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Hardware News   Hardware News : Enter the DRAGON
   posted by DJS on 17-Dec-2004 12:38:41 (26749 reads)
ELBOX COMPUTER is proud to announce its breath-taking new product for Amiga 1200 computers - DRAGON ColdFire. DRAGON is a ColdFire-based accelerator card combined with the PCI/AGP Expansion busboard.



With its DRAGON ColdFire development, Elbox brings to Amiga computers top performance of the latest Freescale's ColdFire V4e core based-processor, the successor of the 68k dynasty. DRAGON-equipped Amiga computers are ready to run most of the 68k Amiga programs/applications several times faster when compared against Amiga 1200 with the fastest 68060 accelerators.

'By combining many attractive features like the high-performance ColdFire processor, fast DDR memory, AGP graphics, powerful PCI 66MHz technology and comprehensive software support, DRAGON-equipped Amiga computers turn into modern, fast and extremely functional power machines,' said Maciek Binek, president and CEO of Elbox.

The DRAGON's mainboard and the DRAGON's ColdFire CPU card are designed on two separate circuit boards. With modular design, the DRAGON can be easily upgraded and configured to meet the needs of the most demanding Amiga users.


DRAGON Technical Specification:

? ColdFire MCF5475 processor (410MIPS) running at 266MHz
? Two sockets for DDR-266 SDRAM modules, support up to 1GByte of memory (1GB/s peak)
? One AGP slot (264MB/s peak access from the main processor)
? Five 66/33MHz, 32-bit PCI slots, PCI 2.2 compliant (264MB/s peak)
? 2MBytes of 32-bit Flash memory (containing upgradeable DRAGON firmware)
? Asynchronous design with fast access to Amiga 1200 motherboard hardware
? Multi-channels DMA support (PCI <-> PCI, PCI <-> DDR, PCI <-> AGP, PCI <-> A1200)
? Auto-Recharge Battery-backed Real Time Clock
? Four high-speed programmable serial (UART/USART/IRDA/modem) controllers (optional)
? One Hi-Speed USB 2.0 and two FastEthernet 100Mbps controllers (optional)

ColdFire processor:
The DRAGON ColdFire will initially be available with the fastest ColdFire MCF5475 processor in clock speed of 266MHz. MCF5475 features the V4e ColdFire core with MMU, dual precision FPU and EMAC. The 266MHz version of the ColdFire MCF5475 processor provides raw performance of 410MIPS.

Up to 1GB of DDR SDRAM:
The DRAGON comes with two DIMM slots for ultrafast DDR-266 SDRAM memory. This high-speed memory rushes data at up to 1GB/s throughput. It is over 25 times faster compared against the fastest A1200 accelerators available so far. As memory is scalable up to 1GB, you can add RAM to meet increasing demands of your applications and workflow.

AGP Graphic Slot:
The DRAGON comes with the 3.3V 66MHz AGP slot which supports up to 264MB/s data throughput. The following AGP graphics cards will be supported: Radeon 9700, Radeon 9500, Radeon 9200, Radeon 9000, Radeon 7500, Radeon 7000, Voodoo 5, Voodoo 4, Voodoo 3.

PCI Expansion Slots:
The DRAGON comes with five 66/33MHz, 32-bit PCI slots compliant with the PCI 2.2 specification. The DRAGON system can be configured with PCI 66MHz or PCI 33MHz expansion technology. All PCI slots provide DMA capability. The DRAGON's ColdFire processor has linear access to the 4GB PCI space.

Multi-channel DMA support:
DRAGON hardware provides Multi-channel DMA support. PCI bus master cards can provide DMA accesses to all DRAGON resources: the AGP card, DDR memory, other PCI cards and the Amiga 1200 motherboard space. DRAGON' PCI-to-DDR Direct Memory Access can reach up to 264MB/s throughput. This feature allows even the fastest mass storage PCI controllers to run at their top performance.

2MB of 32-bit Flash memory:
DRAGON includes 2 MBytes of the 32-bit extremely fast Flash memory. It includes factory-programmed DRAGON's boot firmware and diagnostic software. Flash ROM allows remapping of the Amiga Kickstart, as well.

FastEthernet 100Mbps and Hi-Speed USB 2.0 (optional):
The DRAGON's MCF5475 processor has one built-in Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controller and two FastEthernet 100Mbps controllers. External ports for these controllers will be available on an optional module. Hardware-acceleration encryption (DES, 3DES, RC4, AES, MD5, SHA-1, RNG) is built into the processor. Dual-channel architecture permits single pass encryption and authentication.

High-Speed serial controllers (optional):
Up to four programmable serial controllers (PSCs), each with separate 512-byte receive and transmit FIFOs for UART, USART, modem, codec, and IrDA 1.1 interface, are built in the DRAGON's MCF5475 processor. External ports for these controllers will be available on an optional module.

Compatible Tower systems:
The DRAGON ColdFire busboard is designed to be used in the following tower systems: Mirage 1200, E/BOX 1200, Power Tower, Winner Tower and Infinitiv Tower. Besides, an Elbox custom-designed case for the DRAGON ColdFire system will be announced soon.

Supported AGP and PCI cards:

? Graphic cards (Radeon 9700, Radeon 9500, Radeon 9200, Radeon 9000, Radeon 7500, Radeon 7000, Voodoo 5, Voodoo 4, Voodoo 3)
? Sound cards (Sound Blaster 4.1 Digital, Sound Blaster 128 and cards based on the ForteMedia FM801 chipset--e.g. Terratec 512i Digital)
? Serial ATA controllers (SiI 3114 support in development)
? Spider Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controllers
? TV tuner cards (based on Bt848/849/878 and FUSION 878/879)
? Fast Ethernet 100Mbps cards (based on RTL8139 chipset)
? Ethernet 10Mbps cards (based on RTL8029 chipset)

Pricing and availability:
The DRAGON ColdFire is planned to be available by the end of January 2005 for a very attractive price, offering superior price/performance ratio. The suggested retail price is 349 EUR. (VAT excl.)

Registered owners of Elbox Mediator 1200 PCI busboards will receive a special incentive upgrade offer in January 2005.

If you have any questions related to the DRAGON ColdFire busboard, email them at dragon@elbox.com. Answers to most frequent inquiries will be published in FAQ section of the Elbox website.

DRAGON - The Dawn of the New Era
    

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PosterThread
A1200 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 13:51:48
#21 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 5-May-2003
Posts: 2972
From: Westhall, UK

Mmmm.... sounds nice. I hope someone does a complete solution for this (Tower/A1200/Dragon etc.)

Not sure what the A1200 will be doing after you have loaded the Dragon with a GFX card and a sound card........

But anyway, it's definately worth considering.


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Serpi 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 13:57:54
#22 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 547
From: Germany

@Giovanni

Quote:
I wish this thingy was available 2-3 years ago...


I don't think the required (more compatible to 68k) processor was available 2-3 years ago?!

But it's a nice gimmick

Ciao, Alfred

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lavo 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:05:16
#23 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 15-Jun-2004
Posts: 128
From: Perth, Australia

Hmmm...the question should be why? Why build this, when the big push now is for G4s and OS 4? Those who still use 1200s have mostly got them maxed out now anyway. It would be like building an accelerator for a 68k Mac Time to move on from the old architecture and on to the new!

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Giovanni 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:14:57
#24 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-May-2003
Posts: 322
From: Munich, Germany

@alfred

Quote:
I don't think the required (more compatible to 68k) processor was available 2-3 years ago?!


Hmm... I think the 4e is available since 2001. I wonder how compatible this board is.


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ikir 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:15:48
#25 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2002
Posts: 5646
From: Italy

These specs are impessive, Elbox surprise again. Maybe a cool upgrade for my 1200.. but i would like to run OS4 on these :-/

Fastethernet, DDR, USB2.0..... wow


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DrBombcrater 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:16:44
#26 ]
Super Member
Joined: 6-Feb-2004
Posts: 1382
From: UK

This bit of the press release is interesting :

Quote:
The DRAGON's mainboard and the DRAGON's ColdFire CPU card are designed on two separate circuit boards. With modular design, the DRAGON can be easily upgraded and configured to meet the needs of the most demanding Amiga users.


Hmm. A seperate CPU card. I wonder if they're planning a PPC card using something like the MPC8555E or another SoC PPC part. That would seriously rock.


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Giovanni 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:21:34
#27 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-May-2003
Posts: 322
From: Munich, Germany

Quote:
I wonder if they're planning a PPC card using something like the MPC8555E or another SoC PPC part. That would seriously rock.


Indeed. Maybe that's the reason why they have chosen this modular design.


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Toaks 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:24:29
#28 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 8040
From: amigaguru.com

drbomb: well lets hope we can add a G4 to it...if so..then i would buy it without even thinking more of it..


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Anonymous 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:26:27
# ]



Us A2000 users are out of luck on this one I guess.

It ONLY goes into a towered A1200?

This I'd really, really like to get....cash first, then toys.....

Possibly next year, though

MAN what a great gizmo to show JUST HOW MUCH Amigas can do!


Amiga! Rock on!!!!!!!!!

 
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JurassicC 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:27:05
#30 ]
Super Member
Joined: 13-Mar-2003
Posts: 1433
From: Somerset, UK

GGRR.... just flogged my A1200T with mediator etc as it was sitting gathering dust waiting for the shark to be finalised. Wonder if it will have something like a dummy 68040.library ? or an oxypatcher clone.
A1c route for me. However, its still an interesting product.
Like to see a full review hopefully in the next Total Amiga.

--edit--

I wonder if this is the new "shark" due to the seperate mainboard feature, could a ppc later be added to give os4 compatibilty ?

Last edited by JurassicC on 17-Dec-2004 at 02:30 PM.


_________________
A1200T 603e 330Mhz - Mediator TX OS4.1 F.E.
CDTV 8MB Fast, OS3.1, SCSI, MicroSD SCSI & CD32 FMV
X5000, X1000, A1XE with OS4.1F.E.

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tjaoz 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:52:16
#31 ]
Member
Joined: 1-Aug-2003
Posts: 44
From: Unknown

@Giovanni

Quote:
Hmm... I think the 4e is available since 2001.


MCF547x are the first Freescale/Motorola processors based on the 4e core.
Freescale starts their production beginning with January 2005.

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turkamigaman 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 14:59:45
#32 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 9-May-2003
Posts: 707
From: Izmir Turkiye

Yes, we are waiting this hardware.

But have to ask this :

Whenever speedy CF processers ( V5 ) will be on market , may we upgrade ?


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KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 15:12:12
#33 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5136
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

WOW! (did Elbox get tired of waiting for AOS4.0 final release)


Next Elbox PPC Amiga2 ...


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//
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OldFart 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 15:12:44
#34 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-Sep-2004
Posts: 2925
From: Stad; en d'r is moar ain stad en da's Stad. Makkelk zat!

Supported AGP and PCI cards:

? Graphic cards (Radeon 9700, Radeon 9500, Radeon 9200, Radeon 9000, Radeon 7500, Radeon 7000, Voodoo 5, Voodoo 4, Voodoo 3)
? Sound cards (Sound Blaster 4.1 Digital, Sound Blaster 128 and cards based on the ForteMedia FM801 chipset--e.g. Terratec 512i Digital)
? Serial ATA controllers (SiI 3114 support in development)
? Spider Hi-Speed USB 2.0 controllers
? TV tuner cards (based on Bt848/849/878 and FUSION 878/879)
? Fast Ethernet 100Mbps cards (based on RTL8139 chipset)
? Ethernet 10Mbps cards (based on RTL8029 chipset)

Nice, but ehm, eh, SCSI perhaps?

My current A1200 uses a Blizzard 040 + SCSI, driving:
- Plextor 32X CD-ROM (twice)
- ZIP100Mb drive
- HD 2Gb
- Epson perfection 1200S Scanner

And a number of other SCSI-equipment like a Plextor CD-RW (new, never used, saw no use for it...) that I might put to use.

If this board comes out, it is a very teasing and tempting one. Might prove a killer. Price is certainly not to bad, although there always will be a number of people that think otherwise. But I'm sort of atheistic: see first then believe...

OldFart


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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 15:18:25
#35 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 11143
From: Norway

A push in the wrong direction, replace that CPU whit a fast G5 and license OS40 for it,


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Brian 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 15:29:59
#36 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 29-Apr-2003
Posts: 238
From: Sweden

I'm thinking... compability issues? If not an issue what about speed when "fixes" are used to get around the compability issues?

I'm also thinking what if the ColdFire CPU module is sitting on a PCI slot that can easily be replaced with the Shark or a sweet G5 CPU Module.

Would love to see SCSI as an option there, we Amigans are used to those things by now. We can't have it all? BS! A worst case scenario is that ppl are forced to go down the DataFlyerSCSI+ or Squirrel path to get SCSI on these machines.

Last I'm thinking when is it due for the A4000? I'm not going to spend much more money on the A1200... it's my lil' pet that gets a few scrapps now and then but nothing serious and definitly nothing that doesn't fit the original case. My A4000Mirage/PCI/PPC tower won't be replaced by any A1200Dragon Tower but I do have an extra A4000D that could be in for a sweet surprice if possible.


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MetalJoe 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 15:38:18
#37 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 464
From: Bucks UK

Good to see this happening, although shame it's taken all these years for someone to get a Coldfire Amiga sorted out. (Anyone remember IAT's plans?)

Although I've invested in the AmigaOne/OS4 route now, I might be interested in this if an A4000 version is released...


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SkEb 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 16:01:58
#38 ]
Member
Joined: 21-Dec-2003
Posts: 80
From: The Netherlands

If they can make an AmigaONE(or indeed AmigaTwo as mentioned earlier ) board for the same price and you can run OS4.0 on it.... well, then I would know what I would do.
So little question. Is making a PPC board (that) more expensive than a board like this(the MicroA1 is much more expensive not?) ?

edit:
and another question... what is the use exactly of this board.. I mean, so you can put an ATI radeon 9500 on it, but what use is that if you don't have drivers etc. for it?
And USB2.0, is there support for that on AmigaOS3.9?

Last edited by SkEb on 17-Dec-2004 at 04:04 PM.

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DJBase 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 16:17:32
#39 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jan-2004
Posts: 280
From: Germany

http://coldfire.amigaworld.de/phpBB/


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Amiga 1200 | ACA1233n | 128 MB RAM | Indivision AGA | Prisma Megamix | 250 GB mSATA SSD | AmigaOS 3.1.4
AmigaOne X1000 | 1.8 GHz | 4 GB RAM | Radeon R7 250X | 250 GB SATA SSD | AmigaOS 4.1

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Rogue 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2004 16:47:04
#40 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

Quote:
WOW! (did Elbox get tired of waiting for AOS4.0 final release)


Apparently not, otherwise they might have inquierd about OS 4 on the Shark. However, they didn't, and since I've never seen the actual hardware, getting tired of waiting would be a miracle since their wait wouldn't have started yet.


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