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[News] Elbox posts view on G-RexANN.lu
Posted on 29-Mar-2001 23:20 GMT by Christian Kemp12 comments
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Darrin wrote: I just read this on the Mediator mailing list. It makes VERY interesting reading...
Subj: [Amiga-Mediator] Watch out: Insider's comments on G-Rex

Date: 3/29/01 3:02:54 PM Central Standard Time

From: support@elbox.com (ELBOX)

Reply-to: Amiga-Mediator@yahoogroups.com

To: Amiga-Mediator@yahoogroups.com, G-REX@yahoogroups.com

Hi,

We have received a number of inquiries about whether the SharkPPC G3/G4 card could be used in the G-REX busboard.

Here is the response to clear up these doubts:

The SharkPPC G3/G4 card is a PCI-standard card which meets all the requirements of the PCI 2.2 specification. We are using PCI CPC710 bridge chips by IBM (http://www.chips.ibm.com/products/powerpc/chips/) in SharkPPC cards.

Designing the Mediator busboard, we have foreseen mechanisms to enable full use of the functions offered by the MPC710 interface, which operates as the Mediator PCI busarbiter. This required, firstly, implementing the full system for busmastering management in the PCI slots of Mediator and the full implementation of interruption system specified by the PCI standard.

The G-REX busboard design (called PREDATOR in some countries) has been made available for some weeks now. The G-REX design is based on the single-slot simplified bridge designed only with the aim of supporting a graphic card; this bridge was previously composed within the BVision card. Applying this bridge in the G-REX busboard resulted in a number of limitations. The most important of them are:

1. Complete lack of support for the busmastering (DMA) between PCI slots (the lines controlling busmastering - GNT#, REQ# are not physically connected to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th G-REX slot).

This makes the operation of PCI cards impossible, which cannot use their mutual resources without overloading the processor. Therefore, the G-REX busboard is not capable of offering what Elbox presented in the WOA2000 fair, where a TV card in the PCI slot was writing as busmaster data to Voodoo3 graphic card at full speed without intermediation of the processor.

2. Lack of a parity control system (the PAR parity line is not physically connected to the control logics of the busboard).

It means that many standard popular PCI cards will not run in this busboard.

3. Reduction of the interruption system from 4 to 1 - the interruption lines (INTB#, INTC#, INTD#) are not physically connected to PCI slots.

The processor card could be then installed only in the 1st slot, the one to which GNT and REQ signals are connected (which enable taking over controlling address/data buses).

However, as the G-REX busboard does not support (DMA) busmastering between slots, co-operation of the PCI processor cards with any cards working in this mode is impossible. All the currently produced TV, USB, FastEthernet and more advanced music cards (e.g. Sound Blaster Live) work solely in the busmastering mode.

These limitations in G-REX make installation of any advanced processor cards in it useless and ineffective.

I am really embarrassed to read letters from people who -- having no idea about hardware -- give their opinions on various products or designs. Elbox is a company present in the electronics for many years. Elbox employs high-standard engineers electronicians and programmers.

We are not in the habit of commenting devices or software, but here we make an exception, as the level of misinformation in the ML like this one reached its critical level.

Best regards,

Darek Dulian

ELBOX COMPUTER, Support Department

Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 1 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Amifan on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
That's what I call some nice sniffing around in someone else's hardware :)
Hmm.... so the Mediator has it's memory window limit (which is strangely(?) solved by the latest PCI.library release, i wonder how they did the 1.7GB continuous memory space).
Maybe Ralph Schmidt can comment on these limitions? )o]
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 2 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Kay Are Ulvestad on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Amifan):
Yeah, then you and him could start a full scale flame war, he starts complaining
about the Amigan mindset, I can make a few posts calling him arrogant, and
everybody can get really worked up... It would be just like in the good old days!
;-) Do you think we could make another 150 posts?
-
Kay
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 3 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Graham on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
What I posted on amiga.org:
An interesting feature of the CPC710 "northbridge" is its support for two processors and also its support for 66MHz PCI and 64-bit PCI, as well as 33-66MHz 32-bit PCI.
The Elbox Mediator is a 33bit/66MHz PCI implementation, so there could theoretically be a SharkPPC implementation with two PPC processors connected to the PCP710, and the board running at 267MB/s PCI speed, instead of the standard 133MB/s that most PCs use. And there could be an on-board header for a 64-bit PCI bus, not that it would be useful or anything....
Shame it only supports PC100 memory.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 4 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Darrin on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
OK, I'm amazed. I expected to see a host of posts from DCE (defending their product's lack of suitability for running the majority of PCI cards) and from angry G-Rex users (either blindly defending their purchase or complaining that this information wasn't presented to them before they made their purchase).
So, where is everyone? Is Ralph on holiday? Are DCE working on a fix (you won't fix this with a software patch)? Are G-Rex owners too busy removing the card from their Amigas to ship back to DCE for a refund? Did anyone actually buy a G-Rex?
Hmmmmm.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 5 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Alkis Tsapanidis on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 4 (Darrin):
Hmmmm Is it me or most cards REQUIERE busmastering? Even the Voodoo 3
does and if that was true it would only work on slot one. I have tried
it in all 5 slots with no problems.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 6 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Darrin on 29-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 5 (Alkis Tsapanidis):
Here are the key points again:
"The G-REX busboard design (called PREDATOR in some countries) has been made available for some weeks now. The G-REX design is based on the single-slot simplified bridge designed only with the aim of supporting a graphic card; this bridge was previously composed within the BVision card. Applying this bridge in the G-REX busboard resulted in a number of limitations. The most important of them are:
1. Complete lack of support for the busmastering (DMA) between PCI slots (the lines controlling busmastering - GNT#, REQ# are not physically connected to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th G-REX slot).
This makes the operation of PCI cards impossible, which cannot use their mutual resources without overloading the processor. Therefore, the G-REX busboard is not capable of offering what Elbox presented in the WOA2000 fair, where a TV card in the PCI slot was writing as busmaster data to Voodoo3 graphic card at full speed without intermediation of the processor."
The point they are trying to make is that there is no busmastering BETWEEN the slots so using a TV card to display it's image the way the Mediator does is impossible.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 7 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Ralph on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 6 (Darrin):
But you keep in mind that this is something written by a company about the product
of a competitor, don't you? I would say wait until the statement from DCE towards this
Elbox posting is available. Then we could compare and perhaps judge (funny: when Elbox
was attacked last year in a similar fashion many people would howl, see DCE as the big
bad guy and try to defend Elbox).
Now when Elbox seems to use the exact same tactics noone seems to care. Instead some people
seem to take for granted something that someone posted seomewhere on the internet. Do you
believe everything you read? Keep cool and wait for the reply...
Oh, i forgot: I am NOT Ralph Schmidt and am not associated in any way with either DCE or Elbox
or any other player in this game!
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 8 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Darrin on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 7 (Ralph):
What makes me believe Elbox's statment is the silence from DCE. In the past, DCE (and especially Ralph) have been very vocal on ANY attacks on their hardware. In fact, they are the ones that normally go on the offensive. Elbox, however, usually sit quietly in the background until they've had to swallow so much %^%& that they simply can't swallow any more - and then post informative press releases which have always been honest and to-the-point.
You're right - why should we take notice of a competitor's remarks about a product? Isn't that why DCE's comments about the Mediator were always full of crap? Mind you, Elbox isn't DCE.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 9 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Johan Rönnblom on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 8 (Darrin):
Uh-huh.
In my opinion, Elbox's claim that "We are not in the habit of
commenting devices or software" [from their competitors] is bollocks.
It seems to me that it hardly passes a day without Elbox taking every
chance to get publicity in this way.
Now don't get me wrong. I don't mind Elbox sending out masses of press
releases and commenting on this and that. But at least they could be
honest about it.
As for the claims themselves, they are interesting and I'l like to
hear from DCE too. I just don't go nuts just because an answer didn't
come up within 24 hours. And remember, that in this case Elbox has
chosen the issues to compare. While they may be important for many
people, there may be other important issues which Elbox tactically
"forget" to mention.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 10 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Alkis Tsapanidis on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 8 (Darrin):
Ahem...Is it me or Elbox ALWAYS responds to EVERY SINGE statement
ANY other company does? Do you REALLY believe that DCE are SO stupid
to not to release the G-Rex and announce drivers if the cards they announced
couldn't work? BE SERIOUS.
And about shallowing...What about Ralph's statements? With the new "revolutionary"
driver ppc programs that do access the gfx memory of the voodoo 3 DON'T work
anymore. This CONFIRMS Ralphs statements and there is nothing you can do about
that. Do you know how Elbox will reply??????????????
They will say that the problem are the PowerUP cards and that buying
the SharkPPC will fix all these issues.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 11 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Darrin on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 10 (Alkis Tsapanidis):
>>Ahem...Is it me or Elbox ALWAYS responds to EVERY SINGE statement
ANY other company does?<<
It's you.
>> Do you REALLY believe that DCE are SO stupid to not to release the G-Rex and announce drivers if the cards they announced couldn't work? BE SERIOUS.<<
The majority of cards apparently wont work or won't work to their potential, so I'm sure there will be drivers for something.
>>And about shallowing...What about Ralph's statements? With the new "revolutionary" driver ppc programs that do access the gfx memory of the voodoo 3 DON'T work anymore. This CONFIRMS Ralphs statements and there is nothing you can do about that. Do you know how Elbox will reply??????????????
They will say that the problem are the PowerUP cards and that buying
the SharkPPC will fix all these issues. <<
That probably is the problem and the Shark will probably fix the issues.
It seems to be that the battle between the cards is pointless. The G-Rex is designed for existing PPC card users who want to add a graphics card and not much else, while the Mediator is designed for the next generation PPC potenial users who want to add graphics cards, TV cards, USB cards, sound cards, etc.
Elbox posts view on G-Rex : Comment 12 of 12ANN.lu
Posted by Alkis Tsapanidis on 30-Mar-2001 22:00 GMT
In reply to Comment 11 (Darrin):
No it's not me... Ask anyone with a "clean" oppinion...
Do you expect anyone to rely on a vaporware solution to fix the problems
the Mediator created??? I would personally prefer the vertical stripes
that having no ppc programs. If you use the SharkPPC in parallel with the 68k,
as they said this is possible, then the same problem WILL exist. This can be
ONLY solved if they: Use an 68k emulator and get rid of these mmu bullshit as
they won't be needed anymore...
I'm still waiting to see a proto or JUST an announcement about WHAT software
are they going to use. If they use WarpOS with an 68k emulator then everything
is fine. If not then we DO have a problem.
No the G-Rex is for PPC owners that want what the Mediator does.
The solutions are equal... One for 68k users and future PPC users
and the other for ppc users.
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