There was only one place to be for Amiga enthusiasts this weekend: a tent at Bletchley Park. Saturday saw the unveiling of the first dedicated Amiga box for some time, in the shape an unusual and technically advanced system that maintains the Amiga's bleeding edge reputation. The AmigaOne X1000 is a custom dual core PowerPC …
Awsome! Long time since I've seen the Amiga's history acknowledged.
I spent many years clinging to the Amiga and it's attempts to be 're-born'. I still have quite a few original machines - despite the excellent multitasking and top quality software, it's SWOS that I love most about the Amiga
Who other than sentimental geeks?
Who would ever want one of these systems other than a hardcore geek recalling his misspent youth?
Yes, the Amiga was a cracking system in its day but that day has long since passed.
Deluxe Paint Nostalgia Box?
What use is an Amiga to anyone these days? I had an A500 in 1988 and it was truly awesome, but the world has moved on since then.
Hard to see who the market for this device is now. Hard to see who's going to be developing for it, too.
Who is it for?
I'd say that 74 comments (and counting) on a Reg article is an impressive measure of interest. Good on them, though they do need to find a specific market for it.
Shame I got rid of my old Amiga 2000 a few years ago, it was a brilliant machine! But if this box is PowerPC based, does it mean that I could run AmigaOS on my PowerMac G5? That would enable me to show 2 fingers to Apple for leaving their PPC users in the lurch and would probably be more fun than trying to install Debian PPC on it. Amiga FTW!
amigaos for Mac
"does it mean that I could run AmigaOS on my PowerMac G5?"
No it doesn't. They want you to buy their £1500 custom board instead.
MorphOS ( http://www.morphos-team.net/ ) runs on some PowerPC Macs (mini, emac), and does run amiga software out of the box as well. Here's the list of the compatible hardware: http://www.morphos-team.net/hardware.html
And download link for the ISO image: http://www.morphos-team.net/downloads.html
Still the greatest...
Still the best set of systems I have used.
Amiga OS as it's called now is cracking. When Workbench 3 was launched it was way ahead of everything else for ease of use/user interaction.
It's always nice to see an Amiga story. Sadly I haven't turned on either my A500 or A1200 in a decade because they were simply becoming obsolete, but I would love to see the platform make a resurgence.
Amigas always appealed to those who were more tech-savvy than PC owners, more creative than Mac owners (shock!) but more sociable than the *nix brigade ... oh, and gamers. ;-)
...the Demo Scene
With Firefox and Openoffice ports thats getting more tempting.
I dearly love the time I spent with my Amiga's, still in the attic but sadly the internal floppy drives are dead on at least two. Internal HD still works on my A1200 though.
Even now I still miss my Amiga, it was an incredible machine in its day, Commodore management really stuffed things up badly and should have got a spanking. Linux is proving to be a reasonable substitute for the tweaker in me but I pine for the day of AmigaOS's serious return.
It might be good... but...
.. it's no AtariST ;-)
if it was an ST it wouldn't be "good" in any way!
At school one of the IT teachers said he bought an ST as it was a bit cheaper. A bit later the PSU blew up.
The ST was a triumph of mediocrity. 720kb disc drive (880k in Amiga), the sound chip was the same one as used in the 128k Spectrum. The OS wasn't made by Atari. it was a rush job to fill a space left by the Amiga being sold to Commodore, instead of Atari.
You could have stuck Amstrad on the box and people wouldn't have been surprised.
Sell it to me....
What can it enable me to do, that I can't already do with a £400 system from just about any retailer, with a multi-core processor and Windows 7?
Sorry there has to be a USP, other than the fact that it might possibly run some of those old Amiga games I knew and loved back in the day (which I can already do via emulation). For that kind of money it would have to do something special but I can't for the life of me imagine what it could possibly be. Go on, tell us what its secret super power might be.
As posed, probably nothing.
I don't suppose being a solid, well-designed system that's pleasant to use counts for anything these days. Otherwise, what's Windows doing on the market?
What luck could anybody possibly have in trying to sell emmantaler or roquefort to someone who's happy with Velveeta? I mean, it does all the same stuff and it's cheaper. On the other hand, it barely counts as cheese. Maybe he'd just have to taste the other stuff to know why some people like other kinds of cheese, even if they're harder to find and thus typically pricier.
For a start
It's not running Windows, so that's a major improvement right away. It also doesn't have Intel inside, which is another. Your fabulous multi-core chip is a relic from the stoneage of computing and spends a very substantial amount of its power, and therefore heat, on trying to get lousy register and instruction sets to run at a respectable rate.
Generally, this is a machine for the hobbiest programmer, not for people looking to treat their computer as a toaster/calculator/typewritter. Let's be honest here - 90% of people waste about £300 when they spend £400 on a PC anyway.
I think Nvidia's Tegra chip has a touch of the Amiga about it (don't kill me!).
It follows a similar design philosophy of having dedicated silicon for specific tasks to get much better performance.
I always thought trying to everything on the CPU was stupid in the old days, and still a bit stupid now.
As an Atari owner, this is all a little bit sad and too late. Fanbois existed in the 1980s...
... you never met anyone who owns an Apple product then?
Some of us get like that from time to time. XP
What was the Atari's OS called again?
Ah yes. TOS, pronounced "toss", because that is what it is a pile of.
Hehe, old rivalries coming out of the woodwork. Now you are meant to say "Ah, but ST has a dedicated MIDI controller!", at which point I will extoll the virtues of the Fatter Agnus and the Denise chip.
Buy yourself a copy of Amiga Forever.
I (sadly) get quite a lot of enjoyment, playing some of the old demos on my mac mini with it.
And the odd game or two :-)
And, some of the later demo scene stuff (2000+) is truly awesome.
I purchased my copy of AF for the Kickstart roms to use with WHDLoad on my real Amiga. It enables me to run most games straight from HD, so no disk swaps :)
Can't wait to see the first few new demoscene releases made for this beauty! Remember those scrollers and graphic show-off demos? They're still at it! :-) AMIGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Mine's the one with the Fat Agnus in the pocket.
demoscene likes original amigas
"Can't wait to see the first few new demoscene releases made for this beauty!"
I'm afraid you won't see many of those. The reason being that the amiga scene is very fixed on the original Commodore Amiga, not the new next generation stuff. The old amigas set a nice challenge and are very uniform hardware wise, and are thus attractive for the demo coders to target.
"Mine's the one with the Fat Agnus in the pocket."
I'm sure I can't be the only one that misread that line.
XMOS, Inmos, British Engineering
The XMOS desgin suffers exactly from the same problem as the Inmos Transputer: Although the basic idea is very good (CPU having inter-process communications facility built-in), the implementation is very British: Instead of integrating a differential driver into their chip and using the latest process technology, they have a substandard-performance communications links yielding about 100Mbit/s.
With differential signalling, they could certainly achieve 1Gbit/s or more. There is a technology around called 10G Ethernet.
The Transputer had exactly the same problem...
If they want to compete with the big american corps, they need at least 2 GHz of CPU clock and 1Gbit/s differential communication links. The current product line will have the same fate as the Transputer.
Also, their programming language "XC" is a strange subset of C. That's an ideal way of turning off developers.
Rather a strange subset of C ...
... than any of the strange supersets that hold sway on these cobbled together IBM compatibles ...
Re: Turning off developers...
Not necessarily - I develop for PS3 in C++ and I've wished for a long time that I could replace it with a language designed specifically for multi-core development. It's a breath of fresh air every time I get to write high-level shader code (also similar to C) because I don't have to deal with all the necessary glue code and synchronisation mechanisms to make it run in parallel, or avoid half the language like the plague (I'm looking at you, virtual functions). Even if XC turns out to not be quite right, I definitely think we need to start using something new in order to develop safely and effectively for 256 cores.
No Pointer Arithmetic, No float
..acoording to their online language spec. Even though i agree the first one removes a lot of headaches, it will also make porting of existing code libraries a real pain.
Actually, they could have used Occam and it would not have made a *real* difference. Only the pointy-haired will be deceived by "XC" being spelt like "C".
A proper solution would be to have a full C compiler and the interprocess primitives added on top. They could turn off pointer arithmetics by default and add a switch to turn it on again.
@AC "Re: Turning off developers"
This post is nonsense. Think about the market they are aiming at - programmable embedded electronics... You seem to be thinking they are competing against Intel etc?
There is a full C compiler. And C++. And if you only want to use C you can use various helper functions for IPC etc. XC has these embedded but to mix these safely with pointer arithmetic would be chaos. http://xmos.com/tools
They are aiming at the programmable embedded electronics market with a motherboard the size of an old LP cover in a case the size of a delivery van? What are you smoking?
*cough*Developer machine*cough* Nobody suggested embedding this machine itself... Just the chips it includes and can easily talk to.
I was lucky enough to attend the fair this weekend. It was a great experience (it wasn't just Amiga related). The A1-X1000 (please, that's a dreaful name, it needs to be shorter) looked a nice system. I managed to crash it by attempting to load 2 copies of Blender (sorry guys, but I did have a chuckle about this!).
I came away impressed, but clearly there's a lot of work still to be done. The graphics subsystem may be fairly complete, but it's dreadfully slow in both desktop and 3D operation (Quake 3 at 4fps). I'm also left wondering what market there is for this type of system. I'm really struggling to think what a PC can't do (at half the price) that the X1000 can do. The Xena chip may be a shining jewel amidst an otherwise dusty relic, but it needs a massive marketing push, developer tools and solid showcase examples.
There may be a niche within music production or video editing which the Xena can be used for - but I'm again struggling to see why people wouldn't go with a Windows machine. I'm no Windows fanboy, but at least it's got good support.
Oh, I *will* be buying an X1000. I am, after all, an ex-Amiga owner wanting to re-live my youth...
As you said - niche
There will be a (small) niche market of those who want to buy one. Their reasons will be varied.
Perhaps there are people who have been experimenting with AmigaOS and want to keep doing so. this might give them some more horsepower to play with. Diehard fans etc etc.
They have their reasons and their not as simple as MacOS vs Linux vs Windows debates
Capitalism is about giving the consumer what it wants, not what it needs.
Did you know...
They did the graphics for Bablyon5 on an Amiga.
babylon 5 common Amiga misconception
"They did the graphics for Bablyon5 on an Amiga."
Actually only for the pilot. Anything beyond that were rendered on a PC rendering farm.
B5 & Amigas
Only for a few episodes. From what I've read, it may even have only been the pilot, and it involved a network of Amigas with other hardware. After that it was Pentium PCs and DEC Alphas.
One of the reasons I couldn't stand B5 was due to annoying Amiga fans wanking about it the FX being produced on Amigas, even long after it wasn't any more.
The other reason was also down to the FX as it spent a lot of the time in rather cheap sets discussing a load of politics and then jumped to some nice but rather obvious CGI that was frankly at times just eye candy rather than relevant plot. Without the FX it was really rather boring.
RE: B5 & Amigas
"One of the reasons I couldn't stand B5 was due to annoying Amiga fans wanking about it the FX being produced on Amigas, even long after it wasn't any more."
*That* was your reason? It was pretty terrible viewing anyway.
My understanding was that they used Lightwave on the Amigas to draw and design the CGI and then loaded then had external rendering devices to draw it all for them (in the form of the DEC Alphas). These could only be connected to the PCs for some reason...
Of course, it was a long time ago and I probably don't remember it correctly.
B5, Amigas and Lightwave
The CGI in B5 was done on Lightwave, a cracking 3D renderer that was split from the Newtek Video Toaster package (a complete video editing solution based on the Amiga). I bought one of the first copies available in the UK (v3.5) for £800 back in 1994 (together with an Amiga 4000/040 that cost ~£3500.
Yes, the rendering was farmed out to 'ScreamerNet' once Lightwave 4 came out. However, it was simply because you could pick up Pentium 90s for pennies and it made sense to enslave that cheap CPU horsepower. The Amiga still did the front end work, the dumb PCs just got on with the rendering in the background.
Lightwave is still around and is still a great package.
At least a year
Their setup for all of season 1 (maybe 2 as well, can't remember) was described as "8 desktop Amigas". At some point afterward they moved to PCs.
... will it run Crysis?
The latest update to Amiga OS4 was earlier this year: http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/
There are other boards produced solely for AmigaOS4 : http://www.acube-systems.biz/
These boards are (a) expensive, (b) based on PowerPC CPUs, (c) aimed at Amiga enthusiastics and fan(atic)s and (d) blomming great fun for those of whose have been part of the Amiga community for 25 years. They are not meant to take over the world...
In the 1980s I played an Amiga 3D two person game that involved wearing LCD glasses and flying a spaceship around. It was set in a little universe with a planet and a gravity well. You had to land on the planet and touch a hanger to recharge before taking off to blast your opponent. Great fun!
Anyone remember what it was called?
My mates were all Amiga nuts until I showed them Wolfenstein on my old 386 PC!
Are you sure that wasn't an Atari ST with LCD shutter glasses?
U Sure - Oh Yes
It was X-Specs on the Amigahttp://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/flame_32.png. I tossed out mine only a year or so ago. I remember flyingthrough 3D space and shooting flying potatoes. It worked well using the interlace (1 feild per eye) and the effect was very good 3D. And today almost 15 years later we still need glasses!
Surely the Sinclair QL brought multitasking to personal computing before the Miggy did ?