ColdFire-native fVDI

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mfro
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ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

still kind of experimental, but already quite usable: a ColdFire-native fVDI engine with a 16-planes driver supporting Firebee extended video modes:
snap001.png
Limitations (before you get too excited):
  • specifically for EmuTOS, i.e. does not work on FireTOS (FireTOS comes with a built-in fVDI, so that's a not so large a loss)
  • requires BaS_gcc in Flash (i.e. does not work with plain BaS)
  • only supporting one single resolution (1680x1050x16@60) for now
Available with (or without, if you don't need it and don't want to waste space) different FreeType versions linked in at https://bintray.com/freemint/app/fvdi/0.96a-61ff5b22
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by jfl »

What's the difference between this driver and the built-in one? I have a FireBee but I never really understood the inner workings of it's video driver.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

jfl wrote: Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:06 pm What's the difference between this driver and the built-in one? I have a FireBee but I never really understood the inner workings of it's video driver.
  • the built in fVDI engine isn't Coldfire native and runs through emulation (cf68klib)
  • the built in one isn't available for EmuTOS
  • the built in one's source code isn't freely available
  • the built in one doesn't support TrueType fonts
  • the built in one doesn't support VDI bezier functions (at least I think so, but not sure)
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by vido »

But do you plan to make it possible to run under FireTOS to be able to replace the NVDI?
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

That would probably be pretty easy if I'd know on how to cleanly allocate FPGA RAM in FireTOS.

In EmuTOS (with BaS_gcc) that's simple (FPGA RAM = ST RAM there). In FireTOS, I just don't know.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by jfl »

Wow, mfro, that's a pretty big list 😯 I had no idea it was that bad. I know you wrote above not to get too excited, but I think I'll get exited nonetheless. Thanks a lot for this!
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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Excellent work :D
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by vido »

mfro wrote: Fri Jan 01, 2021 9:00 pm That would probably be pretty easy if I'd know on how to cleanly allocate FPGA RAM in FireTOS.

In EmuTOS (with BaS_gcc) that's simple (FPGA RAM = ST RAM there). In FireTOS, I just don't know.
Any idea who has the knowledge to help you with that?
Didier? Fredi?
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by PeterS »

I don't have a Firebee and I am confused by all the different set-ups that it has.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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PeterS wrote: Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:54 am I don't have a Firebee and I am confused by all the different set-ups that it has.
I have one and I'm also confused :)
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

The driver now supports arbitrary (anything your monitor can display as long as it's 16bit) resolutions.

Just specify what you want in the fvdi.sys file and - if your monitor can display it - it will come up with that resolution:

Code: Select all

01r firebee.sys mode 1234x567x16@60
will come up as 1232x567x16 (as display width needs to be a multiple of 8, the driver will round down, height can be anything your monitor can display).
Timing parameters will be calculated internally by the driver.

Binaries should be available soon on CI for the curious.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by PeterS »

Great work.

Is the plan to upgrade the built-in fVDI eventually ?

Happy new year.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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The FireBee fVDI driver just got a new sibling: ColdFire-native fVDI driver for Radeon (7000 & 7500 tested) PCI cards:
radeon.png
The driver is in early development stage, 16-bit only and not accelerated yet (so doesn't use any of the advanced Radeon features), but nevertheless already quite usable.
It is aimed at the FreeScale evaluation boards (m5484LITE board etc.) but should work on the FireBee as well (provided you have a proper backplane/riser card).
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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Superb :D
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by Gamer »

This good news as this is one of the reasons I bought a Firebee. The bigger thing that arises is where are we going to get the PCI Backplane? Is there one that works with the Firebee? It will be nice to have a driver for the Radeon, but it is useless without a PCI backplane. Maybe Didier can make one for us all like the one he made for his Firebee. (grin)
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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Gamer wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:36 pm This good news as this is one of the reasons I bought a Firebee. The bigger thing that arises is where are we going to get the PCI Backplane? Is there one that works with the Firebee? It will be nice to have a driver for the Radeon, but it is useless without a PCI backplane. Maybe Didier can make one for us all like the one he made for his Firebee. (grin)
I kept waiting for the rumored PCI backplane before I went ahead and bought a firebee, but now a couple years have passed and nothing ever transpired. I figure it got put aside and don't really ever expect it now. Hope I'm wrong though.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

Note that the driver above is primarily for the FreeScale evaluation boards. FireBees already have a built-in Radeon driver.

What exactly do you expect from a PCI card/Backplane you can't do with your FireBee right now?
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by TheNameOfTheGame »

I don't follow firebee too closely, but I had heard complaints that the system could seem sluggish due to the slower video and that the radeon could accelerate the output. I remember hearing that a pci backplane was in the works to hook up the radeon to the firebee. I never heard that it came out though. But maybe that is old information now and I am going on a outdated assumption?
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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mfro wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:53 pm Note that the driver above is primarily for the FreeScale evaluation boards. FireBees already have a built-in Radeon driver.

What exactly do you expect from a PCI card/Backplane you can't do with your FireBee right now?
TheNameofthegame is correct, faster graphics especially when surfing the NET. I experienced this when I had my Hades060. There was a BIG difference in graphics speed when I did and did not use the PCI graphics card that I had for it.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by mfro »

Technically, the PCI bus is similarily bandwidth-limited than the FlexBus. Behind the PCI bus, there is an (outdated, closed and merely undocumented) PCI card that you can only access if you signed an NDA with ATI/AMD at times (AMD even claims they do not have any programmer's documentation for the older Radeons anymore). Basically the only way to write a fast PCI Radeon driver is to adapt and reverse engineer already reverse engineered drivers (e.g. from older Linux sources).

Behind the FlexBus, there is 128MB of fast memory and a freely programmable/configurable FPGA that could outperform any old Radeon card easily. I do not understand why people ask for a PCI backplane instead of asking for FPGA graphics acceleration?
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

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mfro wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:48 pm Technically, the PCI bus is similarily bandwidth-limited than the FlexBus. Behind the PCI bus, there is an (outdated, closed and merely undocumented) PCI card that you can only access if you signed an NDA with ATI/AMD at times (AMD even claims they do not have any programmer's documentation for the older Radeons anymore). Basically the only way to write a fast PCI Radeon driver is to adapt and reverse engineer already reverse engineered drivers (e.g. from older Linux sources).

Behind the FlexBus, there is 128MB of fast memory and a freely programmable/configurable FPGA that could outperform any old Radeon card easily. I do not understand why people ask for a PCI backplane instead of asking for FPGA graphics acceleration?
Well I would be willing to take anything FlexBUS, FPGA graphics acceleration or PCI Backplane to get faster graphics on the Firebee. It does not really matter. I just mentioned the backplane because there was HUGH talk about it way before I ever received my Firebee. Right now, graphics on the Firebee is OK. I just know things would be a lot better with faster graphics.
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Re: ColdFire-native fVDI

Post by TheNameOfTheGame »

mfro wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:48 pm Technically, the PCI bus is similarily bandwidth-limited than the FlexBus. Behind the PCI bus, there is an (outdated, closed and merely undocumented) PCI card that you can only access if you signed an NDA with ATI/AMD at times (AMD even claims they do not have any programmer's documentation for the older Radeons anymore). Basically the only way to write a fast PCI Radeon driver is to adapt and reverse engineer already reverse engineered drivers (e.g. from older Linux sources).

Behind the FlexBus, there is 128MB of fast memory and a freely programmable/configurable FPGA that could outperform any old Radeon card easily. I do not understand why people ask for a PCI backplane instead of asking for FPGA graphics acceleration?
Well, like I said, I don't really follow firebee news too much. Really the last thing on my radar was the talk about the backplane and that the firebee team was trying to work it out so it could be attached.

A couple of quotes from the talk at the time (WOW, that was 5 years ago?! Time flies!)

https://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.p ... 22#p293622
To answer you from what I know:

1. VNC is running on the FireBee. Server and client.

2. Radeon driver is included in FireTOS. We need right PCI backplane to be found/developed. Anyone can help to desin it?

3. I think there is quite some possibilities to accelerate some thing by adding some "accelerators/decoders/..." in FPGA but we need FPGA developers. Anyone? Also there are some possibilities to have faster Coldfire in the future but I dont know if those options are financialy real?

4. As you said, ppeople dont have much free time. This is all done by volunteers in their free time. There is no company behind this project to have dedicated people to take care of development. We have to organise by ourself to develop things further. There are some things in development. If you tell us how you can help I believe we can find the project where you could help ;)

Vido

https://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.p ... 97#p290997
Mathias wrote: Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:38 pm There are no news about the ATI and the backplane. I will of course inform all of you as soon as we got reasonable solutions. oehansen are you referring to the discussion at atari-home.de? If so, it is just a theoretical one without any news. If not, it is just by chance that you are asking at the same time.
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