Category Archives: Amiga Hardware

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!

Quikpak 68060 Information

Note: much of the text on this page is in the “past tense”, so it will remain that way for historical significance.
Quikpak 060 card for Amiga 4000T

Quikpak 060 card for Amiga 4000T

This is a support page for all those owners of Amiga 4000Ts with Quikpak 68060 accelerators installed. Since purchasing my board I have had some problems and questions. Others out there may be in the same boat. If you are, I hope this page will be able to answer some of your questions. For those of you who do not own the 68060 accelerator, you may find this page useful as well. Through some investigation I have found out that the 68060.library was licensed from Ralph Babel, and the 68060 board design from Jeff Boyer (Boyer Inc.) Some of you may know Ralph Babel’s name from his work on several Amiga Books and also the GURU ROM for GVP scsi controllers. I am not sure of the exact relationship of the license, but it seems that only the 68060.library and 68040.library stub were licensed. The CPU060 command is not Ralph’s work. Also, Quikpak (or perhaps Jeff Boyer) did not license Ralph’s new math library, that would work in similar fashion to phase 5’s CyberPatcher utility. I would encourage all of you our there to E-mail Quikpak and ask if they will license Ralph’s math library for their 68060 products. Also please contact me if you have any further information about the Quikpak 68060 card. Please keep checking back to this page in the never several weeks and days. I will add performance benchmarks and other information.

Please note that this page has no affiliation with Quikpak, phase 5, Boyer Inc, or any contract developers that may work for those companies.

Software Support

Here is what I have determined to be the latest version of the support software for the Quikpak 68060 accelerator:

Software/Disk Current Version download
Install Disk version 1.0 (DMS Format)
68060.library 2.2 (July 26, 1996)
Manual, XP versionManual, original version DownloadQuikpak 060 Manual (Lha format)

Recently it has come to my attention that a different version of the 68060.library has been shipping with the Quikpak A4060T systems.  This version is the one from Coenobium Developments.  It is unknown why the change was made (perhaps it was a mistake?).  So far attempts to contact Quikpak have failed, but we will try to get to the bottom of the situation…

New: Installation disks for 68060 cards can be downloaded from Gregory Donnor’s page.

Hardware Support

The Quikpak 4000T 68060 accelerator runs at 56.75Mhz and will support EDO ram. If you can get your hands on EDO ram I would recommend it. I have tested the board with and without EDO ram installed. EDO ram gives an astonishing 15 to 18% speed increase in memory access. With EDO ram installed the board is close to 2x as fast as phase 5’s Cyberstorm MK-II 68060 card!

Desktop Version

Quikpak also offers version of their 060 card that fits in an Amiga 4000 Desktop, although this card was also sold with the Amiga 4000T that Quikpak produced. The desktop model sports a UW SCSI controller as optional equipment!  Here are some photos of the Desktop board:

Known Issues

Problem Description Solution/Comments
When using Shapeshifter and the serial port with TCP/IP the hard disk locks up and the light stays on freezing the machine. Make sure your SCSI devices are properly connected and terminated. If the problem still persists, try turning off scsi fast bus or synchronous mode. If that does not solve the problem it may be a 68060 related problem or timing/DMA issues.Partial Solution: Run Shapeshifter off the IDE controller of the A4000T. There seems to be some problem with the SCSI controller. I am still getting some lockups on ShapeShifter. It seems that I can not find a 100% stable solution.
Prepareemul does not work Use the prepareemul A1200 switch
Rendering is slower on my 68060 than on my friend’s phase 5 accelerator Non-phase 5 68060 cards do not include a Cyberpatcher utility. This fpu patching is required because some instructions are missing from the 68060’s fpu. Oyxron, a demo/coding group, is releasing a commercial product named OYXpatcher that will work on all 68060 cards. For more information go to their page by clicking here.
The V-lab Y/C framegrabber card (from Macrosystems) when used with the QuikPak 060 board does not always grab a complete video frame, instead only grabs one field and keeps previous 2nd field in its buffer, thereby interleaving two different images. Curiously, when we switch back to the original 68040.library (thus slowing the machine way down), we don’t have a problem with V-lab. For more information contact Bob Richardson. No solution yet.
Some Fujitsu hard drives do not seem to work with the A4000T. (Note: this is probably a general A4000T problem) I have tested both  1.0 and 1.3 gig Fujitsu hard disks on the A4000T.  Both were not recognized properly (or not at all) by the Amiga.  Keep this in mind when shopping for an IDE drive for your A4000T.
FUSION is generally unstable and does not work (freezes after awhile) when dialing out to an internet connection. This general problem with Mac Emulation and the Quikpak 060 hardware is still unresolved.  We are attempting to find a solution.

Performance

Machine configuration:

Amiga Technologies A4000T
Quikpak 68060 card installed
32 meg EDO 60ns local 060 ram
18 meg of motherboard ram (60ns Fast Page Mode)
Picasso 4 Graphics Card with Picasso 96 1.13
1.06 gig seagate medalist hard disk

BusSpeedTest 0.19 (mlelstv) Buffer: 262144 Bytes, Alignment: 32768 (bustest fast rom)

Memtype Cycle Bandwidth
fast readw 44.8 ns 44.6 meg/sec
fast readl 71.1ns 56.6 meg/sec
fast readm 73.1ns 54.7 meg/sec
fast writew 44.8ns 44.7 meg/sec
fast writel 89.8ns 44.6 meg/sec
fast writem 89.0ns 45.0 meg/sec
rom readw 44.8ns 44.7 meg/sec
rom readl 69.9ns 57.2 meg/sec
rom readm 73.0ns 54.8 meg/sec

Memspeed Benchmarks (Memspeed Copyright 1996 Frank Wille)

Ram type: 60ns Fast Page Mode (FPM) vs. 60ns EDO Ram (EDO)

Type FPM Read EDO Read % Change
Chip Ram 4617 kB/s 4617 kB/s 0.0%
Fast Ram 46492 kB/s 54545 kB/s +17.3%
Rom 46586 kB/s 54545 kB/s +17.1%
Type FPM Write EDO Write % Change
Chip Ram 6969 kB/s 6968 kB/s -0.01%
Fast Ram 38927 kB/s 44055 kB/s +13.2%
Type FPM Copy EDO Copy % Change
Chip Ram 2777 kB/s 2777 kB/s 0.0%
Fast Ram 22470 kB/s 26716 kB/s +18.9%

As you can see from the table above, the EDO ram has a significant impact on both the read and write speeds of Fast ram, with an upto 18.9% performance boost over FPM (fast page mode) ram.

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!