68080 Apollo Core

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby OL » Wed Jun 19, 2019 5:02 pm

There is an MMU in 68080 but no compatibility with other 68K and don't know if we could have help to use it in open source software and access to documentation and explanation.


joska wrote:The Vampire project is currently of very little interest to me for two reasons:

1. It does not have a 68k compatible MMU, so no memory protection when using MiNT. May or may not be fixed in MiNT at some point.
2. It's a new "Atari", not really compatible with any existing hardware.

So basically it's like a faster Milan (which I have), but without memory protection. And I need memory protection, but not more speed. And what about games or demos? There's an active demoscene and a lot of games running on the CT60 (which I also have), I don't see that happen on the Vampire when it never happened on Hades, Milan or Firebee.

The Vampire in it's current version is simply a machine for running GEM applications really fast. But GEM applications are not limited by speed, they are limited by the OS. Buying a Vampire is like buying a slightly faster Firebee (which I have). And I've stopped using my Firebee for the exact same reasons as why I'm not interested in the Vampire.

If the "68080" eventually gets a proper 68k MMU (or "68080" MMU gets supported by MiNT) it would be a more interesting machine to me. It could then replace my Milan as my main Atari.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby penguin » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:45 pm

mikro wrote:Very precise observation. Whether we (or Mathias ;)) like it or not, it's about the marketing, hype etc. Even in our small world. ACP/FireBee had its share of hype and (un)realistic expectations around the time of its inception, when many active (and now retired) people promised and/or already worked for the project, there wasn't a person who hadn't heard about the ACP back then. Currently, the situation is vastly different, much less people are aware of what the FireBee is, should be and could be.


I was part of the ACP group during its inception, although I wasn't involved in any of the hardware stuff. It wasn't that much of a hype thing - there wasn't a whole lot of hardware development after both the Phenix and Milan II were cancelled. There were a lot of meetings plus the possible continuation of the Dessee DSP card. So plenty of stuff to write about. Everyone who did read ST-Computer back in the day knew about the ACP - unfortunately the project was finished during ST-Computer's ten year hiatus.

It's harder to write about a computer that's already finished and sold than about a project that's in development. There's an article about the icon set (which is well designed), plus reviews of two native FireBee programs in the next issue. The magazine is always open for article submissions.

I do think that having more people able to run Atari programs in high-res colour and with greater speed. So FireBee could also benefit from the Vampire project.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:43 am

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby ctirad » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:45 am

joska wrote:If I had to choose between the Vampire and Firebee I would choose the Vampire. It's a simpler and more flexible design without the limitations of the Firebee.


I wouldn't even compare these devices. The Firebee is still more or less a "real thing" with its physical CPU, custom TOS and atari ports and interfaces. The Vampire is more like another generic FPGA dev board or Mist on streoids (or Mister), where all the magic is just in the Appolo CPU softcore.

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby joska » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:58 am

The only thing that makes a Firebee an "Atari" is what's implemented in the FPGA. Yes, I understand what you're saying but I still think that the Vampire is a better design *today* than the Firebee. The Firebee was developed almost 10 years ago, I doubt that the same choices would be made today.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby mfro » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:05 pm

joska wrote:... Yes, I understand what you're saying but I still think that the Vampire is a better design *today* than the Firebee. The Firebee was developed almost 10 years ago, I doubt that the same choices would be made today.


I would agree to an extent. The limits of the Firebee are the limits of the ColdFire that was designed as embedded µController and not as general-purpose CPU. Everything *inside* is blazingly fast, while its external interfaces (esp. FlexBus, SDRAM-Interface) are rather disappointing (compared to the rest).

Nonetheless I personally rate the FireBee a lot higher than the Apollo because of its completely open design (as I prefer to play with the innards rather than the finished product).

I'm pretty sure many of the Apollo fans in the Atari community will be rather disappointed when the final product will be available. I seriously doubt what appears to work in the Amiga ecosystem will do same in the Atari world. Because of the available software, any Atari clone will be either fast or compatible, but never both.

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby joska » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:02 pm

mfro wrote:any Atari clone will be either fast or compatible, but never both.


It can, just not at the same time ;)

Yes, I also like the openess of the Firebee. And yes, I too believe that the Vampire will be disappointing for most users unless they're already experienced with Atari clones and knows what to expect. That is also the case with the Firebee.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:10 am

Back to the topic, is there any person with good relationship with Apollo Team?
Would be possible to ask them a few questions?
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Rajah Lone » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:29 am

Cyprian wrote:Would be possible to ask them a few questions?

Read the forums on Amiga news, the team regularly publish news of the projects.
on IRC, server = irc.freenode.net:7000 , channel = #apollo-team (numerous people, users and developpers)

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:08 pm

Rajah Lone wrote:
Cyprian wrote:Would be possible to ask them a few questions?

Read the forums on Amiga news, the team regularly publish news of the projects.
on IRC, server = irc.freenode.net:7000 , channel = #apollo-team (numerous people, users and developpers)

I do that almost on daily basis, but there is no any information about a future plans about Atari.

will try IRC
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby PeterS » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:27 pm

I think the Vampire does add to the m68k world and that can't be a bad thing. I am glad the Amigans have a new machine and that they can enjoy the buzz that goes with it but please no more wars :-)

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:11 pm

mikro wrote:
vido wrote:And I don't get another thing. There is a FireBee project which is 100% open project so any one can change/add FPGA firmware or software, change software, (add MiST to the FireBee FPGA for ST compatibility, ...) but almost nobody of the developers care about that.

Now there is a closed comercial Amiga project caring mostly about Amiga comunity but people would like to have new Falcon clone.

Very precise observation. Whether we (or Mathias ;)) like it or not, it's about the marketing, hype etc. (…) Currently, the situation is vastly different, much less people are aware of what the FireBee is, should be and could be.
I have to agree 100%.
On the one hand I see now that most of the "opinions" are wishes and hopes, that do not necessarily have something to do with reality. For example nearly nobody understands that the Vampire uses the same FPGA as the FireBee does for 10 years now (and so, as Vido said, the FPGA config could be implemented into the FireBee immediatly – if the Apolo would be Open Source).
All this discussions are still the consequence of Motorola abandoning our CPU. It is all the same for 25 years now, … Emulation, different Hardware, Software, similar Hardware, Configuration, … ? And all approaches have their pros and cons.

On the other hand I see that our ACP project could improve the information situation, and explain more clearly what the hardware could do and what it is all about. The problem was – from my recent perspective – that we mixed up the software with the hardware too much. So we are trapped with "user-issues" like if we are a "full service provider" like Apple who could offer hardware, development environments, hardware near interface software/drivers, 3 Operating Systems (!) and all the user applications. In fact it is crazy that we reached the point where we are now. ;-) Do not underestimate the impact of the entire ACP (indipendently from the product FireBee).
You will understand that all the problems the last years (busdrivers, cases, …) are not the best basis for better "marketing" ;)
In fact I am really glad that there is no commercial project and no need to be perfectly or to have no problems. The still high interest on the FireBee proves me right, there are ongoing preorders coming in for a possible new series. And it could even be more. Let's see what the future might bring.

A last aspect is also very interesting for me. We always had nice contact to Gunnar, already in Natami times. Why is this "competiton" so interesting for some users? It is complicating things a lot. The Apollo Core is nice, and seem to work well for Amigas. It might evolve to something that is really usable for Atari environments as well in future. So why not? Everything that helps marginalized platforms should be supported. To imagine, and thus create to some extend, any rivalry is inappropriate in my opinion.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Orion_ » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:17 pm

the problem is that very little people can code fpga to make a falcon close from the firebee.
also the firebee is very expensive (almost twice more than the vampire)
and I guess, the 68080 is more 68k compatible than the coldfire
if the firebee had almost no significant improvement since 10 years, I guess it's dead
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:28 pm

vampire-600-v2-for-amiga-600.jpg


FireBee1nr6.JPG


Orion, …

You are comparing apples and oranges! 379,- Euro and 560,- Euro.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:03 pm

Mathias wrote:You are comparing apples and oranges! 379,- Euro and 560,- Euro.

True, unfortunately, the price usually matters.

And I guess the price has an impact onto the fpga development status: higher price --> less users --> less developers and vice versa.

below my short summarize both platform:

FireBee:
CPU - not so compatible
Hardware - not so compatible
Price - high but acceptable

Vampire:
CPU - fully compatible plus some usefull addons (e.g. ammx instructions, 128x 64bit register)
Hardware - lack of compatibility
Price - acceptable


Mathias is there any FireBee's developer documentation, hardware map etc.?
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Orion_ » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:24 pm

Mathias wrote:vampire-600-v2-for-amiga-600.jpg

FireBee1nr6.JPG

Orion, …

You are comparing apples and oranges! 379,- Euro and 560,- Euro.

so what ? the vampire is currently faster and can do more than the firebee.
half of the plugs on the firebee can't be used, the video is ridiculously slow, the vga compatibility is crap, so until someone take this project to the next level, it's really not worth it, despite what it could do
I ported 3 of my games on the firebee, and it's really not the dream atari machine I thought it would be
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:43 pm

Cyprian wrote:FireBee: CPU - not so compatible
(…)
Vampire: CPU - fully compatible plus some usefull addons (e.g. ammx)

Cyprian, your summarize is a well completely improper! The Vampire has no CPU. It has a FPGA which can be configured as CPU. But as it is the exact same FPGA as at the FireBee, one could implement the entire Core into the FireBee as well! So please everybody stop comparing completely different things!

Cyprian wrote:Mathias is there any FireBee's developer documentation, hardware map etc.?
Beside the fact that eveything is freely availaible (including the KiCad files and all system software at the repositories), there is no special developer documentation.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby mfro » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:09 pm

Orion_ wrote:... the vampire is currently faster ...

it is. Slightly.

Orion_ wrote: and can do more than the firebee.

can it? To my knowledge, it currently lacks ST/Falcon compatible video modes and does not support any Atari OS except EmuTOS for Amiga?
We're back at the lack of FPGA developers in the Atari community...

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:23 pm

Orion_ wrote: so what ? the vampire is currently faster and can do more than the firebee.
It does, as said above, not make sense to compare different thing. In fact the Vampire is more or less similar hardware to FireBees FPGA part. So what you mean is that the Apollo core is more compatible than the FireBees core. But as far as I know we are still talking about the plans of full 68k compatibility at Apollo, plus the fact that it is Closed Source. So again, this is you expectation of what the Apollo could become for Ataris, not what it is. As JoEven said above, many people will as well be dissapointed, some day in future …

Orion_ wrote:half of the plugs on the firebee can't be used,
Thats crap, and you know that. Every plug can be imediatly used, it is open source, and you can use it right away. Some buses are not configured inside the FPGA, thats fact. But that is the same with every Atari project! As long as developers do not develop. I have a quite good overview about the demanded configurations, and there are 6 people waiting for SCSI, and noone really for ACSI.
How shall I solve this problems? What shall we do, except what we always did to invite FPGA developers?

Orion_ wrote:the video is ridiculously slow,
Aha, show me some faster TOS machines at WQHD. Also I cannot imagine that a Radeon at the FireBee is slower than at the CTx ;) Don't get me wrong, I know what you mean, and for sure there is some headroom for improvements, but it is not fair. Every project in the marginalized computer fields has to struggle. So will Apollo, before it is a real benefit, and not a "dream" like it is today.

Orion_ wrote:the vga compatibility is crap,
Well, … see above it is always the same direction of arguing.

Orion_ wrote:so until someone take this project to the next level,
And that is the point! Who shall do this? Do you really hope Apollo team will or can present you a complete well working TOS machine replacement, running all Atari software perfectly? Let's talk againin a few years. They will face the same problems like every project. The Suska for example is still more compatible than any "FPGA clone", and quite fast, and still has some headroom for improvments, even if Wolfgang is doing greatest work for a lot more than 10 years!
Every project needs all the possible support. Every pice of compatibility has to be coded by someone, and that is "us"! It will not happen magically from a hidden developer team that is popping up suddenly, we few thousand people know each other mainly.

Orion_ wrote:it's really not worth it,
What would be a direction for a clone that would be "worth it"?

Orion_ wrote:despite what it could do
So, PCI isn't worth it, as long as Motherboard-Developers with PCI don't provide Graphiccard drivers? USB isn't worth it, as long as Motherboard-Developers with USB don't provide USB-Printer drivers, … ? Please stop mixing the hardware and the software!

Orion_ wrote:I ported 3 of my games on the firebee,
And how many are running at Apollos recently?

Orion_ wrote:and it's really not the dream atari machine I thought it would be
Thats obviously. I am sad that you are not satisfied, but such projects can never fulfil every expectations! It was the same with CTx, Milan, Supervidel, Suska, and several others in the past. And as said above, it is always the same cause. We have no compatible CPU for 25 years, so all tries are either compatibility, or speed or a reasonable mix of it with our really limited possibilities.
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:27 pm

Mathias wrote:Cyprian, your summarize is a well completely improper!

It is my subjective opinion.
I'm still considering to buy a "next-gen" Atari platform. We have currently only two options: Firebee and Vampire, and as a potential buyer, I see them as competitors.

Mathias wrote:The Vampire has no CPU. It has a FPGA which can be configured as CPU. But as it is the exact same FPGA as at the FireBee, one could implement the entire Core into the FireBee as well! So please everybody stop comparing completely different things!

true,
have you taken into consideration borrowing 68080 code? There is (or should be) a free licence for Apollo Core: http://www.apollo-core.com/knowledge.php?b=4&note=10708

Mathias wrote:Beside the fact that eveything is freely availaible (including the KiCad files and all system software at the repositories), there is no special developer documentation.

Is it that page: http://firebee.org/fb-bin/support?lng=EN ?
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:13 pm

Cyprian wrote:have you taken into consideration borrowing 68080 code? There is (or should be) a free licence for Apollo Core: http://www.apollo-core.com/knowledge.php?b=4&note=10708
We are following the project from the beginning on. As I said above, since Natami times. First it would need to get ready and usable for Atari software at all. That will take a very long time. Than we can see, if there is a free licence for the CPU that could work well as further compatibility layer. The link that you posted is mainly an "user-discussion" like here. No definite answer from Gunnar. So: let's see where the Apollo leads, and what is finally the status, and Gunnars "roadmap". If there is an free CPU version, some FPGA developers could be motivated enough to implement it to the FireBee core.

Cyprian wrote: Is it that page: http://firebee.org/fb-bin/support?lng=EN ?
Yes, exactly. Down at the bottom of the support pages you can see all the hardware informations right away. You could even start to produce FireBees tomorrow on your own ;)
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:29 pm

Mathias wrote:We are following the project from the beginning on. As I said above, since Natami times. First it would need to get ready and usable for Atari software at all. That will take a very long time. Than we can see, if there is a free licence for the CPU that could work well as further compatibility layer. The link that you posted is mainly an "user-discussion" like here. No definite answer from Gunnar. So: let's see where the Apollo leads, and what is finally the status, and Gunnars "roadmap". If there is an free CPU version, some FPGA developers could be motivated enough to implement it to the FireBee core.

nice to hear that


Mathias wrote: Yes, exactly. Down at the bottom of the support pages you can see all the hardware informations right away. You could even start to produce FireBees tomorrow on your own ;)

ok.
Is there any current FPGa source code?

also for PIC I see only binaries
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Mathias » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:45 pm

Cyprian wrote:Is there any current FPGa source code?

also for PIC I see only binaries


Regarding this question see our news from April '18: http://firebee.org/fb-bin/news?action=f ... N&offset=0

And see the great work David Gálvez and Miro Kropáček have done at:
https://github.com/firebee-org
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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby robdaemon » Wed Jun 26, 2019 3:33 am

vido wrote:For the compatibility I have Falcon.


There's the operative phrase here. You have a Falcon. Not everyone does. I sure don't.

I would love to have the Vampire support the full Atari chipset, like they do for the Amiga, but I'm not holding my breath. Basically, someone in the Atari world would need to take up that project like the Vampire devs did.

I find the FireBee appealing, but they're hard to get, and a little pricey, but I may grab one some day.

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Re: 68080 Apollo Core

Postby Cyprian » Wed Jun 26, 2019 8:58 am

I know MIPS means nothing but the Vampire figures are more impressive after each the Core release:

Image
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