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Hardware News   Hardware News : ACK Software Controls IRC Log
   posted by ssolie on 18-May-2006 22:16:56 (20543 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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billt 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 18:14:19
#61 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3203
From: Maryland, USA

Quote:
You won't have driver problems with Radeon cards (the driver is kinda generic, p96 team simply have to add the card ID to make it work).


It's not exactly that easy. We added an ID for Olegil to try a card in his PCI-Express dev board adaptor and it apparently did not "just work". Hopefully we'll have time at some point to look more into what else is goign on there.


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Samwel 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 18:22:27
#62 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@sg2

Quote:

Putting anything on board and reducing the number of slots is just making choices in place of the user, and there will always be some complaining that this is not in line with their wishes, while favoring expansion slots allows for 100% matching (but then, 3 PCI ain't enough).


What about performance? I mean putting harddrive interfaces on PCI slots.
Is that really wise? All PCI slots hasn't got 133MB/s each no?


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billt 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 18:28:24
#63 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3203
From: Maryland, USA

Quote:
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.


Problem is, how do you connect this soutnbridge? It's connection to the system is over Via's proprietary Vlink bus, not over PCI.

Through its support for the 8X V-Link interface, delivering data throughput speeds of up to 533MB/sec, the VT8237A is also fully compatible with existing VIA North Bridge solutions, giving OEMs and motherboard manufacturers additional flexibility in integrating new levels of advanced I/O functionality into their current platform designs.

You've got the right idea, jsut the wrong chip. Unfortunetaly the only chips we might be able to choose from are 686B or whatever is on Pegasos2, both of which are showing their age, might not be made ROHS compliant, and lack some of the more recent features.

P.S. It would be cool if someone could manage to get a Uli M1575 chip paired with a PLX 8111 PCI bridge for this purpose...

Last edited by billt on 19-May-2006 at 06:30 PM.


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gregthecanuck 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 18:59:20
#64 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Dec-2003
Posts: 846
From: Vancouver, Canada

This is all speculation so take it as that please...

It seems pretty obvious (at least to me) from Adam's posts that his high-end board will be using Tundra's Tsi109. It has dual Gig-E, DDR-400 RAM, etc... It even supports dual processors when that requirement comes along.

It has a single PCI bus controller running as either 64bit 133MHz PCI-X or 66MHz PCI.

To support PCI-Express there would need to be a bridge chip of some sort. PLX has a 4-lane PCI-X to PCI-E bridge (PLX 8114) or 1-lane PCI-66 to PCI-E bridge (PLX 8111).

If it was me as a buyer I would prefer to have 4-lane PCI-E support since this would be assumed to be used for a graphics card. 4-lane support also transitions nicely with Tundra's next generation Tsi110 which will support dual 4-lane PCI Express.

However, if the choice is made to go PCI-X to PCI-E then there aren't regular PCI slots. I presume that would mean another bridge chip to go from PCI-X to plain-jane PCI. However, if the plan was to go with 66MHz PCI and make a 'fake' AGP slot out of that then wouldn't a bridge be necessary anyway to support 33Mhz PCI?

The problem, as usual, is getting a decent price on the PLX8114. I only see a quote from back in 2004 quoting $30 "in volume". There is also the challenge of getting the OS4 drivers to support a few cards in this mode.

In summary, implementing PCI-Express:

PROS:
- It's PCI-Express! More competitive product
- Better graphic card selection

CONS:
- More costs (chip, real estate)
- Driver issues

Last edited by gregthecanuck on 19-May-2006 at 08:58 PM.
Last edited by gregthecanuck on 19-May-2006 at 08:56 PM.

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Angus 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 19:15:44
#65 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Feb-2005
Posts: 165
From: S.W. England

Will the PowerVixxen (for the 1200) have access to the Amiga chipset on the 1200 mobo and be able to use them for running WHDLoad games?

and....

Will it be using the PowerVixxen's CPU for this or the 1200's 68020?

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DaveAE 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 19:26:44
#66 ]
Super Member
Joined: 21-Mar-2003
Posts: 1091
From: The Netherlands

Quote:
Alan's posts

You mean Adam's posts...


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ackcontrls 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 19:44:50
#67 ]
Member
Joined: 22-Apr-2006
Posts: 92
From: Unknown

Quote:
What about performance? I mean putting harddrive interfaces on PCI slots.
Is that really wise? All PCI slots hasn't got 133MB/s each no?.


I've dedicated a 66MHz PCI slot for USB 2.0 + SATA. Which should leave more than enough bandwidth for most users.

ACK

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Fransexy 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 19:45:05
#68 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jun-2004
Posts: 2334
From: Elche (Alicante), spain

Good to heard about new hardware, but, I only will believe when i will see it , however I will wait it "desperately"


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olegil 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 20:44:12
#69 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Aug-2003
Posts: 5888
From: Work

Mesa don't get this:
Quote:

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.


And yet, I'm running PCI Express in my SE. Ok, so no 3D acceleration just yet, but both UBoot and OS4 supports my X300 for 2D.

Oh well, go figure


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gregthecanuck 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 21:00:25
#70 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Dec-2003
Posts: 846
From: Vancouver, Canada

@DaveAE

Quote:
You mean Adam's posts...


Yes, sorry Adam. Brain fart.

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Fransexy 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 21:20:09
#71 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jun-2004
Posts: 2334
From: Elche (Alicante), spain

Nobody noticed that:

Quote:

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.


What, if later AmigaInc not give him a licence?


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hatschi 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 19-May-2006 23:29:20
#72 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 1-Dec-2005
Posts: 2328
From: Good old Europe.

Quote:
What, if later AmigaInc not give him a licence?


Then Adam needs to kindly ask the Morphos-Team for a port.

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herewegoagain 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 1:35:54
#73 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 8-Jan-2003
Posts: 3270
From: Charlotte, NC

@hatschi

Quote:
Then Adam needs to kindly ask the Morphos-Team for a port.


Or we just buy a new Mac and forget about AmigaOS completely. Seriously. For me, this is the last chance. I've wasted too much of my life sitting here waiting for "the next coming".

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TheDungeonDelver 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 3:30:00
#74 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Apr-2004
Posts: 815
From: Unknown

Those of you going on about how a USB card + SATA card will eat up two PCI slots...

http://www.ciao.co.uk/SIIG_USB_2_0_FireWire_SATA_PATA_Combo__6276707

There you go. Pretty much all you'd need. That is, short of a sound card. So, sound, one of those above, and video, and this board should it ever come to fruition.


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umisef 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 5:05:01
#75 ]
Super Member
Joined: 19-Jun-2005
Posts: 1677
From: Melbourne, Australia

Quote:
Who is in need of GbE with OS4... Can be added afterwards in a slot :)


Not if the slot is a 32bit/33MHz PCI slot, it can't. Especially if your hard drives are hanging off the same PCI bus. 133MB/s theoretical peak, remember? In the case of, say, an RTL8169 based gigabit ethernet card, going at full throttle and NOT trying to use the same PCI bus for anything else, that translates to about 33MB/s real send throughput, OR (not and!) a nudge more for receive. Intel PCI gigabit network cards do better, but are still a far cry from "gigabit" performance when used in PCI 32/33 slots.

There is a reason for putting ethernet controllers and disk controllers into the northbridge --- classic PCI simply doesn't have the bandwidth to deal with today's networks and disks.

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Samwel 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 5:41:59
#76 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@umisef

That was my concern aswell. But Adam said he's put the USB and disk controller on a
dedicated 66MHz bus. But if this means a PCI slot or on the motherboard I don't know.

EDIT: After rereading I saw that he wrote a "PCI slot".

Although as long as this board will be "alive" there's really no need for gigabit network.

I for one would very much hope for harddrive support directly from the motherboard
on its own dedicated bus for best performance. Preferably both PATA and SATA.

Last edited by Samwel on 20-May-2006 at 05:53 AM.


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Samwel 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 5:52:53
#77 ]
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Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@ackcontrls

Thanks for the clarification.

What would the additional cost be if you put PATA or PATA+SATA on the motherboard?
And how much time/work would that take? I would really prefer that even if the price
was higher. Harddrive and optical drive performance is one of the main features, just
as important as a network port and USB is IMHO.

Is there also a special combo card that you recommend we buy?
I know of SiL0680, SiL3112/4, VIA USB2.0 combo cards that are quite cheap.


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jahc 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 6:13:08
#78 ]
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Joined: 30-May-2003
Posts: 2959
From: Auckland, New Zealand

Quote:
Those of you going on about how a USB card + SATA card will eat up two PCI slots...

http://www.ciao.co.uk/SIIG_USB_2_0_FireWire_SATA_PATA_Combo__6276707

There you go. Pretty much all you'd need. That is, short of a sound card. So, sound, one of those above, and video, and this board should it ever come to fruition.

But are there drivers for the chipsets on that card? If not, how long would it take to write some? If they need to be written, is there someone with time to even undertake it? And if thats all fine, will the performance be okay on that 66MHz PCI slot?

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Samwel 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 6:27:00
#79 ]
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Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

@jahc

This card should already be working.

Drivers for its PATA, SATA and USB already exists. Although with USB not in USB2.0 mode.
Firewire is not available for OS4 at all yet.

EDIT: The harddrive chip is Sil3112 and the USB supports OHCI in 1.1 mode..

Link to the card

Last edited by Samwel on 20-May-2006 at 06:41 AM.
Last edited by Samwel on 20-May-2006 at 06:28 AM.


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Samwel 
Re: ACK Software Controls IRC Log
Posted on 20-May-2006 6:51:47
#80 ]
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Joined: 7-Apr-2004
Posts: 3404
From: Sweden

I'd rather buy this card though as it supports four harddrive or optical units.
I already own a PATA harddrive and my DVD-burner also needs a PATA connector.
The SATA+PATA combo card only supports one SATA and one PATA unit.

USB+Firewire+UltraATA133 RAID combo


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