Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

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Icky
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Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

Post by Icky » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:50 am

With all the great discussions had on this forum we talk about boosters etc and keeping the pure nature of the original ST at heart.

However I think a few of us also like to see what the system could of become and with the existing add-ons on the TT and Falcon there are some limits.

The Milan had the ability to use PCI cards and for backwards compatibility had a VME bus too.

Now I know there is the Firebee but it feels too far away (as in modern) from what could of been achieved back in the day.

The original Milan’s are rare and I don’t even know how many are still out there.

I also realise that recreating something like the Milan has its hurdles such as rare 68060 chips, patched roms, the cost and not to mention time and effort.

Petari
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Re: Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

Post by Petari » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:31 am

Honestly, I don't see that many people will be interested in recreating some rare computer. What has small SW base too, I guess.
As may see, even recreating ST is pretty much problematic.

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Icky
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Re: Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

Post by Icky » Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:40 am

It is was a thought this morning. Must be the glorious sunshine.

I understand this is really niche and probably not worth the effort but wondered if there was any thing to be gained from looking at these clones to help with add-ons or recreation efforts.

I really like the approach that Exxos is taking on the ST remake but if there were options to add-on things like pci cards or other things there could be a solution for several camps. I’m not hung up on pci cards here by the way.

Also add-ons also are difficult too as they add on the complexity of drivers and many other issues.

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Re: Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

Post by exxos » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:13 am

Yes, I did. I talked to the guy some years ago about recreating the machine. I asked about what would be involved in releasing the board again, even obtaining all the schematics and codes to improve on it, or possible licensing agreements to produce it. I never got a reply to those questions.

But this is the fundamental problem with everything. This is why I do not simply reuse the PAK020/030 etc myself. As taking someone else's design makes it extremely difficult to improve on and make changes without much work. Also debugging someone else's design is very time-consuming.

I have tried the PAK020 on many machines here, I only ever had it working ones, but Jonathan Whiteside tried my PAK020 on his machine and also tried several CPUs I sent for testing as well, and he reported some CPUs work, but the thing is, how I sent it to him was not working in my machine, but it does work in another machine. I tried this same board in several machines here all with different hardware combinations, different motherboard revision is, I tried everything I could think of and I simply not get it to work. And yet, other people have obviously built it and it works first time. This is clear indication something is very wrong design, and debugging it would take too much time.

Even though it takes considerably longer to basically reinvent everything from scratch, I know exactly how everything works, every single problem I encounter I always get to the bottom of it before I release a design. This way I can improve on the design and debug it a lot easier than trying to basically get a head start with using someone else's work.

I'm not saying the Milan and is a buggy machine, I do actually own one, some reason it does not work and I simply do not have time to work out why. But knowing how the temperamental designs are, even down to the PCB layout, the slightest little change anywhere to the design and cause it to fail miserably. It is really not a good direction to go down in my opinion. It is better to start right at the beginning and work through each issue one by one and once have a solid foundation build upon that, and not before, and not try and take shortcuts as I have found it normally ends in disaster and actually taking longer to do long-term.

Of course any sort of clone machine as said many times before, never has total reverse compatibility. This may not bother a lot of people, but there are already many machines like that around and which people are working on already. Nobody is working on a fully compatible machine with the option to turn on and off the acceleration. Of course as is known, once a good foundation is done with the CPU work, then I will work on adding more features etc.
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Re: Has anyone thought of recreating the Milan

Post by Atarian Computing » Thu Apr 19, 2018 10:25 am

I had a Milan 060. It was fun for a short while. It lacks the "soul" of a genuine Atari and for me didn't have the "vibe". Milan didn't have VME compatibility, it was Hades that had that. I had maxed out the video and ram and sound card. I ended up selling it around 2004. Until I popped back into the scene last year, it was the last "Atari" I owned.

Honestly, I have much more fun with my TT. Having Thunder and Storm, getting a 1MB Mach64 and upgrading it to 2MB, waiting for Lightning, installing a PicoPSU, makes it fun. It's completely silent, as it has no fans or mechanical drive.

So for me, the ultimate Atari would be an upgraded TT. Hoping for a CPU upgrade soon.

Josh.

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