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Mr Niding

Posts 388
06 Aug 2018 08:50


@Steve Ferrell
 
  I could not agree more!
 
When you start to introduce foreign hardware, you set yourself up for driver hell. Everyone wants THEIR addon hardware to be supported, and it becomes a new distraction away from core development.
 
I guess whats been said; there are interface connectors on the board, and if third parties wants to develop hardware, be our guest. If drivers are needed, knock yourself out etc.
 
Im sure everyone wants their 1080 card with Mk2 PCIe SSD to work for max storage and speed, but imagine the workload and manhours required to pull it off.

Just look at the state of AOS 4.x, PPC and Aeon vs Hyperion. Its a mess.
 
A nice, neat and COMPACT solution is the way to go. It keeps the focus 100% on the core, and would make developement easier since its less "stuff" to consider. Right Steve? You are a developer, so Im sure you have a thing or two to say about this topic.


Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
06 Aug 2018 09:49


Mr Niding wrote:

  @Steve Ferrell
   
    I could not agree more!
   
  A nice, neat and COMPACT solution is the way to go. It keeps the focus 100% on the core, and would make developement easier since its less "stuff" to consider. Right Steve? You are a developer, so Im sure you have a thing or two to say about this topic.
 

 
Yes, I've seen feature-creep doom more than a few hardware and software projects.  It's imperative to stay focused on a project's design goals, not only to keep costs down but to also reduce complexity and enhance efficiency and to keep one's customer base happy.  The original design goal was and still is to recreate a modern 68K CPU to run classic AmigaOS.  Unfortunately there are a handful of folks who think it's a great idea to morph this project into an x86 FPGA and/or PPC FPGA project.  Gunnar and his team already have enough on their plates and have milestones and deadlines that they're trying very hard to meet (and doing a great job I might add).  If they allow feature-creep to influence the project, they will likely not satisfy any of their customers by delivering a much delayed and substandard product that doesn't do anything well.  It makes no sense from either an engineering standpoint or from a financial standpoint to recreate CPU architectures in an FPGA that are still being produced in ASIC form such as PPC and x86.
 


Daniel Sevo

Posts 270
06 Aug 2018 10:32


Steve Ferrell wrote:

 
  Yes, I've seen feature-creep doom more than a few hardware and software projects.  It's imperative to stay focused on a project's design goals, not only to keep costs down but to also reduce complexity and enhance efficiency and to keep one's customer base happy.  The original design goal was and still is to recreate a modern 68K CPU to run classic AmigaOS.  Unfortunately there are a handful of folks who think it's a great idea to morph this project into an x86 FPGA and/or PPC FPGA project.  Gunnar and his team already have enough on their plates and have milestones and deadlines that they're trying very hard to meet (and doing a great job I might add).  If they allow feature-creep to influence the project, they will likely not satisfy any of their customers by delivering a much delayed and substandard product that doesn't do anything well.  It makes no sense from either an engineering standpoint or from a financial standpoint to recreate CPU architectures in an FPGA that are still being produced in ASIC form such as PPC and x86.
 

+1!
Spot on, though I imagine some people look at projects like FPGA Arcade with "multiple core" implementations and think this is the same thing. It's not.



Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4169
06 Aug 2018 12:52


Daniel Sevo wrote:

Spot on, though I imagine some people look at projects like FPGA Arcade with "multiple core" implementations and think this is the same thing. It's not.

existing x86 FPGA cores are slower than running PC-Task on AMIGA with APOLLO.

Besides our goal is to improve the 68K Core.
So using PC-Task on Apollo 68080 is an idea following our main goal.


Markus B

Posts 100
06 Aug 2018 16:09


It's nice to see that PC-Task can be improved, but that's more for the fun of it.

Was anybody able to contact the author to make the source code available?

Besides endianess conversion, is there anything time consuming in the emulation which can be accelerated with special instructions implemented in the AC? Or can it be all covered by AMMX?


Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
06 Aug 2018 18:25


Markus B wrote:

It's nice to see that PC-Task can be improved, but that's more for the fun of it.
 
  Was anybody able to contact the author to make the source code available?
 
  Besides endianess conversion, is there anything time consuming in the emulation which can be accelerated with special instructions implemented in the AC? Or can it be all covered by AMMX?

According to some other folks on here who have contacted the author, he wants to keep PC-Task closed source even though he's allowing free distribution of version 4.  I hope this means that he's working on a paid version that supports the 68080/SAGA and SounBlaster audio.  I'd be willing to pay for an updated version that supports the Vampire rather than wait for someone to update DOS-Box.



Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1422
06 Aug 2018 18:30


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

    Besides our goal is to improve the 68K Core.
    So using PC-Task on Apollo 68080 is an idea following our main goal.
   

   
    That would be great, to at least enter the 386/486 arena at least in terms of gaming, further then ScumVM etc. However, Sound Blaster and CD-ROM as well as some nice SVGA needs to be there and 8-32MB extended RAM. So PC-Task would need some cross-mutation with DOSBox and    PCx Demo V2.1  by  jimdrew@aol.com (Jim Drew) with end result 080 optimization.
   
    I am all looking forward to it. Maybe even implementing some 486 or 386 instructions to V4+ FPGA is faster way. Dont know.
   
    I "see" even Joerg Richter "once released" a 486 emulator
    EXTERNAL LINK    with valuable IBM font :-)
   
 
Steve Ferrell wrote:

  According to some other folks on here who have contacted the author, he wants to keep PC-Task closed source even though he's allowing free distribution of version 4.  I hope this means that he's working on a paid version that supports the 68080/SAGA and SounBlaster audio.  I'd be willing to pay for an updated version that supports the Vampire rather than wait for someone to update DOS-Box.
 
 

 
  It would be best if PC Task is continue and 5.x on sale, would buy that immediately. Vampire support would be expected, same way 020, 040 etc. executables are delivered.

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  Besides our goal is to improve the 68K Core.
  So using PC-Task on Apollo 68080 is an idea following our main goal.

I have agree from end user perspective. Its far better to update and fix one core and provide optimized emulation as gateway to new applications and games, then to have 40 unmaintained cores that give basic options of each "system".

While way 1 is slower (since way 2 is now to converting existing cores to fit used FPGA) it somehow extends Amiga ecosystem apps in similar manner OS4 backporting from Linux and MorphOS (and even AROS) has done so far. Its good way forward, when nothing else is avail (like on Amiga scene).


M Rickan

Posts 170
06 Aug 2018 20:01


Steve Ferrell wrote:

  That would be what is known as an x86 motherboard.

No, I'm referring to hybrid boards with different processors - some of which are being sold with reverse-engineered x86 chips.

Again... no one is advocated anything as far as the Vampire is concerned. It's all hypothetical.




Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
06 Aug 2018 22:43


m rickan wrote:

   
Steve Ferrell wrote:

      That would be what is known as an x86 motherboard.
   

   
    No, I'm referring to hybrid boards with different processors - some of which are being sold with reverse-engineered x86 chips.
   
    Again... no one is advocated anything as far as the Vampire is concerned. It's all hypothetical.
   
   
   

   
   
Reverse engineering an x86 processor and replicating it an FPGA is a huge step backward in terms of performance at an enormous cost.  The performance would drop by a factor of 10x or more and an FPGA with enough gates to replicate a modern x86 design would cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, not to mention the legal troubles you'd incur when Intel finds out that their chips are being copied.  Intel and AMD spent billions litigating this in times past. Multi-core Intel and AMD ASIC processors can be purchased for peanuts.  Here's an Intel Xeon X3363 for $12 USD and you can find motherboards for about the same amount with a little research.
   
EXTERNAL LINK   
Again, it makes absolutely no sense to replicate an x86 or PPC CPU inside an FPGA unless you're an engineering student who is learning system design techniques.  The performance hit and the cost of the FPGA board make it pointless otherwise.
 
And if you're planning to add an x86 or PPC ASIC to an FPGA board in some sort of hybrid as you call it, what's the point? That's the same as buying a motherboard and adding the CPU as most motherboards have FPGAs incorporated in them for the glue logic and other housekeeping functions.  Are you looking for some sort of convoluted way to spend lots of money for poor performance? Or are you advocating that someone recreate the wheel (AKA the motherboard)?


Gregthe Canuck

Posts 272
07 Aug 2018 02:09


Steve Ferrell wrote:

 
According to some other folks on here who have contacted the author, he wants to keep PC-Task closed source even though he's allowing free distribution of version 4. 

Hi Steve - according to whom? I haven't seen mention of that in this thread. Thx.




Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
07 Aug 2018 04:04


gregthe canuck wrote:

Steve Ferrell wrote:

 
  According to some other folks on here who have contacted the author, he wants to keep PC-Task closed source even though he's allowing free distribution of version 4. 
 

 
  Hi Steve - according to whom? I haven't seen mention of that in this thread. Thx.
 
 

It wasn't in this thread.  Here's Chris Hames' response in an old thread to a request to open source PC-Task into the public domain:  EXTERNAL LINK 
I could be wrong but I think Vojin was attempting to contact Chris about the possibility of a recompile to support the Vampire?  Could have been in one of the other forums as well, I'm getting old and my memory isn't what it once was. Or maybe I'm confusing this with Jim Drew and PCx.  I know he's upset with the fact the his emulator was being distributed with CoffinOS and asked that it be removed so he probably won't be updating his emulator to support the Vampire anytime soon.




Gregthe Canuck

Posts 272
07 Aug 2018 08:17


Hi Steve -

As far as I can see nobody has made recent contact with Chris Hames. That thread you mention is from 2010.

It is definitely challenging to get hold of Mr. Hames, and even more challenging to keep the facts from getting distorted in threads like this one. But that is all part of the Amiga "fun".




Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
07 Aug 2018 09:08


gregthe canuck wrote:

    Hi Steve -
   
    As far as I can see nobody has made recent contact with Chris Hames. That thread you mention is from 2010.
   
    It is definitely challenging to get hold of Mr. Hames, and even more challenging to keep the facts from getting distorted in threads like this one. But that is all part of the Amiga "fun".
   
   
   
   

   
Well, I see you've tried to contact him to no avail and ClusterUK has apparently reached him recently but Chris doesn't seem interested in updating PC-Task. 
   
EXTERNAL LINK   
I did come across several addresses but I haven't tried them:  <bytey@werple.apana.org.au> Chris Hames
 
Chris Hames (bytey@melbourne.dialix.oz.au) (pctask@quasar.dialix.au)
   

Here's a link to the thread where Jim Drew is pretty upset about PCx having been distributed on CoffinOS without his permission but he does state that he's working on an AMMX version for the Vampire.

EXTERNAL LINK 
   


Gregthe Canuck

Posts 272
07 Aug 2018 11:01


@Steve

Thanks for those email addresses. Haven't tried them before. Neither immediately bounced.

ClusterUK's recollection was "foggy" and he couldn't remember if that conversation was with Drew or Hames at the end of the day. (From a PM).

I would expect Drew to release a PCx with AMMX in about 2185. ;)



Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1422
07 Aug 2018 17:21


Steve Ferrell wrote:
 
      I could be wrong but I think Vojin was attempting to contact Chris about the possibility of a recompile to support the Vampire?
   

   
    No, I haven`t officially, but someone should. My comment on his rage was just that I see no point if PC Task is freely avail on Aminet and CoffinOS is just modernized AOS distro, but hey, its his call.
   
    Only other way is to somehow port BOSCHS to m68k or m68k Linux with 080 kernel EXTERNAL LINK
   
    BOSCHs is 486+ with CD, a Sound Blaster 16 card (ISA, no plug&play) or an ES1370 PCI, an NE2000 compatible network card (ISA / PCI) or an Intel(R) 82540EM Gigabit Ethernet adapter (PCI).
 
Bochs can be compiled to
emulate a 386, 486, Pentium, Pentium Pro or AMD64 CPU, including optional MMX, SSE, SSE2 and 3DNow! instructions.

  There is some quick and dirty OS4 port, if that helps anyhow
  EXTERNAL LINK 


Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
07 Aug 2018 20:55


gregthe canuck wrote:

@Steve
 
  Thanks for those email addresses. Haven't tried them before. Neither immediately bounced.
 
  ClusterUK's recollection was "foggy" and he couldn't remember if that conversation was with Drew or Hames at the end of the day. (From a PM).
 
  I would expect Drew to release a PCx with AMMX in about 2185. ;)
 

I was really surprised by the strong reaction from Jim especially in light of the fact that there's no way to purchase a licensed copy of PCx and there hasn't been a means to do so for years.
Personally I would have been flattered and a bit thankful for the free press/advertising received by having PCx included in CoffinOS, even if it was a hacked/buggy version.  Exposing Vampire users to his non-AMMX version of PCx would have been a great way to encourage Vampire users to pay for an upgraded, Vampire-enabled version but he obviously didn't see it that way.



Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1422
07 Aug 2018 22:20


Steve Ferrell wrote:

Exposing Vampire users to his non-AMMX version of PCx would have been a great way to encourage Vampire users to pay for an upgraded, Vampire-enabled version but he obviously didn't see it that way.

PC Task is too limited,it would need a serious rework.



Steve Ferrell

Posts 378
07 Aug 2018 22:34


Vojin Vidanovic wrote:

Steve Ferrell wrote:

  Exposing Vampire users to his non-AMMX version of PCx would have been a great way to encourage Vampire users to pay for an upgraded, Vampire-enabled version but he obviously didn't see it that way.
 

 
  PC Task is too limited,it would need a serious rework.
 

I think you meant to say PCx?



Vojin Vidanovic

Posts 1422
07 Aug 2018 23:08


Steve Ferrell wrote:

  I think you meant to say PCx?

Yes I see. Remind me who owns PCx and what can it emulate?



Tim Waite

Posts 18
08 Aug 2018 01:38


PCx was from Utilities Unlimited that Jim Drew and Joe Fenton worked at.  Later in 1995 they founded Microcode Solutions and sold a lot of the UU items with updated versions and removed the requirement of the Emplant board.

Joe Fenton ported PCx to MACOS later.
EXTERNAL LINK 
Here is some more history.
EXTERNAL LINK 
PCx demo on Aminet.
EXTERNAL LINK 



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