ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Blogs & guides and tales of woo by forum members.
User avatar
geekdot
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2023 7:08 am
Contact:

ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by geekdot »

I'd like to give you a quick shoulder-look to a project which is cooking for nearly a year now.

After my initial STG[A]TW card it was obvious, that this can not be it.
To get the real Atari Transputer Workstation feeling again, there must be more.
More graphics, more interconnectivity, more plug-and-play.

By the tremendous help of my fellow friends within the "League of extraordinary Transputer gentlemen" this vision is close to become reality.

Please say hello to the "ATW800/2", a fully integrated graphics & Transputer card (and much more) for the Mega-ST bus... and soon VME bus, too.

20240404_212602.jpg
20240404_212602.jpg (305.45 KiB) Viewed 465 times

There is so much to say about this, I'd certainly hit the limits of this forum. Here's a very rough rundown of working and planned features:
  • Fully GEM/VDI accelerated graphics. HDMI video output up to 1600x1200@8bit
  • 2 Transputer slots for so-called TRAMs - add the mighty 80's power!
  • 2 virtual Transputers inside the graphics-core - sharing RAM like "Blossom" back then!
  • in-system flashable TOS ROMs - room for 4 TOS images
  • Micro-SD IDE interface - planned :coffee:
  • many smaller conveniences...
Instead, I prepared a (lengthy) post on my GeekDot page - lots of piccies, words and even a FAQ ;) :wink:
And for those of you who like videos... well, there's a video, too.

A personal note:
Normally I do not talk about things which are still in the works.
This is an exception to the rule to inform you and especially other creators of hardware to prevent unnecessary diversification and fragmentation of an already small market.

I personally hate to buy a piece of hardware just to learn some time later, there's another one available I wasn't able to compare to the one I just bought. So this is a 'shoulder look' for you to get an idea what's coming.


To be dead sure: It already works. It will be released. It's just not 100% done yet.

If you have questions- I'm sure you do - please put them below here or over at atari-forum.com (make sure you've checked the FAQ first :wink: ) and I'll try my very best to answer them all.

Cheers,
Axel
User avatar
alexh
Posts: 786
Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:51 pm
Location: Oxfordshire

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by alexh »

Looks interesting if only we could get our hands on TRAMs

I had wanted to remake the FarmCard which went into the 800 ATW as several owners only have one transputer.
Principal ASIC Engineer - SystemVerilog, VHDL
Thalion Webshrine - http://thalion.atari.org
STf,STfm,STe,MegaST,MegaSTe,Falcon060
A500+,A600,A4000/060,CD32,CDTV
Steve
Posts: 2751
Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:49 am

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by Steve »

@geekdot Very much looking forward to the VME version!

I was reading the FAQ, specifically the limitations of the VME card cage for TT/Mste. Can some of these limitations be removed by simply taking the metal card cage out? For instance, my TT currently does not have the VME card cage installed, as I installed a NOVA & Mach64 board internally (meaning I had to remove the cage) I am thinking that the ATW800/2 could possibly fit inside a MegaSTe/TT without a card cage, as it is fairly secure when the backplate is screwed in. It is fairly straight forward for owners to do this I think. I am just wondering if you have thought of this as an option for MSTe/TT owners.

Also - it is great that Idek has created drivers for this! Is this graphics core totally in FPGA or running on ARM? Is this graphics core something which will stay unique to your card, or will this graphics core become something open and available for others to create more graphics output options for a range of Atari machines?
User avatar
Badwolf
Posts: 2343
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:09 pm

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by Badwolf »

I know nought about transputers, but I like the design and the ethos here.

The graphics card side of it alone would be a great addon. :thumbup:

BW
DFB1 Open source 50MHz 030 and TT-RAM accelerator for the Falcon
Smalliermouse ST-optimised USB mouse adapter based on SmallyMouse2
FrontBench The Frontier: Elite 2 intro as a benchmark
User avatar
stephen_usher
Posts: 5975
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:19 pm
Location: Oxford, UK.
Contact:

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by stephen_usher »

Transputers aren't fast but they have fast interconnects.

The whole point of them is to run tasks in parallel with data passing between the nodes. Most transputer system used four processors with shared memory and another one to act as a host interface and communications unit with each board on a bus. A host computer would sit on the bus and upload the programs to each of the boards.

I'm not sure what one Transputer hanging off the 16bit VME bus would give you, especially as it can only be a slave node and not a bus master.

I used to administer a 64 core MEiKO Transputing Surface back in the day.
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.
User avatar
Cyprian
Posts: 426
Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:16 am
Location: Poland

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by Cyprian »

stephen_usher wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:21 pm I'm not sure what one Transputer hanging off the 16bit VME bus would give you, especially as it can only be a slave node and not a bus master.
Transputers in Atari ATW800 have no access to the 68000 memory space. 68000 can only exchange the data via ACSI.
Lynx I / Mega ST 1 / 7800 / Portfolio / Lynx II / Jaguar / TT030 / Mega STe / 800 XL / 1040 STe / Falcon030 / 65 XE / 520 STm / SM124 / SC1435
DDD HDD / AT Speed C16 / TF536 / SDrive / PAK68/3 / Lynx Multi Card / LDW Super 2000 / XCA12 / SkunkBoard / CosmosEx / SatanDisk / UltraSatan / USB Floppy Drive Emulator / Eiffel / SIO2PC / Crazy Dots / PAM Net
http://260ste.atari.org
andre_S
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 13, 2023 9:15 am

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by andre_S »

Hi, some hints. i am a member of the atw800/2-team. the "synthetic" Transputers in fpga-core has a physical link-connection to the real trams on board. The fpga-transputers have direct access to the videoram, for running helios/x11 (a first test was ok) or as coprocessor for atari/gem and similar. the atw800/2 has two Linkadapters, one is C011-based for the real transputers , one as part of the FPGA-Core to connect the "synthetic" transputers . For a fast data transfer, the Atari as access to part of the fpga-transputer-ram.
Correct is, the fpga-transputer have no direct access to the atari-ram and cannot working as busmaster. but i think, that is not so importent...
The rest of links from the Trams are external usable. is not a problem to connect a big "farm" of transputers to scale the power.
on the software-side, today are running iserver (and also afserver) for the inmos-toolset, ispy, rspy. also running the helios-ioserver, as port (for our not dma-based linkadapter)of the original version from the atari atw800. we have testend Helios 1.1,1.2,1.3.
i hope, that helps to understand, and please excuse my bad english

best regards, andre
luigi30@gmail.com
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2024 8:39 am

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by luigi30@gmail.com »

Looking forward to giving this a go in my TT030 - I keep missing out on VME TRAM hosts. Now if only I had one of those gazillion-pin breakout link cables to connect my IMS B008 to one of these…
User avatar
agranlund
Posts: 905
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:43 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by agranlund »

andre_S wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 7:47 am The fpga-transputers have direct access to the videoram, for running helios/x11 (a first test was ok) or as coprocessor for atari/gem and similar. the atw800/2 has two Linkadapters, one is C011-based for the real transputers , one as part of the FPGA-Core to connect the "synthetic" transputers . For a fast data transfer, the Atari as access to part of the fpga-transputer-ram.
I love this! The opportunities for geeky fun are endless :)
User avatar
geekdot
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2023 7:08 am
Contact:

Re: ATW800/2 - a legend reborn

Post by geekdot »

agranlund wrote: Wed Jul 10, 2024 10:48 am I love this! The opportunities for geeky fun are endless :)
"This is the way." ;)

Only imagination and skills are the limit. Here are some inspirations:
  • Chess - ATARI displays the board & handles UI, Transputer(s) do the math
  • Mathlib for complex calculations - Again ATARI is the front-end, Transputer takes the formula and does the rest... think Mathematica 8-)
  • Enhance existing ATARI applications, given we have the sources, to use the Transputers as co-processor, e.g. manipulating the VRAM (remember Photoshop accelerators?)
  • GPU - Not trivial, but thinkable - The ATARI sends primitives to the synthetic Transputer(s) which the directly write into VRAM. That's like GPUs work back in the days (e.g. TIGA etc)
Post Reply

Return to “MEMBER BLOGS”