2010 12:41:32
#3 ]
Team Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 11660
From: Kristianstad, Sweden

AmigaWorld FAQ 3

This week we have received many questions relating to the configuration and supply of the A1-X1000 system, plus a few more technical questions which we have done our best to answer.

Q. Will the A1-X1000 computer be offered for sale in different configuration and price points for entry, mid level and pro user; what stores/retailers will actually sell the machine? Are you any nearer to fixing the sales price? (We received many variations on these questions)


A. We think the entry level systems are well catered for by ACube System’s excellent SAM440 SoC products. The A1-X1000 is being released as a premium system for power users, and it is our intention that the standard A1-X1000 meets these requirements.
We are currently in the process of deciding the final specification for the standard A1-X1000 production model. We know exactly what parts we want, but we have to ensure that those parts are obtainable in the quantities we need, with suitable volume discounts and lead times. Once this process is complete we will have a better handle on the total system cost and be able to provide details of the initial retail price. Obviously the final price point is something that everyone wants to know as soon as possible, but a degree of uncertainty is inevitable with an immature supply chain.
We have considered the possibility of providing more than one baseline specification, but we have no firm plans to do so at the moment. We have put a lot of care into specifying best-in-class parts, and believe the specification we have come up with will be very satisfactory. However, the A1-X1000 is a system built with expandability in mind, and we anticipate that it will be sold through existing Amiga retailers who will be only too pleased to supply additional expansion options and accessories.


Q. Can the A1-X1000 motherboard and case be purchased individually? Will the A1-X1000 have an AmigaOne branded keyboard & mouse (Marcel, Vincent) with Amiga/Boing Ball keys replacing the windows keys and if so, will these be available for general sale to non A1-X1000 purchasers for their existing AmigaOS4, AROS, AmigaForever, MorphOS, etc systems?

A. It’s our intention that the A1-X1000 will be sold as a pre-built, pre-installed AmigaOS4.x system complete with an officially branded case, mouse & keyboard and complete with RAM, HDD, Optical drive and graphics card. We have no plans to release the motherboard separately at this moment in time.
We are working with an Amiga retailer to supply AmigaOne branded Keyboard (and mouse combinations) without the dreaded Windows keys, separately from the X1000 package. Additionally, we intend on producing a generic branded version of the X1000 case (without the X1000 logo) to make available to Amiga enthusiasts who wish re-house or upgrade their existing computer systems.


Q. Software support: Will there be supports for program A, B, C, D etc (and many variations thereof); Will any games or software that is developed for the A1-X1000 be compatible with other AmigaOS4 computers? Will any software packages be bundles with the A1-X1000? (e.g. games, office productivity suite, etc).

A. Our initial aim is to produce the ultimate AmigaOne Power computer that can showcase the advanced features of AmigaOS4. There are no specific incompatibilities between the version of AmigaOS for the X1000 and for other AmigaOS hardware but in the case of individual pieces of software, developers may choose to target the higher-end hardware of the X1000. Obviously no software that requires the use of Xena will be able to run on hardware without a Xena chip, and anything that requires the higher-end graphics hardware that the A1-X1000 allows (GPGPU streaming applications, for example) will be limited to hardware with the capability to run it.
A-EON is involved in promoting the development of new software applications for AmigaOS, notably through the hardware loan scheme. Exactly what it is possible to bundle with the X1000 will depend on what is ready when the X1000 is ready for release.

Q. Does the A1-X1000 have proprietary BIOS or free BIOS?

A. The A1-X1000’s BIOS is the Common Firmware Environment, or CFE.


Q. What graphics card will be supplied with the A1-X1000 and what other cards will be supported. Does the PCI Express open up the option for more modern graphics cards with the latest ATI, nVidia and PhysX etc chipsets (Andy)?

A. PCI-e does indeed open up the option of more modern graphics cards, but not without drivers. This is the hard part. ATI have become increasingly open-source friendly when it comes to releasing details of their hardware to allow drivers to be written, nVidia not so much. Over the long term, there will be changes to the way AmigaOS handles drivers that will make it considerably easier to bring new hardware to the platform as it is released. In the short term, we have specified a single hardware/driver combination that will ship with the X1000 as standard, based on the ATI R700 GPU.

Q. Will the A1-X1000 be able to make use of the dual core CPU from its first release or will this feature be implemented later? (Multiple) For example, will it be able to run individual operating systems on each core simultaneously. The teaser website displayed the A1-X1000 CPU running both cores at 1.6GHz full load. Have you tested it any higher since and what is the maximum CPU rating?

A. In the initial A1-X1000 release, AmigaOS 4.1 will not make use of the second CPU core but this is something that the OS4 developers are planning for a subsequent update. Without a virtualizer, it will not be possible to run two OS’s at the same time - there is more than just the CPU involved in that (memory for example, or any other system resource). To date all A1-X1000 motherboards have used CPU Samples and to avoid potential damage we have not run the CPU to its maximum rating. However watch this space………

Q. Have you had any contact with Amiga, Inc and can you shed any light on their current position?

A. We have not had any communication with Amiga, Inc and are unaware of its current situation.

And finally a question from Andy who works for E.ON (pronounced “ee on”) in the UK.

Q. How do you actually pronounce A-EON?

A. We pronounce it “ay-on”, with the “ay” similar to “ay” sound in “hay”. (Technical note: the name is influenced by, but isn’t actually, the traditional British spelling of ‘eon’, ‘aeon’. It’s also an anagram of “A-One”, so the ‘A’ might stand for Amiga. Normally the word aeon is pronounced “ee-on” due to the transition from Greek ‘aion’ through latin ‘aeon’. The original Koine Greek pronunciation would be something like “eye-on”.) (Ed: I see Andy’s been hitting the books again )


In the next update we will attempt to answer more of your questions on the special features of Xena and Xorro.

Last edited by _Steve_ on 02-Apr-2010 at 09:34 PM.
Last edited by tomazkid on 02-Apr-2010 at 12:41 PM.

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