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What If You Would Have Been the CEO of Commodorepage  1 2 3 4 
Jakob Eriksson
Sweden
(Moderator)
Posts 1097
14 Jan 2012 01:20


Tragic stuff, but time heals I guess. :-)

Thomas Richter
Germany
(MX-Board Owner)
Posts 1438
14 Jan 2012 10:14


Nixus Minimax wrote:

Thomas Richter wrote:
The Amiga user base had never much money available, and delivering cheap affordable hardware was a necessary part of the CBM survival strategy.

 
  I disagree. When the A500 came out, every rich kid got one. And all of them got a PC for three or four times the price of the A500 four years later.

How much money is in this private market anyhow? Actually, if you look at today's market, then this private market is only a small part of it - office machines make money, but CBM was always depending on the very fluctuating toy's market. But instead of trying to push into this domain by attracting vendors, CBM decided to sell cheap IBM clones. At that time, it was already too late.

Nixus Minimax wrote:

  Ironically, the higher price was what made parents believe that the PC was a serious thing while the Amiga was only a toy. My personal CEO-strategy pinned out above not only relied on making more powerful hardware earlier, it was also based on keeping the desktop line competitive in comparison to PCs by making them more powerful than the keyboard models and by producing quality office software inhouse. This would have avoided the "Amiga = toy" perception.

Actually, I don't quite believe that the actual *hardware performance* of the machines mattered too much. The image was wrong, and they haven't had the big players from the "serious machines software" on board. That would have made the Amiga a more boring machine, but probably a more successful one. Look at the IBM machines: They had *nothing* but an image. The hardware was crippled, even at the day it was assembled, and a bad joke. IBM just took this route to address those customers that would otherwise get an Apple II (back then), so they saw that this market would otherwise be lost if they couldn't produce something cheap and fast.

And they had success. Not because the hardware was better. Because they were IBM and had an image. CBM never had that.
 
Nixus Minimax wrote:

 
Thomas Richter wrote:
It seems to me that they followed a "minimal investment" strategy by releasing only small, cheap expansions of the machines they had, and lost track with the much faster going PC market.

 
  So now you are saying the same thing? No upgrades to the hardware in a long time? :)
 

In how far is this contradicting? It is certainly true that they made no investements into the machine, but at the time the hardware was more advanced, right in the beginning of the story, they never got a foot into the serious market. Instead, they tried to go cheap, which gave the PC market a chance to overtake them. When that happened, it was already too late.


Zbigniew Stanislawiak
Poland

Posts 26
14 Jan 2012 16:20


Jakob Eriksson wrote:

  Even the A1200 would have had much use for just 64k of FAST RAM. 
 

 
  Yes A1200 had many flaws in design. Especially lack of fast ram which would have cost not that much more than dubious pcmcia slot. With only 1 mb of Fast Ram A1200 would be 2.2 times faster in 90% of games and aplications. We could save money on pcmcia. I would also add 68020RC25 25Mhz instead of 14 MHz. It was more expensive but not more than 50$. Together we would add 75$, deduct some on pcmcia and got machine 4 times faster than stock A1200. It would be possible to play Wolfenstein kind of games out of the box. It would be enough for 93.

Nixus Minimax
Germany

Posts 309
14 Jan 2012 18:23


Thomas Richter wrote:
Actually, if you look at today's market, then this private market is only a small part of it - office machines make money, but CBM was always depending on the very fluctuating toy's market. But instead of trying to push into this domain by attracting vendors, CBM decided to sell cheap IBM clones.

Perhaps you are right. We should compare Commodore to Apple and wonder why one went bankrupt and the other could survive (just considering the pre-iPod era).

Commodore once was regarded as a bureau machine company. Again it may have been the success of the C=64 that doomed the company in the 90s. Until the C=64 came out nobody considered Commodore to be a toy company.

The image was wrong, and they haven't had the big players from the "serious machines software" on board. That would have made the Amiga a more boring machine, but probably a more successful one.

Even if from some starting point all Amigas had had harddisks, the image could have changed. You would have booted into workbench within a few seconds. If people had demanded games that started and returned to workbench, things would have changed a lot already.

right in the beginning of the story, they never got a foot into the serious market. Instead, they tried to go cheap

So would you say that the A500 was a mistake altogether? It does seem to make some sense. Serious market => C=64 destroyed Commodore's image as a producer of bureau machines.


Chuck T
USA

Posts 727
14 Jan 2012 18:49


Nixus Minimax wrote:
  Even if from some starting point all Amigas had had harddisks, the image could have changed. You would have booted into workbench within a few seconds. If people had demanded games that started and returned to workbench, things would have changed a lot already.

The problem was that people who couldn't afford a $2,000 dollar PC got a Commodore 64 for Christmas.  The $200 Commodore crowd became Commodore's audience and then they tried to convert the $200 dollar crowd into an $900 crowd (about $500 for Amiga 500 and memory expansion and another 2-3 hundred for the monitor).  Leaving out the hard drive made it possible for the $200 dollar crowd to make the jump but it also drove them broke.

The fact is that third party hard drives were cheaper on the PC and Amiga users were getting gouged and one of the reasons it was is because it is more complicated to drive a hard drive on custom hardware than something more simple like a PC.

The upgrade path Commodore chose was unfair that you had to buy a new Amiga everytime they wanted to upgrade Agnus or other chips.  They chose a path that was unfair and expensive to their audience.

It was always cheaper to buy a third party assembler than a Commodore assembler.  Commodore's software prices never went down and it seemed their products were priced more for profit and developers.


Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
14 Jan 2012 22:17


Hello
                                                 
          I'm an old Amiga user. But I left in 1998.
          I follow the Natami project regularly. I see it as the Amiga 5000 of 1996.
          I'm waiting to see what it could do as a true Amiga successor.
          Since 1998 I have been following the Amiga news and also sought to understand why this beautiful machine and his OS have disappeared.
          On the internet I found some information about AAA, AA + and Hombre and the AGA.
          I came to the conclusion that the AGA was a hack of the ECS itself a hack of the OCS.
          So the AGA chipset was more than doubtful.
          The AAA design has begin in 1988. I wondered how it was possible to make it available in 1990 with the Amiga 3000 and the Amiga 500 successor which we will call Amiga 700. The ECS and AGA would not exist, all the money going to the AAA.
                                                 
            Link for AAA
            EXTERNAL LINK                                                  EXTERNAL LINK            And sorry, in french :                          EXTERNAL LINK                                                 
            I imagined the tracks, watch out I'm not an expert in hardware:
                                                 
            - Remove the chip Linda, who is here only for PackLUT and PackHY, i understand.
            - Remove PackLUT PackHY in Monica. As I understand it is used for video animation in 8bit/24 bit. It seems to me at this time period storage media size make these mode useless (except perhaps for the high end).
            - Remove the controler for hard disk and CD ROM included in Mary. As I understand the formats supported are those of old hard drive already obsolete in 1990. It is better to remove these functions and to use a standard SCSI controller on the motherboard. Keep the floppy disk controller to 4MB. Remove the second serial port, useless i think.
           
            Another option, put Linda in the Modified Mary chip and thus keep all modes and PackLUT PackHY.
            - A single motherboard for the whole range (reduction of overall costs). The basic machine have only one or two expansion slot (A1000 case with separate keyboard). This case can host an hard drive as standard. It give to the Amiga a professionnal feeling. The high end machine had a bigger case that can host more hard drives, more expansion slot and CDROM in the future.
                                                 
            The configurations are :
                                                 
            Amiga 700 AAA: 680EC20 16 or 20 MHz (no need to address more than 16 MO) + 2 MB of CHIP in DRAM + internal 20 MO 3.5" SCSI hard disk + 2 zorroIII slots + support welded for DSP. No location for a double AAA. Price 1000 $.
            Note: we can even imagine that this machine allow to recycle the defective Andrea and Monica chips that don't pass the double AAA test on production. Cost reducing, i think.
            Maybe we could put a DSP 3210 at 10 or 15 MHz by increasing the price by 100/200 $ ?
                                                 
                                                 
            Amiga 3000 AAA: 68030 at 25 Mhz + 68881 at 25 Mhz  + 2MB chip and 2 MB fast of DRAM + 40 or 60 MO harddrive + 5 zorro slots + DSP 3210 at 20 mhz + Support installed on the motherboard for a Double AAA.
            Another option would be no 68881 but the DSP instead. I read that the A&T 3210 at 50 MHz is 10 times faster for math than a 68040 at 25 Mhz. So a DSP 3210 at 20 mhz should do the trick and could do other things as a coprocessor.
                                                 
            In addition, each of the machines would have a slot on the motherboard for VRAM (up to 8 MB for the A700 and up to 16 MB for the A3000). The DRAM chip would become fast RAM as soon as this extension would be installed (A501 Type). So the A700 get immediatly 2MB of fast RAM with VRAM.
                                                 
            Another option the AAA reduced  :
            - Remove Linda and PackLUT/PackHY mode.
            - Remove 16 bits planar mode (useless with a 16 bit chunky mode)
            - Remove half chunky 2/4/8 bit, instead put a chunky 8 bit mode.
            - Total removal of Mary. Instead we use two Paula on a chip to be 32 bits (call it Pauline). It offers 8 channels 8-bit or 4-channel 14-bit. It keeps the Paula disk controller and serial port. Maybe by combining two we can increase the serial port speed ? I think this option can reduce the cost of the AAA without limit it to much.
            - Use a Motorola DSP, maybe cheapest than A&T 3210 ?
                                                 
            The configurations is identical to what I described, just with AAA reduced.
                                                 
            Another solution would be a completely new chipset, we call it ACS for Advanced ChipSet. This chipset is designed for a maximum period of 5 years on the market. The characteristics that I imagine.                                             
            We use the 6 bits of the OCS for compatibility. But in addition we add a mode where each bitplan can have 4 bits and can be combined to chunky plan of 4/8 /12/16/20/24 bit. It could also have 3 chunky plan of 8 bit or 2 chunky plan of 8bit and 16-bit or one chunky plan of 24 bit. But maybe it can have other combinations. The HAM6/HAM8/HAM10 also exist in chunky mode.
            The chipset is 32 bits, but could use 16-bit DRAM but it limiting the possible resolution. The limit of the Chip memory would be increased to 8 MB max.
            For 2MB 16 Bit RAM 640x512 256 colors or maybe 800x600 16 colors. Outstanding for low end in 1989/1990 i think. For 2 MB 32 bit DRAM  1280x1024 in 16  colors is nice. Especially in 1989/1990. Later with 8 MB 32 bit chip memory it can display 1280x1024 16 bit and 1024x768 24 bit. I think for 1995 it's good. Remenber 1995 is the end for ACS.
            For the sound, we use Pauline from AAA reduced idea. It offer  8 channel 8 bit or 4 channel 14-bit (16 bit is useless in 1989/1990).
            In addition a Motorola DSP 56000 series as a generic coprocessor (mathematical/sound or otherwise).
            The Amiga OS 2.0 for ACS is RTG, maybe by using the existing EGS system as standard.
                                                 
            Configurations for Christmas 1989:
                                                 
            - Amiga 700 ACS :  Amiga 500 casing (reduce the cost an usefull for extension compatibility). 68000 at 20 MHz + 2 MB of chip DRAM 16-bit + DSP 56000 at 20 MHz + internal hard drive 10/20 MO SCSI 3.5 + floppy drive 880KB + trapdoor memory expansion up to 14 MB like A501 (16MB total). An expansion slot on the side compatible with the Amiga 500 to reuse any existing external 68030 accelerator/hard drive.
            The display would be limited to 640x512 256 colors or 800x600 16 colors because of the 16 bit Chip memory (don't sure it's the real limit for the bandwith, i'm not an hardware expert). The selling price should not exceed 800 $ or 500 $ without hard drive)
                   
            - Amiga 2700 ACS :  Amiga 2000 casing (reduce the cost an usefull for reuse of Zorro II card). 68000 at 20 MHz + 2 MB of chip DRAM 16-bit + DSP 56000 at 20 MHz +  internal hard drive 30 MO SCSI 3.5 + floppy drive 880KB + 4 Zorro II slots.
            Same as A700, the display would be limited. Price 1100 $ or 800 $ without hard drive)
                   
            - Amiga 3000 ACS :  68030 at 25 mhz + 68881 at 25 MHz (on daughter card for upgrade) + DPS 56000 to 25 MHz + 40 MB Hard Drive + 2 MB of chip 32-bit expandable to 4MB (2 more slots 1 MB) + 1 MB of Fast 32-bit (2 more slot for RAM up to 3 MB). 4 Zorro III slot + Scandoubler. It can display up to 1280x1024 16 colors. Price 1600 $.
                                                 
              At Christmas 1992 (Amiga OS 3.0)
                                                 
              - Amiga 800 ACS which replaces the 700 : 68030 at 25 MHz + 68881 at 25mhz (on daughter card for upgrade)+ 2 MB of chip 32-bit expandable to 4MB (2 slot of 1 MB) and 1 MB of fast 32-bit (2 more slot for RAM up to 3 MB) + DSP 56000 at 25 mhz + 40 MB harddrive + 2 Zorro III slot + scandoubler. It's an A3000 ACS motherboard in an low profil desktop case with external keyboard. A 90° Riser is used for the daughter card to enter the low profil case. So the design cost is just for the case  Price 600 $.
                           
              - Amiga 3000 ACS (which replaces the 2700) :  The Amiga3000OC2 from 1989 with a 60 MB harddrive. It also give more Zorro III slot than the A800 ACS. Price 800 $.
                           
              - Amiga 3200 ACS :  68030 at 40 mhz + 68882 at 40 mhz (on daughter card for upgrade) + DSP 56000 at 33 MHz + 60 MB hard drive SCSI II + 4 MB of 32-bit of chip (expandable to 8 MB 2 slot 2 MB)  + 2 MB of fast 32-bit (3 more slot for RAM up to 8MB) + 4 Zorro III slot + scandoubler. Can display 1280x1024 256 colors and 1024x768 16 bit (4MB of chip ram) or 1280x1024 16 bit and 1024x768 24 bit (8MB of chip ram). This is a new motherboard with improved SCSI II controler, more ram slot for bigger and faster ram module. The 68030 40 mhz daughter board can be used for upgrade of A3000 ACS with a little speed lose of 15 % (RAM speed limit). Price 1100 $.
                                                 
              - Amiga 4000 ACS : 68040 at 25 MHz + DSP 56000 at 40 MHz (on daughter card for upgrade) + 80 MB hard drive (SCSI II) + 4 MB of 32-bit of chip (expandable to 8 MB 2 slot 2 MB) + 4 MB of fast (3 slot for RAM up to 12MB) + 5 Zorro III slot + scandoubler.  Maybe a tower case but bigger case than the A3000 ACS/A3200 ACS case. The 68040 daughter board can be used for upgrade of A3000 ACS but not at it's best and with a 25 % speed lose (RAM speed limit) and directly on A3200 ACS without speed lost.  Price 1600 $.
                                                 
              At Christmas 1995 the Amiga became RISC with Hombre + 16 bit sound (8 channel 16 bit) and a better DSP (can emulate a 56k modem) and CDROM as standard. For the first time Commodore enter the game console market with a cheap but porwerfull one (Amiga CD64) and of course continue the computer market. The Zorro slot standard is not upgraded. Instead the PCI is used. But two Zorro III slot is included in the Amiga 5000 for reuse of somes of the best selling expansion card of 680x0 Amiga. The new expansion card use the 3 PCI slot included. This is the last time an Amiga have Zorro III slot. The Entry level Amiga 1300 has one Zorro III slot and one PCI slot. A cpu slot allow to connect a second PA7150. The High end Hombre system (Amiga 5000) use a HP PA7150 at 120 mhz + the PA7150 in Hombre. Amiga OS 4.0 is the first that could use 2 processor in standard (like the bebox in 1996).
              For 2/3 of the Hombre entry level price (Amiga 1300) and to allow an easy transition, Commodore design his last ZORRO III card. It make older 32 bits generation (800/3000/3200/4000) compatible with Hombre Amiga 1300.  The 680x0 installed on the motherboard of the old Amiga can be used instead of software emulation, the Hombre card include Hombre, the standard 8 MB of chip Memory for Hombre, the new DSP (without the modem emulator), but not the new 16 bit sound chip and no fast RAM expansion slot. Amiga OS 4.0 include RTA so the Pauline chip provide 8 channel 8 bit and the DSP 56000 downscale the 16 bit sample to 8 bit. The 32 bit ram from the 680x0 Amiga can be used by Amiga OS 4.0 as fast RAM, but are not faster than the Chip memory included on the Hombre Zorro III card, a real RISC Amiga get better performance. To use the CDROM games for the game console (Amiga CD64/Amiga 1300/Amiga 5000) with upgraded 680x0 Amiga a SCSI CDROM is needed (included as standard in RISC Amiga). If the user don't have it in it's 680x0 Amiga the price of the upgrade can be the same or a little more than buying an Amiga 1300. This way some users prefer to not upgrade their Amiga 680x0 and buy the new RISC Amiga to get the best performance and a new equipment with warranty.
              The game console CD64 outperform the playstation1 and became the best game platform of the time. The RISC Amiga outperform the powerMAC and Apple bankrupt :) Of course since the ACS platform and AmigaOS 2.0 the Amiga get more and more professionnal reputation and have some of the best professionnal software ported.
             
                                                 
              What the hardware expert comments are ? Especially about the AAA chipset modification i suggest, the A700/2700 (68000 20mhz) and the ACS or Pauline.
                                                 
              Thanx

Thomas Richter
Germany
(MX-Board Owner)
Posts 1438
15 Jan 2012 15:07


Nixus Minimax wrote:

  Perhaps you are right. We should compare Commodore to Apple and wonder why one went bankrupt and the other could survive (just considering the pre-iPod era).

Apple managed to build up an image, only partially justified, and sells components by this image. CBM completely failed. The machine was modern, but never appeared to be recognized as such. The Amiga was never considered "hip" as the Apple was, nor serious, as IBM was, even though it had definitely the chance for such a product. CBM tried to sell technology by the price, but this is apprently stopped working. The home computer market worked this way because an isolated, well educated user group (the hackers, people like you and me) bought the machines. This stopped, and Apple probably recognized first. Building machines for the masses means *more* than being cheap.

Nixus Minimax wrote:

  Commodore once was regarded as a bureau machine company. Again it may have been the success of the C=64 that doomed the company in the 90s. Until the C=64 came out nobody considered Commodore to be a toy company.

Exactly. Probably just giving the Amiga models different names (not Amiga) might have helped. Selling them with a harddisk and software pre-installed, or selling contracts for business or schools might have worked.
 
 
Nixus Minimax wrote:

  Even if from some starting point all Amigas had had harddisks, the image could have changed. You would have booted into workbench within a few seconds. If people had demanded games that started and returned to workbench, things would have changed a lot already.

Indeed. Inserting a disk to play a game and boot from it - this was how it worked with the C64. It was still this way with the PC early on, and then changed slowly with win98.

Nixus Minimax wrote:
 
  So would you say that the A500 was a mistake altogether? It does seem to make some sense. Serious market => C=64 destroyed Commodore's image as a producer of bureau machines.

This would probably too simplistic to say. I would rather say that the mindset at CBM that caused them to design the A500 (going cheap rather than creating an image) was also the reason for their demise.

The market stopped working like a home computer market, and CBM failed noticing.

Look at what is happening today: The PC market is also going to vanish in a couple of years, or will be at least seriously different. It is no longer about "software" or "hardware", at least people don't recognize this anymore. It is more about convenient mobile digital applications. It is about convergence of technology that has been, in the past, be partially realized in PCs. Phones, TVs, computers - it's all about the same.


Jakob Eriksson
Sweden
(Moderator)
Posts 1097
15 Jan 2012 16:01


Babsimon, that was some serious stuff!

Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
15 Jan 2012 17:33


Jakob Eriksson wrote:

  Babsimon, that was some serious stuff!
 

  I think too. But I do not know if the prices are really realistic. I did not realize if the changes I propose would significantly reduce the cost of the AAA. Or if the ACS would have been really much cheaper. I like comments about the 4 bit bitplan/chunky mode i suggest for ACS, it is possible to have it ? Remember i'm not an expert on hardware.
 
  I do not know either the cost of the DSP 56000 and 68000 at 20 MHz.
  By searching the internet i found that Motorola had produced a chip comprising a 68000 and a DSP 56000. This chip was called 68456, but I hardly find anything more about it (frequency etc ...)
 
  EXTERNAL LINK 
  Maybe the experts here could say more?
 
  thank you

Jakob Eriksson
Sweden
(Moderator)
Posts 1097
15 Jan 2012 18:22


I think you should put your skill into analyzing something relevant to today also. That would be cool.

Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
15 Jan 2012 18:30


Jakob Eriksson wrote:

I think you should put your skill into analyzing something relevant to today also. That would be cool.

I can try for the Natami, but i think the team members are more able to do it than me :)


Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
16 Jan 2012 00:33


Jorge Windmeisser Oliver wrote:

        We came to the conclusion that Commodore had two lines, the 64 and the Amigas, we thought that the 64 line would have been the game-multimedia-home platform and the Amiga the serious-multimedia-expensive-for-professionals platform.
       

       
        Maybe an idea to get the best of both world (C64 and Amiga) would be to replace the 68000 in the Amiga 1000 with a 65C816 (16 bit 6502) at 4 mhz and in addition to OCS a VIC and a SID chip (on one chip). So you can use the existing C64 software give the C64 users a easy transition, capitalize on the well know C64 and his huge software library.
        I read somewhere that a 65C816 is 4 time faster than a 68000 at the same clock. So a 4 mhz 65C816 could equal a 16 mhz 68000 but in 1985. I think the 68000 at 16 mhz don't exist at this time or be more expensive. The Amiga loose the MAC emulator capability but gain the AppleII GS emulator capability i think.
        Commodore produce itself the 65C816 so it can be very cheap, maybe the Amiga can get a MIDI port. The Atari ST loose his only advantage. Commodore stop producing the C64 to encourage migration to Amiga and use of the Amiga chipset. The user can buy an external adaptor from commodore to connect his 1541 drive. It is possible to use directly the C64 software on 5"1/4 floppy and to transfer 5"1/4 to 3"5 880ko Amiga floppy drive. Easy transition.
  Maybe the cartdrige port from C64 can be added to Amiga to connect somes of the C64 expansion in that format.
   
        In 1989 Commodore produce a 32 bit version called 65832 and clocked at 8 or 16 mhz (equal to 68030 at 32 mhz or 64 mhz). It use the ACS chipset and the same configuration as the A700/2700/3000 i have described but without using the 680x0.
        The A700/2700 could use an upgraded 65C816 at 8 mhz (equal 68000 at 32 mhz). The 3000 use a 65832 at 16 mhz. I don't know if the 65C816 could have a math coprocessor, but maybe Commodore create one called 65C833 at 8 mhz. It could be use instead of the 68881.
        In 1992 Commodore produce a better 65C832 to compete with 68040, we call it the 68C842 an it's clocked at 20 mhz (equal to 68040 at 80 mhz).
        I read somewhere that the ARM is based on the instruction set of the 6502, maybe instead of HPPA, hombre can use the ARM core in 1995. Or Hombre remain unchanged to outperform all other platform. I'm not sure the ARM is as powerfull than HPPA in 1995.
       

Thomas Richter
Germany
(MX-Board Owner)
Posts 1438
16 Jan 2012 19:00


babsimov . wrote:

            I read somewhere that a 65C816 is 4 time faster than a 68000 at the same clock. So a 4 mhz 65C816 could equal a 16 mhz 68000 but in 1985. I think the 68000 at 16 mhz don't exist at this time or be more expensive. The Amiga loose the MAC emulator capability but gain the AppleII GS emulator capability i think.

The 65C816 is, truely, a lot faster as it is not driven by micro-code as the 68000 is (only the 68060 was again mostly hardware, with the consequences of many bugs in the design). A 6502 and its derivate, the 65C815, can load a register in two cycles or add in five to six or so, something the 68K took tenths of cycles.

But whatever: If you had ever a look at the programming model of the 65C816, you'd know why CBM did not take this route. It had to fit the 8/16 bit architecture of the 6502 into a 16/24 bit programming model, it had, IIRC, three different modes, long/short jumps, base registers, and was, in a sense, even worse than the intel's.

I believe Apple had a couple of designs based on it, but gave up.

Is this really a CBM/Netmos design? IIRC, the 65C816 came from Western Design Center (WDC)?

babsimov . wrote:

        I read somewhere that the ARM is based on the instruction set of the 6502, maybe instead of HPPA, hombre can use the ARM core in 1995. Or Hombre remain unchanged to outperform all other platform. I'm not sure the ARM is as powerfull than HPPA in 1995.

No, ARM has nothing to do with the 6502. ARM is a risk-design, and the 6502 does not share much with risk processors except being able to use only few operations per instruction. For example, the 6502 and its derivates have only few registers, and a not very orthogonal instruction set, i.e. registers are special-purpose. That does not go for the ARM which is, quite like the 68K, pretty orthogonal. It is also a clean design, up from scratch.



Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
16 Jan 2012 21:06


Thomas Richter wrote:

 
babsimov . wrote:

              I read somewhere that a 65C816 is 4 time faster than a 68000 at the same clock. So a 4 mhz 65C816 could equal a 16 mhz 68000 but in 1985. I think the 68000 at 16 mhz don't exist at this time or be more expensive. The Amiga loose the MAC emulator capability but gain the AppleII GS emulator capability i think.
   

    The 65C816 is, truely, a lot faster as it is not driven by micro-code as the 68000 is (only the 68060 was again mostly hardware, with the consequences of many bugs in the design). A 6502 and its derivate, the 65C815, can load a register in two cycles or add in five to six or so, something the 68K took tenths of cycles.
   
    But whatever: If you had ever a look at the programming model of the 65C816, you'd know why CBM did not take this route. It had to fit the 8/16 bit architecture of the 6502 into a 16/24 bit programming model, it had, IIRC, three different modes, long/short jumps, base registers, and was, in a sense, even worse than the intel's.
   
    I believe Apple had a couple of designs based on it, but gave up.
   
    Is this really a CBM/Netmos design? IIRC, the 65C816 came from Western Design Center (WDC)?

 
  Thanx for these informations. So the 65C816 is a bad idea. I think you're right about WDC. The 6502 is from Commodore and make the mistake to think WDC is a part of Commodore.
 
   
Thomas Richter wrote:

   
babsimov . wrote:

            I read somewhere that the ARM is based on the instruction set of the 6502, maybe instead of HPPA, hombre can use the ARM core in 1995. Or Hombre remain unchanged to outperform all other platform. I'm not sure the ARM is as powerfull than HPPA in 1995.
   

   
    No, ARM has nothing to do with the 6502. ARM is a risk-design, and the 6502 does not share much with risk processors except being able to use only few operations per instruction. For example, the 6502 and its derivates have only few registers, and a not very orthogonal instruction set, i.e. registers are special-purpose. That does not go for the ARM which is, quite like the 68K, pretty orthogonal. It is also a clean design, up from scratch.
   
   
 

 
  I see, thanx again. So 6502 was a good 8 bit processor but if i understand correctly, his 16 bit successor is not as good. It explain why the 6502/65C816 are not present in any computer after the 90. ARM processor are everywhere now :)

By the way, if you have time, can i ask your comment about the ACS chipset i described some post earlier. I like to know if the 4 bit per plan (6 biplan of 4 bits) is a good idea or not. I don't know if it's realistic technicaly in 1989/1990 to have 2 plan of 4 bit united in a one 8 bit chunky plan (i don't know if you understand what i mean).
Do you think the ACS i suggest would be cheapest than the AAA (with the modification i suggest ?) Thanx.

 

Thomas Richter
Germany
(MX-Board Owner)
Posts 1438
17 Jan 2012 19:16


babsimov . wrote:

    I see, thanx again. So 6502 was a good 8 bit processor but if i understand correctly, his 16 bit successor is not as good. It explain why the 6502/65C816 are not present in any computer after the 90. ARM processor are everywhere now :)

Well, depends on what you define as "good". The 65C816 was an attempt to design a 16 bit processor that is backwards compatible to an 8 bit CPU. Of course this design goal by itself implies that the programming model is crippled. So, mission accomplished if that's what you need. It still means that I don't want to program this beast.

ARM found the right market niche in the right time - originally designed for the Archimedes home computer, the company took the right turn and selled it as a compelling low-power but powerful design for mobile. Thus, ARM did something CBM failed to do: Adjust to the market and noticing that there is no money in the home computer business anymore.

babsimov . wrote:

  By the way, if you have time, can i ask your comment about the ACS chipset i described some post earlier. I like to know if the 4 bit per plan (6 biplan of 4 bits) is a good idea or not.

Please don't confuse me with Thomas Hirsch - I'm only a software guy. I can give you my opinion, of course, but only that.

The overall principle of a design should be KISS: "Keep it simple" A nibble addressed bitplane buffer makes pixels harder to address for the CPU, you need masking and shifting for operations, or you need hardware support similar to the blitter. So I won't. Bitplanes had some appeal when memory bandwidth was at premium, but nowadays there is no benefit in them.

babsimov . wrote:

I don't know if it's realistic technicaly in 1989/1990 to have 2 plan of 4 bit united in a one 8 bit chunky plan (i don't know if you understand what i mean).

I have no clue. As far as I know, the bandwidth of the chipset was operating at saturation with four hires-planes, this is as fast as the technology from 1989 could possibly do. The inner chip bus (between Agnus Denis and Paula) is already speciallly designed not to use the 68000 bus protocol just to save time. So, I would believe that hires 8bpp chunky or 2x4bpp would likely not have been possible back then. 4bpp chunky, yes. Probably 8bpp in lores.

babsimov . wrote:

  Do you think the ACS i suggest would be cheapest than the AAA (with the modification i suggest ?) Thanx.

No idea, really. Who should know? Chip production costs depend on so many factors, not alone on how many units you need, and how many units can be produced without error. I'm not at all an insider on the hardware front.
Probably Thomas H. knowns more about this.



J Grant
United Kingdom

Posts 15
17 Jan 2012 20:23


Slightly off topic, ignore the actual article but take a look
at the first graph..

EXTERNAL LINK 
I bet if we overlayed the sales figures of the consoles
SNES,Megadrive/Genesis,Playstation from the mid-late 90`s
the curves would show where most of the home/gaming computer
sales were lost. ALL sales went down at the same time!

I wonder what the ABSOLUTE ROCK BOTTOM prices they could have
managed with the A600 and A1200..
When the 16bit consoles had reached the £120 mark the game was over, if CBM could have pushed their prices down more
I think they could still have competed with a £199-£250 A1200

Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
17 Jan 2012 21:35


Thomas Richter wrote:

 
babsimov . wrote:

      I see, thanx again. So 6502 was a good 8 bit processor but if i understand correctly, his 16 bit successor is not as good. It explain why the 6502/65C816 are not present in any computer after the 90. ARM processor are everywhere now :)
 

  Well, depends on what you define as "good". The 65C816 was an attempt to design a 16 bit processor that is backwards compatible to an 8 bit CPU. Of course this design goal by itself implies that the programming model is crippled. So, mission accomplished if that's what you need. It still means that I don't want to program this beast.

 
  I see what you mean. By the way with a search on internet i found that the 65C816 get released in 1984. So i think Commodore could not have time to redesign all the Amiga motherboard and AmigaOS to get it ready for the planed Amiga Launch in 1985. They have no choice to remain on 68000.
 
 
Thomas Richter wrote:
 
  ARM found the right market niche in the right time - originally designed for the Archimedes home computer, the company took the right turn and selled it as a compelling low-power but powerful design for mobile. Thus, ARM did something CBM failed to do: Adjust to the market and noticing that there is no money in the home computer business anymore.

 
  I don't agree, i think there are a market for home computer even today. An A1200 like computer always have his market, with the right place. I don't understand why nobody try to get this market. Sony with the playstation 2 and 3 can have get it. All they have to do is to provide a keyboard and somes nice OS and office application/internet suite. I think a lot of people that already prefer to buy a console than a computer for playing might be happy to must not buy a computer for the others stuff. Maybe that way wintel don't get this overpowered monopoly.
 
 
Thomas Richter wrote:
 
 
babsimov . wrote:

    By the way, if you have time, can i ask your comment about the ACS chipset i described some post earlier. I like to know if the 4 bit per plan (6 biplan of 4 bits) is a good idea or not.
 

  Please don't confuse me with Thomas Hirsch - I'm only a software guy. I can give you my opinion, of course, but only that.
 
  The overall principle of a design should be KISS: "Keep it simple" A nibble addressed bitplane buffer makes pixels harder to address for the CPU, you need masking and shifting for operations, or you need hardware support similar to the blitter. So I won't. Bitplanes had some appeal when memory bandwidth was at premium, but nowadays there is no benefit in them.

 
  Thanx for the comment. So on paper the ACS look very good to me. With your opinion, the ACS seems a little complex to use and maybe no a lot faster than AGA (but in 1990 i think it's OK and it's a 32 bit blitter from the start not a 16 bit like AGA). The DSP is also a nice feature for the time. We can imagine the 1992 3200/4000 can get an upgraded ACS+ with a faster clock and faster ram chip that make perform like AA+.
 
 
Thomas Richter wrote:
 
 
babsimov . wrote:

  I don't know if it's realistic technicaly in 1989/1990 to have 2 plan of 4 bit united in a one 8 bit chunky plan (i don't know if you understand what i mean).
 

  I have no clue. As far as I know, the bandwidth of the chipset was operating at saturation with four hires-planes, this is as fast as the technology from 1989 could possibly do. The inner chip bus (between Agnus Denis and Paula) is already speciallly designed not to use the 68000 bus protocol just to save time. So, I would believe that hires 8bpp chunky or 2x4bpp would likely not have been possible back then. 4bpp chunky, yes. Probably 8bpp in lores.

 
  Well, a 8bpp lores is enough for the low end (a700/2700). I can run Wing Commander 1 with 256 colors/Wolfenstein. Maybe it prevent gamers to fly away to PC. A 68000 at 20 mhz i faster (or equal) than the 68020 14 mhz with no fast in the 1200 of 1992. The A700/2700 is 2 years earlier when 286/386SX are the common PC.

Thomas Richter wrote:
 
 
babsimov . wrote:

    Do you think the ACS i suggest would be cheapest than the AAA (with the modification i suggest ?) Thanx.
 

  No idea, really. Who should know? Chip production costs depend on so many factors, not alone on how many units you need, and how many units can be produced without error. I'm not at all an insider on the hardware front.
  Probably Thomas H. knowns more about this.
 
   
 

 
  I'm sure Thomas H. can give very valuable comments about this, your're right. Maybe one day he find some time do to it.
 

Babsimov .
France

Posts 12
17 Jan 2012 21:47


J Grant wrote:

Slightly off topic, ignore the actual article but take a look
  at the first graph..
 
  EXTERNAL LINK 
  I bet if we overlayed the sales figures of the consoles
  SNES,Megadrive/Genesis,Playstation from the mid-late 90`s
  the curves would show where most of the home/gaming computer
  sales were lost. ALL sales went down at the same time!
 
  I wonder what the ABSOLUTE ROCK BOTTOM prices they could have
  managed with the A600 and A1200..
  When the 16bit consoles had reached the £120 mark the game was over, if CBM could have pushed their prices down more
  I think they could still have competed with a £199-£250 A1200

Very instructive graph. As i understand the first one, the Amiga sells start to decline in 1991. Too many years without real new chipset from Commodore (ECS is not as outstanding than OCS in 1985). But if A1000+ (AGA) and A3000+ (AGA) have been released as planned in 1991 the fly to PC game thing as not happen. One years delay for released is a huge time in computer industry.

EXTERNAL LINK  EXTERNAL LINK 

Nixus Minimax
Germany

Posts 309
18 Jan 2012 12:36


J Grant wrote:
ALL sales went down at the same time!

Interesting finding! Another proof that the Amiga and other home computers were killed by dedicated games machines because few people cared about productivity software. People who just wanted games went the console way while the PC escaped this trend because it was just everywhere and the user base was so huge that software even sold well enough in the piracy infested market outside the console world. The Mac survived because it was hardly a games machine.

If Commodore had left away multi-channel sound, copper, sprites and planar scrolling, the Amiga would have been a far less exciting machine but who knows, it might still be around today for this very reason...


Samuel D Crow
USA
(Natami Team)
Posts 1304
18 Jan 2012 20:42


Nixus Minimax wrote:

  If Commodore had left away multi-channel sound, copper, sprites and planar scrolling, the Amiga would have been a far less exciting machine but who knows, it might still be around today for this very reason...

Yes, but we'd have actually been happy to see it go like the DOS boxes were in 1995 when Win95 came out.

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