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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:05 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:44 am
Posts: 31
Oh, man...I had the chance to get on MikeJ's waiting list for his board a while back...he said that he would give me a ping when the back orders got caught up...still waiting...

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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:10 pm
Posts: 316
sjamaan: in the near future, 30kHz modes will be supported on the DE1 too :) Plus, I believe that MikeJ has just received some production boards, so you probably won't have to wait long!

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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:44 am
Posts: 31
I thought that this would be a good place to post this...I may have asked about it before...

My free time is limited but once I start something, I can't stop till I make it work so I am asking ahead of time.

Can you use GPartED LIVE to edit an SD card so that it has the FAT32 partition for the minimig
files and native Amiga file system partitions that can be directly accessed from it bootable and such...
so that I could run setup and everything from UAE first to get the system configured and then
just stick it in the DE1...and boot?

Next,
Has anyone setup a SLIP connection to a PC (Linux box) to get their DE1 Minimig online yet? If not,
I am going to try it...no more sneaker net! Minimig-core is getting pretty mature now...soon as it
can be run as a stand-alone system...I am going to put it in a cool case...

Excited about the future of it though...I think a usb interface might be nice...if it fits...otherwise,
go to another FPGA board...

I also noticed that Natami has upgraded backwards compatible Amiga chipsets like the Paulina...
and some AGA compatible chipset that is faster than the original but still compatible...
I am thinking that AGA should still be implementable on the de1 even if the colors are a bit off...probably
hardly notice...but haven't seen a comparison...

Also, would it be possible to use an external clock to speed up the system, or is it already at max spec for
the FPGA...I have been looking at the ext CLK connector for a long time wondering.

Cheers!

_________________
~ Amiga 1200 030/42MHz ~ Amiga 500 010/7MHz ~ Altera DE1 with Minimig core ~ Amithlon (DELL GX260) GeforeceFX5200
Details of my projects: http://takuma-denpa.blogspot.jp/


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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:10 pm
Posts: 316
Hi sjamaan!

sjamaan wrote:
Can you use GPartED LIVE to edit an SD card so that it has the FAT32 partition for the minimig
files and native Amiga file system partitions that can be directly accessed from it bootable and such...
so that I could run setup and everything from UAE first to get the system configured and then
just stick it in the DE1...and boot?

Yes, that should be possible, as the firmware additions made by MMrobinsonb5 allow you to use a partition as an amiga drive. How exactly that is done, and if the RDB is needed and where it is placed I don't know, perhaps MMrobinsonb5 can help you with that. I just use hdf files, as that is much easier to setup and move around. You can make it 'bootable' by saving a default config with the desired harddisk enabled.

Quote:
Next,
Has anyone setup a SLIP connection to a PC (Linux box) to get their DE1 Minimig online yet? If not,
I am going to try it...no more sneaker net! Minimig-core is getting pretty mature now...soon as it
can be run as a stand-alone system...I am going to put it in a cool case...

Not yet, but it is definitely something I'd like to try. Just remember that only the latest test release of minimig-de1 has amiga-side serial port enabled - it is switched between amiga / control with SW5 on the DE1 board. You will also need a different serial cable than for normal SLIP, as the serial port on the DE1 is wired as a 'slave' (DCE, female connector), whereas computers are a 'master' device (DTE, male connector), so you don't need a null-modem cable, but just a regular serial cable.

Quote:
Excited about the future of it though...I think a usb interface might be nice...if it fits...otherwise,
go to another FPGA board...

Yes USB (and Ethernet) would be nice, both would require just a small amount of logic (an SPI master), but would have to be on an external board.

Quote:
I also noticed that Natami has upgraded backwards compatible Amiga chipsets like the Paulina...
and some AGA compatible chipset that is faster than the original but still compatible...
I am thinking that AGA should still be implementable on the de1 even if the colors are a bit off...probably
hardly notice...but haven't seen a comparison...

It is doubtful that AGA will fit on the DE1 board, unfortunately. Currently, the FPGA is over 92% full, and honestly, it is surprising it works at all with such utilization. It is true that AGA brought just a small amount of changes to the custom chipset, but just the AGA color tables are huge compared to OCS. We'll see once we have a working AGA implementation if it can be back-fitted to the DE1 board, as there are some places which could be trimmed down, namely the boot ROM for the Amiga will be removed, gaining us one M4k block, and possibly the OR1200 CPU could be replaced with a fast & small 8-bit AVR core I have somewhere half-finished.

Quote:
Also, would it be possible to use an external clock to speed up the system, or is it already at max spec for
the FPGA...I have been looking at the ext CLK connector for a long time wondering.

There's no need to use another external clock, as the FPGA on the DE1 has a PLL, which is used to multiply or divide the operating frequency. Unfortunately, you can't just increase the frequency to make it go faster, as the whole minimig is generally a synchronous system and increasing the frequency by any large amount will mess up the VGA display. You could increase the control block frequency, but it is already running fast enough - the minimig side is too slow to handle any faster data transfers. There is one way to speed it up - implementing turbo timings for the blitter etc, and adding some more caching for the memory controller - already working on both things! ;)

Enjoy!

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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:54 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:48 pm
Posts: 341
chaos wrote:
Yes, that should be possible, as the firmware additions made by MMrobinsonb5 allow you to use a partition as an amiga drive. How exactly that is done, and if the RDB is needed and where it is placed I don't know, perhaps MMrobinsonb5 can help you with that.


If the SD card is partitioned, then you can select a partition as either the Master or Slave hard drive. To use it, you will need to use HDToolBox to prep it as though it were a real hard drive, and you can then split into Amiga partitions and format it as you wish.

Just be very careful not to select the *first* partition, because if you do, you'll wipe the main FAT partition!

I don't think it's possible to use WinUAE to pre-install the card in this way, though - because WinUAE won't let you select indvidual partitions from an SD card.

The Linux version of UAE *can* be used, but you have to modify the .uaerc file manually - the GUI isn't flexible enough to set this up.

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~ Amiga 4000/030 ~ Amiga 1200 030/50MHz ~ Turbo Chameleon 64 ~ Altera DE1 with Minimig core ~
Details of my projects: http://retroramblings.net


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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:10 pm
Posts: 316
Hi gaula92,

gaula92 wrote:
There are three Stardust releases, now tested on the latest Altera DE1 test core:
-FLT release: Doesn't work. Hangs on black screen after asking for disk2 and reading some tracks.
-CLS-ZNT release: Doesn't work. Hangs on black screen after asking for disk2 and disk1 sequentially.
-WHDLoad HD install: works perfect. No problems at all!

ADF versions were tested different memory configurations and KS versions, included "compatible" mode with KS1.3 and 1MB chip and no fast or slow ram.

Both Stardust releases DO work on a real Minimiv V1.1 board, as noted by MMRobinsonb5.


I managed to start & play Stardust successfully on the minimig, here are the releases tested:
  • Stardust (1993)(Bloodhouse - Daze Marketing)(Disk 1 of 3)[cr CLS - ZNT]
  • Stardust (1993)(Bloodhouse - Daze Marketing)(Disk 1 of 3)[cr CLS - ZNT][t +5 MST]
  • Stardust (1993)(Bloodhouse - Daze Marketing)(Disk 1 of 3)[cr FLT]
I'm not entirely sure what was the problem, because I made quite a few changes, but I have a strong hunch, will update this thread once I'm 100% sure.

I still have to try Shadow of the Beast, as that game used to have some problems on old minimig versions, like failing to display some graphics, on the latest version the game starts but freezes once you get close to the well at the beginning of the game. Can you try it and report if you get the same result?

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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2009 9:54 am
Posts: 349
@chaos: Shadow of the Beast works great here with the last test version you published on 28-march-2013.
Entering the well or the "Home" three works with no problem. I can enter both. The "Enter" red arrow is also displayed correctly.
Tested ADF: VF release.
Whdload version works perfectly, too :)


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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:44 am
Posts: 31
@chaos...

I thought that 68k were asynchronous...so that you could put it at just about any speed and it would still work...
but that some frequencies (bands) would offer more efficient communication with the other chips on the board...
and also use wait states...that you could have the static ram as cache work with the cpu very quickly then use write back or write through
and a certain size of static would also affect it but depending on how 99 percent of the software that runs on
the system the correct size could be chosen to offer the best hit miss ratio and stuff...

I am willing to bet that even a 64k cache would make a huge difference.

or is that what MRobinson already did?

I don't have the knowledge to implement this stuff but...just wondering...

cheers..

_________________
~ Amiga 1200 030/42MHz ~ Amiga 500 010/7MHz ~ Altera DE1 with Minimig core ~ Amithlon (DELL GX260) GeforeceFX5200
Details of my projects: http://takuma-denpa.blogspot.jp/


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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:48 pm
Posts: 341
sjamaan wrote:
I thought that 68k were asynchronous...so that you could put it at just about any speed and it would still work...


Only up to a point. The chipset runs at 7.09MHz, so to avoid major interfacing headaches, the CPU runs at an integer multiple of that - 113.5MHz in the case of the TG68 Minimigs. Also the TG68 has a top speed of somewhere in the 30 - 40 MHz range; it has some combinatorial logic chains that simply can't propagate signals faster than that. You can *clock* the CPU faster than that, but you have to pause it by way of the cpu_ena signal and give those signals time to catch up before the next cpu_ena pulse.

Quote:
or is that what MRobinson already did?


More or less, except my cache isn't anywhere near 64KB. My target platforms don't have SRAM, so the cache is in the FPGA's internal BlockRAM. I can't remember off the top of my head exactly how big the cache was, but it was something like 4KB.

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~ Amiga 4000/030 ~ Amiga 1200 030/50MHz ~ Turbo Chameleon 64 ~ Altera DE1 with Minimig core ~
Details of my projects: http://retroramblings.net


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 Post subject: Re: My one year minimig-de1 anniversary :)
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 3:10 pm
Posts: 316
Hi sjamaan,

sjamaan wrote:
I thought that 68k were asynchronous...so that you could put it at just about any speed and it would still work...
but that some frequencies (bands) would offer more efficient communication with the other chips on the board...

The 68k core is synchronous to the rest of the modules. Generally, you don't want too much asynchronous parts in an FPGA. You could run the 68k with a completely async clock, but that means synchronizer circuits on all inputs / outputs, which add a two clock delay in a single direction, which of course prolongs the bus cycles, if the bus doesn't support some sort of burst transfers. It might still be feasible, if you could increase the CPU clock quite a lot, but the maximum frequency for the TG68 core is reported as somewhere around 37MHz, and parts of the core (might) already run faster than that, so not a lot of room for speed improvements.

Quote:
and also use wait states...that you could have the static ram as cache work with the cpu very quickly then use write back or write through
and a certain size of static would also affect it but depending on how 99 percent of the software that runs on
the system the correct size could be chosen to offer the best hit miss ratio and stuff...

I am willing to bet that even a 64k cache would make a huge difference.

The core already has caches, although pretty small (one SDRAM burst). The FPGA on the DE1 board is pretty filled up, so unfortunately there is not much space for additional cache space. I did manage to increase the cache size a little bit, it will be available in the next build, but the speed increase is small. There are some other things in the work that might increase the speed somewhat. FYI, the whole memory on the DE1's FPGA is less than 64kB.

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