1024MAK wrote:What I am talking about is keeping the 68000 MPU to run applications and programs. But using the "slave" processor to provide high speed access to the modern high speed interfaces.
Im not a big fan of changing the power or the way the ST works theoretically.
... Lol. After all. There is nothing to improve in the machine. Its great anyway!
I do like the idea, of only enhancing or using the features that Atari intended. Like the IDE drivers built into TOS2.06. No additional software is needed, or new Roms etc. Its a feature from Atari. ... Same with extending ST Ram. An ordinary ST can handle 12MB I think. There has certainly been add on cards in the 80's and 90's that give a MEGA ST 12MB off the MEGABUS. I just like the idea of something that gives access to modern hardware and ports.
But then again, on this topic, I might add that there is a very cost effective, and easy to develop chip (apparently), which is called the "Propeller". Now the Propeller costs less than £10... But its got an integrated development environment for the PC called, "The Spin Programming language" and its designed to be easy to programme etc. The chip itself is a multi-core parallel microcontroller with eight 32-bit RISC CPU cores http://www.parallax.com/propeller/
Whats special about it? ... Well, its got built in VGA. ... Plus the ability to host USB, serial, flash etc.
Now, if you were to theoretically be adventurous. Then I would say with this, 1st step to make an interface. Say on the DMA. Then do just simpler things like, maybe the IDE or SD-Storage. Maybe use other things that use standard TOS, like IDE format on a CD Card or SD-CARD using the TOS2.06 implementation of IDE, and maybe just 'tweak' it so that its 100% compatible for slipping the card onto a Windows PC too. ... Then maybe later, someone might have a go at making a USB stick thing its a Atari drive with FAT16 or FAT32. Now then you have many cheap hard drives, and just a little Propeller chip doing the work.
Now, 2nd, if someone was crazy enough, or had the urge. Lift out the video memory, and replicate it in VGA on the Propeller. Just make a routine that replicates the ST video modes... But using the VGA out on a Propeller board. Then you have a VGA connector for your ST. For mono, for colour, and just use VGA monitor. ...
But wait, theres more. The VGA on the Propeller is pretty good. 8 RISC cores are not bad. Now heres a vid of a Propeller VGA output. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89M5rvolGGU
... Ok, not the clearest vid, and I saw it while I was investigating Audrino (which is less powerful). But, the Propeller can do quite a lot. Even some nice fast software 3D
So, 3rd crazy idea. Well, maybe if you were barmy enough to want to then put 3D effects into your ST game or demo, then you could signal to the Propeller, or at least give it hints. Maybe you dont need a software driver on the ST. The Propeller is just looking for certain things, and as a VGA video card effectively (bypassing the ST's clunky old shifter and custom video socket), the Propeller can do parallax, or take data delivered from the ST program, and say, do daft things that the ST shifter cant do. lol. i.e. the programmer just sets aside a seperate video memory in his ST demo, that the Propeller can also take and actually use for video. Of course the ST hardware itself could never do the video shifting that the Propeller can do.
Another alternative 3rd step, would be (and I am just talking pie in the sky here), is actually run a Nova or Galaxy type driver. But instead of the hard to obtain cards. The propeller uses its native 1600x1200 VGA. lol http://www.parallax.com/portals/0/help/P8X32A/QnaWeb/
Ok, so no writing of new drivers for the ST. No new roms. No complex upgrade. But the Propeller needs programming, and either use a standard dev/prototyping board from the Propeller shop, or a custom one, that just has VGA, PS2, USB and serial. So that tinkerers can play about. Update the Propeller with the latest software that has been compiled by the forum, and maybe, all these things could be achieved one by one. But a custom shield would need to be made to fit the Propeller to the ST's DMA, 68000 or some other but of brain. Same route as adding any PIC, but this ones got VGA and ... Ok, Im going out on a limb. But RISC and the Propeller is cool. And its a fun bit of kit for hobbyists. Its not really an Atari-like chip. But maybe they would have gone RISC multicore? lol
You know the Atari Transputer ATW was just a Mega ST mobo clunked onto some parallel microcontrollers, and so maybe I could justify a Propeller chip as being similar. Its £10, has 8 parallel RISC cores, connectivity to modern universal serial busses, and its designed to be as easy to progam as humanly possible, and it all fits on a board about 8cm square. ... If its transputery, then its (possibly) still Atari enough lol. ... All I'd transpute tho, would be a 1600x1200 colour VGA gem desktop. That would be enough to play GEM Elite windowed, and maybe having option just turning on ST, with no drivers and having VGA and IDE/SD or UDE/CF would be great on normal ST resolutions. Load up a Nova driver on your floppy, and your in super resolution world. Add a CF card, and you got every bit of software ever created on it.
... Maybe then add this kit to my ST http://www.parallax.com/tabid/768/Produ ... fault.aspx
and I can fly it over to my desk. Lol. ... Check this badboy out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AX6RY3WdW4