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Documentation about the Vampire hardware

Ethernet NIC On V4 Progress Report

Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4455
19 Jan 2020 10:31


Let me give you a quick status update on Vampire4 build in Ethernet chip.
 
The V4 SAGA comes with a self designed Ethernet chip.
The SAGA ethernet chip features:
  - 100 Mbit,
  - CRC offloading,
  - 64bit receiving DMA
  - full cache coherency
 
 
The DMA unit can direct access all 512 MB memory.
The receive DMA can reach full 100Mbit without using CPU cycles.
The DMA is fully cache coherent and does automatically update both Icache and Dcache of the CPU.
 
This 64bit DMA plus full coherence are a unique features
which NO Amiga network card ever before did provide.
 
Here is a first screenshot of a dump of some network packets received in memory

 
 
The Ethernet Chip as it is in testing atm
and as soon as the driver is finished written we will provide an update for all V4 owners.


Martin White

Posts 83
19 Jan 2020 12:13


Great to see progress! Sounds like this should be quite the upgrade over the existing modules solution.

On-board Nic and the "flash from OS" tool would mean the back could go on the case :)


Szyk Cech

Posts 191
19 Jan 2020 13:30


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

    Let me give you a quick status update on Vampire4 build in Ethernet chip.
The V4 SAGA comes with a self designed Ethernet chip.
   

   
    I am far from criticise such great project (Apollo Core), but correct me if I am wrong:
    Even PC mother boards manufacturers using stnadard chips (available in global market) and they NOT DEVELOP EVERY CHIPS THEY NEEED.
    The only reason to do this by yourself (what I can see) is: THIS IS FANCY TASK. I suppose that this will be far more expensive than using standard chip(s). Same for USB and SATA...


Gilles Dridi

Posts 31
19 Jan 2020 13:50


Hello,

Great !

In fact, was waiting this to « own » a V4SA.

Keep the faith


Roy Gillotti

Posts 372
19 Jan 2020 13:58


Szyk Cech wrote:

 
Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

      Let me give you a quick status update on Vampire4 build in Ethernet chip.
    The V4 SAGA comes with a self designed Ethernet chip.
     

     
      I am far from criticise such great project (Apollo Core), but correct me if I am wrong:
      Even PC mother boards manufacturers using stnadard chips (available in global market) and they NOT DEVELOP EVERY CHIPS THEY NEEED.
      The only reason to do this by yourself (what I can see) is: THIS IS FANCY TASK. I suppose that this will be far more expensive than using standard chip(s). Same for USB and SATA...
 

  FFS... it's being implemented in the FPGA core itself, it's not costing anything more than just development time.
 
  It's something if the Apollo 68080 chip was developed into an ASIC that would be on the chip itself.


Mr-Z EdgeOfPanic

Posts 185
19 Jan 2020 14:40


Another advantage is that you do not depend on the availability of the chip itself and getting hold of documentation to develop the driver, or have to reverse engineer development what is even worse.

Also it makes it easier to implement in future models of the Vampire.
Maybe more work at first but after that you can develop a new model much quicker and cheaper.


Kyle Blake
(Needs Verification)
Posts 108/ 1
19 Jan 2020 15:01


Szyk Cech wrote:

 
Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

      Let me give you a quick status update on Vampire4 build in Ethernet chip.
  The V4 SAGA comes with a self designed Ethernet chip.
     

     
      I am far from criticise such great project (Apollo Core), but correct me if I am wrong:
      Even PC mother boards manufacturers using stnadard chips (available in global market) and they NOT DEVELOP EVERY CHIPS THEY NEEED.
      The only reason to do this by yourself (what I can see) is: THIS IS FANCY TASK. I suppose that this will be far more expensive than using standard chip(s). Same for USB and SATA...
 

 
  To use PC ethernet chips you must first implement the bus that chip talks.
 
  In other "new Amiga" project, OS4, they were all about using industry standard chips. In their sales volumes it isn't cheaper than going full custom in fpga - and they often don't even have drivers anyway.
 
  The vampire concept is all about extending Amiga hardware on it's own terms, not building bridges and adaptors to PC hardware. Why? Because they want to and can.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4455
19 Jan 2020 16:03


Kyle Blake wrote:

Why? Because they want to and can.

     
This is fully correct.
We do this simply because we can do it
and because we want the perfect solution.   
   
We use 68080 CPU because we can develop a great CPU.
   
Exactly the same goes for the other components.
We use our own Network chip - because we want a solution perfectly
matching Amiga - yes using a solution "from the shelve" like others do would surely be less work but would also been less "perfect" matching Amiga.
 
Ask yourself what made AMIGA the Amiga?
Was it that they used the simplest of the shelve chips (like ATARI ST?), or was it that Amiga engineers tried to develop better chips?
 
The answer is clear.
 
You can ask yourself the same question about Amiga NG?
Do they follow the spirit of Amiga? Or not?


Wawa T

Posts 690
19 Jan 2020 18:38


in what form will the driver be available? as a *.device binary file?


Olaf Schoenweiss

Posts 551
19 Jan 2020 19:15


it is great that here hardware developers, driver developers and OS developers work tightly together as it should be

that is not always the case obvously...


Eric Gus

Posts 362
20 Jan 2020 08:16


wawa t wrote:

in what form will the driver be available? as a *.device binary file?

I am going to guess two parts, 1. a core update adding the new hardware definition to the core, 2. an OS device driver.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 4455
20 Jan 2020 08:38


eric gus wrote:

wawa t wrote:

  in what form will the driver be available? as a *.device binary file?
 

 
  I am going to guess two parts, 1. a core update adding the new hardware definition to the core, 2. an OS device driver.

It will be a JIC update for the FPGA, a device driver for OS 1/2/3, and for AROS a hidd driver.



Wawa T

Posts 690
20 Jan 2020 18:54


actually aros should be fine with a device driver in a default format for the time being, so no hurry with hidd i guess.


Carles Bernat Martorell

Posts 7
07 Feb 2020 17:07


This is amazing, this network chip should run circles around any existing amiga solution. Congratulations! I wonder if you are planning a similar implementation for USB.

posts 14