Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Help & news on accelerators from TF, Amiga, Atari, CD32 etc

Moderators: terriblefire, Terriblefire Moderator

dnk777
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:15 pm

Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by dnk777 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:14 am

Hi, this seems like something I should be interested in, as an user of both Atari STFM & STE, but I just spent half an hour trying and failing to find an information about what these boards are useful for... if they will it raise framerate in games..
I tried google, I tried going through this forum, I learned about BOM, firmware issues, cap values, and also about some war with some ridiculous "vampire team... but I still have no idea which ways would my Atari ST be more powerful with these boards, which I can't believe not being the most frequently asked question, but the FAQ thread doesn't answer it... it rather answers technical aspects about cap values and BOM, and not the most basic question about what these things are.
Then there is also the general "TerribleFire Accelerators" thread which says "The ethos of my project is to produce designs that are GPL for the Amiga and ST.", which is nice, but vague and doesn't answer my question.
The it lists some specs, which doesn't tell me much without further context.
Very confusing.

User avatar
exxos
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 12616
Joined: Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:19 pm
Location: UK
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/exxosuk
Contact:

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by exxos » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:51 am

its a 50mhz cpu with fast ram.. It will run very fast anything you load into fast ram.. Not much else can be said really.
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/store2/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

tomster
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:34 am

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by tomster » Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:30 am

+1 to what dnk777 said.

It is very confusing. I would at least have expected a short description on what the boards is good for in your shop. No offense.

Best
Tom

terriblefire
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 3475
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:56 pm
Location: Glasgow, UK
Contact:

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by terriblefire » Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:48 am

I think the description is perfect. If you don’t know what it is then it’s not for you. Seriously! We do not want to deal with people who buy them then realise they are out of their depth soldering/flashing/debugging.

But in summary. All TF5xX cards are aimed at the Amiga 500 and are 680x0 cards with X relating to the amount of fastram. By happy accident these work on the STFM, H4 and Amiga 2000.
———
I get cranky when asked to repeat myself.

stephen_usher
Trusted Guru
Trusted Guru
Posts: 1122
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:19 pm
Location: Oxford, UK.
Contact:

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by stephen_usher » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:23 am

Indeed, it's a development board more than anything. Here's how I would describe it:
The TF536 is a prototype CPU replacement board for DIL 68000 processors specifically targeted at the Commodore Amiga A500 and now unofficially the Atari STF(M) and Mega computers. It has a 50 MHz 68030, 64MB (or now possibly 128MB) of fast RAM and a rudimentary IDE interface.

The board will, with the help of a suitable version of the operating system and utilities, speed up the base machine, the degree to which depends upon what the program is doing and whether it is able to run in "fast" memory or not. Many games have been demonstrated to run significantly faster.

The "firmware" for the device is in active development on both platforms and hence owners will be required to be able to update this from time to time.

Even if a user obtains a fully built board they will still need to have significant soldering and desoldering skills so as to replace the 68000 on the mother board with a socket. Atari machines will also require a ROM decoder board and at least TOS 2.06 as well.

This is not a board for novices. It is also not, as yet, fully debugged and some functions of the host system may not work correctly, e.g. the ACSI port on the Atari ST.
Does that help?
Intro retro computers since before they were retro...
ZX81->Spectrum->Memotech MTX->Sinclair QL->520STM->BBC Micro->TT030->PCs & Sun Workstations.
Added code to the MiNT kernel (still there the last time I checked) + put together MiNTOS.
Collection now with added Macs, Amigas, Suns and Acorns.

tomster
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:34 am

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by tomster » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:24 am

@TF

I get your point but there are also folks out there who are not 'initiated' yet but take their chances because they like tinkering around. I definitely want to check this out and I won't complain if I fail due to my lack of expertise.

So it'd be good to know e.g. which boards/ST computers this boards is compatible to begin with. (H5 as well, I assume?)

tomster
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:34 am

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by tomster » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:32 am

And thanks for the explanation, TF and stephen!

stephen_usher
Trusted Guru
Trusted Guru
Posts: 1122
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:19 pm
Location: Oxford, UK.
Contact:

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by stephen_usher » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:26 am

tomster wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:24 am
@TF

I get your point but there are also folks out there who are not 'initiated' yet but take their chances because they like tinkering around. I definitely want to check this out and I won't complain if I fail due to my lack of expertise.

So it'd be good to know e.g. which boards/ST computers this boards is compatible to begin with. (H5 as well, I assume?)
That's still being worked out by trial and error.
Intro retro computers since before they were retro...
ZX81->Spectrum->Memotech MTX->Sinclair QL->520STM->BBC Micro->TT030->PCs & Sun Workstations.
Added code to the MiNT kernel (still there the last time I checked) + put together MiNTOS.
Collection now with added Macs, Amigas, Suns and Acorns.

terriblefire
Moderator Team
Moderator Team
Posts: 3475
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:56 pm
Location: Glasgow, UK
Contact:

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by terriblefire » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:31 am

stephen_usher wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:26 am
That's still being worked out by trial and error.
Exactly. As i've said over and over.. this isnt and was never intended to be a product. Everyone's mileage varies.
———
I get cranky when asked to repeat myself.

User avatar
JezC
Trusted Guru
Trusted Guru
Posts: 842
Joined: Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:44 pm

Re: Isn't this the most frequently asked question?

Post by JezC » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:46 am

tomster wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:24 am
@TF

I get your point but there are also folks out there who are not 'initiated' yet but take their chances because they like tinkering around. I definitely want to check this out and I won't complain if I fail due to my lack of expertise.

So it'd be good to know e.g. which boards/ST computers this boards is compatible to begin with. (H5 as well, I assume?)
No-one has an H5 to test with...but it does "work" on an H4 (quite a few of us have that running in some form with various configurations) so it would be expected to work on the H5 as well (but not guaranteed!).

If you're wanting it for a specific purpose then it may be worth waiting a bit longer (and maybe let people know what your ultimate goal is) but if you're happy to get one just for experimentation purposes with no guarantees, then it's certainly worth considering.

As to whether your ST will survive any work required to allow the TF to be fitted (e.g. socketing the processor, any/all of the mandatory fixes posted elsewhere)... well, that's anybody's guess!
Also, bear in mind that it's really been most widely used with EmuTOS on the ST (though there are some success stories with TOS 2.06 as well) - and pretty much all of those solutions require the additional ROM decode circuitry to support the 256k ROMs.
The big exception to that which I'm aware of is the clever workaround from @agranlund which replaces the 192k ROMs with an EmuTOS boot image (192k still) which then allows EmuTOS to load from floppy or IDE into memory.

If you can, then certainly consider an H4 (@PhilC is possibly considering selling one of his) or an H5 as the TF536 is a plug-in option for one of these board (but still needs the 256k ROM decode adding) - and potentially needs a lot less work than any STM/STF/STFM/Mega board.

It'd be interesting to know what you decide & any specific applications you are considering.

Post Reply

Return to “Terriblefire's channel”