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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 12-Apr-2022 19:41:40
#241 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

Quote:

matthey wrote:
kolla Quote:

But the THEA500 mini market is NOT AT ALL the same market as the 68k Amiga market - what on earth gives you that idea?!


Take away the 68k emulator and the 68k games and THEA500 mini will be "NOT AT ALL" in the 68k market. It is in the 68k market but it has limited competitiveness due to the inefficiency of ARM emulating a 68k CPU.


No, it is in very much ARM and Linux dominated “mini retro console” market, targeting random nostalgic consumers.

Quote:
Some customers may try to use it for general purpose and productivity use but I will be very surprised if anyone uses it for 68k embedded use.


Indeed - it is already an embedded ARM product, when hacked, it will of course be used for running native ARM software, not so much 68k. And it looks like it has already started.

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 12-Apr-2022 21:05:59
#242 ]
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Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

kolla Quote:

No, it is in very much ARM and Linux dominated “mini retro console” market, targeting random nostalgic consumers.


Are FPGA 68k retro devices selling into the 68k market by your logic?

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number6 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 12-Apr-2022 22:19:14
#243 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 25-Mar-2005
Posts: 11415
From: In the village

@thread

interesting?

#6

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agami 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 13-Apr-2022 3:45:02
#244 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 939
From: Melbourne, Australia

@kolla

You are loosing yourself in the semantics.

The A500 mini PRODUCT, is in the 68k market because it enables USERS to run games, and potentially other software which where originally written for the AMIGA line of computers, based on the 68k series of processors.

The underlying HARDWARE of the A500 mini, is in the ARM/Linux market because it can be used by DEVELOPERS to deploy Linux and other binaries compiled to run on ARM architecture.

Are Final Cut Pro users in the Apple market or are they in the x86/ARM market?
Or to put it another way, if a macOS application/game has not yet been compiled to work on M1 and instead relies on Rosetta 2 to run on a new M1 mac, is that application in the x86 market or in the ARM/M1 market?

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 13-Apr-2022 13:30:02
#245 ]
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Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

Quote:

matthey wrote:
kolla Quote:

No, it is in very much ARM and Linux dominated “mini retro console” market, targeting random nostalgic consumers.


Are FPGA 68k retro devices selling into the 68k market by your logic?


Some are, Minimig with its real 68SEC000 of course is.
MiST to a lesser degree, MiSTer to a much lesser degree, they are also not marketed as 68k devices.

Are Raspberry Pi selling into the 68k market by your logic?
Are PCs?

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 13-Apr-2022 13:35:41
#246 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@agami

Quote:

agami wrote:

The A500 mini PRODUCT, is in the 68k market because it enables USERS to run games, and potentially other software which where originally written for the AMIGA line of computers, based on the 68k series of processors.


And potentially other software written for just about any other system for which emulators exists as well, not limited to 68k.

Quote:

The underlying HARDWARE of the A500 mini, is in the ARM/Linux market because it can be used by DEVELOPERS to deploy Linux and other binaries compiled to run on ARM architecture.


No need to be a “developer”, rather simple tinkering is enough.

Last edited by kolla on 13-Apr-2022 at 01:40 PM.

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Kay 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 13-Apr-2022 16:07:36
#247 ]
Super Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 1411
From: Norway

If we're talking about the software, and by that I primarily mean the games, developed for 68k Amigas, I'm sure there is a market. The Amiga retro games library is second to none, in my opinion. I doubt many of those who buy the A500 mini care about the underlying architecture, though.

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 13-Apr-2022 19:30:55
#248 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

matthey Quote:

Are FPGA 68k retro devices selling into the 68k market by your logic?


kolla Quote:

Some are, Minimig with its real 68SEC000 of course is.
MiST to a lesser degree, MiSTer to a much lesser degree, they are also not marketed as 68k devices.


I would say Vampire hardware is 100% for the 68k market despite the CPU core being in FPGA. Early Vampire hardware may have been open enough to use a CPU core from another architecture but it was limited in size and required being attached to an Amiga. The Vampire Stand Alone could use a CPU core from any architecture but it is not open hardware. Many FPGA devices are for whatever mix of architectures they are used for so they sell into multiple markets. I expect the 68k to be a commonly used part of the mix though. Eight bit computers with their CPU core and custom chips are usually simple enough that emulation is adequate though FPGA simulation may be superior in some cases. The 68k was used for the Amiga, Atari ST, 68k Mac, Sega Genesis, NeoGeo, x68000 and some arcade machines which are a large part of the 16 bit and 32 bit gaming computers and consoles which came next. The generation of consoles after this are challenging to simulate with a reasonably priced FPGA. My point is that a large portion of open FPGA devices are likely being used for 68k simulation which is in the 68k market.

kolla Quote:

Are Raspberry Pi selling into the 68k market by your logic?
Are PCs?


THEA500 I would say is 100% for the 68k market as the ARM capabilities are embedded. Customers are buying it for the 68k and not using the ARM capabilities directly. Amiga customers of the Raspberry Pi are more likely to use the ARM capabilities and non-68k software as the system is more open. This type of use would be for a mix of 68k and ARM markets. It is possible to use the Raspberry Pi as an embedded device like THEA500 which hides the ARM capabilities and becomes 100% for the 68k market as well. "PCs" are similar except less likely to be used as embedded devices. There have been AROS only configured "PCs" with early boot into AROS but most have been for the x86-64 architecture. There are probably some PCs using WinUAE or other 68k emulation practically exclusively.

Kay Quote:

If we're talking about the software, and by that I primarily mean the games, developed for 68k Amigas, I'm sure there is a market. The Amiga retro games library is second to none, in my opinion. I doubt many of those who buy the A500 mini care about the underlying architecture, though.


The 68k Amiga retro games library is big but the 68k games library is huge.

Sega Genesis 35 million
Mac 68k ?
Amiga 4-7 million
Atari ST 2.1 million
Neo Geo 2 million
x68000 150,000

I'm not so sure the Amiga had the best 68k game library but it likely wasn't the largest. Judging by quality of the games, the Amiga was likely not the best either. Each 68k system was different though. Perhaps the Amigas biggest advantage was including a general purpose computer with one of the nicest OSs of the 68k systems.

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Kay 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 0:44:32
#249 ]
Super Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 1411
From: Norway

@matthey

I don't know, the Amiga has a pretty big games library. I tried searching for the platforms you mentioned, and while it is hard to get exact numbers, it seems the Genesis has about 700-800 games, the Atari ST a bit less than 2k, the Neo Geo less than 200, the X68000 about 1k. The Amiga likely has somewhere in the range of 4-6k. This is just based on some quick searches, so take it with a pinch of salt, but I doubt any of the platforms mentioned have libraries have anywhere near the number of games the Amiga has. Neither does the NES or SNES.

Obviously, I will concede that the quality of these games is likely to be much more uneven than something like the Genesis, but I still think the Amiga games library has some great strengths:
* It has numerous great original games
* It often got very strong ports, due to the Amiga's cutting edge graphical and audio capabilities at the time
* It has an immense amount of variety, with games in just about every genre: shooters, adventure, arcade, platformer, racing, RPG, strategy, business sim, sports, board games, puzzles, military sims...just off the top of my head

It is of course debatable which retro games library is the "best", as people will have different preferences. But I feel confident that the Amiga library is very strong, and at this point, it is probably the best asset the platform has left.

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 1:35:06
#250 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@number6

Looks like you missed out on some drama that resulted in THEA500 Amiberry “diff” now being available on github. Whether it will be merged or has to live a life on its own remains to be seen.

https://github.com/retro-games-ltd/redquark-amiberry-rb/commit/37f1aacebeabe9fd5b724cb66ca1218b30a7be31

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 4:24:36
#251 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

Kay Quote:

I don't know, the Amiga has a pretty big games library. I tried searching for the platforms you mentioned, and while it is hard to get exact numbers, it seems the Genesis has about 700-800 games, the Atari ST a bit less than 2k, the Neo Geo less than 200, the X68000 about 1k. The Amiga likely has somewhere in the range of 4-6k. This is just based on some quick searches, so take it with a pinch of salt, but I doubt any of the platforms mentioned have libraries have anywhere near the number of games the Amiga has. Neither does the NES or SNES.


Good argument for the Amiga having the biggest 68k game library. Development was more accessible and cheaper than for consoles. There were likely more 68k Macs sold than Amigas but the Mac was not as gaming oriented although there were some good 68040 games late. There is a site which shows number of games for consoles.

http://www.videogameconsolelibrary.com/pg90-cd32.htm#page=reviews

1988 Sega Genesis 964
1990 Neo Geo 117
1991 Sega CD ~150
1993 CD32 170+

The consoles were more about quality than quantity. The Sega Genesis passed Nintendo to control over 50% of the market in the U.S. but was not as popular in some other markets including at home in Japan. It's difficult to mess with the Nintendo game library of NES and SNES with 3290+ titles listed from the same site.

1983 NES ~1850
1990 SNES 1440+

If the 68k computer games are included with consoles, including some of very low quality, the 68k games library is likely bigger. NES and SNES use the 6502 architecture and if counting all games from that architecture the library would be extensive too. The quality and variety of the 68k games library is perhaps more impressive than the size.

Kay Quote:

Obviously, I will concede that the quality of these games is likely to be much more uneven than something like the Genesis, but I still think the Amiga games library has some great strengths:
* It has numerous great original games
* It often got very strong ports, due to the Amiga's cutting edge graphical and audio capabilities at the time
* It has an immense amount of variety, with games in just about every genre: shooters, adventure, arcade, platformer, racing, RPG, strategy, business sim, sports, board games, puzzles, military sims...just off the top of my head

It is of course debatable which retro games library is the "best", as people will have different preferences. But I feel confident that the Amiga library is very strong, and at this point, it is probably the best asset the platform has left.


I believe there were more mediocre to poor Amiga game ports than good ones. The Sega Genesis and X68000 often received better game ports and more polished games in general but at a higher cost. The Amiga has enough games that it has plenty of gems and it has its strengths as you have mentioned. The Amiga did not have the best 68k hardware after the x68000 came out in 1987, the Neo Geo circa 1990 was better and even some 68040 Macs had significantly better hardware than AGA Amigas. An Amiga with a 68060 accelerator was powerful but also rare.

Amiga Strider
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuJldAn0hR8

X68000 Strider
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nlDTTPT5Z8

Amiga Street Fighter II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvQj8vs_VO4

X68000 Street Fighter II
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4Gbg3-NEyo

Last edited by matthey on 14-Apr-2022 at 04:28 AM.

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Kay 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 9:04:31
#252 ]
Super Member
Joined: 9-Mar-2003
Posts: 1411
From: Norway

@matthey

You make some good points. I must admit having limited knowledge about the X68000, as I had barely heard about it before it was mentioned here. It seems it had impressive hardware and in particular, a lot of great arcade ports. It seems it's library isn't quite as large and varied as the Amiga's, though.

My impression of Amiga ports may have been a bit schewed by my own gaming preferences, and I admit to not having thoroughly researched it. I tend to like computer-style games, many using keyboard and mouse for control. These are not that common on consoles, and so my impression is largely based on seeing the Amiga versions compared to the likes of MSDOS, Atari ST and aging 8-bit micros. For those, the Amiga versions tend to be more colorful and sound much richer. For arcade ports, however, you are probably right that other platforms did it better.

I am a bit surprised about the number you found for the NES, as I have not seen it anywhere near that high elsewhere. I suspect there may be some issues with how games are counted here, with regional releases and re-releases possibly driving the number up. The estimates I have seen are about 700-800. I would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong, though.

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Amiga_3k 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 9:27:15
#253 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Jun-2006
Posts: 829
From: Ohrid, Macedonia

I know the discussion evolved to 'is it an Amiga or is it not an Amiga' and probably that's ok. But I'm just curious, compared to classic 68k Amigas, performance wise, where is this 'device capable of running Amiga software' ? I mean, in WinUAE you can do some settings to tell the emulated Amiga to be (more or less) performing exactly the same as the original hardware but you can also configure it to be 'as fast as possible as allowed by your hardware'. Has someone tried / compared?

Last edited by Amiga_3k on 14-Apr-2022 at 11:25 AM.

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BigD 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 11:01:12
#254 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6309
From: UK

@Amiga_3k

You're probably after Mips and Drystones etc but for me it seems to run like a 030 25Mhz AGA system. It also needes slight tweaking needinģ optimising of Copper with some AGA games e.g. Aladdin for music.

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Amiga_3k 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 11:16:44
#255 ]
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Joined: 17-Jun-2006
Posts: 829
From: Ohrid, Macedonia

@BigD

Ah no, this is what I was looking for. MIPS and Drystones are not really interesting to me. It is 'everyday usage' that's more interesting in my opinion.

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BigD 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 11:48:21
#256 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6309
From: UK

@Amiga_3k

Ok, great! Glad to be of some assistance. Optimising the CPU doesn't give good results giving crashes straight back to the game carousel. Glitchy graphics and bad performance is almost always improved by enabling 'Optimise Copper'. Obviously I leave it well alome if everything is working.

The best test of performance for me was for Xtreme Racing. It was playable in 1-player but at a lower resolution than on a 030 50Mhz machine. It basically gives 1-player performance at a screen resolution I would have to default to for a 2-player split screen game on my 030 50Mhz. I would say it's around an 030 25Mhz and from online footage of people attempting to run Alien Breed 3D 2 in a small window display I'd say that's about right.

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matthey 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 17:09:02
#257 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1476
From: Kansas

Kay Quote:

You make some good points. I must admit having limited knowledge about the X68000, as I had barely heard about it before it was mentioned here. It seems it had impressive hardware and in particular, a lot of great arcade ports. It seems it's library isn't quite as large and varied as the Amiga's, though.


As amazing as the X68000 hardware was, it didn't make it out of Japan. That would be like the Amiga hardware which struggled to finance to fruition not being exported. The Amiga had trouble getting quality game ports due to its low installed user base while the X68000 received high quality game ports for a significantly smaller installed user base. The Japanese market is bizarre.

Kay Quote:

My impression of Amiga ports may have been a bit schewed by my own gaming preferences, and I admit to not having thoroughly researched it. I tend to like computer-style games, many using keyboard and mouse for control. These are not that common on consoles, and so my impression is largely based on seeing the Amiga versions compared to the likes of MSDOS, Atari ST and aging 8-bit micros. For those, the Amiga versions tend to be more colorful and sound much richer. For arcade ports, however, you are probably right that other platforms did it better.


The Amiga held up against many later 16 bit and 32 bit systems, especially considering the cost. CBM left the Amiga performance bottled up but made some advances in cost reduction. The x68000 came out in 1987 and had superior hardware to the Amiga but the cost reduced Amiga 500 released in the same year became more influential and popular. CBM was able to produce the Amiga 500 for only $200 USD which opened the Amiga up to the masses. The lower priced consoles often ended up being more popular. The Raspberry Pi is popular by leveraging low prices. I believe the Amiga could be popular again with low priced retro 68k hardware offering good value at a low price. CBM could have done a better job of cost reduction too. Integration allowed the Amiga custom chips to be brought to market but in nearly 10 years they did little to improve the integration of the Amiga. The Amiga still had the same custom chip count and only the Lisa had been given a die shrink. AA+ scheduled for 1994 would have reduced the custom chip count from 3 to 2. They were looking at licensing the 68k from Motorola for an Amiga SoC but they couldn't get things done that would have cost reduced the Amiga more.

Kay Quote:

I am a bit surprised about the number you found for the NES, as I have not seen it anywhere near that high elsewhere. I suspect there may be some issues with how games are counted here, with regional releases and re-releases possibly driving the number up. The estimates I have seen are about 700-800. I would be happy to be corrected if I am wrong, though.


I don't have much faith in those numbers either. How regional releases and updated versions of games are counted could make a difference all right.

@thread
Amigang posted earlier in the thread his THEA500 Mini link which has good info on the hardware.



https://amigang.com/amigamini-thea500/ Quote:

The A500 mini, features a All Winner H6 chip which is a CPU ARM Cortex A53, this is the same chip that powers Raspberry Pi 3 and Pi Zero 2. Its unknown the clock speed but its also stated that the system is faster than a Pi 3B+ which was clocked at 1.4ghz. A53 chips can run up to 2Ghz.

The GPU is a ARM Mali-T720 MP2 which Complies with OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL 1.1. This should easily emulate all classic Amiga titles.

Storage on the A500 min is 256mb NAND Flash which holds the OS and all the games, but you can expand it with USB sticks.


It's likely better performance than a Raspberry Pi 3 due to a little higher clock rate but the CPU performance is significantly lower than a Raspberry 4.

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Amiga_3k 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 17:40:34
#258 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Jun-2006
Posts: 829
From: Ohrid, Macedonia

@matthey

Has somebody already figured out what those two 'connector' locations at the top could be? On some BananaPI version it is where the SATA connector and extra power connector was located. Or will 'we' see the keyboard connected there (USB maybe?) once an A500MAXI will be made?

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kolla 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 18:12:24
#259 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2088
From: Trondheim, Norway

@Amiga_3k

My guess - uart and the jumper for entering “maintenance mode” in the bootloader. THEC64 has similar.

Edit: well, duh - it even says so on the print, vcc, tx, rx and ground.

Last edited by kolla on 14-Apr-2022 at 06:13 PM.

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Amiga_3k 
Re: THEA500 Mini is coming!
Posted on 14-Apr-2022 18:20:23
#260 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Jun-2006
Posts: 829
From: Ohrid, Macedonia

@kolla

I couldn't read the text on the PCB picture. Thanks for the answer .

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