STE V1.5 PLUG IN 36MHz BOOSTER ( BETA production board)

Help & information about the STE V1 booster.
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STE V1.5 PLUG IN 36MHz BOOSTER ( BETA production board)

Post by exxos » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:06 pm

ste40.jpg
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The new updated version of the simple V1 32MHz STE booster. The new V1.5 booster is a highly optimised design which gives a higher speed boost over the original design.

This booster is running 36MHz with its own oscillator. So there is no need to run a wire to the 32MHz clock on the motherboard like was needed on the previous V1 design. It also remains backwards compatible for 8MHz. You can easily turn off the booster if required via a simple switch.

It is a plug-in design the no need to one solder the CPU socket. This board simply plugs into the existing socket that is pretty much it!

It does still require the DUALTOS board. Any version of the DUALTOS boards in my store work fine. New board in the image above is a updated version which uses a smaller PCB and a smaller SMT ROM socket. Some people were having height issues with the previous design, so this board is now fractionally shorter and will fit perfectly underneath the floppy drive. There is still one wire to solder between the booster and DUALTOS boards..


This booster was intended to run at 40MHz, but with a epic load of problems with various hardware tolerances ( see the story here ) I was forced to drop the speed to 36MHz simply because the current batch of CPUs I am testing do not run reliably faster than that.

A second problem manifested itself in terms of ROM access speeds. Where after a run of quickly a hour or so, the ROM start to malfunction. So I was forced to add in a single wait state into ROM access in order to prevent this problem.

Unfortunately this dropped the ROM access speed from 309% to 268%, but because the CPU is running faster at 36MHz the overall benchmarks are marginally higher than the previous 32MHz V1 booster. Integer division has gone up from 355% to 401% which is the only real boost in speed.

However, I have patched the firmware so that wait states can be disabled. It is possible some machines may run with the wait states disabled, but currently I am sceptical about this. It would literally be a fluke on hardware tolerances if this would work or not. However, if you try booster with wait states disabled, note that the problem generally can show up anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 or 3 hours time continuous running. It is also possible it may function one day and not the next down to environmental factors.

This booster runs the CPU at 36MHz constantly and only switches to 8MHz during DMA & ACIA access. As the CPU is running constant speed, it actually runs faster than the previous 8/32MHz switching concept.


To enable "fast mode" , connect pin 9 of the GAL to 0V as shown in the image below with the white wire...
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For comparison the original V1 32MHz benchmarks..
ste32mhz.jpg
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Versus the new V1.5 36MHz "slow mode"...
36WSCLAS_result.png
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36MHz "Fast mode"
36NOWSCL_result.png
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SWITCHING TO 8MHz MODE

Connect SW pad on the booster to 0v somewhere to enable stock 8MHz mode.



INSTALLATION



Clean the header pins with a IPA wire and make sure they are clean. The booster pins go on the outside of the as before. I would suggest poking a small pin behind the pins to bend them in with slightly to make sure they are not stuck.

Place the dummy CPU into the socket..

dv1.jpg
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Then booster is to be carefully inserted into the CPU socket.

The plastic spacer fits on top as shown below. The metal shielding will press down on top of this and hold the booster board in place.

IMG_3511.JPG
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The CE Pad on the the connect to the CE line on the dualtos board (required). If you're using the blue or black inboards, you must place a 68R resistor in series with the CE wire.




NOTE:

For newcomers who are not familiar with this simple booster range.. The greatest results speed gains are shown with GEM Desktop & applications.
In terms of games, 3D games will typically benefit the most due to the higher integer division percentages. Games mostly depend on ST-RAM access speeds which are not increased with this simple booster design.

Typically you will see some gains in games in general, but realistically it would only be around 10%-25% speed gains as it is almost impossible to speed up ST-RAM access without redesigning the whole motherboard :) Of course there are CPUs such as the 020 or 030 which have catches built on the CPU which will help with ST-RAM speeds, but at the price of compatibility. The goal of these simple boosters is of course to keep highest compatibility as possible which means super clocking the 68000 CPU.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: STE V1.5 PLUG IN 36MHz BOOSTER (production board)

Post by exxos » Tue Nov 13, 2018 1:51 pm

TROUBLE SHOOTING.

First of all. GB6 should be run for several hours minimum to prove stability. As mentioned previously in my main development threads, hardware tolerances are huge contributing factors for things going wrong. Unfortunately I cannot develop the booster which may work "out-of-the-box" for all machines. I have however done as much testing as I possibly can and are confident the booster is as good as it can be.

Please also note, CPUs are extremely overclocked and in some cases a slower than 36MHz oscillator may have to be fitted. This really depends on hardware tolerances of your individual machine, and even environmental factors, such as if you are in a very hot country it may limit the maximum speed achievable on the CPU.



KNOWN ISSUE 1 :
IMG_3423.JPG
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Corruption on screen on power up with look very similar to above.

This happens when there is a bad connection to the CPU socket. Remove the booster, check you have no bent pins on the booster or CPU socket, and clean the the pins.

Also note that there should be a heavy weight on top of the booster if testing without the shielding in place (the shielding presses down on the booster keeping it firmly pushed into the socket). While the booster may function simply pushed into the socket.. any slightly movement will cause it to crash. So always have something pressing on top to stop the board from moving during testing.



KNOWN ISSUE 2:

If the power supply voltage is too low (4.8V or lower) the booster will likely be likely be unstable or crash intermittently. A re-capped PSU which outputs 4.8V - 5.00V should be used.



KNOWN ISSUE 3:

When using fast mode, it will likely be unstable as mentioned previously. This is down to the ROM IC being pushed past its limits and tripping up in fast mode. Placing a large bulk faster as shown below is proven to help is not a cure.

IMG_3501.JPG
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KNOWN ISSUE 4 :

A 68R resistor must be in series with the CE wire from the booster board to the ROM board. Without this resistor, intermittent lock-ups may occur even in slow mode.



KNOWN CRASH STATES

1) GB6 "freezes" on a test (may bomb but generally doesn't) CPU is running "to hot". Either PSU voltage is higher than 5.00V or CPU may need a lower MHz oscillator fitting.

2) GB6 quits to desktop (generally no bombs) and freezes. This is normally apparent when the booster is in fast mode and the ROM chip can't "keep up" and glitches causing GB6 to quit to desktop. In this case, the booster must be put in slow mode.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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Re: STE V1.5 PLUG IN 36MHz BOOSTER ( BETA production board)

Post by exxos » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:52 pm

ADDENDUM

There are currently 2 known sockets in the STE. The TZT & FOXCONN.

The TZT socket ( external blitter) is the one I designed the booster on, and fits perfectly. The booster will not jump out of the socket like it does with the FOXCONN SOCKETS. Currently all red boards are designed to fit in the TZT brand sockets.

STE's with integrated blitter tends to have a FOXCONN socket where the booster doesn't want to stay in the socket without being held down. I supply the CPU spacer which will hold the CPU in place as discussed in the previous post.

If anyone as any other brands of sockets and please let me know in this thread...viewtopic.php?f=24&t=46 And also let me know if it as a internal or external blitter.


The two known sockets are shown below..


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IMG_3581.JPG
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4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

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