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Co-Processors

Kaosmaster RJ

Posts 3
14 Mar 2017 15:36


I was wondering if it would be theoretically possible to have on a vampire (better on a natami) a commercial ASIC processor used as coprocessor *ALONG* with the main FPGA. Sort of Parallel Computing stuff.

I mean,hypothetical. Create a similar architecture: Apollo FPGA system governance while an ASIC CPU like an AMD/INTEL classic CPU to feed raw computing power. Surely this will need to re-write software...




Szyk Cech

Posts 97
14 Mar 2017 17:30


That is craziest idea ever!!! You don't think in Vampire way - one processor to rule them all!!! You should pass an ideological training before your next post. To do this you must read Commodore A500 Programming Manual. Otherwise you will still asking stupid questions like above...


Michal Warzecha

Posts 149
14 Mar 2017 18:36


Question was not stupid. I was just not fit to Your Vampire look.
  Using FPGA gives you hipotetical infinite possibilities to create hardware, so, it's possible to create "bridge" to use another CPU as cooprocessor. Best example is Blizzard PPC or Cyberstorm PPC. And, of course whole Amiga mainboard where You can find standard motorola CPU and "cooprocessors" like Amiga chipsets (not exactly true, but something like that :D ).
  But Apollo team try to push their Apollo core to the limits and give you possibility to forget about any other CPUs. Besides your idea is more like emulation, Apollo team don't want to emulate anything (like many ppl still understand CPU created inside FPGA) but they try to make Apollo CPU more complex to extremely speed up your Amiga even in FPGA running "only" on 100MHz.


Wawa T

Posts 166
14 Mar 2017 22:13


neither transputer boards nor the ppc companion chips have been an efficient solution. if they were, they would have been more popular and effectively the platform would have survived thanks such approach. it did not. if you want run x86, arm or x64 code you already have hardware at hand. there even is jit 68k emulation for these architectures and amiga source compatible system in form of aros, if you want one.


Daniel Sevo

Posts 128
14 Mar 2017 22:27


kaosmaster RJ wrote:

  I was wondering if it would be theoretically possible to have on a vampire (better on a natami) a commercial ASIC processor used as coprocessor *ALONG* with the main FPGA. Sort of Parallel Computing stuff.
 
  I mean,hypothetical. Create a similar architecture: Apollo FPGA system governance while an ASIC CPU like an AMD/INTEL classic CPU to feed raw computing power. Surely this will need to re-write software...
 
 

 
  Actually, if you look at the FPGA Arcade or any "developer board" you can buy from Xilinx or Altera they usually host the FPGA + usually an ARM CPU. On the FPGA Arcade, the ARM CPU is a "system controller" doing all the I/O stuff I guess..
  If one imagines replacing the ARM CPU with an Intel Atom, it's not that far-fetched.
  However, if you look at how the team has approached this, you will understand it is not what they are after.
  Also..Writing code to run natively on the Atom while running the main OS/code on the 68k FPGA would be "unholy" and would probably require some kind of emulation layers in-between... Not saying its technically impossible, but it would not be consistent with the way the Apollo team has done things..


OneSTone O2o

Posts 96
14 Mar 2017 23:13


Daniel Sevo wrote:

    Actually, if you look at the FPGA Arcade or any "developer board" you can buy from Xilinx or Altera they usually host the FPGA + usually an ARM CPU. ...
 

 
  Apollo team uses Cyclone series of FPGA from Altera. Altera is an Intel brand since about a year or so. I have read, that Intel plans to release XEON server CPU with Altera FPGA into one chip ("reconfigurable hardware"). Could be interesting, but not for Amiga or ST platform as nobody would be able to adapt interesting Amiga or ST software to the Xeon. It could be interesting for a PC workstation, using a XEON with integrated FPGA, UAE/Hatari configures FPGA with Apollo core and then let the Amiga/ST emulator use a real 68K CPU instead of software-CPU. But software 68K CPU inside UAE/Hatari on a Core-i- or XEON processor will be currently much faster than Apollo in a FPGA.


Thierry Atheist

Posts 237
14 Mar 2017 23:46


I think that the best thing is having a second FPGA on the Vampire board that runs strictly 68080 code, as a co-processor. So, all 68K and FPU and AMMX stuff, just not S-AGA. It has it's own 1 or 2 Gigs of RAM. It would run something really simple, a custom OS, just enough to interface with the initial AOS running on the other FPGA, so that slave routines and results can be passed back and forth. A custom 32, 64 or 128 bit data transfer path. Or, it's a full 68080 with S-AGA, and it generates graphics like when 2 graphics cards are used in SLI on windows x86 computers. Maybe both FPGAs can output video into the same HDMI output, so that data doesn't need to be sent back to the RAM accessible by the main FPGA.


Heyden M

Posts 7
15 Mar 2017 10:24


To the thread starter...

I will try to simplify the following... I hope it makes sense.

Almost everyone in the thread thinks the idea is crazy. However, when looking at the x86 there is a huge difference from Pentium onwards... and the difference continues to grow. The difference is that the code in the CPU is interpreted and then acted on. So... it already is kind of an emulation in hardware. This means there is the front and backed of the architecture. So, this is sort of what you are talking about. I don't see how your proposal would practically make sense though.


Kaosmaster RJ

Posts 3
15 Mar 2017 11:30


Undoubtedly it is a bizarre idea and I think I have remarked that this was a very hypothetical perspective. Guess Daniel Sevo as answered at my question.Thanks.
   
    If it would make more sense, it could be also thinked as adding commercial DSP's or other large scale (=cheap) ASIC 'co-processing' units... Just to avoid the pure CPU question.
   
    I am not requesting Vampire crew to do it, they have already a lot of work on the road. It was more a question like: 'it could be done?'


Gunnar von Boehn
(Apollo Team Member)
Posts 2396
15 Mar 2017 12:25


kaosmaster RJ wrote:

  It was more a question like: 'it could be done?'
 

 
  Of course everything could "in theory" be done.
 
  "In theory" Men could build a base on Moon.
  "In theory" Men could in live in peace together.
  "In theory" even your ex-girlfriend could come back to you.
 
  But much more likely is that we at some point in time produce APOLLO 68080 ASICs and sell them as accelerators for ARM, PPC and x86 customers.


Wawa T

Posts 166
15 Mar 2017 13:55


i think before one ask himself if something could be done, he needs to ask first: why?


Luc Starr

Posts 2
15 Mar 2017 22:58


Gunnar von Boehn wrote:

  But much more likely is that we at some point in time produce APOLLO 68080 ASICs and sell them as accelerators for ARM, PPC and x86 customers.

An APOLLO 68080 ASIC in 2019 would be a fantastic way to celebrate the 68000's 40th anniversary.


posts 12