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Events   Events : Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
   posted by sg2 on 29-Sep-2004 11:32:54 (20365 reads)
Hello All!

The html pages which are available at http://s.guillard.free.fr/alc4/index.html are just an introduction slideshow that I presented as a starter, it does not relate what I shown and said afterwards. Please find below a couple of notes about my presentation at Alchimie show.



1 ? Show highlights
Here is a quick summary of the presentation I did :

- I booted with boot delays set to 1 second for UBoot and for SLB (second level booter), thus less than 20 seconds after power on, we were with a fully loaded Workbench with Amidock.

- I started with the small html slideshow, presented on IBrowse. You can find those pages at the URL above. IBrowse loaded in 2 seconds with its about : page fully displayed. Browsing through the pages of the slideshow was instantaneous.

- While we were at it, I browsed the OS4 install guide, also as fast as can be, must say I also find this responsiveness impressive myself :)

Then I demoed as many things as I had time to during the 2 hours I had. Everything worked, fast & stable, and was smooth and impressed. I showed mainly:
- All os4 system, tools, utilities, prefs & stuff
- MUI, IBrowse, Amitradecenter
- Yam, SimpleMail
- ClassAction (M. Elsner's file manager)
- MakeCD
- MooVid running a DivX
- DVPlayer running an mpeg2
- AudioEvolution 4 with the demo project, cursors auto moving smoothly, the playback was smooth also, with mostly no CPU usage.
- AmiPDF with the AE4 manual and another heavy PDF file, very fast
- USB. I plugged a Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical into my USB hub, and we had 2 mice to control the system
- Crisot's slach5 winning demo (got applauses which it deserved)
- chip's rayrace realtime raytracer demo. When the juggler appeared, audience was impressed, but really took measure of what they were watching when I moved the mouse. Wait for the Altivec version !
- FPSE, AmiDog's PS1 emulator, with an oldskool game which ran nicely ('Cotton')
- some other visual toys I had at hand

The demos only grimreaped twice, and I anticipated the grims before they popped up :
- One was native glsokoban / w3d, when I launch it does a base page access (a ?null pointer? bug in glsokoban). I didactically shown the disassembly which is available in the grimreaper window, was a store to r4, r4 was null etc. I clicked on continue, and it all went fine & fast.

- One was frying pan 0.3.1, I shown the app, and at one point I said 'now it should grim? and it did. It still loaded fine though. I quit the app, clicked on reboot and less than 4 secs after, wb was up with amidock. That was the only reboot of the show.

I forgot to show (because of short time):
- Petunia... Almos, sorry, I had prepared something for that (side by side windowed jit & nonjit runs of voxelspace), but i both forgot, and was asked to stop at this point by the party organizers cause it was already 5:30 pm while I was scheduled until 4pm.
- ArtEffect
- USB with MassStorage (ie USB key or digital camera)

At the end, I had many fair questions to which I answered; my feeling is that the audience really appreciated the effort behind what I shown, and was conscious that we are not far away from a releasable 4.0.

Then came the expected question, 'and why doesn?t DMA work ?'

I said 'All what you saw was DMA since the 1st boot'.
I copied a few 100 MB files in a snap, with zero CPU (thanks to Pete Gordon for the clock/CPU docky, helps a lot). Then I switched to PIO, they saw 4 x slower and 80% CPU.
The audience understood that it was indeed DMA, and that was fast, and that was part of the overall smoothness of what I shown.

Then I explained the things below (this is the reference for my statements, please don?t rephrase or extrapolate or invent or whatever):

- IDE UDMA works on VIA and Articia on AmigaOne SE / XE / µA1 MK2 (as I demoed) ...
- ... except when the Ethernet chip goes online and is used.
- the Ethernet chip only triggers the problem, but it is not at all related to it (a test using a PCI Ethernet shows the same behaviour)
- We have made a driver for a Silicon Image 680 PCI IDE UDMA133 controller chip, this does UDMA 133 nicely, including when Ethernet is used at full speed.
- The fact that a PCI IDE controller solution works, shows that the problem is *not* related to Articia, since PCI DMA is *also* handled by the Articia, and that works.
- The full Alchimie show demo was done using UDMA, both from the VIA and from the Si680, without problem (but with Ethernet off, would the Ethernet have been turned online, I would have had to revert the VIA into PIO before).
- Things are currently under more investigation
In the meantime there are 2 options for existing A1 board owners:
- Use the VIA IDE controller in PIO mode when using Ethernet, and UDMA at other times,
- Purchase a faster (UDMA133) Silicon Image 0680 IDE PCI card (from around $20). This is my personally recommended option as the delivered speed is noticeable faster than the on-board VIA controller in UDMA mode.

Kind regards,
--
Stéphane
    

STORYID: 1752
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PosterThread
Coder 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 18:06:09
#101 ]
Team Member
Joined: 15-May-2003
Posts: 4523
From: The Netherlands

@Ivan

Quote:
Ouch! I've been bit by customs charges too. But not quite as bad as that. Are you sure customs will put a charge on it? You wouldn't actually be buying anything this time, just mailing it around.


I don't want to find out by sending it.

Coder


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DrBombcrater 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 18:28:50
#102 ]
Super Member
Joined: 6-Feb-2004
Posts: 1382
From: UK

@Rassilon

Quote:
this could explain why many of us get horrible glitches in our sound output - from our PCI soundcards doing DMA, when playing back MP3 from HD.

If you're suffering the same sound problems I get, they don't seem to be anything to do with the HD. Playing back MP3s from ram: also glitches. It's screen I/O thats the killer - leave the machine alone and it'll play music till doomsday, but open a few windows and screeeeeeeeeee

Still, I hope these issues are really one and the same because two major PCI/DMA related hardware bugs would be just too much.


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Anonymous 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 19:24:44
# ]



IIRC those with Sound Blaster Live Value (non 5.1, 1st and 2nd generations) will have problems. Those are crappy cards. The Sound Blaster Live 5.1 (3rd gen.) were the cards (fixed) that didn't flood the PCI bus.

If you've got a Sound Blaster Live Value card, try another kind. It's a known troublemaker for weak northbridges.

 
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Eyetech 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 19:28:09
#104 ]

Joined: 26-Jul-2003
Posts: 50
From: Unknown

@Ivan (& others)

Quote:
A pci card is a good option but it really dosen't fix the underlying problem of the board being layed out wrong.



And just where did this come from?? The board is NOT wrongly laid out at all.

FWIW the issue appears to be a problem with the VIA not obeying the PCI protocol properly. There are a variety of solutions being tried, and in order to be as open about them as possible I'll post to the A1 owners list at AW sometime tomorrow

Alan

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cgutjahr 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 19:37:03
#105 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 956
From: Unknown

@Alan:

Quote:
and in order to be as open about them as possible I'll post to the A1 owners list at AW sometime tomorrow

Will there be some sort of *public* statement aswell?

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ssolie 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 19:55:20
#106 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2755
From: Alberta, Canada

@cgutjahr
Quote:
Will there be some sort of *public* statement aswell?

Alan said the problem is still being worked and the problem only affects existing AmigaOne owners so what are you getting at?


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Ivan 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 20:01:50
#107 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Jul-2003
Posts: 302
From: Unknown

@Alan

>And just where did this come from?? The borad is NOT wrongly laid out at all.

It came from people talking here and 'elsewhere'. That was the sum of what i could gather at any rate and, i'm glad to hear it's wrong. I really didn't want to ship a board off for days or a week to have a HW fix applied but, you do what you have to. Thanks Alan.

Sorry for the guys who just lost on a few ide card sales. Well, not really. ;)


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DrBombcrater 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 20:26:08
#108 ]
Super Member
Joined: 6-Feb-2004
Posts: 1382
From: UK

@cgutjahr

I think the only 'public' statement we need from Eyetech is confirmation that new A1s will not suffer from this problem. After that the issue has no relevance except to owners of existing A1 boards.


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Rogue 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 21:07:24
#109 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

Quote:
Is the command "setenv ide sii" (well the sii part I mean) going to be supported in the new UBOOT that comes with the OS4 prerelease update?


The next U-Boot update will have support for booting of the si680, yes.

Quote:
Then I guess its just a matter of booting off the OS4 cd, running mediatoolbox, then selecting si680ide.device? Or something like that?


Easier, even. You need to add the si680ide.device to your kicklayout then switch off the machine.

You unplug your drives from the mainboard, plug them in the si680, switch on the machine. That's it.


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Georg 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 21:32:42
#110 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 14-May-2003
Posts: 450
From: Unknown

Quote:
And just where did this come from?? The board is NOT wrongly laid out at all.


Stéphane Guillard on ANN.lu saying/explaining this:

No, the problem is the wiring to the VIA controller on the motherboard. We already tried the external ethernet card with no success. We have been able to patch XE rev 1 boards to get working VIA DMA, but I am still waiting for patch instructions for my rev 2 board before I can verify that the lockup problem is gone on that board too.

and this:

No, a simple error in the design that lead to bus collisions between the ethernet chip and the via chip

?

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olegil 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 21:59:25
#111 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Aug-2003
Posts: 5888
From: Work

@DrBombcrater

And we've been living with the current state of affairs long enough that it shouldn't be THAT much of a problem, really. That's my stance, anyway. I don't care whether the onboard IDE will ever work perfectly, just as long as I can use the machine.


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The_Editor 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 22:14:08
#112 ]
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Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 7629
From: 192.168.0.02 ..Pederburgh .. Iceni

Agreed.

I love my A1, and use it for most of my activities.


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DrBombcrater 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 30-Sep-2004 22:30:18
#113 ]
Super Member
Joined: 6-Feb-2004
Posts: 1382
From: UK

@olegil

It's a VIA 686 so it's never going to work perfectly and I think very few of us ever expected that, but a patch to fix this problem would be nice. Buying a Sil680 board and whacking it in is not a big deal, however I'd rather use the PCI slot for something else and kludge the on-board IDE controller to work correctly if that's possible.


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Argo 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 4:30:33
#114 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 311
From: St. Lawrence Co., NY, USA

The new boards are reported to not have this problem. That being the case, only current A1 owners have a problem. As such, we probably won't hear much about it as it's not our problem. Though some A1 owners will probably mention what the solution is.


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Ivan 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 4:43:44
#115 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Jul-2003
Posts: 302
From: Unknown

@Argo

I'm glad they have the VIA problem foremost on their minds though. It's not really a minor issue imho. I liken it to a faulty drive. At least it looks like it will be a SW fix (like we've been hearing all along about VIA) so nothing is unexpected. And Alan is taking it serious which is a good thing all around.


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rossv 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 8:39:32
#116 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 22-Mar-2003
Posts: 383
From: Sydney, Australia

PowerAmiga:

You don't have to get it from Doug either...

Just go to any PC store near you.


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poweramiga2002 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 9:25:35
#117 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Jul-2003
Posts: 1389
From: Flinders NSW Australia

@rossv

ok i found local shop selling for $42
i need more ide ports any way have 2 80 gig hd,s dvd rom and dvdwriter so out of ide ports

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Ferry 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 12:13:58
#118 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Aug-2003
Posts: 694
From: Valencia, Spain

Poweramiga2002 said:

Quote:
ok i found local shop selling for $42

Lucky you! I've been unable to find a single si680-based card in Spain, not only in my city, but in the whole country! I keep seeking, tough...

Anyway, $42 in not what I would call 'cheap'... :¬/

See here, a si680-based card for 18$. Even including shipment, it should be cheaper that the one you found.

Saluditos,

Ferrán.

[edit] oooops, I thougt you were from the US, he, he. Of course, you are talking of 42 AUD, aren't you: 42 AUD = 30 USD.... Hmmm, not very expensive but still not cheap IMHO. Something like the one I found is what I would call "cheap".


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Eyetech 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 22:20:40
#119 ]

Joined: 26-Jul-2003
Posts: 50
From: Unknown

Quote:
There are a variety of solutions being tried, and in order to be as open about them as possible I'll post to the A1 owners list at AW sometime tomorrow


Its here

Cheers

Alan

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DoodooHead 
Re: Notes about my presentation at Alchimie 4, & about DMA
Posted on 1-Oct-2004 23:42:06
#120 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 641
From: Reno, Nevada, U.S.

@ The_Editor

Last weekend my PC choked trying to upgrade to XP SP2. I moved to my A1 full time. I could scoot my chair over and format the PC's HD and load XP again, but I'm having too much fun to interrupt it with such work. I installed ImageFX 4.5 Studio today. I have many images on CD to practice with. Soon (when it's done), I will be able to load them off of the camera's memory card via USB.

Yesterday, I installed AmiTradeCenter and sucessfully retrieved a file from an FTP server. (It was the first time I had ever used an Amiga FTP client.) I still haven't managed to get an IRC client to work. Project for the weekend: 2nd attempt at chat.

As an old guy, who hasn't had an Amiga for 5 years, I'd say it's going pretty well. Software I have ordered has arrived in a timely manner. It works!

Thanks to Intuitionbase.com for steering me towards some applications that run on OS4, and are still for sale. I get to buy and experience for the first time all these programs that most of you have, that I am buying only now.

DoodooHead


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