WinUAE PowerPC – Huge speed increases with AmigaOS4.1

So, Toni (WinUAE developer), and Frode (FS-UAE developer), have collaborated to get QEMU’s PowerPC core code working. Their first release with the PPC JIT code was 2900b15. While I did download and test it, I didn’t see a huge speed increase. There was a marginal increase with my laptop and definitely much closer to the real NextGen hardware, it still didn’t feel like we were there yet.

In the past few days, a new, beta 16 build had become available. To get the QEMU part working you, need a base qemu dll and several support files. Those can be found –> here <–. Unzip all the files into the same folder as the winuae.exe file.

The first speed up comes from using a harddrive file (hdf) connected to the virtual accelerator SCSI connection. I used the previous install of OS4.1 to an HDF file but it was on the IDE connection.

1) in the WinUAE setup, click "CD & Hard Drives"
2) On my previous setup, I had the HDF file on the IDE:0 controller, double click that line
3) This brings up the Hardfile Settings window, change the controller to "Accelerator Board SCSI"
(shown here).

The next speed up is in the internal settings to interface with the QEMU PPC portion. It doesn’t seem to be something the user can set. Toni increased the size of the QEMU PPC JIT cache, which he said made a big speeed difference. I can say that it does!

The SCSI change caused the OS to load faster under emulation than on either of my G3 AmigaOne computers.

I then ran NetSurf PPC to download Sysmon to run some benchmarks (I’ll make another post later about setting up internet connection).

I startup up SysMon and chose the Benchmark tab:

I ran Ragemem first, and then compared it to 4 other configurations:

Comparing to my AmigaOne XE G3 (70% faster):

Comparing to an Amiga4000 with the fastest CyberStormPPC accelerator board (273% faster):

Comparing to an Acube Sam 460 1150 (AmigaOne500) – (19% faster):

And finally, the ultimate NextGen hardware: A-Eon x1000 1.8Ghx G4 (23% slower):

I then ran the SDL benchmarks. In nearly every case, the Emulated environment was slower.

I then did two networking tests. The first was to use the Sysmon built-in network bandwidth test. On a very fast LAN environment, the emulated system achieve okay speeds (slow DSL speeds, but acceptable):

I then ran the same test on the host machine, very fast speeds:

I can’t help but wonder if this speed limitation is part of the ethernet.device driver…

Finally, I started up netspeedometer, and ran it while running AmiUpdate. During the MUI4 archive download, I got this screengrab, showing decent speeds. Again, no superspeed here, but acceptable. I also noticed browsing in NetSurf was very comfortable. Not quite as quick as using Chrome on the host laptop but again, okay. I plan to try Odyssey soon. Will update when that happens:

Finally, I started up Ranger to see what Mhz speed it determined. I am not sure if this is an actual frequency test or it interpolated it via some hardware ID found but it thought I was running a 604 at 233Mhz:

Again, I’m very grateful to Toni and Frode and anyone else involved in this. I plan to build a dedicated PowerPC AmigaOS4.1 system based around this emulator. Pictures when it is done!

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Amiga Hell finally freezes over…

It finally happened! A few weeks ago, Toni Wilen, current maintainer (and all around extremely smart guy) of WinUAE, decided he wanted to add CyberStorm/Blizzard/CyberStormPPC/BlizzardPPC and WarpEngine RAM configurations to WinUAE (simulating RAM accessible on those boards).

Well, word got out, and people started asking if he was going to add PowerPC Emulated CPU to those emulated PPC boards. He initially said no. He’s said for a very long time he doesn’t like PowerPC and wasn’t interested.

However, he’s apparently the kind that wants to make his product the best it can be, probably likes a challenge and saw a jump in development donations specifically tied to PowerPC emulation.

QEMU was looked at and passed up, as it was harder to bring the code changes over than he wanted to do. However, the long-abandoned PearPC source code (the original MAC OSX emulator that was cut short when Apple jumped to Intel), provided a ready-made, drop in PPC cpu.

At first, it didn’t work, then slowly, WarpOS, and later PowerUP software began to work. The question was always if OS4.x and MorphOS for classics would work. There were issues, crashes, blank screens, etc, and Toni continued to deny that he would work specifically for that.

However, today, August 14, 2014, he posted two images about his next beta:



Here’s the original WinUAE2.9.0 thread where the PPC stuff originated.

Here’s the PPC specific thread

and here is the initial posting of the good news.

MorphOS 3.5.1 has been released (alternate download link)

Hello all,

It appears that the MorphOS team is pushing forward with another fine release of their PowerPC, Amiga-like OS: 3.5.1. The 3.5 release that showed up a few days ago had a flaw on boot-up for some machines so they quickly put up version 3.5.1 as a quick-fix release.

Their changelist can be found –> here

And a list of the new G5’s they support is found here <–

I do believe that the MorphOS team has made a wise decision over the past few years of supporting the Apple PowerPC machines. This, combined with their free (for 30 minutes at a time unless you register) OS, plus easily available (on ebay/craigslist, etc) and inexpensive PowerPC machines, gives potential new users a very easy and cheap way to experience Amiga NextGen.

Their support of the Apple G5 PowerMac machines actually make their vision of Amiga NextGen faster than Amiga OS4 on even the x1000 AmigaOne machines by A-Eon. The benchmarks show the PowerMac G5 2.5Ghz machines crushing everything else, including the 1.8Ghz AmigaOne x1000's.

It’s also good for Hyperion to have some PowerPC competition.

NOTE: I was having website access problems for the main MorphOS page, so I found a direct link to the install ISO image. Use this if you are also having link issues:

http://asgaard.morphos-team.net/morphos-3.5.1.iso

So, one became four… the fracturing of Amiga

When I left the Amiga-scene in 1998, there was only a single OS that we used: Classic 68k Amiga OS. Sure, proDad tried to make pOS. I remember the pre-release, but it seemed to be highly dependent upon the kickstart ROMs.

I kept an eye out on AROS, then later, I read that 3.5 and then 3.9 were coming out. I played with UAE from it’s first PC version even when it was really “Unusable”.

Well, now we have:

  • Classic Amiga OS (currently sitting at 3.9 with 2 official boing bag expansions and 2 unofficial ones)
  • AROS in many flavors (I prefer Icaros which is at 1.5.x) for many architectures, primarily x86 for super-speed
  • MorphOS (currently 3.4) for classic Amigas with PPC accelerators, bPlan’s Pegasos 1 and 2 and lots of ppc mac’s
  • Amiga OS4 (currently 4.1r6), supporting classic PPC accelerators, bPlans’s Peg 2, SAM 440/460 and A-Eon x1000

    (It’s worth noting that various distro’s of AROS support ARM (raspberry Pi, classic AGA Amigas, and maybe a few other platforms, but I’m focusing on x86 as it appears to be most mature).

    Classic Amiga OS does seem to not only have a life on original Classic Amigas, the the expansions that are available are limited. Besides some accelerators that top out at MIPS ratings that are a decade behind current PC/Mac hardware, a few amiga-specific hardware as well as PCI adapters, the future of classic Amiga can be found in either emulation or related technologies.

    I’ve used WinUAE and it makes for amazingly fast Amiga systems, but it’s hard not to know it’s running on top of Windows. Back in the early 2000’s, there was a pathway to lead to migration to x86 hardware via Amithlon, but the litigious nature of Amiga-land let to that becoming derailed. I have an old laptop running Amithlon and it “feels” more like a real amiga than any emulation. I’ll make a post on that machine soon.

    AROS is probably a great, long-term path for Amiga users, and will probably be the first to have multi-processor support, as well as the power to handle ports of high-end games and apps from other systems. However, it’s slow to advance. AROS has been in the works since the mid 90’s and is only recently feeling like a good, working system. Maybe I need to spend more time testing it.

    MorphOS is a great alternative and, apart from AROS, is the most easy to get started with. Whereas AROS involves nearly any old PC hardware and a burned ISO, MorphOS can be run on cheap, used mac hardware, which can be found on ebay for less than $100 USD. It’s fully working for 30 minutes at a time, is very much structured like classic Amiga OS and supports newer tech like USB and even the fastest PPC Apple machines made, and also runs classic 68k software natively and can even run WarpOS games made for Amiga PPC accelerators. It also sports the most advanced webbrowser right now in the Amiga world.

    Amiga OS4.x is limited to hard-to-find and expensive hardware and appears to be maturing slowly. However, they recently implemented over-the-internet live updates, have ports of QT, X11 servers, a new Amiga Java client, and many more software packages that make life a little easier. No downloadable demos of their OS though.

    I think it was a mistake for Hyperion not to try to get wider distribution by supporting older apple hardware like MorphOS but I’m sure they have their reasons.

    It’s hard to tell now which OS will come out on top or if we start seeing some merging or some dropping out. However, there are lots of available paths to take, depending on your needs and your means. Personally, I have a classic machine (a 1200 tower in progress), an amithlon laptop, a PowerBook G4 (MorphOS) and 2 AmigaOne machines (AmigaOS4.0 and 4.1). I hope to make an older tower into a dual-boot Amithlon/AROS machine and start whittling down my collection.

    Which path did you follow?