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68k hardware emulation: PiStorm32-lite with firmware released
Claude Schwarz' PiStorm connects a Raspberry Pi to the CPU socket of an Amiga using an adapter and uses the British single-board computer to emulate a fast m68k processor. The variant for the Amiga 1200 is called "PiStorm32". Yesterday the developer published on GitHub the repository for the PiStorm32-lite variant, which contains all hardware design and manufacturing files including ordering instructions for JLCPCB and the firmware. The lite variant is supposed to take into account the current difficult situation in the procurement of components and in principle be cheaper ( reported).

PiStorm32-lite is compatible with:
  • PI3A
  • PI3B
  • PI4B
  • PiZero2 (is to be tested in detail because of the small space around the HDMI connection)
Soon there will be another custom-made CM4 adapter for the PiStorm32-lite ( reported). The custom-made adapter will provide the best cooling in the limited space, as well as convenient access to all IOs (HDMI, USB, Ethernet) through the A1200 module slot near the joystick/mouse ports without modifications to the Amiga case.

As the developer explains to us, the Pistorm32-lite replaces CPU, gives the CPU Fast-RAM and provides, among other things, a virtual graphics card on the Zorro bus. This allows resolutions with Emu68 of up to 1920 x 1080 (PI3) or 4k (pi4). Emu68 is the associated JIT (just in time) compiler that translates the Amiga's Motorola machine code into ARM machine code in real time. AmigaOS runs completely unchanged on it. Everything else is then real AmigaOS drivers, written in 68k code, which talk to the Raspberry hardware.

Asked about the speed the Amiga can achieve with it, Schwarz said: with Emu68, a 68040 at 1.6GHz using a PI3 or about 3GHz using a Pi4. Or on a 68060 scale: a 68060 at 800MHz with Pi3 or 1.5GHz with a Pi.4.

Michal Schulz is continuously improving the RTG driver ( reported), but basically it already works very well. Currently, for example, it is already possible to play a 720p MPEG video smoothly with Riva.

The firmware, called "gateware", is an early first version written by him and Niklas Eckström. It functions very stably, but still needs to be further developed, in which users can contribute with their experiences and thus also follow the progress.

At the moment, the PiStorm is only available as a self-built version, but it is expected that the first prefabricated copies will soon be available for purchase. (dr)

[News message: 29. Dec. 2022, 06:26] [Comments: 1 - 28. Jan. 2023, 17:55]
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