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Hardware News   Hardware News : ACK Software Controls IRC Log
   posted by ssolie on 18-May-2006 22:16:56 (20572 reads)
Below is my personal attempt to cleanup an IRC log between ackcontrols (ACK Software Controls Inc.) and some info. starved users. It was a spontaneous kind of thing. I did my best to match the questions to the answers which is why the time stamps differ here and there. Any errors are entirely your fault.


[23:53:47] ackcontrols: I hope you dont mind my thread.. just a pointer to your message!
[23:54:02] I don't mind

[23:54:38] ackcontrols: wanna let people know what northbridge it uses? (I'm sworn to secrecy so I wont say)
[23:55:05] or do you want to wait for the demo?
[23:55:34] Going to wait until the demo.

[00:01:53] High end board: "A high end board will be demonstrated approximately one month after the CPUs are demoed. Period."
[00:02:48] Yes, that is true.
[00:03:54] The board uses the same CPU connector as the XE/ MicroA1

[00:04:57] The board is a new design?
[00:05:11] yes, new design

[00:05:15] What for the graphics slot?
[00:06:14] Still only makes sense for us to use AGP slot (in PCI mode)
[00:06:25] Until we get docs on new PCI Express cards
[00:07:43] It's not hard at all to put a PCI Express slot on a board, it's just we (we being Video driver developers) don't have docs on the newer PCI Express cards.

[00:07:28] Can you post a photo or something to make some rumors? :)
[00:07:56] AmigaBlitter: I'm not into photos....never have been.

[00:08:57] ackcontrols!!! you are the reason i came here.. :) short question, will the power vixen have acceptable linux support? as in better than the a1..
[00:09:34] spot3AD: Linux runs fine on the board.

[00:09:59] ackcontrols: glad to hear that! will ubuntu be supported?
[00:10:32] spot3AD: It's up to the user to pick a distro.

[00:10:53] ackcontrols so i take it we don't need custom made installers?
[00:11:55] Regarding custom installers.....that's going to be more than likely to make it easier for everyone.

[00:13:04] how fast was the pv cpu again? g3@300?
[00:13:25] 400MHz CPU for the PV

[00:12:38] How mutch it cost approximately?
[00:13:35] AmigaBlitter: The new board?

[00:13:40] yes
[00:14:30] Too early to give an exact cost, but can see the 1.7GHz CPU + board being in the $1,000.00 USD range.

[00:49:44] 1) what for the board size? atx, micro atx and so on...
[01:05:52] MicroATX sized board.

[00:51:23] 3) is this the personal ack answer to the bbrv intention to provide us hardware?
[01:06:11] Has nothing to do with bbrv....this has been in the works for a while

[01:06:53] A lot has changed in the last year for the PowerPC host bridge market.
[01:07:25] Similarly, products that have been announced from Freescale (the 8641D) have been late in coming.
[01:08:40] Tundra on the other hand has been the best in delivering their products in a timely fashion and are far more open with information than Marvell.
[01:09:06] Tundra has also set a clear roadmap regarding their direction on the PowerPC host bridge side of things.
[01:10:00] In order to bridge the XE products to the new boards, it was decided to make CPU modules compatible with the AmigaOne boards to increase the market size.
[01:10:19] As well as provide an upgrade path with reduced investment by the customer.

[01:10:44] ackcontrols but, a microatx won't fit in a desktop a1200 will it?
[01:11:23] spot3AD: The PowerVixxen products are for the A1200 users.
[01:11:29] This is separate from that.
[01:12:15] The PowerVixxen line of products are to bring the classics up to a point where they can use OS4.

[01:13:06] Hyperion has long known mine and other's intentions regarding new hardware.
[01:13:47] The issue has been there has been a lot of change in the PowerPC side of things.
[01:14:15] Tundra's Tsi108 and Tsi109 and their upcoming Tsi110/111 products.
[01:14:23] ackcontrols has any hw been sent to hyperion yet?
[01:14:52] Similarly, Marvell's Discovery V, which looks great on paper, but the timing isn't quite right for that product.
[01:15:38] Even though the market is relatively small, it has been hard to create a single product that would make everyone happy.
[01:17:59] In order to reduce complexity in the design of a new board, it will be primarily expanded using PCI cards.

[01:17:44] ackcontrols what's the situation with the a1200 connectors?
[01:18:26] spot3AD: I've been working with Jens Schoenfield regarding the A1200 connectors.
[01:18:40] Jens has access to some incredible pricing.

[01:19:43] i repeat a question... 4 )Did you plan in the future to provide us a Cell hardware? (my dream)
[01:21:38] Plans for hardware are being based on chips and chipsets that are available.
[01:21:57] Cell chips don't fall into that category, nor are chipsets that include PCI Express.
[01:22:33] Keep in mind that the biggest issue regarding PCI Express is the lack of documentation regarding PCI Express based video cards.
[01:22:50] AmigaBlitter: Sorry, but that is just being realistic.

[01:28:25] ackcontrols, so with the a1200 connector problem solved, has the power vixen finally gone into production? what is the estimated date of release? when will it hit the dealer shelves? will it be autographed by you? will it have your dogs/childrens footprints engraved on the back?
[01:29:31] Any time there is a significant time lag between an expected release date and an actual date, it always makes sense to revisit the product.
[01:30:41] The only thing that is holding up PowerVIxxen at this time is whether or not I should put a Radeon mobility 7500/9000 chip right on the board.
[01:30:58] and remove the MiniPCI slot.
[01:32:31] ATI isn't too quick to respond to small players.
[01:33:38] choosing ATI is for driver availability.

[01:46:56] I rewrite the questions: When you plan to demo the board for the public?
[01:47:32] AmigaBlitter: End of June.

[01:52:13] availability? end of June?
[01:52:32] July time frame for availability.
[01:55:09] PowerVixxen LT

[01:55:46] ackcontrols what does LT stand for ?
[01:57:03] SlayerDK: LT is for Lite....

[01:58:15] Do I mess things upp? Isnt Powervixxen a classic Amiga powerboard?
[01:59:11] The main intent of the PowerVixxen boards is to run OS4 on the classic machines.
[01:59:31] The 680x0 capability is driven by the emulator within OS4.
[01:59:51] Petunia is the JIT.
[02:00:09] I'm not sure what they call the interpretive emulator....if it even has a name.

[02:00:22] After this step, Ack, Do you thing that there will be other obstacle to see the final version of os4 out?
[02:01:14] I have no control over final release of OS4 and can't speculate.

[02:01:51] Returning to hardware related questions, What kind of ram use the new board?
[02:02:03] The high end board?
[02:02:14] DDR2

[02:02:56] when is the high end board going to come out?
[02:03:15] 400MHz
[02:03:20] 200x2
[02:03:55] Goal is to have several products available for AmiRevival show.

[02:05:16] What about licensing? How do you have obtained licensing?
[02:18:57] I really don't expect any issues with the licensing.
[02:19:37] Going to get the h/w working first and worry about that after.

[02:19:49] Any problem with u-boot?
[02:20:12] Warts aside, u-boot does what it's supposed to do.
[02:20:24] Also been testing OpenBIOS as well.
[02:21:13] The MPC5200 doesn't like ROMs on PCI cards....bit of a PITA.
[02:22:29] AmigaBlitter....most of the industry is going PCI Express for good reasons.

[02:22:45] Have you already tested the os4 on your new board?
[02:23:17] If yes, could you give us your first impressions?
[02:23:42] Faster than the CSPPC and slower than an A1.

[02:24:14] You are talkin about the new board or the powervixxen?
[02:24:26] The mediator interface for Video is a bit kludgey...another reason to drive towards gfx chip on PV.
[02:24:31] PV, yes

[02:37:40] Ack, can you give us more information about this question: And the new board? What about the speed?
[02:38:22] The host bridge has a 200MHz FSB.
[02:38:36] It will take full advantage of the 7448's throughput.

[02:39:31] what ethernet will the highend board have?
[02:40:00] GB ethernet * 2

[02:41:18] ackcontrols you got a working prototype of the high-end board ?
[02:42:10] Been working on a dev board and prototype is a 2-3 weeks away. Been focusing on the CPU modules at the moment.

[02:43:05] So you have not yet tested OS4 on the High End Board?
[02:44:40] Dev board is to get OS4 ported, prototype is based on chipset, but pretty different in reality.

[02:46:04] thats confusing. so the northbridge you're using in the prototype isnt present in the dev board?
[02:50:10] No, the Northbridge is on the devboard
[02:51:00] to quicken the development time....a lot of features will be added with PCI cards.

[02:46:06] How many USB port have the board. Is the USB version 2.0?
[02:52:09] The main board will likely be limited to 2 USB ports (for mouse and kb), serial ports (for debug), and ethernet.
[02:52:25] The rest will be added by the dealer/customer.

[02:52:26] then hyperion can start porting with that board, and you will gradually move these chipsets on the pci cards onto the mobo?

[02:52:58] no parallel port? I've got a printer that needs parallel
[02:53:03] I don't see a reason to.
[02:53:17] there are PCI cards for that.
[02:53:39] not going to see much by means of legacy ports
[02:54:38] It's going to be a lean design that the user can add the appropriate PCI functionality that they need.
[02:55:01] No sense putting SATA on the board and having people complain about having to buy new hard drives.
[02:55:18] Similarly, if you want SATA, then it doesn't make any sense to have PATA ports on it.
[02:55:39] Too many standards in flux at the moment to put the right things on the main motherboard.

[02:59:55] ackcontrols: are you saying theres not going to be any PATA on the mobo? or were you just using the above as an example?
[03:03:57] Yes, neither....combo card for the desired type of IDE (or SCSI) connection.
[03:04:42] Keeping the design simple...make the CPU -> Host -> memory fast....add the I/O with PCI cards.

[03:05:36] So no AGP/PCIe then.
[03:06:10] There will be an AGP slot, due to the requirements of the Amiga market.
[03:06:26] PCI Express won't be an option until the Tsi110 is available.
[03:06:37] But that is likely in early 2007
[03:07:14] It all comes down to what is available without making the mobo a patchwork of bridge chips.

[03:07:37] how many PCI slots in your design?
[03:08:06] 3 PCI + 1 AGP is the plan.

[03:08:16] sound on board ?
[03:08:22] nope

[03:09:32] The chipsets used in most combo cards already appear to be supported.
[03:10:01] USB + PATA/SATA cards already exist.

[03:10:04] what speed are the slots ?
[03:10:17] slot speed depend on the cards plugged into them.
[03:10:39] The AGP slot is PCI 66 and independent of the other 3 slots

[03:11:59] ackcontrols: is it too difficult to add PS/2 connections? .. USB keyboards and mice are a little expensive..
[03:12:31] Expensive...USB mice and keyboards are cheaper here.
[03:14:52] The more stuff that gets put on the board...the more complex it gets.
[03:15:13] This is going to be a fast, make equip it how you want type system.

[03:15:14] so by making the design simpler, you've cut down development time?
[03:15:23] yeah

[03:15:37] how longs it taken you so far? :)
[03:16:21] Not too long....a couple weeks total of time. Finishing off PCB layout.

[03:18:59] ackcontrols: you mentioned there being 2 USB ports... will there be headers on the mobo to connect up USB ports built into cases etc?
[03:19:23] no headers....the purpose of the USB ports are for keyboard and mouse connections.

[03:20:25] The design was started a long time ago.....I haven't had time to work on it and wanted to see how things shook out with the flurry of product announcements by Marvell, Tundra, and Freescale.
[03:20:45] Add to the mix the switch to Intel by Apple further complicated issues.

[03:27:11] ackcontrols: might be a good idea to have 3 usb ports though..... keyboard + mouse + something else..... usb gamepad, printer, mp3 player.... you know...
[03:32:30] maybe I'll put six PCI slots on it and move it to a larger board.

[03:32:45] ackcontrols: would it still be ATX?
[03:32:54] It would be ATX compliant.

[03:33:56] would the price increase be negliable? (sp)
[03:34:09] PCB cost is proportional to size

[03:34:24] You said that the PCB is already done
[03:35:38] The files haven't been released for making a pcb prototype.

[03:34:35] adding a bridge chip and 3 extra slots isn't that difficult.
[03:34:59] I'm working on the PCB layout for the high end board.
[03:37:43] Keeping it simple keeps the cost down and allows for users to customize their machine accordingly.

[03:37:53] ackcontrols: but doing 6 slots instead of 3 wont make the board much more expensive?
[03:38:15] It would add around $50.00 of manufacturing cost.
[03:38:42] The would include the incremental PCB cost, bridge chip, and extra components.
[03:39:46] Keep in mind that manufacturing cost can turn into a 2.5 to 3 times retail cost.

[03:40:03] what speed for the agp bus?
[03:40:08] pci 66

[03:40:15] well, I'd want a tv tuner, sata+pata, sound card, and a parallel i/o card...
[03:41:01] Jahc, better don't talk of our desire...
[03:41:43] the other aspect to consider is the length of time people typically keep their machines.....makes it hard to pick the right stuff that will be available for lengthy durations.
    

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PosterThread
Anonymous 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 11:59:04
# ]



Hi brotheris,


Thank you for logging on and telling us this.

You go and show him, don't buy it.


goodbye


(Don't bother replying as you've expressed your view.)

 
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Anonymous 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 12:08:31
# ]



Quote:
CodeSmith wrote:

I was a bit disappointed by the price as well. Looks like we're back to the CBM model: the affordable low end is just for very basic tasks, and if you want to do something serious you have to pay some serious money. That worked as a marketing strategy back in 1989, but nowadays people have alternatives. I predict that the low end boards will sell moderately well, but the high end boards only to the serious "anything but wintel" Linux types and disgruntled anti x86 ex Mac owners who are used to paying a lot for their computers.

At least we'll be keeping the amiga market alive, that at least is something.

Hi CodeSmith,

There's alot of people in the world, and some just have to much money and plenty of curiosity.

We have no idea how many sales are enough to keep ACKControls busy for an entire year after year, but I believe there are enough out there to maintain momentum, until some big wig sees it for what it is and invests into lowering the prices to saner levels. (This is not a barb at ACK's price, it's just obvious that it could be alot lower when it's possible to mass produce it.)

 
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Comi 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 12:17:58
#43 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 1-Jul-2003
Posts: 653
From: Zlatibor, Serbia

Hi,

What happend with CPU module presantation?

Cao


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Turrican 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 13:13:23
#44 ]
Member
Joined: 1-May-2003
Posts: 49
From: Hellas

Quote:
[00:14:30] Too early to give an exact cost, but can see the 1.7GHz CPU + board being in the $1,000.00 USD range.


Oh how great! Good luck to everyone that wants to be volunteerly ripped off This PPC/no-genesi/no-ps3 obsession of AmigaInc/Hyperion is outrageous! Every day I geting sick of this situation more and more.

We should all move to open platforms.

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tomazkid 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 13:16:38
#45 ]
Team Member
Joined: 31-Jul-2003
Posts: 11694
From: Kristianstad, Sweden

To all those who wants more pci-slots, maybe this could be used


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DaveAE 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 13:38:18
#46 ]
Super Member
Joined: 21-Mar-2003
Posts: 1091
From: The Netherlands

@tomazkid

Woohoo!! Finally something to put all my sound cards in!


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Yssing 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 13:54:29
#47 ]
Super Member
Joined: 24-Apr-2003
Posts: 1068
From: Unknown

@ Thomazkid >> Nice, that would satisfy everyone...


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Hans 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 14:01:06
#48 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4940
From: New Zealand

@DaveAE

Quote:
Woohoo!! Finally something to put all my sound cards in!


So what are you going to do with 15 sound-cards in one machine?

Hans


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Hondo 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 14:13:05
#49 ]
Super Member
Joined: 10-Apr-2003
Posts: 1370
From: Denmark

New boards........NOW WE'RE TALKING

I also think that the high-end board will need more USB connectors, and pci-express too.

But what about the case????......will there be a "custom amiga case", or is the glory days of custom amiga cases gone (hope not!!!)

Good work ACK


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polka. 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 14:32:12
#50 ]
Super Member
Joined: 13-Oct-2005
Posts: 1820
From: Tortuga

Quote:
But what about the case????......will there be a "custom amiga case"


"Custom case" sounds like another $200-300... Better sell some stickers with it and everybody who wants an ugly boing ball on his case can do so.
Do we need to customize everything?

Adam, I beg you to stay out of that case-business and focus on the hardware instead. We don't need another "face-contest" or useless discussions about cases for mainboards that are still vapour (Amy'05) and maybe even not prototyped yet.

Last edited by polka. on 19-May-2006 at 02:32 PM.


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timewilltell 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 14:51:30
#51 ]
Member
Joined: 20-Dec-2004
Posts: 12
From: Dayton NV

I find it interesting that so many people seem to think the various amiga manufacturers are ripping people off. If that were the case, they would be making big money instead of struggling to survive. If you want to talk ripoff buy gasoline.

I have a towered A4000 now that was expensive 5K. Also three pcees, the cheap one $1200.00 USD.

Adam thank you for daring to step into the pit. Big cahones! My thoughts, if you can't make it cheap make it as good as can be done. At least that way, there will be something to really shought about.

But then only TimeWillTell

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golem 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 15:17:55
#52 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Feb-2004
Posts: 41
From: Nottingham, UK

There are some whingers about! What sort of pricing do they expect when the Amiga market is so small and specialist. If you're into Amiga because you want a cheap computer you're not right in the head. I know nothing about manufacturing electronics but the overheads on small production runs must be astronomical.
Cheers Adam anyhow looking forward to the 1200 PV board soon...


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ssolie 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 15:20:44
#53 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 2755
From: Alberta, Canada

@Rogue
Quote:
There are other options for PCI Express than direct support in the northbridge.

That is true but we already have two strikes against (no driver docs + no direct support) and I'd add a third (more complexity + time).

How about this, how about we let him build the board, port OS4 to it and then make another board next year with PCI Express on it and OS4.1 will add a bunch of cool new stuff as well. By then maybe we'll find a solution for the documentation problem. Win-win.


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billt 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 15:30:30
#54 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3204
From: Maryland, USA

Quote:
I think you have missed something very important regarding pci-express:


I saw what he said about the chip in 2007. I also know that it's possible to convert PCI32 to PCI-Express, and I tried to mention that it's probably not worth the expense to do that now. Waiting for that northbridge will likely offer much better PCI-Express, especially for graphics performance, than the bridge chip anyway. I appologize if that didn't get said well, I was in a very weird daze yesterday (adn still am, and still will be for another week or so) due to lack of sleep.


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billt 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 16:11:14
#55 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3204
From: Maryland, USA

Quote:
And that suposed to be high end in 2007+ ??


Compared to today's PCs? Probably not. Compared to today's Amigas? Could be.


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kas1e 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 16:41:31
#56 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Jan-2004
Posts: 3527
From: Russia

Edited comment

Pretty clear, not ? If someone will do somethink, he will put tons of info and photos and so on.

Edited comment


Edited - HWGA- TC&P Reason:

Flame/Attacks: Do not flame! Flaming refers to derogatory, abusive, threatening, sarcastic, rude, or otherwise mean-spirited messages directed at members/users. Be cautious when using sarcasm and humour. Without facial expressions and tone of voice, they do not translate easily over the Internet in posts and may be perceived as flaming. Report the flame posts immediately to an Amigaworld Team Member so that the situation can be dealt with immediately.

End edit

Last edited by Herewegoagain on 20-May-2006 at 01:11 AM.


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_PAB_ 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 16:59:48
#57 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Sep-2003
Posts: 189
From: Germany

I would like to vote for some simple onboard hardware like a SATA + PATA + 4 x USB 2.0 (inkl. headers) combination.
A minimal configuration with 6-PCIs for expansion doesn't make very much sense on the long term, because PCI is going to be replaced and one can not say, if future components will be available on PCI.
OTOH it could be, that a minimal board plus standard PCI cards will be cheaper (but bigger, too) as a onboard-solution for at least HD + CD + Keyboard & Mouse + some other connectivity via USB 2.0

Last edited by _PAB_ on 19-May-2006 at 05:00 PM.


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TheMaskedMuchacho 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 17:02:11
#58 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 21-Feb-2006
Posts: 341
From: Unknown

if somebody stuck a southbridge chip on a pci card with all the required ports it would solve the lack of slots maybe. I have no idea how viable that would be but . This one would do the job.


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Rogue 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 17:49:48
#59 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

Quote:
Every day I geting sick of this situation more and more.

We should all move to open platforms.


Don't let the door hit you on the way out.


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Rogue 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 17:54:51
#60 ]
OS4 Core Developer
Joined: 14-Jul-2003
Posts: 3999
From: Unknown

Quote:
That is true but we already have two strikes against (no driver docs + no direct support) and I'd add a third (more complexity + time).


The real issue here is the lack of documentation, but then, there are numerous R3x0-based Radeon cards with PCI Express (all X300-X600) we could support with 2D and 3D drivers.

The main issue is, as Crumb correctly pointed out, that AGP cards are getting rare. Certainly, at this point in time there is no lack of them, but the question is how long will the boards designed now have to keep going?


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