What does Atari do better than Amiga?

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What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:53 am

Hello all,

The title is not meant to be flame bait. I'm an Amiga user and believe there are technical differences between the two machines, and in some ways the Atari would be superior.

Now we have FPGA accelerator cards, it seems to me the most sensible thing is for a common standard so they can run the same OS (perhaps AROS) which can run software of both systems. Side by side.

Atari is famous for its MIDI ports, the Falcon has a 56001 DSP, and I think there is something about the floppy drive being better too. But I'm ignorant of the details and would like to know.

But most importantly, if both Atari's and Amiga's were to become hybrids, then what are the superiorities that each has which the other must adopt?

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby christos » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:11 pm

There is already an OS running on both systems, it's called EmuTOS.

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Frank B » Thu Dec 20, 2018 6:28 pm

They're both distinct and awesome!

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:34 am

Currently the common Operating System is MICROSOFT WINDOWS 10 with both Amiga and Atari being vanquished and forgotten. :cry:

The two machines, and 68k-Mac too, are very similar. The main difference is the Amiga is a DMA driven multi processor computer with the CPU just being a director of the orchestra and not trying to also play all the instruments. With those chips being brought into the Atari then it too can run the same OS, and thus same software. Hopefully down the track we can have 68k-Mac System 9 software too. As well as NEW software on our machines as a living system. Its kind of like bringing Latin back into use, but there are several different dialects which was fine when there were millions of people speaking it, but now we are only tens or maybe hundreds of thousands we need to be sensible and combine forces if we are to be anything more than a Retro computer for hobby purposes.

If EmuTOS can sit on Amiga Workbench and run Atari programs then that's pretty good. Does it have full compatibility?

From what I have ready, there were other developments in the Atari world that were bringing full pre-emptive multi-tasking like Amiga but also with some other extras. I'm just wondering if Amiga Workbench is enough or there are extra things which Atari needs to not lose.

But what can Amiga gain? What improvements can we gain from Atari? :shrug:

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Newsdee » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:13 am

I've always been an outsider to the Amiga/Atari world, but my experience in Europe was like people trying to bring back Latin but then also trying to charge you for using it. Basically it felt held back by projects trying to make money mostly, and as a result, not very willing to collaborate. It felt fragmented with similar solutions competing with each other. Meanwhile, Windows and Linux were forging ahead with thousands of people working in free and open source projects.

I'm not trying to make an free/OSS vs close source statement here, just saying the realities I've observed. It seems better now thanks to open hardware / FPGA open source projects where collaboration is back thanks to a few brave devs willing to go against the flow and allow others to reuse their work.

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby darklight » Sat Dec 22, 2018 11:59 am

Not sure if I understand the purpose of this question.

If you are talking base original machines (ST vs A500), then the ST has a slightly higher (was it 10%?) clock speed than the Amiga, which meant a slight advantage to the ST when doing CPU bound tasks. The only application of the top of my head where this may have had an impact was 3d graphics, including games. I guess when the Amiga had no custom chip to do a task (and it had quite a few), then it has to use the CPU, and having the same CPU as the ST, the ST would be 10% (or so) faster.

I'm not really familiar with the Amiga's disk drive, but I know the ST was mostly compatible with the PCs DOS disk format (not high density - only 720kb).

But then you are talking about FPGA, which means effectively Amigas or STs that are running on the same hardware, so there is no point discussing the above differences. You presumably want to be talking about software differences, but then whats the point unless someone's going to be writing new software for new machines. This seems quite unlikely to me, but I'm happy to be proven wrong.
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Sat Dec 22, 2018 2:02 pm

Hi again,

A friend from my user group and I are putting together an FPGA card/computer. Like the Vampire its a Cyclone V FPGA, but a little bigger. In a sense FPGA's are like hard drives in that they have both speed and capacity considerations. So once booted, an Atari can become a high speed Amiga clone. If we combined our software libraries into one then we'd benefit a lot as a unified community.

So the question was really what are the features that you need to keep? Are there any fancy custom chips which are not replaceable and inherent to the Atari spirit? :contract:

Our card will be designed to be altered as a community effort by anyone with the know how. So we can develop and enhance OpenGPU hardware, DSP and improving implementations of SATA, USB, Ethernet, wifi, and PCIe cards. I think there are a few people (such as me!) who would like to use their beloved machine with some new peripherals like SATA SSD, wifi, USB flash drives, SD cards and the simple pleasure of enjoying the use of a nice large 1920 x 1200 27" LCD monitor.

We don't have the FPGA tallent that the Apollo team have got and so will be more reliant on community available cores from places like OpenCores.org

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby tatouine » Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:05 pm

I think the answer is
Image :lol:
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Cyprian » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:49 pm

Image
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby tatouine » Thu Dec 27, 2018 6:05 pm

Right of course... Guru mediation :mrgreen:
520 STf |Amiga 500 (1M) |Philips CM8832 | Atari SC 1425 | Atari SC 1435
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:19 pm

What about the Atari blitter? I get the impression that its quite fast and used for a lot of things?

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Frank B » Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:31 pm

Got that right! The blitter is absolutely awesome in the ST.
It's faster than the Amigas for window to window translation providing the ratio of fringe to inner area is weighted to the inside.
I raster timed it recently with an 18 word 20 line high single plane copy with fringes. The STE beat the Amiga with all bitplane DMA switched off.
Ie it's faster at this than the Amigas best possible case. It's faster than the 1200! It pulls ahead by a huge margin when bitplane DMA was active,
To do a general purpose copy (where bits are preserved in the dest), the Amiga runs at CPU 8 cycles per word with 1 inactive 2 cycle tick.
This figure drops when bitplane DMA steals cycles from the Amiga blitter.
The ST runs at 8 cycles for the interior and 12 for the fringes. That's with an 8 mhz clock and nothing stealing cycles.

The Amiga is better at masking with complex blits but there's a trick you can do with the end masks which evens the score.
The Amiga blitter can do area fill and line draw. The ST blitter can mirror a bit image in four passes or magnify it via its smudge indirect addressing mode.
The ST blitter has a 24 bit range too. Stick a monster in and you have 12 meg of RAM for blitter sprites :)

They are both awesome. The ST one is just seriously underrated. Atari did real good work there.

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Wed Jan 09, 2019 3:56 am

So now that we are looking at upgrading the old workhorses with FPGA updates. There are a lot of stuff in the Amiga which would be a great upgrade to Atari. So I've been wondering what in the Atari would be good to upgrade the Amiga with.

By the sounds of it Amiga would benefit with Atari blitter upgrade. Could you replace the Amiga blitter with Atari blitter and it would give the same advantages?

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Frank B » Wed Jan 09, 2019 6:09 am

PurpleMelbourne wrote:So now that we are looking at upgrading the old workhorses with FPGA updates. There are a lot of stuff in the Amiga which would be a great upgrade to Atari. So I've been wondering what in the Atari would be good to upgrade the Amiga with.

By the sounds of it Amiga would benefit with Atari blitter upgrade. Could you replace the Amiga blitter with Atari blitter and it would give the same advantages?


Not really. The Amiga API would expect to have 3 sources and one destination. The ST blitter would be useful for font blitting from fast RAM though.
Better to just expand the range of the Amigas.

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:15 am

That's interesting. What do you mean by expand the range of Amiga's?

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby Frank B » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:08 am

PurpleMelbourne wrote:That's interesting. What do you mean by expand the range of Amiga's?


The Amiga chipset can only DMA to and from chip ram. That's a 2 meg limit.

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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby joska » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:24 am

PurpleMelbourne wrote:So I've been wondering what in the Atari would be good to upgrade the Amiga with.


Hardware-wise the Amiga is pretty much superior to the ST. However, there is one really, really annoying thing with the Amiga - the processor status pins are not connected so the Amiga chipset has no way to determine if the CPU is in supervisor mode or not. The result is that all code can access all hardware all the time.

On the ST, user code usually runs in user mode, and the CPU switch to supervisor mode when the OS is called. Access to hardware registers (and low memory where system variables, interrupt vectors etc are located) is restricted to supervisor mode by the chipset, so a software can't mess up hardware settings by accident. If a program in user mode attempt to access e.g. the floppy controller an exception will be raised and the program is killed by TOS. On the Amiga OTOH a simple rogue pointer can write random values to hardware registers and OS variables/code/data and cause everything from vague problems to solid crashes and even corrupt disks.

Changing this now does not make sense though, as even the OS access hardware in usermode. Such a change will cause huge compatibility problems, even with OS support for it.
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby ijor » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:53 am

joska wrote:Hardware-wise the Amiga is pretty much superior to the ST. However, there is one really, really annoying thing with the Amiga - the processor status pins are not connected so the Amiga chipset has no way to determine if the CPU is in supervisor mode or not. The result is that all code can access all hardware all the time.


That's interesting. It also means that the system doesn't really know, at least not with 100% certainty, when the CPU is running an interrupt acknowledge cycle.
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Re: What does Atari do better than Amiga?

Postby PurpleMelbourne » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:53 pm

Wow that is something I never heard about! :o What are the implications from the OS side of things that it cannot interrogate to see what is going one? Does this mean it has to just not do those things, or does it mean that it has to do a "safe process" every time which might take more time as it cannot check?

The Amiga and Atari are very close together. And yes of course being an Amiga user I have always seen the Amiga as better, but there is no way two close rivals can have one better in all areas. So its really interesting to hear about the abilities that Atari used to stay competitive. There is always some better grass on the other side of the fence too :mrgreen:

I read also that the Atari has a BIOS and BIOSX. I'm not sure what each is used for, but saw that you can have different keyboard maps and support for filing systems. These all sound like fascinating little details :)


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