FlowerPot: A quick and easy way to set up Amiga OS4.1FE on WinUAE by the makers of Amikit

The makers of Amikit, an amazing emulated pre-built environment, has released FlowerPot, a set of tools to automate setting up OS4.1FE in the latest and greatest version of WinUAE, without some of the limitations we ran into in 2015 and 2016 (like only being able to use PicassoIV emulation and not higher-RAM UAE graphics, pci bridgeboard support, etc).

It’s not free, but it’s not expensive either. I’m currently testing it and will have a review later.

Go check it out –> here <–


Very good WinUAE tutorial videos

Someone named AmigaSystem on the English Amiga boards has been making some recent videos that are very good if you want to enable some of the newer WinUAE features.

Here’s one that shows how to set up the new bridgeboard emulation:

Check out the others here:

Amigasystem Videos

WinUAE with Toccata emulation

Audio cards were a luxury in Amiga computer. Apart from a few clockport models, it was the Zorro slot machines that gave the real high quality option.

One of the oldest and most supported cards for Amiga was the Toccata soundcard. The sound controller IC is well documented. Someone pointed this out on the EAB WinUAE support page and Toni Wilen (fresh off the release of v3.0 of WinUAE, with PowerPC Support) decided to add Toccata emulation support.

Why do this when the UAE sound support is already well handled? Well, why not? I downloaded the v3.1.0 beta 1 WinUAE on that support site and set out to see how it worked.

The link to the thread where the latest version can be found is –> here <–

Then, I looked around to find some driver software. I found that amiga.resource.cx had some links to some diskmasher format installer disks. So I fired up Amikit (v8) on this latest WinUAE and included the toccata 1.1 dms file as a floppy:

and then got into the Workbench and opened the floppy icon to start the English installer:

and it was the standard Commodore installer:

but I ran into my first problem: The toccata.audio driver for AHI wasn’t included in the standard AHI that was part of AmiKit v8 (and I think it isn’t installed by default).

So, after a bit of digging around, I found that I had to head over to Aminet.net to get supplemental AHI drivers:

I manually pulled out the toccata.audio file for the DEVS:AHI folder and another settings file for the toccata card and put it into the right folder.

I then had to download v12 of the toccata library from –> here <–

Then, after a reboot, I set up the AHI Preferences to use Toccata stereo 16.

I then ran into a problem trying to run AmigaAmp. It was complaining that it couldn’t open AHI device. I eventually had to go redownload and reinstall ahiusr_4.18.lha from Aminet.net and this fixed that.

Then, AmigaAmp wanted to use the stereo++ version of the output:

I had tried to set up Toccata as unit 1 and leave the UAE sound device as unit 0. I eventually had to set Toccata stereo++ as unit zero and change AmigaAmp settings to use AHI unit 0.

I was then able to get some sample mp3’s I’d downloaded to play using AmigaAMP.

So, what is the advantage of using emulated Toccata? Not sure yet for a WinUAE user unless there exists some software the specifically uses the Toccata, but I thought it was cool to use.

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!

MorphOS update

Well, I forgot to mention a few weeks ago that MorphOS was updated to version 3.7, mostly a bug-fix version, but well worth the download. I have yet to do the update on my PowerBook G4.

With all the recent hype over WinUAE’s new PowerPC emulation, I decided to try the older PowerUP version of MorphOS (v1.4.5) just out of curiosity. It seemed to hang. Using the “-log” option on starting WinUAE, it turns out that there is need of an instruction not currently implemented by the PearPC core used in WinUAE (mcrxr). Toni has stated that he’s not pursuing updating PearPC when QEMU PowerPC is fully working and has a JIT mode as well. The hard work is extracting that code as it is intertwined tightly with other parts of QEMU. Could be a while before we see an update to PowerPC emulation while he and others work on that part.

Besides, it was only v1.4.5. The MorphOS team has long since abandoned the PowerUP platform. I’m curious though as they still support the equally underpowered EFIKA motherboard, which is still available at websites like Directron for $99.

It’s much better to just find an old, used iBook, PowerBook or Mac Mini G4 to do the job. Those can be found on ebay these days for less than $100USD and are FAR more powerful than the Efika.

Another strike against using MorphOS, even the older one, on WinUAE is that the license restricts using it in emulated environments. I’m not sure why. I guess they didn’t want to be flooded with support questions if/when it ever happened.

Anyway, until WinUAE gets the QEMU PPC JIT, it really isn’t very useful for more than just a novelty right now. Go Toni!

Easy way to transfer files to the new, emulated OS4.1 Classic side

In pre-PowerPC WinUAE days, I found it easy just to add a Windows-side directory to the WinUAE emulation and download files to that folder, and the files were instantly accessible on the Amiga side.

For the new PowerPC WinUAE, Windows directories aren’t available (in this beta stage at least), so I had to find a way to get them over.

I chose to burn ISO images via imgburn.

Here’s what I did to easily get the Amiga OS4.1 updates (after registering on Hyperion’s website and downloading them) over to the emulated Amiga side:

1) Start IMGBURN and select Create Image from Files/Folders

2) Click the “Add files” option on the next page, and select the files you want included. Since AmigaOS4.1 Classic has update 2 included, I just chose updates 3 to 6

3) I set the options to be and ISO9660+Joliet, set the disc titles, added the files, and set the output ISO name and location (highighted)

4) Next, set it up as a CD on the WinUAE side. I’ve numbered the steps:

  • 1. Select the image iso file
  • 2. Click the Add SCSI/IDE CD button to bring up the selection and make sure to set it to IDE, 1. (the HDF used for the main install should have been IDE,0)
  • 3. It will then be added as another drive

    5) The new CD will be on the desktop after bootup.

    I couldnt’ get it to dynamically add or remove. If I figure out how, I’ll make a post. Otherwise, I have to boot up with this CD in place.

    After you are finished, you can just delete the ISO file. Not the best way to do things but it works for now.

    Have fun!

  • Installing AmigaOS4.1 Classic onto WinUAE 2.9.0beta12

    When I saw that WinUAE was to the point of actually installing OS4.1 Classic, I immediately put in an order to AmigaKit.com to get my copy. I ordered on Friday and it arrived Monday, just 3 days later. That’s UK->US in 3 days and I didn’t specify rush shipping at all! Good job AmigaKit!

    The disc was actually the base install with Update 2 integrated (there have been 6 updates, plus the AmiUpdates that have been online only since update6). I first made an ISO as I find that is much easier than using a real disc with WinUAE.

    Just setting up, I had to do the following:

    Got the latest “official” beta version of WinUAE (not the quick fixes he posts sometimes). At the time of this writing, it was WinUAE_2900b12 (from this post): http://eab.abime.net/showpost.php?p=970403&postcount=481 There may be a newer one by the time you read this.

    Then, I had to download the PowerPC ROMs from the Zone! area on EAB. Just go to eab.abime.net, do a search for getting access to the zone. The file was called accelerator_roms.zip by Toni Wilen. Extract this to the same place where the normal Amiga ROMs go. I also copied the 44.69 version of both blizzardPPC and cyberStormPPC files to ones without the version (i.e. bizzardppc.rom and cyberstormppc.rom). Also, go –> here , to download the file called PIV_FlashImage74.zip, extract the single file in it, copy to the same roms folder as the rest, and rename the bin file to “picasso_iv_flash.rom.

    Now, go to this thread here here <– and follow the Guide exactly. This was written for OS4.0 but I found it worked with OS4.1.

    The only difference I found was that I unchecked the JIT Z3 memory option in the RAM section. I had read that it was very problematic in earlier versions of WinUAE.

    Here are some pictures of my boot / install screens:

    I missed the part about skipping the “Run Media Toolbox” and “Format Disk(s)” screen and clicked the Media Toolbox button. The emulation just sat there so I reset WinUAE and when I started back into the install, I got an RTG screen which was much easier on the eyes. Here are some images for the final stages of the install

    Install took a VERY long time.

    In the end, I had my AmigaOS4.1 Classic emulated environment. After the initial install, I shut down WinUAE and made a backup copy of the hdf file in case something messed up later. That install took too long to do again.

    Now, I need to test what does and doesn’t work, as well as patiently wait for Toni to get the JIT QEMU PPC Core replacement so we can see some real speed! [This version seems a bit fragile so far]

    Good Job Toni and Hyperion!

    (p.s. Post-Install images):