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Hardware News   Hardware News : Enter the DRAGON
   posted by DJS on 17-Dec-2004 12:38:41 (26746 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
_ZaP 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 16:06:14
#81 ]
New Member
Joined: 24-May-2003
Posts: 8
From: somewhere in The Middle

No, Valwit I know you really haven't seen Petunia at all.
I wonder whether you order this new thingy from Elbox?

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IonMane 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 16:49:29
#82 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 18-Apr-2003
Posts: 550
From: Adelaide Australia.

I personally think this is a great product for a few reasons.

The first is simply: on what computer do you develop for other coldfire products? Could this board be used in such a fashion and therby expand the potential market of amiga's?

As this card is an accelerator, it is quite possible that the much talked about "shark accelerator" could be used with this solution at a later date giving the user access not only to OS4, but near perfect 68k app running without emulation.

Amiga DE could also feature in here somewhere with hand held devices and this solution could fit in development there as well.

IF the shark does reach the customer base, and can be used in the dragon busboard it could very well provide an easier path for upgrade for many users.

Could the dragon accelerator itself actually be used on an A1 for development for coldfire products so they could be tested and debugged directly on the A1? This would be interesting.

Its kind of strange that the guy who was running the coldfire project gained quite a bit of support, yet when elbox announces a similar thing there is a proportional negative trend...
Perhaps the guy who was running the coldfire product lisenced or even sold his designs to elbox.....


Of course, without an upgrade path to ppc and OS4 this may not be such a great idea, however, they are supporting our community for those that wish to follow this path so why don't we ease on the negativity and give them our support?


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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 17:33:26
#83 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

.Quote:
Whats that supposed to mean?

it means petunia is slow. slower then the emu in mos. (yes, of course the actual developer version is much faster. or what ever). but it's not important. amigaone or uA1 is just the same kind of clone like pegasos. amiga means for me hardware and software so i'll be very happy if the dragon really enters

Last edited by Valwit on 19-Dec-2004 at 05:37 PM.

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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 17:35:47
#84 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

Quote:
No, Valwit I know you really haven't seen Petunia at all.


sorry , but you know a sh* about me.

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shoe 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 18:35:33
#85 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Sep-2003
Posts: 1585
From: Gothenburg, Sweden

Oh no.. not again...

/shoe

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Anonymous 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 23:19:54
# ]



The 68k emulation in the public versions of OS4 is not petunia.

And I didnt ask for the rest of the baggage in your reply.

 
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-Sam- 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 19-Dec-2004 23:23:54
#87 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Apr-2003
Posts: 3004
From: Yorkshire Dales, United Knigdom

@Valwit

Quote:
it means petunia is slow


It isn't yet released so it is unfair to comment. It may be lots faster or just as fast as other systems - until it is officially released we won't know.

Quote:
amiga means for me hardware and software


Whish is what the AOne is. We can't go back to a full custom chipset yet as that isn't practical right now and would just end up destroying the Amiga completely. The old Amigas have reached the end of the road as there is nowhere to go after OS3.9. Also there is hardly going to be an influx of new software for this ancient line so I don't see the point in hanging around unless it is for nostalgic reasons.


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KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 20-Dec-2004 7:16:56
#88 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5135
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

@Rogue

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

Now that you mentioned it, I remember it as well.
(what! you mean AOS4 is not made out of rubber ?? ! )

>>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.

The difference between Sonnet and SharkPPC is even smaller than the difference between Teron and A1. (it's very well proved that Sonnet and Shark are the same design, not sure if Elbox has bought the design or just lelabeled the board)

>However, if the device was ready, why didn't we at least have a prototype to try and put OS 4 on it?

Perhaps
a) They broke their only sonnet card.
b) They HOPE that their customers can use AOS4 without Elbox spending on OS R&D. (I hope not)
c) They do not care, as long as somone buys a piece of promising HW from them. (they used AmigaInc, PPC and AOS4 only for marketing)
d) They think they dominate / have monopoly on the classic HW and that their best Amiga business happens via vitalizing the Classic HW business with new generation of 68K HW ???????
e) i have no idea

I vote for e).

Last edited by KimmoK on 20-Dec-2004 at 07:19 AM.
Last edited by KimmoK on 20-Dec-2004 at 07:18 AM.
Last edited by KimmoK on 20-Dec-2004 at 07:17 AM.


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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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DJBase 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 20-Dec-2004 11:00:12
#89 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jan-2004
Posts: 280
From: Germany

There is already a mailing list if someone wants to join: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dragon-coldfire/


_________________
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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Giovanni 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 20-Dec-2004 11:07:57
#90 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 19-May-2003
Posts: 322
From: Munich, Germany

Quote:
it means petunia is slow. slower then the emu in mos



I highly doubt that you have seen petunia running.


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mr2 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 20-Dec-2004 16:50:10
#91 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 3-Feb-2004
Posts: 642
From: Poland

@Giovanni

Of course he has not. He writes the same type of ****** on polish amiga sites.


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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 21-Dec-2004 3:41:12
#92 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

any link?

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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 21-Dec-2004 3:43:26
#93 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

Sure, A1 is new hardware, but it isn't unique like Amiga hardware was. Just another hardware with an OS more or less compatible with older AmigaOS. Nothing but a sticker for me.

Last edited by Valwit on 21-Dec-2004 at 03:45 AM.

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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 21-Dec-2004 3:49:17
#94 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

Quote:

I highly doubt that you have seen petunia running.


You right. I thought they have integrated it (since it's december 2004 allready :) in the developer versions. Buth then it will be even easier for the Dragon to beat the emu in OS 4. However, in a few weeks we'll see. Or not.

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KimmoK 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 21-Dec-2004 5:28:21
#95 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5135
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

"it means petunia is slow. slower then the emu in mos."

It seems that MOS 68k JIT emulation makes the 68k SW on PPC600Mhz beat any coldfire there is.
Even if the AOS4 emulation would be slower, it still beats all coldfire CPUs by the A1 PPC800Mhz.

Eventually, after optimizations, I doubt 68k jit emulations have 10% or bigger speed difference with each others. Differences lie elsewhere.


Other than that ... it's not sensible to compete seriously against flying finns (authors of Trance), you NEED superior vehicle or small sabotage to beat them (Schumichael & Ferrari vs Finns and DMA buggy McLaren sprang to my mind).


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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 21-Dec-2004 5:48:11
#96 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5135
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

@Valwit

"Sure, A1 is new hardware, but it isn't unique like Amiga hardware was. Just another hardware with an OS more or less compatible with older AmigaOS. Nothing but a sticker for me."

Sure, it's nothing "unique", but it still runs the REAL AmigaOS derived from the original AOS code & specifications. Already commodore was going towards RTG and RISC CPU with their Amiga roadmap.


Dragon Coldfire equipped with tower case, GFX card, soundcard & USB mouse and keyboards does not use A1200 for other than.... what? Buggy PCMCIA? CIA timing? Ripping out ROM? Surely also power is fed directly to the Dragon.

To me it does not seem or sound whole lot better than the "stepping stone to the Next Generation of Amigas", the A1.

IMO: simplicity and ease of use was one of Amiga's core ideas, classic machines equipped with load of patches, CPU's, PC co-processors break that simplicity and ease of use. Even A1's are more simple.

Some could also prefer that those old Amigas would be preserved as they are, without ripping their guts out to make them something different. (my heart (almost) breaks when I see pictures of old VW beetle's guts ripped off to make them light & cheap rally cars, respectfull death? NOT!)

Last edited by KimmoK on 21-Dec-2004 at 05:49 AM.


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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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clebin 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 22-Dec-2004 0:55:34
#97 ]
Super Member
Joined: 2-Oct-2003
Posts: 1692
From: Cardiff

@Kronos
"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."

You're dead right. We shouldn't forget this market exists. If I was a betting man, I'd horde these to sell on eBay in a few years! It's a damn cool piece of kit for the retro fan. I wonder how much Shark is in it?

Elbox must agree about the size of that market - they obviously have the skills to build a complete system and have chosen to build this. I can't really fault the logic until it's obvious Eyetech can't fulfill demand for the A1.

I sometimes wonder about Eyetech's abilty to estimate demand, especially outside of your average AmigaWorld users; but I hope this is evidence that Elbox gearing up for that.

Chris


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Valwit 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 22-Dec-2004 14:30:26
#98 ]
Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 80
From: Imladris

Quote:
Sure, it's nothing "unique", but it still runs the REAL AmigaOS derived from the original AOS code & specifications. Already commodore was going towards RTG and RISC CPU with their Amiga roadmap


Same for Pegasos/MOS. 68k apps runs fine, OS 3.9 works also fine. But also not a real Amiga.

Quote:
Dragon Coldfire equipped with tower case, GFX card, soundcard & USB mouse and keyboards does not use A1200 for other than.... what? Buggy PCMCIA? CIA timing? Ripping out ROM? Surely also power is fed directly to the Dragon.


Hmm. I can't remember to have read the Dragon has an IDE interface. It's needs Amiga
to access the HD (with Elbox's Fast-Ata ) I still belive the CF only emulates a 68k so in fact you get a new Mediator with an integrated turbo-card.
All in all it's about the same to expand a C64 with ram, 68020 and so on instead of getting CommodoreOne. Just fun and no real need for a new computer with the same software.

Quote:
simplicity and ease of use was one of Amiga's core ideas, classic machines equipped with load of patches, CPU's, PC co-processors break that simplicity and ease of use. Even A1's are more simple.


Maybe. But the A1 is in fact also a PC. You just change the x86 to PPC, all other is like a few years old PC.

Quote:
Some could also prefer that those old Amigas would be preserved as they are, without ripping their guts out to make them something different. (my heart (almost) breaks when I see pictures of old VW beetle's guts ripped off to make them light & cheap rally cars, respectfull death? NOT!)


Maybe thats why some folks said they would like a Dragon without pci, small enough to fit into the old case. I still have a few Amigas in original cases and they look beautiful, but for using besides games or some demos you need a GFX and pci/agp is the cheapest solution. A PPC is almost useless for me hence nothing really uses it, untill OS4 is out my bppc will die on it's age. Dragon will replace my Mediator and give me more cpu speed and more ram. The rest will stay like now.

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Comi 
Re: Enter the DRAGON
Posted on 17-Dec-2005 13:21:59
#99 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2003
Posts: 626
From: Zlatibor, Serbia

One year later, still nothing, just pictures..


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