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Hardware News   Hardware News : Enter the DRAGON
   posted by DJS on 17-Dec-2004 12:38:41 (26757 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
KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 1:11:27
#61 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5143
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

@Rogue

>>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.

Well... they have been saying that they wait 4.0. But nevermind.

>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.

I have a picture of Ben Hermans holding SharkPPC in his hands.

(must have been Elbox's only copy of the relabeled sonnet card)


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// For freedom, for honor, for AMIGA
//
// Thing that I should find more time for: CC64 - 64bit Community Computer?

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KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 1:16:34
#62 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5143
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

@EntilZha

"WOW. What an inapropriate comment. Thanks, I always appreciate such nice comments."

Wow. Touchy?
Guys, I did not write that with any bad intentions.

But sorry anyway.


(if elbox wanted AOS4 sooner, they could help or at least contact, now they rather try to take advantage of the classic community untill AOS4.0 final takes away 99% of any interest towards old HW)


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// For freedom, for honor, for AMIGA
//
// Thing that I should find more time for: CC64 - 64bit Community Computer?

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Steff 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 2:51:56
#63 ]
Super Member
Joined: 11-Mar-2003
Posts: 1342
From: Göteborg, Sweden

@Thread

Well I might have bought one of these but what the heck am I gonna do with the Blizzard PPC and BVision card I invested in so many years ago?

Now I can at least hope for a Blizzard PPC version of OS4 which wouldn't add a fraction of the cost this Dragon would. Be a nice complement to My AOne too.

Should be interesting to see what it can do though!


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Ami603 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 2:56:53
#64 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 575
From: Valencia,Spain 8-)

@Haymigga:


>>400euro for the board.
>>50euro for A1200.
>>50euro for memory.
>>100euro for various pci-cards.
>>200euros+ for a possible ppc upgrade card?


Have you forgot about a custom A1200 case? how much for an Amiga custom tower these days?
What about the Age of the A1200 Motherboards?will it run standalone if my A1200 board deads?

@All:

Sorry, but i prefer spending a little "more" with next generation hardware, while saving on standard components, comparing a top quality ATX tower with a customised A1200 one, makes the PC tower look like cheap ;)
Same for ram,etc.

To me, a 1200 Motherboard nowadays looks like an big slow expensive southbridge that just manages the keyboard,mouse and ide.No matter what fast accelerator you put inside.


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A4000D
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drHirudo 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 10:03:57
#65 ]
Super Member
Joined: 26-Apr-2004
Posts: 1082
From: Sofia

I also don't see the Dragon as a menace for the AmigaOne or AmigaOS4. Apparently there are much more A1200s in use today, probably ten times more than A1s will ever be. 68060/50MHz/66MHz was the fastest option for 8 years now, so all the 68K resource hungry software was developed with this in mind, but now when there are faster boards, new software might start appearing again, which means that the AmigaOne/AOS4 will benefit of them too, through emulation (also some software was slow for real Amigas, but no longer). I'll wait for benchmarks - if the 68K apps run faster on the Dragon than on G3/800 via JIT, then it's more sensible to stay 68K with the Dragon insead of going PPC and having only few PPC native software at all.


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Seer 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 10:09:18
#66 ]
Team Member
Joined: 27-Jun-2003
Posts: 3725
From: The Netherlands

if the 68K apps run faster on the Dragon than on G3/800 via JIT, then it's more sensible to stay 68K with the Dragon insead of going PPC and having only few PPC native software at all.

That might be the problem. If nobody writes native PPC code then AS4 and MOS will never take off even within the remaining Amiga users. We'd be stuck with dying classic hardware.


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Kronos 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 10:22:14
#67 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 2192
From: Unknown

It's basicly the same as in my post on that poll, everybody is free to decide how to waste his/her time....

1st of all, I don't believe that Elbox will be able to deliever anywhere close to the announced release-date, I'm not even sure if these are more real than the Sharks.

It might also be that they finally had to admit that the Shark will never really work (for a variety of reasons).

Does it make sense ? Well just as much as a super-CPU for a C64
There are quite few people outside that are into Amiga as pure retro-thing, one might even guess that these outnumber those that are still hoping in a rebirth of the plattform.

So no, it doesn't make any sense, and thats 100% o.k.

Even I would buy one if it comes with:
- fully licenced RTG-solution
- fully licenced USB-stack
- open&free driver-SDK
- virus-free SW

Hmmm, o.k. I think I can keep my money in the bank


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Rogue 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 10:51:40
#68 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

Quote:
Well... they have been saying that they wait 4.0. But nevermind.


Said, yes. They also said IIRC that the AmigaOne version would run unmodified on the SharkPPC...

Quote:
I have a picture of Ben Hermans holding SharkPPC in his hands.


I held it as well, at least I was told that it was a SharkPPC and not a Sonnet card but that was hard to say because of the massive cooler. However, if the device was ready, why didn't we at least have a prototype to try and put OS 4 on it?


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Akiko 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 11:41:39
#69 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Mar-2004
Posts: 769
From: UK

It's a shame Elbox don't engage on these forums. They however are quick enough to post their latest promotional offers.


_________________
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Amiga 1200, Blizzard IV
CD32/SX32

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-Sam- 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 12:17:36
#70 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Apr-2003
Posts: 3004
From: Yorkshire Dales, United Knigdom

@Akiko

Maybe they do...


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Anonymous 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 15:43:52
# ]



Hmm...

Quote:

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.


Not an option for me as I do not have a tower system mentioned above. I'll hold out for Amiga OS 4.0 on PPC. I want an Amiga with a minimum of a 1ghz PPC.

 
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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 15:58:06
#72 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

> 400euro for the board.

cheaper for mediator users

> 50euro for A1200.

mediator users have one :)

> 100euro for various pci-cards.

0 if you'll use the card from mediator

> 200euros+ for a possible ppc upgrade card?

don't think there will be one.

> So not a cheaper solution than a1

no, but something that I would call Amiga (and probably with less HW-bugs )


serious: I won't wonder if we read in a few weeks: not enough buyers - project canceled. There are lots of problems to be solved and Elbox didn't say a word about it.
OTOH maybe the whole ColdFire is only meant to run a 68k emulation and nothing else, so we get a very very fast 68040 or 68020 - that would be ok for me.

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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 15:59:36
#73 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

Quote:

What makes you thinking that this thinggy will execute 68k apps faster than a strong PowerPC?


hyhyhy we all saw Petunia in action

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KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 20:50:29
#74 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5143
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

http://www.elbox.com/news_01_04_11.html

"Amiga Inc and Elbox working together for Amiga OS 4.0 and beyond
[11 April 2001, Snoqualmie, Washington, USA]

Amiga Inc is pleased to announce a long-term relationship with Elbox Computer Ltd of Krakow, Poland. Amiga Inc announced the development of AmigaOS4, the latest version of the high performance, user friendly operating system that introduced multimedia to the world at the St Louis trade and user show on the 31st March 2001. To support AmigaOS4, Amiga Inc also released the Zico hardware specification targeted at PowerPC processors. Elbox Computer Ltd are working closely with Amiga Inc to ensure that their existing and future products will gain Zico certification, and thus provide a perfect platform for AmigaOS4.

'St Louis marked the beginning of the future.' said Bill McEwen, President and CEO of Amiga Inc. 'Key to that is the Amiga community moving forwards in a single direction, united and determined. With Elbox as a partner, another key Amiga company has joined the drive forwards towards success.'

'Our long-term commitment to computer technology is now giving tangible results in the Amiga market,' said Maciek Binek, CEO of Elbox. 'Now, with the Amiga Inc. initiative, we can see a clear sign of future-oriented thinking and strategy, a breakthrough for this computer. We hope Amiga will soon again become the common word.'

'Elbox have taken a major role in not just supporting the existing Amiga market with their many products but also in providing a path forwards.' said Fleecy Moss, CTO of Amiga Inc. "Our relationship with them will ensure that their existing customers can benefit from AmigaOS4 whilst new users coming to the Amiga will have additional excellent choices in the hardware that they can buy.'

AmigaOS4 is currently under development and will ship in Summer 2001. Elbox products can already be purchased from all major Amiga dealers, and their next new product, the SharkPPC+ will be available along with the premiere of the AmigaOS4 system. "

A lot of talk, little results because of Osama Bin Laden (?).


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// For freedom, for honor, for AMIGA
//
// Thing that I should find more time for: CC64 - 64bit Community Computer?

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Anonymous 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 21:03:27
# ]



"hyhyhy we all saw Petunia in action "

Whats that supposed to mean?

 
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Jose 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 18-Dec-2004 23:13:12
#76 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 932
From: Unknown

They should make a new PPC card that doesn't need the Mediator (but that could use it ...).
Waste of money.
I really hope things do happend on the AOS4 side with the Shark, I would buy it as long as you can upgrade the CPU.

Last edited by Jose on 18-Dec-2004 at 11:15 PM.


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Troels 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 2:39:39
#77 ]
Super Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 1981
From: Unknown

Having thought a little about this new product I find it cool but useless for anything but retro computing.

If you want a faster Amiga get a µA1 it's not that much more than a Dragon setup with tower, ram, gfx card, sound, usb/netcard, Ram etc. And the µA1 gets new software on a daily basis unlike the Dragon.

I doubt we will ever see the Shark, I mean I hope they're not selling this and releasing the Shark as a complete diffrent board at a later date?

I wish Elbox could do some new PPC hardware, something not requiring a classic dongle but that could also be sold to non-amiga owners.


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vortexau 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 11:10:03
#78 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2651
From: . . outside the Pod-bay; Australia

Kronos wrote:
Quote:

I don't believe that Elbox will be able to deliever anywhere close to the announced release-date,
. . . Does it make sense ? Well just as much as a super-CPU for a C64
There are quite few people outside that are into Amiga as pure retro-thing, . . . .
. . . So no, it doesn't make any sense, and thats 100% o.k. . . .

Well, neither

did Chewbacca!

. . . so, what was the point again?
(The Chewbacca Defence)
(The DOJ uses the Chewbacca Defense.)
(Chewbacca Defense)
(Apple? At a Unix conference?

IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE :)

Go for the Chewbacca defence
)

Last edited by vortexau on 19-Dec-2004 at 11:25 AM.
Last edited by vortexau on 19-Dec-2004 at 11:13 AM.


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PulsatingQuasar 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 12:51:36
#79 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 550
From: The Netherlands, Europe

MCF5475 Features
V4e ColdFire core with MMU, dual precision FPU and EMAC - delivering up to 410 (Dhrystone 2.1) MIPS at 266 MHz
32 KB I-Cache, 32 KB D-Cache
32 KB on-chip system SRAM
Four 32-bit timers, two 32-bit slice timers, one watchdog timer
Hardware-acceleration encryption (DES, 3DES, RC4, AES, MD5, SHA-1, RNG)
32-bit 133 MHz DDR/SDR-SDRAM Controller
1.5V core, 2.5V DDR, 3.3V I/O voltages
Connectivity Functionality:

Two 10/100 Fast Ethernet Controllers (FECs)
USB 2.0 high speed device with integrated PHY
32-bit v2.2 PCI interface; 33/66 MHz; five external masters
DSPI - SPI with DMA capability
I2C interface
16-channel DMA controller


I wonder which 68K instructions are missing and how often they are used? Nice specs though.

EDIT - from the manual.

The ColdFire instruction set is a simplified version of the M68000 instruction set. The removed instructions include BCD, bit field, logical rotate, decrement and branch, and integer multiply with a 64-bit result.

How often are these used?

Last edited by PulsatingQuasar on 19-Dec-2004 at 12:56 PM.


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Bodie 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 13:13:14
#80 ]
Super Member
Joined: 9-Jan-2003
Posts: 1438
From: Azjol-Nerub

@Vortexau

LOL, I use that very same image as my WookieChat icon !

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