Overview Features Coding Performance Forum Downloads Products OrderV4 Contact

Welcome to the Apollo Forum

This forum is for people interested in the APOLLO CPU.
Please read the forum usage manual.



All TopicsNewsPerformanceGamesDemosApolloVampireAROSWorkbenchATARIReleases
Documentation about the Vampire hardware

The Future of the V2 Boards

Edgar Fink

Posts 43
04 Nov 2021 15:34


I really like my V1200 card and I bet owners of the other V2 cards also enjoy having such a powerful accelerator in their Amiga.

That said, I would like to ask to some direct questions to the Apollo Team:

1. Will ApolloOS ever support V2 boards?
2. Will updated cores be released for the V2s?
3. Are the V2 line of cards officially deprecated and unsupported?
3.a. If yes, can you give me some more background as to why the V2 cards now has this status? I saw a mention in another thread about a separate company creating the V2 cards, perhaps I misunderstood.
3.b. If no, then why is there no (apparent) development activity on the V2 line of cards?

The reason I ask these questions is that I feel disappointed and somewhat disgruntled as a customer that the V2 cards are now 2nd class citizens compared to the V4s, even though I paid 450 euros for the V1200 little over a year ago. Also, it seems that questions in these forums about V2 cards are mostly left unanswered by the Apollo Team members (no discord is not for everyone).


Bartek Kuchta

Posts 41
04 Nov 2021 20:40


EXTERNAL LINK


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
05 Nov 2021 08:18


Hello Edgar,

Mostly all your question were answered and explained here before.
But I gladly will answer them again.

Edgar Fink wrote:

  1. Will ApolloOS ever support V2 boards?

ApolloOS does support V2 cards.

Edgar Fink wrote:

  2. Will updated cores be released for the V2s?

Yes, as announced, the next "global" update release including all V2 cards is planned for December this year.

Edgar Fink wrote:

  3. Are the V2 line of cards officially deprecated and unsupported?

The V2 cards are officially end of production.
After 6 years of production and support of the V2,
the FPGA model which the V2 cards are based on, is not produced anymore. This means that no V2 cards can be produced anymore.
Also the capacity of the FPGA used on the V2 cards is full.
This does prevent adding more features to them.

Edgar Fink wrote:

  3.a. If yes, can you give me some more background as to why the V2 cards now has this status?

The V2 FPGA is limited and possibilities and is not produced anymore by its vendor.
The V4 range uses a newer, better and bigger FPGA.
The V4 range of cards offers you improved features like 512 MB memory instead 128 MB, 16Bit Audio, 100MBit Ethrenet, USB, and many more.

Edgar Fink wrote:

I saw a mention in another thread about a separate company creating the V2 cards, perhaps I misunderstood.

Yes the V2 was solely produced by Igor.

Edgar Fink wrote:

  3.b. If no, then why is there no (apparent) development activity on the V2 line of cards?

There is ongoing support.
And the new update release ("8") is scheduled for the end of the year.

Edgar Fink wrote:

Also, it seems that questions in these forums about V2 cards are mostly left unanswered by the Apollo Team members (no discord is not for everyone).

This could simply be that not all people here in the forum have the card or know the answer to the question you ask for - and that most people doing active support are in the Discord channel active.



Nick Fellows

Posts 123
05 Nov 2021 10:15


I've also got a V1200 (v2) question.
Given that theres currently no possiblity to fit the AGA core on the
V2 device.
  Is there any possibility of a "Soft Copy" from an AGA screen to RTG screen?
Does the 68080 architecture have enough speed to copy AGA -> RTG in software? If this is possible what sort of overhead and would there be limitations?


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
05 Nov 2021 12:55


nick fellows wrote:

Is there any possibility of a "Soft Copy" from an AGA screen to RTG screen?

What do you mean by this?
When you say "AGA Screen" do you think of AGA game here?
Or on what do you think?


Edgar Fink

Posts 43
05 Nov 2021 15:17


Thanks for your answers Gunnar.

ApolloOS does support V2 cards.

I was not aware of that, perhaps you guys should communicate it more clearly so V2 owners can test the OS. The last time I tried booting ApollOS on my V1200 with the AROS rom it was unbootable. I needed to revert many patches to get it working again. Are you running your own private repo of ApollOS where V1200 support has been added back? I could not find a commit doing that here: EXTERNAL LINK 
It is hard to know if a card is supported by ApolloOS, when you do not announce it or document it. If you have guide a on how boot ApolloOS on a V1200, please share it. I think at least some of the V2 owners would be interested.

Yes, as announced, the next "global" update release including all V2 cards is planned for December this year.

I guess I missed that announcement. Sorry about that.

The V2 cards are officially end of production.
After 6 years of production and support of the V2,
the FPGA model which the V2 cards are based on, is not produced anymore. This means that no V2 cards can be produced anymore.
Also the capacity of the FPGA used on the V2 cards is full.
This does prevent adding more features to them.

Alright.

The V2 FPGA is limited and possibilities and is not produced anymore by its vendor.
The V4 range uses a newer, better and bigger FPGA.
The V4 range of cards offers you improved features like 512 MB memory instead 128 MB, 16Bit Audio, 100MBit Ethrenet, USB, and many more.

So, the V2 FPGA EOL was not known by the Apollo Team a year ago when I bought the card? I would have appreciated more communication a year ago that the V1200 was a dead end, perhaps then I would have waited a year or more for the V4 line of cards or invested my money elsewhere.


This could simply be that not all people here in the forum have the card or know the answer to the question you ask for - and that most people doing active support are in the Discord channel active.

For some reason V1200 questions seem to go unanswered, or very sparingly answered, on Discord as well. Most communication on Discord seems very V4 oriented.


Nick Fellows

Posts 123
05 Nov 2021 15:33


A game would be a good example i suppose but could just as well be the workbench.
 
  The idea being to copy the contents of the current native amiga display onto an rtg display. Blit it from one display to another.
 
  I realise this would be more complex than that (eg , sprites , copper etc) . Just wondering what IS and what IS NOT feasible.
 
  ie. can we with software only redirect AGA graphics to RTG to avoid the need for 2 displays or 2 hdmi cables.
 
 


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
06 Nov 2021 01:04


Edgar Fink wrote:

So, the V2 FPGA EOL was not known by the Apollo Team a year ago when I bought the card?

That the FPGA model was end of live, this is no news, this is public knowledge, and this was never a secret.
Igor who designed the V2 range, selected this FPGA type for his V1 and V2 project. All the V2 cards from him use the same EOL FPGA models. Before Igor produced his 1st card Vampire card for the A600 - the FPGA manufacturer already announced that the FPGA will go end of live. If you google the name of the FPGA model, then you could very clearly read all this. And you could have read this all the last 7 years.
 
But also other developers in the Amiga scene did exactly the same.
E.g. the Mist Guy and others did also pick EOL FPGA models for their cards. Before the 1st Mist was soldered, the model used on it was already declared EOL.

So you might wonder why the Mist guy or Igor selected EOL FPGA?
The answer is easy, because they knew the model and could develop something very quickly with it.

Using a newer FPGA will require you to first get used to the features of the new range and this will take time, sometimes a long time. This means developing a new card with new technology can take much longer.
As you certainly know we did start the development of the V4 Card range 4 years ago. Getting used to the new FPGA model took a lot time.

 
Edgar Fink wrote:

would have appreciated more communication a year ago that the V1200 was a dead end,

The V4 did came out _before_ the V1200.
The V4 came with newer memory technology,
The V4 came with 4 times the amount of Memory,
The V4 came with a brand new FPGA model,
The V4 came with a twice as big FPGA
and lot more features (Ethernet, USB).
Isn't it so obviously the newer and better card?
I think, that it was always clearly communicated we did develop the V4 to create a basis of new cards.

But this does not make the V2 cards bad.
Not at all. The V2 cards have thanks to the 68080 CPU excellent performance. And Amiga fans buy today new 68030 cards, or 68060 cards. The CPUs on these cards are all EOL and also often other chips on them are EOL. All the CPUs on these cards are all used, desoldered,refurbished 20-30 years old chips.



Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
06 Nov 2021 01:09


nick fellows wrote:

A game would be a good example

What you can do is open the Workbench Screen on RTG.

But redirecting an AGA game to RTG this of course does not works.
As you correctly said already the AMIGA display is a DMA based display. With DMA channels loading the Planar data, and more DMA channels loading the Sprites and this is then "composed" together.
And another DMA channel feeds the Copper which in real time often changes colors and reprograms Sprite DMA channels in real time.

The Amiga Display is not a simple "frame-buffer".
A simple frame-buffer could easily be re-directed.
But a multi channels DMA based compositions as the Amiga display - this you can not redirect.


Manfred Bergmann

Posts 219
07 Nov 2021 08:38


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

That the FPGA model was end of live, this is no news, this is public knowledge, and this was never a secret.
Igor who designed the V2 range, selected this FPGA type for his V1 and V2 project. All the V2 cards from him use the same EOL FPGA models. Before Igor produced his 1st card Vampire card for the A600 - the FPGA manufacturer already announced that the FPGA will go end of live. If you google the name of the FPGA model, then you could very clearly read all this. And you could have read this all the last 7 years.

This of course assumes that a consumer actually goes to the FPGA manufacturers web page (which manufacturer is that btw?) and looks it up. I don't see that the ordinary consumer does that, nor that he should do that.
That the FPGA used for the V2 cards is EOL is also new to me. I thought you just chose a bigger one that is more suitable for future developments.



Nick Fellows

Posts 123
07 Nov 2021 21:05


I see so there are no real shortcuts to full emulation of the AGA chips - which would be to taxing i imagine for the 68080. It was a nice thought exersize


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
07 Nov 2021 23:01


Manfred Bergmann wrote:

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

That the FPGA model was end of live, this is no news, this is public knowledge, and this was never a secret.

This of course assumes that a consumer actually

 
Yes, that the consumer understand what electronics are - and how the market of electronics works in the world we live in.
 
If you today buy a new TV.
This model might in 2 years not be on the market anymore.
And you might not get any spare parts for it.
Instead new models, new generations are on the market.
 
But its simply a fact that chips today get replaced with new ones.
You all know this yourself, if you buy a new smart phone today,
then the CPU chip inside your brand new smart phone,
might in 2 years not even be produced anymore.
It will be replaced by the next generation by then.
 
You all know this, right?
This is just normal today in this world.
 
As you know the V2 accelerator cards are unchanged on the market now for around 6-7 years. They used old FPGA chips and they used very old memory chips.
 
Its no wonder that at some point these chips are simply not available anymore.
 
I'm sure you fully understand this.

We do not have our own Chip fab, we need to buy chips on the market.
You know and understand how the market works.
Chips are replaced after some time, by the next generation.
We have not influence on this.

What we did is anticipate this and we did develop the a new replacement card the V4.
The V4 uses an FPGA which is 2 generations newer, and it uses main memory which is 3 generations younger.
We did very openly develop a replacement cards using the "newest" technology to make sure this can be produced for many years to come.
We did always openly speak about this.


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 5581
07 Nov 2021 23:05


nick fellows wrote:

I see so there are no real shortcuts to full emulation of the AGA chips

Amiga its a great design.
The Amiga desing idea using a smart and efficient chipset to get a fast machine that is highly efficient.

Emulations a chipset with a CPU is totally against the spirit of the Amiga - its wasteful, its slow, its not elegant.

The V4 cards fully follow the Amiga philosophie.
And they have full, smart and efficient AGA chipset inside.


Manfred Bergmann

Posts 219
08 Nov 2021 14:30


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

If you today buy a new TV.
This model might in 2 years not be on the market anymore.
And you might not get any spare parts for it.
Instead new models, new generations are on the market.

That unfortunately sounds like the world we live in.


John William

Posts 480
22 Nov 2021 21:49


Manfred Bergmann wrote:

Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  If you today buy a new TV.
  This model might in 2 years not be on the market anymore.
  And you might not get any spare parts for it.
  Instead new models, new generations are on the market.
 

 
  That unfortunately sounds like the world we live in.

Don't worry...for Amiga it is slower for that to happen. I have V4 myself, all these new cards are V4 and V4 was released four years ago...so you are getting V4 in your Amiga classic with different name and possible shape. You either buy V4 or use V4 on your classic, so it will be a while before there is a V5 to come out. What we need, is that for every 2 years or every 6 month new technology comes out as hardware...that ideology need to be applied for Amiga in terms of software. We need new applications or games every six month or less. This is what Amiga is lacking. Not hardware. Software. Please don't throw at my face, then code yourself. I did. I made games for Amiga already. I am waiting for my final game code to be compiled by a friend who still have not communicated with me and my game also includes an editor. So I am putting my effort at my max capacity. Time everyone else chip in coding and make application or games for Amiga...not hardware. That is already taking care of by the team, as you can see.

Game I made, but waiting for it to be compiled: EXTERNAL LINK 


Edgar Fink

Posts 43
23 Nov 2021 15:08


@Gunnar:

Following up on the good news that V2 cards are supported on ApolloOS ... Where can I find the instructions on how to boot ApolloOS on the V1200? If no such documentation exists perhaps you can share how to do it here?

And why are you doing development on ApolloOS in a private repo? Or did I misunderstand the dark side of the moon reference/joke on discord?. I thought that ApolloOS was to be kept Open Source as previously stated. 


Sean Sk

Posts 442
23 Nov 2021 23:23


Edgar Fink wrote:

And why are you doing development on ApolloOS in a private repo?

 
Since when is it private? It's right here!
 
EXTERNAL LINK


Edgar Fink

Posts 43
24 Nov 2021 09:20


I am of course aware of that repo. I don't see support for the V1200 has been added back since I last tried to build ApolloOS (around 29th of july), so I guess it is not.
 
  As far as I can tell the V1200 stopped working after this commit:
  EXTERNAL LINK
 
  Since the V2 cards are said to be supported I thought that perhaps some work had been done elsewhere. Sorry about the tone in my post, I clearly misunderstood a joke on discord.
 
  As noted in the above commit:
 
Note: to simplify the development process, support for CDROM/FastIDE and other adaptors has been removed.  Once this driver has proven it is stable, this
  can be re-introduced.

 
  Perhaps, this reintroduction is right around the corner, since CDROM has recently been added back I see. :)

posts 18