Category Archives: Amiga Hardware - Page 3

Ethernet Adapter Speeds, AmigaOS 3.9 and AmigaOS 4.1 Classic

I did some testing on the available Ethernet adapters for AmigaOS 4.1 and compared them against AmigaOS 3.9.  Read below for the test results!

Hardware Setup

Amiga Technologies A4000T
phase 5 Cyberstorm PPC with 233MHz 604e and 50MHz 68060
128MB RAM
Deneb Zorro III USB Controller – PIO mode in AmigaOS 4.1, DMA mode in AmigaOS 3.9
D-Link DUB-E100 100Mbit USB Ethernet Adapter
Elbox Mediator A3/4000T
Realtek 8029 based PCI network card 10Mbit
Realtek 8139 based PCI network card 100Mbit
Sapphire Radeon 9250 256MB PCI graphics card
ESS Solo-1 PCI sound card
Dual Boot AmigaOS 3.9 and AmigaOS 4.1 Classic Installed

Testing Methodology

For each test a large file was ftp’ed from a local ftp server into the Amiga 4000T’s RAM disk. Three different files were used – a 10MB file, a 40MB file, and a 102MB file.  The transfer rate at the end of the transfer was recorded for each test.  There was a normally a higher “peak” transfer rate, but since that was not sustained, I recorded the more realistic number at the end of the transfer.

FTP Client Used

I used the fastest client I could for each test.  Under AmigaOS 4.1 it was the included command line ftp program.  In AmigaOS 3.9 the AmiFTP client was fastest.  The included Genesis command line ftp client was very slow for some reason under AmigaOS 3.9.

TCP/IP Stack

AmigaOS 4.1 Classic is using RoadShow
AmigaOS 3.9 is using Genesis 68020 version

Operating System Notes

Stock AmigaOS 4.1 Classic install using DHCP.

AmigaOS 3.9 BB4 with MAPROM feature of Cyberstorm PPC enabled.  In addition, two tests were performed on each ethernet card with TLSFMem enabled.  TLSFMem is designed for AmigaOS 3.x only.   If you don’t know what TLSFMem is you can find information about it on Chris Hodges’ site here.

Results

OK, on to the results!  As you can see enabling TLSFMem under AmigaOS 3.9 makes a huge difference.
Not only does it lower by a little bit the CPU usage, it significantly increases the transfer rate and the overall system feels faster.  You can see the difference in speed between the RTL 8029 and RTL 8139 network cards on AmigaOS 3.9 in the chart below.

Under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic, the RTL8029 can reach 900 KB/sec and peak above that.  Using the USB adapter connected to the Deneb, you can get an even higher 1MB/sec.  There is very little difference in CPU usage in PIO or DMA mode on the Deneb – approximately 5% give or take.  Transfer rates are faster under AmigaOS 4.1, except when TLSFMem is enabled on AmigaOS 3.9.

All results measured in KB/sec (Kilo Bytes per second).

If you are interested in additional test results, you can check out the post by Olaf Barthel who published some results using Ariadne network cards.  The link is over on the English Amiga Board.

AmigaKit announces pending availability of the FastATA 1200 MK-IV!

 

AmigaKit has announced pending availablility of the FastATA 1200 MK-IV IDE adapter for Amiga 1200 users.

FastATA 1200 MK-IV

FastATA 1200 MK-IV

“FastATA 1200 is the most advanced IDE interface for the Amiga 1200
computer, providing up to PIO-5 performance and LBA 48-bit
compatibility.

Continuing AmigaKit’s commitment to sponsoring development of Classic
Amiga hardware, Elbox have manufactured a new production run of this
popular IDE interface.

FastATA MK-IV is natively supported in the new AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.
It is also compatible with the older AmigaOS 3.0, 3.1, 3.5 and 3.9.

Includes the latest AllegroCDFS v3.6 and ATA3 v10 driver software.”

Direct Product Links:

http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1052

The FastATA 1200 MK-IV is in final quality testing now and will be available in approximately 2 weeks.

PDF version of Poseidon article available

PDF graphic

 

Just a short note, a PDF version of the article “Optimizing Poseidon for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic” is now available.  Head on over to the article here, or download the PDF directly here: Optimizing Poseidon for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic in PDF format.

Optimizing Poseidon for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic

 

Note: PDF version available – click to to download the PDF version here: Optimizing Poseidon for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.

We are quite lucky as Amiga users that we have Chris Hodges who has programmed the excellent USB stack for the Amiga, Poseidon, and also E3B computers which makes the high quality Deneb and Subway USB controllers.  And, best of all, both the controllers (Deneb and Subway) and Poseidon will work under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic!  But there are some tips you should follow to get it working properly.

This article will mostly centre around the Deneb USB Controller, because I actually own two of them, but most of it should also apply to the Subway (although the Subway has no Flash memory).

Preparing your Deneb

First of all, on your Classic machine, it’s probably best to setup and configure the Deneb under AmigaOS 3.x.   Since the Deneb was released there have been several firmware revisions.  I would recommend you upgrade to the latest V11 Deneb firmware, which can be downloaded from E3B’s site.

Follow the excellent instructions that come with the Deneb to set it up and download and install the latest Poseidon USB stack (currently version 4.4) from Chris Hodges’ site, and do the Deneb firmware update as described above.

Once you have Poseidon 4.4 installed and working, you should download the flash utility named Luciferin, also found on Chris Hodges’ site. Luciferin will allow you to add the Poseidon USB stack (and other modules) to the flash memory of the Deneb so that the contents are available from a cold-boot.

Using the Deneb and Poseidon with AmigaOS 4.1 Classic

Boot into AmigaOS 4.1 Classic and install Poseidon 4.4.  During the install you can follow all the defaults, except for one point:  When you are asked which hardware drivers to install, make sure you only select the drivers for which you have hardware.  For the Amiga 4000, only select the Deneb PIO driver.   There have been reports that selecting the Subway driver (when installing on an Amiga 4000) can lead to crashes later on). When the installer asks if you wish to start the USB stack automatically you can say yes.  The installer also asks if you wish to extract some extra programs – you can do so and I’ll come back to those later – just choose a directory somewhere on your hard disk and leave them for now.   Under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic you presently have to use the Deneb PIO (programmed IO) driver (Photo 1).  The DMA driver is not supported as of this writing under AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.

After Poseidon is installed, start the Trident prefs program – there will be a new icon for it in Sys:Prefs (Photo 1).  The other photos below show the recommended configuration to disable popups (Photo 2), the recommended Massstorage Class settings (Photo 3) for USB memory sticks or external hard drives, and the Trident GUI showing a list of connected USB devices and hubs (Photo 4).  Once you are happy with the settings you should save them and close the Trident GUI.

Flashing your Deneb’s 4MB of flash memory with Luciferin

Download and install Luciferin from Chris Hodge’s website. The current version is Luciferin 4.1.  Once you have downloaded and extracted the Luciferin archive to a directory on your hard disk, go into Sys:Prefs/Compatibilty and add Luciferin to the list of Blacklisted applications.  We need to do this because the flash process is not compatible with AmigaOS 4.1’s JIT (just in time) 68k emulator (Photo 5).

Next, you can start Luciferin and you should see a blank window (nothing is in your Deneb’s flash memory (Photo 6).   It is recommended to add Poseidon to the Deneb’s flash memory so it is available at cold boot.  Remember how we previously saved our settings in the Trident GUI? If we use the menu option in Luciferin “Quick Setup – Poseidon”, Luciferin will load all the Poseidon modules into the flash memory based on our last saved settings from the Trident GUI.  This is an important thing to remember – any time you update or change Poseidon’s settings in the Trident GUI, you shoule re-flash your Deneb to ensure you are getting the latest settings at cold boot.  Photo 7 shows Poseidon ready to be flashed into the Deneb’s flash memory.

BootLoader Settings

In Luciferin there is a tab called “Bootloader” which allows you to adjust various boot-time options.  For AmigaOS 4.1 Classic Photo 8 shows the recommended settings – “Reinstall on every reboot”.  This means the flash contents are re-installed into memory upon every boot.  This setting seems to work best.

When you are ready, you can click back to the “Local” tab and click “Upload”.  Luciferin will upload modules to the Deneb flash memory.  When it is complete you can close Luciferin and power off your machine.  Wait 15 seconds and power back on.  When you power on your Amiga Poseidon will be resident and your USB devices will be initialized.  This means that if you have a USB mouse connected to the Deneb it should already be working.

Using Devices with Poseidon

Poseidon supports a large array of USB devices and has many classes for things like mice, hubs, USB network adapters, USB sound cards USB memory sticks and hard drives (massstorage), and various others.

Memory Sticks

You can partition USB memory sticks using AmigaOS 4.1’s MediaToolbox utility.  This includes the capability to prepare a RDB (Rigid Disk Block), file systems, and partitions.   When using removable USB memory sticks or hard drives it is recommended to use FastFileSystem (FFS DOS7) with long filenames as your filesystem.  SmartFileSystem (SFS) does not fully support removable devices so it is not recommended.  If you are using a USB memory stick formatted on a PC in FAT or FAT32 filesystem, you can still use it as long as Fat95 is installed (see below).

Ethernet Adapters

USB Ethernet adapters based on the Asix chipset are natively supported by Poseidon and are automatically detected in the Internet Connection Wizard of AmigaOS 4.1, as long as Poseidon is started.  The D-Link DUB-E100 is one such adapter that is compatible.  Expect speeds approaching 1MB/sec with this adapter.

Sound Adapters

USB Sound adapters also work, providing you install a special stub file named usbaudio.a.main in LIBS:. After copying this file into LIBS:, power off your Amiga, wait 15 seconds, power it back on.  Boot into AmigaOS 4.1 Classic and your USB sound card should be available in AHI prefs.  Poseidon must be started in order for the sound to work.

FAT95

Remember those extra programs that the Poseidon installer asked if you wanted to extract?  Well, one of them is called Fat95.  You should extract that archive and put the fat95 program in your L: assignment.  Once this is done if you insert a FAT formatted USB memory stick from a PC it will be visible on your Workbench.

This is by no means a complete article on Poseidon and the Deneb, but it should be enough to get you up and running.  Both the Deneb and Poseidon come with excellent documentation and there are many threads online, and great support is provided by Chris Hodges and E3B.   The best thing to do is to start exploring and testing your setup to make sure it is working the way you want it to.

Amiga 4000T Unboxing!

Back in 2007 I I purchased a NOS (new old stock) Amiga 4000T from Software Hut.   Up until recently they were still available.  I have since sold this Amiga 4000T, but I do have another NOS machine in my basement 🙂

Contact Software Hut by e-mailing them directly to inquire about availability of NOS Amiga 4000T’s.

Here’s the pix!

GVP Spectrum “New Production” Unboxing

Late in 2010 I received a “New” GVP Spectrum Zorro II/III graphics card from the announced production run from Software Hut.  Full hardware specs here:  http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/egs28

Below are some unboxing photos!

 

ZorRAM – Zorro 3 Memory for Amiga 3000 and 4000

On July 7, 2010 I received two ZorRAM cards in the mail from AmigaKit!

ZorRAM

ZorRAM

The ZorRAM is a 128MB or 256MB Zorro 3 memory expansion for Amiga 3000 or 4000 computers.  It is a entirely new design featuring modern technologies.  Compatible with AmigaOS 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1 and the new AmigaOS 4.1 Classic.

The ZorRAM is a really amazing piece of technology that easily adds either 128MB or 256MB of memory to your Amiga 3000 or 4000.  It’s really great for AmigaOS 4.1 Classic users as it gives you extra breathing room.  It is supported out-of-the-box with AmigaOS 4.1 Classic for use as a hardware memory paging file.   Worth owning!

Features

128MB of Fast Memory (or 256MB option- see below)
Zorro III 32-bit AutoConfig RAM Expansion
Low power, cool 3.3v compact design (130mm x 55mm)
New and exclusive AmigaKit.com product, manufactured April 2010
Commodore A3640 and GVP 4060DT CPU cards support 4x ZorRAM 256MB cards installed at once to give 1GB Memory (click for picture)
Tested OK with Mediator 4000DiMediator 4000D, and the Prometheus PCI busboard.
Zorro Board ID: 3643 / 32

One 256 MB and one 128MB.   Below you can see the unboxing gallery for the 256MB version!

Machine used for Testing:

Amiga 4000cr Desktop
16MB Fast, 2MB Chip

Elbox Mediator A4000Di
Deneb USB Zorro card
DCE Cyberstorm PPC with 68060 50MHz, 604e 233MHz, 128MB Fast Ram
ZorRAM Zorro 3 card with 256MB

NOTE: All Photos are copyright 2010 HD-Zone.com and cannot not be displayed or downloadable from any website, other than www.hd-zone.com, without prior written permission!