Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby ijor » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:07 am

Sorgelig wrote:almost any real life digital circuit "violates" synchronous design.


Not so sure. And in the worst case, not nearly as much as old school designs. There is no comparison. In most cases, you simply won't be able to use all the async tricks they used then in a modern device. Because you won't be able to constrain it, it probably won't work, and in some extreme cases it might even damage the device because of internal bus contention.

Actually it's not an issue as well and doesn't prevent making 1:1 replica using synchronous design.


Of course it's an issue. I agree it doesn't mean you can't make a functional equivalent model. But in some cases it might make the conversion much more complicated, and it usually requires a much deeper analysis of the logic. Otherwise, you could easily convert automatically to an FPGA model.

For purists who thinks that 1:1 replica is only when the same gate is used ...


Well, that is more a semantic debate than an issue of being purist or not. It is certainly not exactly the same. But you can't help it. Even if you use the same gate level design, and just because the technology is so different, it might behave different under some (remote) circumstances.

But 74HCT00 acts the same as 7400 and can be used as a direct replacement (if current is not too high). Even some CPUs went through big transformations inside with reducing the die size and power consumption.


Direct replacement in most cases. But power and timing is not the same. In some cases the replacement might not work.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby wongck » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:40 am

1st1 wrote:You can download the complete Combel VHDL code from Suska github. It's there.

Sounds like you are having fun programming. :cheers:
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:22 pm

Yes, a bit, sometimes, but unfortunatelly no VHDL.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby BlankVector » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:41 pm

As the Apollo Core 68080 is very promising, I wanted to see how it behaves with Atari stuff. This can give an idea of how it would work if some day the Apollo Core 68080 was available for Atari hardware. Here are my (Vincent) conclusions.

For memory:
- In 2010, I ported EmuTOS to Amiga. I had previously cleaned up the EmuTOS sources to remove dependencies to Atari hardware (when working on ColdFire Evaluation boards). Then I suspected it would be easy to port it to Amiga, with minimal efforts. Even if I'm not an Amiga guy, I found Amiga hardware programming documentation on the web and I got first results with WinUAE in 2 days. I took the time to clean up all that stuff, then it has finally be officially included in EmuTOS 0.9.0 released in 2013 (only ST-High video mode supported).
- In June 2016, I made minor changes to FreeMiNT to make it compatible with non-Atari hardware such as Amiga. As FreeMiNT relies almost entirely on underlying BIOS for hardware support, this was easy to make it run over EmuTOS for Amiga.
- In February 2017, after having bought an Amiga and a Vampire board, I have published an fVDI driver for SAGA, the extended HDMI output of Vampire boards on Amiga. This driver supports 16-bit extended video modes up to 1680x1050 (could be more).

The result is a perfectly working FreeMiNT environment for Amiga/Vampire, similar to the one which can be obtained with ARAnyM of high-end Atari machines. Old TOS programs work well unmodified (I mean old binaries), provided they don't try to access Atari hardware directly, which is of course missing. The resulting system is somehow similar to Milan. I have published many screenshots on the Apollo Forum, as this is Amiga stuff. Reported results range from monochrome screenshots to full-blown FreeMiNT setup in 1680x1050, including Kronos benchmarks.

What are useful conclusions regarding to eventual availability of the Apollo Core 68080 for Atari machines?

- CPU compatibility. Basically, Apollo 68080 has exactly the same features as a fast 68040. It just works, I didn't face any software issues. I can even run my entire FreeMiNT setup (using official mint040.prg) with ARAnyM, WinUAE or Vampire, by just changing the fVDI driver.

- FPU: currently unavailable. But it is planned to be included in future Apollo Core updates (updatable by software).

- MMU: unavailable, and not planned. FreeMiNT memory protection for 68040 can't be used, but this is not a big problem as it is an optional feature.

- Speed: In Apollo Core GOLD2 release, the FPGA is clocked at 78 MHz (could be clocked higher in future releases). I compared Vampire results to CT60 ones provided by OL. It is difficult to blindly trust Kronos results, because some instructions can be faster than others, with cache differences, etc. Overall memory access is also a bit slower with higher SAGA video modes. My interpretation is that Apollo 68080 CPU speed is roughly equivalent to 68060 clocked at the same speed. I'm convinced that the truth is not far from that. It also appears that the Vampire's FastRAM is very fast, significantly faster than CT60. On the other hand, Chip RAM (= ST-RAM) is still very slow on Amiga.
Apollo 68080 has special enhancements like transparent parallel execution of instructions, transparent cache, etc. This can lead to better performance for some programs, but that's difficult to predict. 68080 also supports extended instructions such as AMMX which can greatly speed up multimedia software, but special routines must be explicitly written for that.

My conclusion is that the Apollo Core 68080 has very good performance, and is very promising. For sure, it is worth to port it to Atari computers. Personally, I don't know hardware, so I can't do more.
Go ahead, hardware people, and bring us Apollo Core 68080 for Atari computers!

EDIT: People of Apollo Team are currently overbusy with their Amiga stuff. Even if they want to support Atari stuff (they asked for help to do that), this will not happen immediately.
Last edited by BlankVector on Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby joska » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:53 pm

BlankVector wrote:FreeMiNT memory protection for 68040 can't be used, but this is not a big problem as it is an optional feature.


To me this is a showstopper. I see no reason to buy another "Atari" on which I can't use memory protection. Memory protection is an invaluable tool when you're developing on an Atari, not just for it.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:16 pm

Thanks Vincent for your detailed comment. Now, following actions would be required:

- get fvdi to support 24/32 Bit mode as SAGA does. this also could be usefull for SuperVidel and PCI graphics cards ontop of CT6x(e) cards, Aranym and so on. (Vincent?)

- pickup all availabe source code available VHDL modellized ATARI chipsets, sources could be MiST, Suska, Firebee and SuperVidel and maybe things I don't know. Check them to be useable on Apollo. The main issue is that they must support one of two by Apolllo supported bus interface is used. They are Altera Avalon and ARM AMBA, see https://www.altera.com/content/dam/alte ... n_spec.pdf and https://www.arm.com/products/amba-open- ... ations.php The other side is that the modellized sound and graphics hardware must match with Apollos HDMI-Interface. It's also possible to teach SAGA graphics to support all kind of video mode of the ATARI world, I mean ST Shifter, STE shifter, TT shifter, Videl and extended things like SuperVidel modes, Firebee-Videl-Modes, ET 4000 and so on. Their SAGA chipset is very very flexible, they already did tests with the ST shifter bitplane modes successfully. To support these modes one must design a register mapping, that means creating registers at the correct adressess and make a register translation to the corresponding SAGA registers.

- get in touch with them, I promise, they don't bite, they are very nice and helpful guys. They are looking forward to anybody skilled (in VHDL, 680x0 architecture in general and ST/TT/Falcon special, probably also in system programming on ST platform, some Amiga knowledge might also not be bad for comparison) to join them to bring the ATARI topic further step by step on the Apollo platform. They want it, they did a lot of little initiatives, see Vincents experiences, see some entries about ATARI in their form, it was usually Apollo team members which opened that topic, they want you. They really want, but their experience is with the ST platform is little and they don't have enough resources for a deeper dive at the moment. The best to get in touch with them is by going to their forum and there you find a link to their IRC channel. That IRC channel is the main thing over what they communicate with each other. It's best to "/query BigGun" (that's Gunnar himself) and chat with him directly, a phone call also could be usefull.

Thumbs up for anybody joing the team. :)
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:24 pm

joska wrote:
BlankVector wrote:FreeMiNT memory protection for 68040 can't be used, but this is not a big problem as it is an optional feature.


To me this is a showstopper. I see no reason to buy another "Atari" on which I can't use memory protection. Memory protection is an invaluable tool when you're developing on an Atari, not just for it.


No, it's not. The thing is that currently they don't have enough ressources to implement it. It's because they are still not ready with processor optimisation, their SAGA chipset is still incomplete (OCS/ECS/AGA video modes and Paula sound still missing, also no Blitter, Copper, and things like that, newer board version to come (which supports all signals needed in a ST(!!!), Amiga 1200 version pending - this could be the base for Falcon turbo card...). And additionally already SAGA testing for ST bitplane mode testings. They are full of work. And we here, instead of grabbing under their arms to support them, we only discuss.

In the Apollo forum you can see that there was already a discussion by mfro with them about their MCU unit in Apollo. There are two ways possible:
1. MiNt can use this MCU. It does much more as the 680x0 PMMU, under others it does support memory protection, memory mapping, mirroring and so on, so it can support all needed by MiNT memory protection. I have the impression mfro would be able to implement this.
2. Show them that the ATARI community is strong and wants to have Apollo 68080 platform in our ST. Make it running as it is, and in a second step, when there are more human ressources, PMMU compatibility can be implemented based on the MCU (like for ST series video modes in SAGA, it's mostly only a mapping issue).

A first step without M680x0 PMMU is not a show-stopper, it is a first step for the optimal machine. If you want it, don't let them do all the work, support them, this is ways better!
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby joska » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:36 pm

1st1 wrote:No, it's not.


Yes it is. I have no need for a "040" on which I can't use memory protection. Now, if this is solved by implementing support for the Apollo-only MMU in MiNT then I'm happy. But until then the Vampire is not an option for me. I have other fast Ataris where memory protection is supported.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:51 pm

joska, this is chicken egg problem...

Amiga has not much sensefull use for PMMU (during this discussion I collected some), but that is not as advanced as in MiNT or Outside driver. So even if Apollo team implements PMMU function they can not test all of it's function to be compatibe. But we can do with MiNT. But for that, best is that Vampire runs in ST. So step by step, first get Vampire into ST, then implement and test PMMU.

Apollo FPGA core is upgradeable. Let's do it step by step.

Can you agree? We must think a bit beyond of our nasal tip.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:36 pm

Why would anyone devote their development time to a proprietary product? What happens if it goes Natami shaped again and goes up in smoke?
If they want help they should open source the design IMHO. Firebee is open. Suska is open. Mist is open. Ultra Satan is open. Cosmosex is open.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:15 pm

Frank, why do you have doubts? They already sell Vampire, and they still have a lot of plans and ideas. They are already working ten years on Apollo core, since they gave up Natami. They did already too much to give up, and they are very successfull. Tell me any other turbo card which has been ordered or sold 2000 times durung the last monthes.

Please stop search the hair in the soup, there is no. Pick up the chance we have. They offer us to get in the team and advance the topic. We can't loose anything, we can only win - a very sexy turbo card which turns any ST into something similar or faster than a Falcon with CT60 and SuperVidel.

Please stop doubting, that's stupid. Talk to them to impress yourself.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:53 pm

1st1 wrote:Frank, why do you have doubts? They already sell Vampire, and they still have a lot of plans and ideas. They are already working ten years on Apollo core, since they gave up Natami. They did already too much to give up, and they are very successfull. Tell me any other turbo card which has been ordered or sold 2000 times durung the last monthes.

Please stop search the hair in the soup, there is no. Pick up the chance we have. They offer us to get in the team and advance the topic. We can't loose anything, we can only win - a very sexy turbo card which turns any ST into something similar or faster than a Falcon with CT60 and SuperVidel.

Please stop doubting, that's stupid. Talk to them to impress yourself.


I will stick to open projects. Investing time in one which has nothing to show Atari wise yet seems premature. I would take them more seriously if the project was open. Come back when we see a video of it working in an Atari.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:54 pm

1st1 wrote:Frank, why do you have doubts? They already sell Vampire, and they still have a lot of plans and ideas. They are already working ten years on Apollo core, since they gave up Natami. They did already too much to give up, and they are very successfull. Tell me any other turbo card which has been ordered or sold 2000 times durung the last monthes.

Please stop search the hair in the soup, there is no. Pick up the chance we have. They offer us to get in the team and advance the topic. We can't loose anything, we can only win - a very sexy turbo card which turns any ST into something similar or faster than a Falcon with CT60 and SuperVidel.

Please stop doubting, that's stupid. Talk to them to impress yourself.


I will stick to open projects. Investing time in one which has nothing to show Atari wise yet seems premature. I would take them more seriously if the project was open. Come back when we see a video of it working in an Atari.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:36 am

Nothing? Emutos runs in very high resolution as on no other TOS System beides Firebbe and some Falcons with Supervidel. The rest comes, with or without you. Modesty is a good thing, not only always demanding that they do, but delivering or at least motivate. I don't know your skills, so no ideal if it makes sense to continue to discuss and motivate you. Maybe I better ignore you in this thread?
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby jfl » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:58 am

joska wrote:
BlankVector wrote:FreeMiNT memory protection for 68040 can't be used, but this is not a big problem as it is an optional feature.

To me this is a showstopper. I see no reason to buy another "Atari" on which I can't use memory protection. Memory protection is an invaluable tool when you're developing on an Atari, not just for it.

I'm in the same boat as joska on this. I'm really starting to hate the lack of MP on the Firebee. I have to run ARAnyM to test my code in an MP-enabled system. It's just silly.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby vido » Sat Mar 11, 2017 12:31 pm

[quote="jfl"I'm in the same boat as joska on this. I'm really starting to hate the lack of MP on the Firebee. I have to run ARAnyM to test my code in an MP-enabled system. It's just silly.[/quote]
I think the same. As Coldfire has MMU we should find the way MiNT team would enable MP on Coldfire. Maybe we should do kind of campaign for MP on Coldfire? :)

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby Frank B » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:06 pm

1st1 wrote:Nothing? Emutos runs in very high resolution as on no other TOS System beides Firebbe and some Falcons with Supervidel. The rest comes, with or without you. Modesty is a good thing, not only always demanding that they do, but delivering or at least motivate. I don't know your skills, so no ideal if it makes sense to continue to discuss and motivate you. Maybe I better ignore you in this thread?


It needs to either support the ST hardware on the Vampire card or actually work in a real Atari. Anything else is vapour.
Moderators can we have a vapourware board please? We should restrict Vampire posts to that sub section until we see it running in an ST.

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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:10 pm

Like someone told today in another thread to somebody else, I repeat these words and I dedicate them to you: Frank, today is your lucky day, if you aren't interested in this topic, search yourself another topic elsewhere where you can discuss sensefull, please and thank you. *firendly big smile* :)
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby Frank B » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:05 pm

1st1 wrote:Like someone told today in another thread to somebody else, I repeat these words and I dedicate them to you: Frank, today is your lucky day, if you aren't interested in this topic, search yourself another topic elsewhere where you can discuss sensefull, please and thank you. *firendly big smile* :)


If you keep posting vapourware I'll keep calling you on it. I think we do need a vapourware topic until we see something relevant for the ST.
A better place for this might be EAB? My prediction is that 2017 will come and go with nothing to show for it. No working Vampire accelerator on the ST and no stand alone ST compatible machine. I expect far more progress on Fireebee to be honest.

Speaking of which, leep the snide comments about the firebee from the conversation too please. It won't make anyone want to help you.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby 1st1 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:36 am

Frank, other example.

Somone has invented "the wheel". Another person has invented "the wooden box, top open". And another person has invented "tame horse". And a fourth person has the idea that all of this can be put together in a sensefull way to be a "horse carriage" but does not exactly know how.

Do you think it's forbidden to talk in public to get these things together to make the idea comming true?

If so, we still would life in caves, right?
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby shoggoth » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:41 am

1st1 wrote:Frank, other example.

Somone has invented "the wheel". Another person has invented "the wooden box, top open". And another person has invented "tame horse". And a fourth person has the idea that all of this can be put together in a sensefull way to be a "horse carriage" but does not exactly know how.

Do you think it's forbidden to talk in public to get these things together to make the idea comming true?

If so, we still would life in caves, right?


It's not forbidden. But here's the thing. You're a talker rather than a doer, and your attitude towards actual doers is sort of disrespectful. Also, you're getting into technical discussions armed with Google instead of actual know-how. That's why people react as if your posts are annoying rather than constructive. It's not rocket science.
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Re: Apollo Team announces developing of Vampire standalone version to run as AMIGA and ATARI ST

Postby rian_ata » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:35 pm

Just as a sidenote, there is this guy called TerribleFire on Youtube that is doing an Amiga accelerator that he will port to Atari as well with the help of Exxos. Have a look here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu4uiU ... AxNh7TGsmQ

Example where he is fixing a 520STFM after adding RAM to it:

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