What CPU booster combination do people want ?

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What CPU booster combination do people want ?

STFM 68000 32mhz TOS104
23
12%
STFM 020 32mhz TOS206
13
7%
MEGA 68000 32mhz TOS104
10
5%
MEGA 020 32mhz TOS206
20
11%
STE 68000 32mhz TOS206
40
22%
STE 020 32mhz TOS206
42
23%
MSTE 68000 32mhz TOS 206
11
6%
MSTE 020 32mhz TOS206
26
14%
 
Total votes: 185

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby soviet9922 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:42 pm

A simple and basic 020 acelerator could be very nice on the ste, also it will be no so expensive getting hold off 68030 chips this days is not easy, if you look at amiga acelerators, like the aca 030 they do new baches when they can get 68030 and this chips are refurbished.

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:56 pm

soviet9922 wrote:A simple and basic 020 acelerator could be very nice on the ste, also it will be no so expensive getting hold off 68030 chips this days is not easy, if you look at amiga acelerators, like the aca 030 they do new baches when they can get 68030 and this chips are refurbished.


Price is always a problem, even more so with 020 and 030 CPU's. I've not looked at prices much, but anything past the 68000 is expensive. Its why I try to manufacture simple 68000 boosters , they are still pretty expensive to make even though they are basic designs.

As for the 020 system, what is "basic" ? Simply using a 020 and nothing more ? It wouldn't be much advantage is using a 020 like that. So the 020 will hopefully make use of 32bit access to alt-ram and ROM. This will double speed of the machine easy. Plus we know 32mhz speeds are possible. So the 020 will be as good as it can be. No use in going to the trouble to design a new booster just to cripple it to save a little cost.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby soviet9922 » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:51 pm

exxos wrote:
soviet9922 wrote:A simple and basic 020 acelerator could be very nice on the ste, also it will be no so expensive getting hold off 68030 chips this days is not easy, if you look at amiga acelerators, like the aca 030 they do new baches when they can get 68030 and this chips are refurbished.


Price is always a problem, even more so with 020 and 030 CPU's. I've not looked at prices much, but anything past the 68000 is expensive. Its why I try to manufacture simple 68000 boosters , they are still pretty expensive to make even though they are basic designs.

As for the 020 system, what is "basic" ? Simply using a 020 and nothing more ? It wouldn't be much advantage is using a 020 like that. So the 020 will hopefully make use of 32bit access to alt-ram and ROM. This will double speed of the machine easy. Plus we know 32mhz speeds are possible. So the 020 will be as good as it can be. No use in going to the trouble to design a new booster just to cripple it to save a little cost.


I don't whant to say that doing the acelerator is a simple job, just that i think most users like to get a faster st and keep it compatible with old software as much is possible so a 68000 acelerator or a 68020 is just great, no need to go to something complex and expensive.
I love to get one in any of the two cases.

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:56 pm

soviet9922 wrote:I don't whant to say that doing the acelerator is a simple job, just that i think most users like to get a faster st and keep it compatible with old software as much is possible so a 68000 acelerator or a 68020 is just great, no need to go to something complex and expensive.
I love to get one in any of the two cases.


I built the 68000 boosters for the STFM because they are most compatible. The poll was to see what people generally want. So as suspected, the STE will have the 020 running at its full potential.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby RA_pdx » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:57 pm

I would be happy about every booster for the STE/MegaSTE. :D

Personally i prefer an acceleration card with 68000, TOS 2.06 and FastRAM.

The 68000 CPU should be switchable to 8 MHz so you have 99% compatibility. With 68020 a lot of games and demos won't run. :(
Also FastRAM is nearly a must for a meaningful use of the higher CPU power :!:
Keep on your great work. :cheers:
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:05 pm

RA_pdx wrote:I would be happy about every booster for the STE/MegaSTE. :D

Personally i prefer an acceleration card with 68000, TOS 2.06 and FastRAM.

The 68000 CPU should be switchable to 8 MHz so you have 99% compatibility. With 68020 a lot of games and demos won't run. :(
Also FastRAM is nearly a must for a meaningful use of the higher CPU power :!:
Keep on your great work. :cheers:


Fast ram will run at CPU speed. Though the 020 is faster due to it being able to access 32bits. TOS206 would break more software than the 020. Just you have to have TOS206 to use the 020. So its not all down to the CPU itself for compatibility.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby troed » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:04 am

exxos wrote:TOS206 would break more software than the 020.


I would actually be quite surprised if that turned out to be true. Of course, I mainly run demos on my STE ... :P

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby shoggoth » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:39 pm

troed wrote:
exxos wrote:TOS206 would break more software than the 020.


I would actually be quite surprised if that turned out to be true. Of course, I mainly run demos on my STE ... :P


I have to agree. No way. Stack frame format and instruction cache (breaking self modifying code) cause much more trouble than TOS2.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby RA_pdx » Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:59 pm

By the way: Would be a STE speeder a solderless solution?
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby RA_pdx » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:07 pm

shoggoth wrote:
troed wrote:
exxos wrote:TOS206 would break more software than the 020.


I would actually be quite surprised if that turned out to be true. Of course, I mainly run demos on my STE ... :P


I have to agree. No way. Stack frame format and instruction cache (breaking self modifying code) cause much more trouble than TOS2.


Ditto, and all synchronized stuff won't work - even with 8 MHz - because of the faster 68020 instruction execution.

I also have TOS 2.06 in my 1040 STE and most stuff work with this TOS version.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:54 pm

This poll is still open for anyone who hasn't made a vote yet :)
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby Rustynutt » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:04 am

exxos wrote:
Atari030 wrote:Chris, how does 32Mhz STE compare to a stock MegaSTE? Just curious.

I don't own a MSTE personally, but Rodolphe does :)



Yea, he lucked out there :)

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby AlexSTE » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:24 pm

Exxos.
Just curious. Wouldn't it be beneficial to use 68010 instead 68000 for basic version of booster? Or on Atari it breaks a lot of compatibility?
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby rpineau » Tue Mar 22, 2016 11:59 pm

it breaks compatibility and requires TOS 2.06 (same as 68020).
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby Ragstaff » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:02 am

rpineau wrote:it breaks compatibility and requires TOS 2.06 (same as 68020).

That's a pity :( I thought it was pin and code compatible, I even read many years ago where a guy put one in his Amiga 500 and most things still worked (with a ~10% performance boost)

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby rpineau » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:34 am

The main one is the move to SR that is now privilege starting with the 68010. So even though games probably don't use as most switch to supervisor mode very early, the TOS 2.06 add support for this. You can see what the other differences are here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_68010
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Wed Mar 23, 2016 10:14 am

AlexSTE wrote:Exxos.
Just curious. Wouldn't it be beneficial to use 68010 instead 68000 for basic version of booster? Or on Atari it breaks a lot of compatibility?


This pops up now and then on the forum anyway, people have issues with it (dont know TOS version) Seems to be some issue reading desktop.inf. Not much use going to the trouble of a upgrade and not using the 020 anyway.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby ijor » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:27 pm

exxos wrote:I was really struggling to get the TOS ROM's working at 32mhz with the CPU. The ROM's are 45ns, using "chip enable" but I had to run them with just "output enable" to make them run as 20ns ROM's. With the delay of the GLUE logic, this pushed it up another 10ns or there abouts.


Chris, why you have to wait for GLUE? Use your own ROM chip select logic. Just keep in mind that BLITTER might access ROM as well.

A more drastic solution, if you want to work at even higher speeds, don't use ROM at all. Use something similar as PCs do, implement shadow RAM.

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:52 pm

ijor wrote:
exxos wrote:I was really struggling to get the TOS ROM's working at 32mhz with the CPU. The ROM's are 45ns, using "chip enable" but I had to run them with just "output enable" to make them run as 20ns ROM's. With the delay of the GLUE logic, this pushed it up another 10ns or there abouts.


Chris, why you have to wait for GLUE? Use your own ROM chip select logic. Just keep in mind that BLITTER might access ROM as well.

A more drastic solution, if you want to work at even higher speeds, don't use ROM at all. Use something similar as PCs do, implement shadow RAM.


Theres a lot of things going on at once. Of course STFM booster uses own decoding logic which is slightly faster. Though previous booster uses GLUE decoding which is slightly slower.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby ijor » Wed Mar 23, 2016 4:05 pm

exxos wrote:I was really struggling to get the TOS ROM's working at 32mhz with the CPU. The ROM's are 45ns, using "chip enable" but I had to run them with just "output enable" to make them run as 20ns ROM's. With the delay of the GLUE logic, this pushed it up another 10ns or there abouts.


rpineau wrote:.../CE permanently grounded which gives you a faster access but depending on the brand of EPROM doesn't always work as often ...


Ok. I checked your web site. It is still not clear to me what is the current issue regarding Fast Rom access ...
But here is another idea assuming grounding /CE permanently is still a problem:

Tie /CE directly to /AS, connect the decode logic only to /OE. This will save you a few ns, and might even save you from using your own decode logic.

Grounding /CE permanently will NOT make 45ns ROMS run at 20ns. There is still 45ns delay from address valid. So you actually only save about half cycle (because address is valid about half cycle earlier than /AS).

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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby Greenious » Fri May 13, 2016 11:59 am

Boosters... well, time for a trip down memory lane I guess, since this is one project of mine that sadly got shelved a few years back... :(

Since all my stuff, schematics, notes and whatnot is still in boxes I will need to recall this from memory, with all the dangers of remembering completely wrong... But..

As I remember it, all of the old accelerators mentioned used cache, and they cached the TOS-ROMs aswell. The best working of the lot was ICD ADSpeed, T28/T36 was a marvellous piece of hardware, but could be a f*kin b*tch to get to work in some ataris and I do suspect that a fair amount of them no longer work in their aged ataris, so, as marvellous as it was, they really stretched the margins...

My idea I had for an accelerator (first intended to make an ST version and later an STE version), would only cache the lower 4mb of STRam, I managed to source a number of those coveted cache tag rams at great expense, but realised early that caching TOS aswell would require me using 2 of them on the board... But since I also planned on adding 8mb fastram (alt-ram) (and I was also sketching on an idea I had with 16mb paged fastram), I figured I would load TOS into fastram at boot and get better speed. And since support for alt-ram was introduced in TOS2, naturally, that would have to be included aswell. I also was going to put an IDE interface on the board.

As my goal was compatibility, I never considered upgrading the CPU, since that would basically turn it into a new computer, I was however intensely looking for something that could "reinvent" the ST/STE, something that wouldn't break compatibility but could make a visible and/or audible improvement in demos/games that opt to use it, like the DSP in F030, and something that could be retrofitted to any ST/STE even without my board. I never did find anything that fit the bill. Atleast not at a reasonable cost.

Accelerating the ST hardware itself (MMU/GLUE/BLITTER) never really crossed my mind, for many reasons...
The blitter brings mixed emotions. It does accelerate TOS, but most games/demos don't use it, partly because activating it messes with timing, an often crucial element in both games and demos, but also because when you also account for the time lost handing the busmaster role over to the blitter and back to the CPU, it can do few things faster than the CPU itself using optimized 68k assembler. With a cached accelerator + software like NVDI, it does not really bring much to the table anymore imho. But then there is the problem of accelerating the customchips in general. If the stock ST could run at 16MHz, Atari themselves would have done it long ago, or they wouldn't have done the MSTE with what is basically an ADSpeed. And even if some customchips can run at a higher speed, you need to find the right iterations of the chip, replace logic on the mobo, replace the ramchips and whatnot... a lot of work for anyone, not to mention the average atarian, and would it still be compatible with the games/demos we all love?

And then there is the cost of the final thing...

But the retrocomputing hobby is expensive, the old ICs used are hard to source and often expensive. You make do with what you got and try your best during your free time to make something that works.

Oh well... just ramblings from an old (probably slightly demented) man...

With that said, I guess that my opinion is that a compatible accelerator probably would be a lot more useful to most, and find a bigger market, but ofcourse, I suspect a lot of ppl will want the CPU upgrade aswell.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Fri May 13, 2016 1:21 pm

Looking at the votes, most people just want the raw speed. a 32mhz 68000 will be most compatible. Though each "upgrade" is always going to break something. 020 will be somewhat faster but will likely break more stuff.

The STE 68000 32mhz booster should be here any day. I really want to move to a 020 CPU and get 32bit access to alt-ram and ROM next. Also I want to add IDE but I don't know much about IDE, so my design is untested. Its taking up 100% of my free time and cash to keep developing this stuff. When I am pretty much doing all this work on my own things are taking a lot longer than they really should. Im having to re-invent everything all the time :(

As for chipset speeds. the MMU can be double clocked along with the ST-RAM. So you can get 200% right off the bat. Though the MMU clocks are not stable enough so it needs a lot of re-wiring to get it working. Though mix that in with 32mhz boost on a 020 CPU with 32mhz ROM -alt-ram, plonk on there IDE and you have a totally awesome booster. Though thats like taking up the next 20 years of my life. I have other hobbies which have been left for several years, so such a upgrade is unlikley to ever happen.

A new chipset would be awesome, but this has been talked about many times before. I think I was talking to something a few months back who seemed willing to start converting to FPGA code for a "drop in replacment" for the chips. Though it was a "lack of time" thing which is the main killer.

I really would love a new ST chipset. I would start by updating the GLUE to include a TOS206 switch. Update the MMU to use SRAM instead. Already then is a new machine born. Ramp up the CPU to 32mhz with 32mhz to "ST-RAM" and you have one awesome machine. I don't have time to learn or work out how all that VHDL stuff works. AS said before , if someone develops the chipsets. I will develop hardware to use it. Ultimately a new Atari "clone" could be born... but mostly just a pipe dream really. I am maxed out funds and time wise already and I'm not getting any younger either.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby Greenious » Sat May 14, 2016 1:37 am

Yes, I do see a lot of information on this board has been buried over the years. People are asking the same questions and doing the same mistakes over again, despite the fact this forum actually got the answers (if you search deep enough)...

http://atari4ever.free.fr/hardware/index.html check out this site. The mods described there for TOS2.06 in STE and IDE are rock solid and simple to implement. IDE was first introduced in STBook (or was it stacy), and requires TOS2.06 to boot. The IDE implementation described at that site is 100% compatible. What it doesn't say, and that you might want to keep in the back of your head in case of troubleshooting (especially with any boosters), is that atleast AHDI uses the blitter as a DMA to pump data to/from the IDE ports if available.

As for the TOS upgrade it can be improved. the implementation on that site steals a full mb of ram, a cleaner version would just steal the 256kb necessary. The ram space it not used anyway, but still...

Anyway, hardware development is a lonely trade and expensive one at that. I know all to well. Even the smallest mistake can cost you 100´s or even 1000´s in fried equipment and components... While many complain over the costs of the finished board... :(
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby joska » Sat May 14, 2016 7:26 am

exxos wrote:Also I want to add IDE but I don't know much about IDE, so my design is untested.


IDE is very simple and - as Greenios stated - well documented on several websites. I spent a long evening to get my own IDE-interface (and flash-ROM) set up and working on breadboard based on the information on ppera's website. And then another week making a permanent implementation on veroboard...

Flashable ROM in it's simplest form is also extremely simple, all you have to do is to create a DTACK for writes to the ROM address range. In my STM I have IDE and flashable ROM (both fc0000 and e00000) implemented in a single GAL.

exxos wrote:A new chipset would be awesome, but this has been talked about many times before. I think I was talking to something a few months back who seemed willing to start converting to FPGA code for a "drop in replacment" for the chips.


This has been done years ago. The Suska development started this way.
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Re: What CPU booster combination do people want ?

Postby exxos » Sat May 14, 2016 7:51 am

Putnik has IDE solutions on his site, seems most current hardware are using his design. Though hes stuck using 16v8 GAL. I converted it over to a slightly larger 22V10 and tweaked it so it doesn't need any other external IC's. Though it needs testing. Will likely remain un-tested as it needs a PCB manufacturing. Though its time as well, I have a few other kits on the go all at once, so I can't take on any more dev-work with stuff anyway. So IDE etc will just have to wait until all current projects are finished.

<ramble>

Your right with hardware costs. Its been talked about many times. But if you count the revisions of my V2 booster (there was several) going from 2 layers to ultimately 6 layers, with £100-£200 for a small prototype run, then you/everyone gets a idea on how much it cost to develop. That cost has to be lumped into the final selling price else I would simply wouldn't be able to ever afford to build new designs else.

There are people who can look at the board and see like 5 "low cost" chips and thinking its far to expensive the asking price. Though such people never seem to realise that theres likely £1,000 in development costs which also have to go into the final price. Assuming I built up 20 final boards to sell, then 1,000/20 = ~£50 per board even before buying parts etc. Mix that in with "Stuff i've killed" along the way. Mostly motherboards or piles of chips. Buying STFM's is around £50 a go. I've killed around 20 of them so far. Plus new soldering irons, various test hardware etc etc There is also the fact that every V2 I make might not work for some "unknown" reason. I spend time trying to figure it out, changes allt he chips, re-solder, then give up and junk the board. I've had a few like that, so the "junked" boards at a sale price of £65 for say 5 boards is £325 lost in sales. That price then has to be split over the remaining batch of boards aswell.

Same with mistakes as you say, I made a mistake on the V2 where I managed to miss off a address line to a GAL. So its wire-linked now. Was either that or ramp up the V2 price again in fixing it. Just no point. I want to keep prices as cheap as possible so people can afford to buy upgrades, but its clear going by the past 3 weeks that I have spent over £900 on various projects that my prices will have to increase somewhat in future designs. Problem being , likely even less people will buy them, and if theres no sales, then thats me "done" with developing kits. Developing stuff is just one huge sink hole of finances :( I'm not in the "Game" to make a profit, I just want to "break even" with what stuff costs to develop and what sells.

Some people don't seem to realise how long stuff takes to develop. They seem to think I can wake up one morning, design something like the CPU booster, with alt-ram IDE with 060 CPU, and have it on sale by the end of the week. More realistic is "each upgrade" no matter if its CPU or IDE, likely takes 6-12months.

Some don't understand why I am producing a simple booster for the STE currently. Its just a 32mhz boost CPU & ROM. They want IDE, alt-ram this that and the other. Well its either produce the simple booster which can be on sale in a few weeks, or they wait likely years for the full blown kit.

For me I build simple stuff first, then when I get some money back into my pot, I then build on that design with something more. Then thats produced, and when I get some funds back, I build on it again. If people stop buying, I stop building. A lot of people say "they will wait for the more advanced booster to be built". Well unless they buy the simple once first, a more advanced one will never get produced. Its better to develop stuff in stages anyway. Less to go wrong, less to debug. Once the current design is proven, then build on it with 1 more thing. If something goes wrong, I know with what. Again people are not electronics engineers, they don't understand how "development" works :(

Of course thanks to the few who have brought items over the past year from my store, if it wasn't for those guys, I would have "packed up shop" a long time ago.

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4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - various clutter

http://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
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