|In reply to Comment 27 (Ben Yoris):|
Talking of silly, here's a *real* translation. Copyright B. Yoris and R. Humphrey.
(Re)discovering the AmigaOne.
It was on a wet and windy weekend that the AmigaPower team came face to face with the AmigaOne. Alan, Gina et Elsa Redhouse had kindly invited us to visit them in Quillan (near Perpignan, in the South of France), a delightful little town nestling amid magnificent scenery that required just a little more sunshine to make it perfect.
This was our chance to talk about the AmigaOne G3-SE, the computer which should, if all goes well, represent the culmination of a very long series of events indeed. To recapitulate: nearly 2 years ago, Eyetech had orders for PPC Amiga accelerator cards totalling over 200 000 Euros. DCE was either having difficulty delivering, or were themselves short of components (we all know how easy it is to get DCE cards), so Eyetech decided to produce their own card in partnership with Escena: the G3-powered Predator SE for A1200, which included AGP and PCI buses, and used SDRAM memory. As work progressed, it became clear that it would be simpler to go the whole hog and produce a motherboard which would, to begin with, connect to an Amiga 1200 in order to gain access to the native AGA chipset. So the AmigaOne was announced, and was to be made by Escena.
But two years on, Escena still hasn't delivered: neither the AmigaOne, nor anything else for the Amiga market.
Eyetech's Amiga sales are now suffering. Irritated by the delays, Alan Redhouse nevertheless manages to find an interesting solution: an American company called MAI is offering PPC motherboards equipped with the chipset Articia S chipset, which enables interfacing of a PowerPC chip for AGP, PCI, USB, sound, ethernet and everything else a modern computer user requires. What we saw last Sunday was a pre-production board based on the TeronCX with ArticiaS and a PPC G3 CX clocked at 500 Mhz . It was equipped with SDRAM memory and a PCI ATI Rage graphics card.
It should be noted that the production version will ship with a CXe at 600 MHz, and will include an ethernet chipset and an AMR card that will provide connectors for speakers, a gameport, and a modem.
The set-up was running TurboLinux, a version of Linux PPC specially compiled for the TeronCX. This flavour of Linux boots very fast and seemed to have no major deficiencies on first sight, apart from the slowness of moving windows around. This was due to X11 and the fact that the OS doesn't activate the G3's second level cache.
The design of the card is very clean, with no excessive heating of the various key components (VIA chipset, Articia S and G3), unlike x86 boards. We were also able to install the carte in a Naya Design 'Cristo' tower and took a few photos so show what the new Amiga looks like in a tower worthy of the name.
There is no doubt that, with the AmigaOne G3-SE, Eyetech is on the right track as far as hardware is concerned. Even if the specifications are already somewhat out-of-date compared to the eternal spiral of the PC world, it still gives the various alternative computing communities (Amiga, Be, Linux, Atari, etc.) an excellent price/quality ratio. A motherboard with built-in ethernet, sound, son, USB and modem costs 600 Euros (ex. VAT), which is extremely competitive when compared with Apple's pricing.
One problem still remains: the software. Apart from TurboLinux, there is nothing to install on this AmigaOne. The first buyers (who will receive their boards at the end of April) have therefore been warned: to begin they will only be able to run 68k Amiga applications, and only using UAE for Linux. This situation will continue until AmigaOS 4, which Hyperion Entertainment have been working on since last November, is released. For the moment, the final release date is unknown.
The hardware future of the AmigaOne is assured. A more expensive version should appear before the end of the year, with a socketed, instead of soldered, CPU, allowing installation of one or two G4 processors. The new ArticiaP should give access to AGP x4 instead of the current x2 .
A few questions still remain, for example the efficiency of the firmware (the low-level OS which initialises all the peripherals connected to the machine), and the overall performance under AmigaOS 4. The AmigaOne G3-SE is practically assured of an honourable career, though there is still the threat posed by the reportedly imminent release of the unofficial, but fiercely persistent Pegasos, made by bPlan and running under MorphOS.
In the meantime, we wish Alan the best of luck and hope he enjoys his stay in the South of France.
(translated from the original French by Rose Humphrey)
Link to the photos: