The XENA expansion article

The Newest North American Amiga hardwere dealer, Amiga By The Lake, has started a very interesting blog and their first article looks at the XENA programmable controller and user expansion port found on all AmigaOne x1000 and x5000 systems.

It can get pretty technical but is worth the read.

Check it out –> here <–

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Pondering the AmigaOne x5000

So, it was about a year ago that we heard about the forthcoming Cyrus motherboard and the new machines that would be the successors to A-Eon’s x1000: The x5000 (5040 and 5020). The new motherboards would start with the dual core 2.0Ghz P5020 and allow the installation of the quad core 5040 2.4Ghz processor later when they became available.

What kind of performance are we looking at here? It’s hard to compare to Intel/AMD equivalent, and even with other Amiga computers. Regardless, the x1000 is currently the most powerful PowerPC machine supported by the AmigaOS4.1.

MIPS comparisons are not the best but lets look at a few to see what they look like (sourced from various documents on the web). These could be totally off as well. Don’t take my word for it.

(These assume all cores in use, which Amiga OS4.1 cannot do – 4.2 will supposedly support 2 cores)

The x1000 uses the PA6T 1.8Ghz dual core, rated about 8000 MIPS (2.2 DMIPS * 1800 Mhz * 2 cores)
The x5020 uses the P5020 2.0Ghz dual core, rated about 12000 MIPS (3.0 DMIPS * 2000 Mhz * 2 cores )
The x5040 uses the P5040 2.4Ghz quad core, would rate about 28000 MIPS (3.0 DMIPS * 2400 Mhz * 4 cores )

(the core used in the P50x0 line achieves 3.0 DMIPS per Mhz as opposed to the 2.2 DMIPS per Mhz that the PA6T does)

For comparison, a PowerPC 2.0Ghz dual core G5 PowerMAC is rated at 7584 MIPS. If this is a linear calculation a 2.7 dual core could achieve 9480. A quad core, assuming all cores engaged at the same time, running at 2.5Ghz (the fastest Apple produced), would be just under 19000.

Another note here, I looked up the MIPS ratings for the CPU used in the Acube motherboards. The 440ep could achieve 1334 MIPS at 667Mhz, and the 460 could hit 2400 MIPS at 1.2Ghz (I think the SAM boards top out at 1.15 Ghz though, which would be more like 2300).

Also as a side note, the AMD FX-8350 is rated just under 100,000 and the Intel i7 4770k is about 127,000

So, for either the A-Eon machine to achieve it’s max potential, AmigaOS4.2 will have to support every core available. The PowerPC G5 is also not fully utilized as MorphOS is also only a single core OS.

But, these are far and away faster than anything the Amiga OS had in the past. The best a Classic machine (non-PowerPC) could achieve with a 68060 was a little over 100 MIPS (110 at 75Mhz according to Wikipedia)

So, we learned at AmiWest 2014 that the boot menu will have a Classic Amiga boot option. No word yet on the mechanics of this (is is some linux with UAE or something else?)

So, if the Amiga OS4.2 can take advantage of the cores, then x1000 and x5000 users will see much better performance in the future. Here are a few other pictures, thanks to Epsilon for taking them:




How to fix 90% of the Problems with Eyetech AmigaOne SE/XE boards

Well, 90% might be a bit of a stretch, but after having my own initial issues, then later seeing post after post about people finding out that their AmigaOne XE boards had problems, then seeing a common solution pop up, I couldn’t resist this post.

Many users will find that their motherboard may not boot after some time, or will boot but will show all sorts of symptoms.

The VERY FIRST THING that the user should do is this:

– CHANGE THE MOTHERBOARD BATTERY.

The Eyetech AmigaOne SE/XE motherboards use a very common, very cheap coin-style battery that can easily be replaced. The u-boot system depends upon it. It is the CR2032 coin sized battery. Many manufacturers make them and they are super-cheap. I picked up a pack of 2 at a drug store for about $2 USD.

Always do this first and see if the symptoms go away. If they do, great! If not, then start asking around the various amiga forums for help.

Hope that helps someone out there!

Location:

First steps into the Next Generation of Amigas

For some strange reason, Hyperion Entertainment seems only willing to support rare, expensive and hard-to-find hardware for AmigaOS4.x.

There is a list of supported Hardware on their website.

Basically, there are two companies currently making hardware they support: Acube (with their line of SAM motherboards), bringing up the low-end and A-Eon for the highend. A-Eon’s X1000 will set someone back over $3000 USD, and even the least expensive SAM Motherboard, when RAM, OS software and other things are added, will be over $500 USD at the VERY least. (Fully built SAM systems can be had for about $800 USD and up)

The remainder of the supported hardware come down to Eyetech’s original AmigaOne SE/XE and Micro-A1C motherboards, the bPlan Pegasos II motherboard and Phase5/DCE accelerators for the A1200 and ZorroIII Commodore/Escom machines.

I was about to give up on ever being able to run Amiga OS4.x when I stumbled across an Eyetech AmigaOne XE (the G3 800Mhz model) on eBay in 2013. With great enthusiasm, I bid and won the motherboard:

It came with 1GB of RAM, the original AmigaOS4.0 developer install CD and lots of paperwork. It was missing some hardware modifications that others had gotten, known as the UDMA and USB fixes. I read on intuitionbase.com, that plug-in cards for IDE/SATA and USB connections could be used in place of these.

I put the motherboard into a PC case recently vacated, to use with the ATX power supply (650W). I had also picked up some other expansions, but besides the Creative Soundblaster 128, I didn’t really need them for the initial install.

The CD wouldn’t boot correctly into a GUI environment, so my first job was to register the CD key on the Hyperion Website. This gave me access to downloads and updates for OS4.0. I ended up downloading an ISO file for Amiga OS4.0Final. This CD finally got me into the main install UI:

Unfortunately, after the install and removing the CD, a reboots only went into black screens afterwards. I didn’t want to have to use the CD to boot (like some A1000 floppy-only rebooting throwback), so I had to find another solution.

That came later …

(to be continued)