Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

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Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby kodak80 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 10:28 am

Hi, One the of the local Brisbane Atari crew (Gazak28) has a Falcon 030 which has an add-in daughter board we have been advised is called an Eagle. Apparently these are quite rare. We are looking for information on what it is and does. I have attached a photo of the top of the module which is connected just below the PSU to the main system board.

From the words that are visible on the top it looks like GE SOFT EAGLE ??????? 32.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby shoggoth » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:00 am

IIRC it's more or less a Mighty Sonic sans fastram.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Atari030 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:58 am

Mighty sonic, Eagle sonic card. It has a 32Mhz PGA 68030 CPU. Made by GE soft. I installed that card about twenty years ago into that very machine. :D

I have a vague recollection that it is full 32 bit, but I could be wrong. Benching it, it should match a TT.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby mikro » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:24 pm

Yeah, that card just sucks. Atari030's driver here: viewtopic.php?t=29026#p285270

Btw there's nothing like "16-bit 68030", every Falcon has a full 32-bit CPU. What it on the other hand hasn't is a 32-bit data bus for accessing memory. And this card doesn't provide it either (in contrast to the Mighty Sonic).

TL;DR version - throw the card away. Despite it enormous price tag back in the day now it's totally useless.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby joska » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:33 pm

mikro wrote:TL;DR version - throw the card away.


Worst advice ever. Don't *ever* through *anything* Falcon-related away. Never.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby mikro » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:42 pm

joska wrote:Worst advice ever. Don't *ever* through *anything* Falcon-related away. Never.

Come on - you mean because of what? That you can trick some dumb eBayers into buying it as something rare and collectable? I can't imagine one single reason to keep this kind of hardware. Just recently I've desoldered two PowerUp 2s and threw them into rubbish - the only thing they did was messing with my Falcons stability.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby joska » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:49 pm

Even if you don't like or want it, there are always people that are. If you have some piece of hardware for one of the most sought-after retro computers so far, *don't* throw it away. Sell or give it to someone who cares.

Btw this particular piece of hardware is actually both rare and collectible.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby mzry » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:58 pm

How could something that doubles the Falcons Cpu speed considered useless? I am confused by Mikros stance :)
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Atari030 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:00 pm

Weird. When I was running it I never had any drama's. It doesn't overclock the bus, it is just a 32mhz CPU from what I remember. It isn't anything like power up, it is closer to the CT2 with no bus mod. The eagle sonic has its own 32mhz CPU on board, powerup doesn't.

I repaired this board myself 20+ years ago. One good reason to keep it, it is an effective 32mhz accelerator, it doesn't cause stability issues like a bus overclock powerup modes do. It was more stable than the CT2.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby mikro » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:10 pm

Atari030 wrote:It isn't anything like power up, it is closer to the CT2 with no bus mod. The eagle sonic has its own 32mhz CPU on board, powerup doesn't.

But that totally doesn't matter - the end result is the same, a 32 MHz CPU alone in the dark, surrounded by 16-bit world running at 16 MHz. Maybe thermal output would be a bit nicer here.

So why would you need such CPU? Most of demos wont work, some games wont work and the speed increase is on the level of installing NVDI. I had the PowerUp2 in use (again: the same speed characteristics), you couldn't really see a difference (for purists - comparing with NVDI installed ;)).

Installing a Nemesis / Phantom (let alone CT60e) would be a much better thing to give your beloved Falcon. So yes, I stand my point, if someone gives me this card, it would go to rubbish, it's useless.

EDIT: to clarify my point - I'd do the same with all the 'old school' CPU/FPU/DSP accelerators (FX card, SRC, ...) - the only thing they do is to make your Falcon worse.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby joska » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:50 pm

mikro wrote:So yes, I stand my point, if someone gives me this card, it would go to rubbish, it's useless.


This is exactly the same logic that caused 80% of all Falcons to cease to exist. "Old rubbish" was tossed in the bin when their owners got their new Pentium machines.

We know better today. Don't confuse "collectible" with "usable".
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby mikro » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:56 pm

Guys, you are totally free to do anything you like with that card. I'm writing this for a hypothetical visitor in the future who sees this card put on eBay with price tag like 200 EUR. So he will google it, come here and see posts like how amazingly rare, collectable and useful it is. Even Atari030's comment that it's almost a little brother to the CT2.

So no dear visitor, the card is rubbish and not worth 200 EURs.

And joska - IIRC you had a Blowup-FX for which you had no use (no wonder). You sold it to a guy who sold it further and IIRC even he sold it further. So that only marks my point. Just rubbish moving along for higher and higher price tag. So that's my reasoning here, I have no nice words for this kind of eBay thieves.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rajah Lone » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:24 pm

I had a second-hand Falcon with this card, which was disabled most of the time: sync problems and big crashes if enabled.
If 32 MHz on: the EtherNEC could not be used, the CPU was faster than the DSP, so programs transfering data between these two chips crashed. So usage was restricted to a some generic (ie not falcon-specific) applications.
Better uninstall it. Just a curiosity. Not a collector.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rustynutt » Mon Sep 03, 2018 5:55 pm

Going through the process of removing one now:)
Member here (thanks Ektus) guided me to a 2011 post on the Atari de forum.
First you'll discover DSP is not accessable in 32mhz mode.
In 16mhz, Falcon will fail video diagnostics.
Once I uncovered those, more and more things kept pooping up.
Apex wouldn't run 16 or 32.
MOD players only at 16, some not at all.
I've had a Mighty Sonic, bad ass little card 100% compatible.
I noticed the wiring to the BUS GALs is different than the Mighty Sonic and to me looks like that is where the problem is. Not going to investigate further.
Does speed up the system about 25%.
Pull it.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby calimero » Mon Sep 03, 2018 6:57 pm

mikro wrote:And joska - IIRC you had a Blowup-FX for which you had no use (no wonder). You sold it to a guy who sold it further and IIRC even he sold it further. So that only marks my point. Just rubbish moving along for higher and higher price tag. So that's my reasoning here, I have no nice words for this kind of eBay thieves.

So what?

That is essence of free market and capitalism :D
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby joska » Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:14 pm

mikro wrote:And joska - IIRC you had a Blowup-FX for which you had no use (no wonder). You sold it to a guy who sold it further and IIRC even he sold it further.


Exactly. Although I would have kept it today, I sold it to someone who wanted it instead of throwing it away. By throwing it away you not only decide for yourself that it's junk, you also decide this for people that actually may want/need it. Imagine if thousands of people hadn't trown their "rubbish" Falcons in the bin 20 years ago, but sold or kept it. Ok, you wouldn't get as much for it on eBay as you currently do, but instead we'd have a much, much larger community.

I repeat, do *not* ever, ever throw away Falcon stuff. Or ST-stuff for that matter. If you don't want to keep it for the future yourself, give or sell it to someone who would. Personally I'd love an Eagle Sonic, just because it's a good example of early hardware mods/addons for the Falcon.

And btw - this also applies to irreversible mods. I cringe every time I see someone destroy their ST case when installing Goteks. And so will most likely the owners do in a few years too when they want to restore their ST to stock condition.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby kodak80 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:00 pm

Wow, thanks everyone. We now know what it is and does. Nice to see the passion about the Falcon and components.

Appreciate all of the feedback on this little board. Now that we know what it is we can at least do some testing and playing with it. :D

Again, thank you everyone for the support and information.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rustynutt » Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:05 pm

Heck, the 50mhz CPU in mine has value :)
My drawer of unwanted Falcon items is only half full, but tend to offer such things to anyone with interest for shipping cost.
Besides, here it is illegal to throw electronics in the trash :)

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Atari030 » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:42 pm

Now I remember, the CT2 is 32 bit RAM address, Eaglesonic is still 16 bit. Mightysonic had the fast RAM.

I have to say this is one of the most bizarre discussions I have had. If it works, leave it, if it doesn't, it is bloody easy to remove. To complain it breaks compatibility rules out nearly every Atari accelerator or CPU upgrade ever made. Including the CT2 and CT60. If Gary is happy running it, let it run. Steve, the previous owner, never mentioned any issues with Apex and if he had he would have told me, because that was the main reason he used it. The only thing I can remember that didn't work well was AHDI, ICD worked a treat so I didn't worry about it.

I have very little tolerance for people who tell others what they should and shouldn't do. Everyone is different, let them make their own minds up. The world isn't going to end either way.

Good luck with it.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rustynutt » Tue Sep 04, 2018 2:13 am

Not sure why Apex won't start here. Tried several revisions, and pretty sure I tried both speeds. Apex is pretty much defacto DSP.
Like you say, if it works, leave it if it does the job.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby frank.lukas » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:01 am

Eaglesonic is still 16 bit = 32Mhz 030 only
Mightysonic had the fast RAM = 32bit Fastram, 32MB max.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rustynutt » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:24 am

Atari030 wrote:Now I remember, the CT2 is 32 bit RAM address, Eaglesonic is still 16 bit. Mightysonic had the fast RAM.

I have to say this is one of the most bizarre discussions I have had. If it works, leave it, if it doesn't, it is bloody easy to remove. To complain it breaks compatibility rules out nearly every Atari accelerator or CPU upgrade ever made. Including the CT2 and CT60. If Gary is happy running it, let it run. Steve, the previous owner, never mentioned any issues with Apex and if he had he would have told me, because that was the main reason he used it. The only thing I can remember that didn't work well was AHDI, ICD worked a treat so I didn't worry about it.

I have very little tolerance for people who tell others what they should and shouldn't do. Everyone is different, let them make their own minds up. The world isn't going to end either way.

Good luck with it.


Owe you an apology, turns out the version of Apex I was trying was patched a few times "back in the day". Walked through every version, with the last giving problems. Downloaded a fresh version, all was well under the Eagle.

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Atari030 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:57 am

No apology needed, mate. I spent a lot of time faffing around with it when I had it. If I told you its whole history you'd probably cry. :D

Have you benched it?

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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby Rustynutt » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:34 am

For now, looks prime for 50mhz testing. Need to fix the AB switch, can pop the Eagle in for giggles. It came with a machine, wasn't really looking to do much, but learn :)
Not sure why we do the crazy things we do.
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Re: Atari Falcon Eagle add-in module

Postby sety » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:21 am

Let's not kill each other boys, as I will need some help from some more experienced users. But just my 2 cents worth...

I agree with joska. Never destroy anything, not unless you take some good scans first.

eBay prices are high because the generation of people who identifies with this stuff are at an age that they have some time and money on their hands. Will a stock Falcon still be worth $2k+ AUD in 2028?

It isn't helped by reality TV shows like Auction Hunters and American Pickers. Now days everyone wants to make a living picking trash and selling it to those desperate enough to buy it.

It's not just eBay sellers. Local sellers do it too. They try to label a C64 as "rare" and they will just sit on it until they get their unreasonable price. How can the worlds best selling computer be "rare"? Growing up we went through 6 of them as it was cheaper to buy bundles than it was to buy games and joysticks alone.

eWaste Recycling has really messed things up. Try finding a CRT monitor anywhere that eWaste Recycling is popular. Even if you do see something cool at a recycling depot, they guard it like a hawk. I don't really know why. They are determined to destroy it.

It'd also be a lot easier if the CAD files for recent hardware weren't so jealously guarded. I could send the CAD files for the CT60e off to China if I had them and there would be so many that the finished units would be worthless on eBay. :)

My 2 cents. :)

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