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ATX PPC Motherboards from Eyetech 336

YttriumOx writes: "Eyetech Ltd, a UK based company now has the AmigaOneG3SE for prerelease to developers. Anyone who's been craving a PPC motherboard for either Linux or the New AmigaOS can put their orders in now. The developers prerelease board comes with a TurboLinux PPC CD. While this system is targetted at Amiga owners wanting new hardware, there's no reason for anyone needing a good PPC solution for Linux can't get their hands on one. You've got until the 24th of March if you want a prerelease board (note that the only difference between it and the final board is that the ROM chip in the final board will be an AmigaOS4 ROM where as it's an OpenPPC BIOS in the developers board. Exact specifications of the board can be found here." This is also a good solution for people who want to use Linux on a PowerPC but do not want to buy an Apple machine. Price for the "beta" board is $450 and final will be $500.
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ATX PPC Motherboards from Eyetech

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  • MacOS X (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dadragon ( 177695 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:19PM (#3191468) Homepage
    You could probably get MacOS X to boot on it, now that the OS's rom is stored on disk.

    That, and Darwin comes with source, so you could likely get it going on the hardware.

    This will be kinda cool....
    • I was just thinking about this.

      These guys [] did the necessary kernel hacks to OS X in order to get it running on the legacy Macs, so i wouldn't expect it to take too long for someone to do the same for these boards. I'd LOVE to be able to build my own Mac.
    • Re:MacOS X (Score:3, Informative)

      by red_dragon ( 1761 )

      The ROM-in-RAM thing only applies to classic Mac OS (i.e., vv. 9 and earlier). OS X boots a Mach kernel instead, which is stored in /mach_server and has no resemblance to the old Mac OS ROM whatsoever.

    • If no one makes MacOSX chipset drivers (you know like the VIA 4in1) for IBM's OpenPPC platform chipset or whatever chipset the boards use, you're going to have buggerall luck loading MacOSX.

      Especially when you take into account that Windows already has rudimentry VIA chipset drivers built in (the VIA 4in1s just add more functionality/compatibility/performance at the cost of occasionally fucking things up). Otherwise odds are Windows would not load fullstop.

      Look how after Intel bought into BeInc, BeInc refused to reverse engineer post beige G3 MacOS chipset drivers (using the escuse it was patented/copyrighted/whatever, but they could of just reversed engineered the Linux PPC chipset drivers that were post beige compatible) making new PPC hardware off limits
    • Re:MacOS X (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spencerian ( 465343 )
      Not quite. Open Firmware takes the place of most bootstrapping on a Macintosh logic board (motherboard). While the higher level functions of the "BIOS" are part of the OS, you cannot clone a Mac OS ROM unless you want a legion of lawyers with 5 billion dollars to burn on your case knocking on your door.

      That said, Open Firmware is a open standard and could make the pleasant BIOS-less experience of a Mac startup possible with these new boards.

      A cool idea...not quite a Mac logic board, but something new to play with.
  • I believe that they should let you flash the board's rom with a Mac ROM (Obtained legally from your own Apple PPC of course).

    This would let people run Macintosh software on their board.

    Regards, Guspaz.
    • I believe that they should let you flash the board's rom with a Mac ROM.

      That won't work, because the Eyetech board has a different northbridge than Macs, so Apple's ROM wouldn't know how to initialize it.
  • Good.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by ghack ( 454608 )
    Finally some open Amiga PPC mother boards! Amiga returns....

    Of course, there are already Amiga PPC expansion boards.. []
    and []

    Anyone thought of porting these to daystar PPC upgrade cards for 68k macs (Turbo601 ?)

  • A bit expensive (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Metrollica ( 552191 )
    Isn't $500 a little expensive for the board? A new iMac only costs $1,299.00 from the Apple Store and you get much more for the same price. There is also the matter of supporting Apple.
    • Isn't $500 a little expensive for the board? A new iMac only costs $1,299.00 from the Apple Store and you get much more for the same price. There is also the matter of supporting Apple.

      As far as I remember the first press release a few days back the price was targeted at USD 600 excluding taxes....but with G3 "onboard"

      But apart from that: You can bet every Amiga user would rather support Amiga than an Apple Mac. And I guess, if you'd ever used an Amiga seriously (i.e everyday's work, applications, internet) you would not even think for a second like this.

      Besides: Amiga users never supported any Mac hardware sales, they ran MacOS7-8 on top of AmigaOS ;-))

    • yeah, but imacs suck, and this is british. eof
    • Re:A bit expensive (Score:2, Informative)

      by swissmonkey ( 535779 )
      That's the board AND the CPU.

      So now you have 800$ to buy RAM, DVD, HD, Tower, Keyboard/Mouse, Graphic card and Monitor.

      Also, you get a much more expandable system than the new iMac.

      That's not that bad considering that Eyetech can't afford to produce dozens of thousands of boards at once, and thus pay a higher price for production than Apple.
      If their product becomes a success, their price will go down rapidly.
      • But you're stuck with the CPU. The CPUs could be removed from the earlier iMacs, so I'm guessing that at some point one could upgrade the new iMac with a faster G4. That is, if Apple didn't cripple it in order to insure demand of future versions.

        I wouldn't mind getting one of these boards if I had the money available for it.

    • Hell, you can get a G3 iMac for $200 more.
    • You simply can't buy PPC motherboards for less than $2,500 at the moment unless you go to the hassle of buying an entire Apple Mac and chopping it for bits. That's a bit of a waste.

  • I am not particularely impressed by the specs of the board. When the BeBox came out with its dual Hobbit chipset, I wanted to get my hands on one of these bad ass mother. But looking at the specs (and high price) of this board, why should I put money into that? To run a Linux port on it? Gee, that's a luxury item.
    I'd rather get a second ipaq instead. Actually I start to prefer the ARM architecture over the PPC one lately (Thanks for Mot for goofing heavily on the performance side too.) So I'd rather go light and wireless than underpowered and chained on the desktop.

    PPA, the girl next door.
    • Re:Un impressive (Score:3, Informative)

      by Namarrgon ( 105036 )
      When the BeBox came out with its dual Hobbit chipset

      Actually, my BeBox came with dual PPC 603s. The original design had AT&T Hobbits, but AFAIK that was never available.

  • Can it run OS X? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by batobin ( 10158 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @09:26PM (#3191499) Homepage
    I'd be interested to know whether or not it will run Mac OS X. On one hand, Apple built into their operating system a list of computers that it can run on. They did this so non-G3 users wouldn't try to do an install.

    On the other hand, there are several utilities available that override Apple's settings. I've personally used one to get OS X running on my Power Mac 7300. One such utility is XPostFact, 68&db=mac []. Although it's not the one I used, you can see that as an example.

    Does anybody with more knowledge than me have any insight?
    • Re:Can it run OS X? (Score:3, Informative)

      by dhovis ( 303725 )
      It should be possible. Darwin [] is open source, under the APSL [], and as you point out, people have modified it to get OS X (even the non-open source parts) to run on pre-G3 machines just fine.

      I really wonder how long it will take someone to get OS X running on a non-Apple PPC machine. The code is there, and Darwin is free (as in beer). If you can get Darwin to run on it, Quartz (the closed source part) shouldn't know the difference.

      I believe it can be done, and that means that eventually someone will do it.

      • I really wonder how long it will take someone to get OS X running on a non-Apple PPC machine. The code is there, and Darwin is free (as in beer). If you can get Darwin to run on it, Quartz (the closed source part) shouldn't know the difference.

        This makes me wonder. What about getting darwin to run natively on a pc and emulating the PPC environment to run quartz and it's counterparts? I know it's not feasible now to emulate ppc, but what about on IA64 / Hammer?
        • Re:Can it run OS X? (Score:3, Informative)

          by dhovis ( 303725 )
          Getting Darwin to run natively on x86 is no problem. Apple makes an x86 port available. []

          The problem is, even if you did manage to emulate well enough to run Quartz, you'd also have to emulate well enough to run all the PPC programs that are the only ones available to use Quartz.

          Frankly, it would probably be easier to get GNUstep in sync with the Cocoa api(formerly NeXTStep). Then you could cross-compile Cocoa applications.

    • I hope it do, then maybe these mac fanatics will buy a lot of them, which will lead to cheaper boards for the rest of us. :)
  • when you consider that it comes with a CPU and smaller production runs.

    Seems like a nice board, albeit I would want a board that had a socketd CPU, not one that's soldered into the board.

    • No kidding. From the site, they said that one with a socket would cost no more than 15% more than the soldered version. I can't see how that would cost that much more. Since they consider the CPUs scarce because Apple uses most of them, why not use a socketed cpu? They could make some boards, sell them, and let the customer worry about availability. Also, what if a part is determined to be bad during the final round of testing after the CPU has been soldered on? If it was a socket board, they could just take the CPU out and use it in another board w/o much trouble. Saying you can just sell the board to someone else if you want to upgrade just doesn't seem like a good option. I'd rather leave everything in place and just take the cpu out. There are enough aftermarket Mac accelerator vendors that do this, they should too.

  • by FatSean ( 18753 )
    You mean AmigaOS isn't a vaporious dream?
  • I always thought the Amiga was a neat inovative computer. Friends of mine were doing production video animation on them backin the early 80s. They were clearly more powerful than the Mac at that time. Still I can t help but think that without the latest IBM G5 or whatever its called, its not going to hold up against the best Athlons and P4s.
  • See for more details.

    It can take up to two G4 w/ 2Mb cache each.

    The mainboard works perfectly, and two OS are expected to run on the system when it ships(one xxxBSD if I remember correctly and MorphOS).

    As a matter of fact, the board will be shipped when MorphOS ( will be ready, in the next two monthes.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sheesh, I just posted that, how can there be so many comments already?!

    Anyway, regarding MacOS - I can't say for certain about getting MacOS to run on it, not being a Mac person at all myself, BUT I have heard it's almost certain that Mac-On-Linux will run fine. Also, once AmigaOS4 is on this baby, iFusion (a brilliant PPC Mac emulator for AmigaOS) will also run fine.

    Regarding the CPU being soldered on. Eyetech are quite likely to make a G4 version at some stage, however a socketed solution seems unlikely due to the massive price increase unless there is sufficient demand and people willing to pay the extra. Alan from Eyetech posted the following on the AmigaOne mailing list:

    OK, lets get the facts on the table. To produce a socketted G4 requires some re-layout of the pcb, the costs of a reliable socket (not cheap), the additional costs of assembly and rework (because a heavy socket is much more difficult to place properly than a normal IC), the design and production of an additional multilayer cpu carrier board (the layout is critical at the speeds involved), the costs of the carrier board 'plug' and its attachment under the chip carrier board, and the costs of the cpu and its mounting on the carrier board.

    When all these costs are added together, including the manufacturers, ours and the dealers margins on the additional costs involved our best estimates of the additional end-user cost for producing a board with a 7445 G4 cpu (over the published cost of an A1G3-SE) would be around ukp150/usd220/euro250. I would be delighted if list members strongly disagree, but a 43% cost increase for the sake of future upgradeability and a small performance improvement (until os4/Amiga software supports Alivec in a non-trivial way) strikes me as too much. But those are the costs. There is no slack in there for reduction. The actual cpu costs in this are relatively small - so replacing the socketed G4 with a socketed G3 would only reduce the costs by perhaps ukp35/usd50/euro60 - not worthwhile IMO considering a new carrier board etc would have to be designed and produced for the G3.

    Ben de Waal
    AKA YttriumOx

  • 550 bux for the G3/600 or 600 bux for the G4/700mhz

    Not bad, but soldered on cpu really sucks. And 15% seems rather high just to add a socket.

    I might have to get one of these bad boys, maybe someone will have an OS/X hack for it too. :)
  • I've never considered running Amiga before, what are some of the highlights of runnning it? Is it just so people can tinker around, or can you do things with it where Linux/Windows isn't cutting it?

    I'm genuinely curious, not being a negative smart ass.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Amiga's strength in the 80s and early 90s was multimedia. You could do AMAZING things with video and sound that were unsurpassed by anything in it's pricerange (you could only really get similar performance on dedicated video editing hardware).
      Later, as the rest of the world caught up, the people who stayed with Amiga did so for several reasons:
      1 - some were fanatics. Sad but true fact of any computing group is that fanatics exist.
      2 - The Amiga can do pretty much anything any other machine can do with a fraction of the processor and RAM (My old 68030-25MHz performed about as well as a P200 easily, so now think about how a G3-600 will perform...)
      3 - The AmigaOS is elegant. It gives you power and flexibility not found in MacOS or Windows, and ease of use not found in Linux (yes, Linux CAN be easy, but as soon as you want to start tinkering it gets complex. You can tinker with AmigaOS even with a minimum of knowledge - greater knowledge just means you can tinker MORE)
      4 - There are still some AmigaOS applications that I far prefer to anything on other platforms. Many of these are seriously showing their age, but now that a new AmigaOS is coming out, there are likely to be many developers updating/rewriting the old software and even writing new software. We have a rather large base of ported software (mostly games) too for those that "just can't live" without Quake, Freespace, Heretic, Wipeout2097 etc etc etc.

      Ben de Waal
      AKA YttriumOx
  • Check out the briQ [] by Terra Soft Solutions (makers of Yellow Dog Linux).. Full specs are here []. Pricey, but very cute. YDL sells a few other LinuxPPC hardware solutions.
  • The AmigaOneG3-SE supports 133MHz FSB SDRAM. (According to our engineers DDR memory doesn't gain anything in help PPC board design).

    Why not support DDR? Its performance improvement has been quite well demonstrated in the x86 platform. Assuming that the PPC architecture won't see any benefits from DDR technology is silly. With the widening gap between I/O latency and CPU performance, any technology that improves latency (or at the very least bandwidth) will improve performance. I can only think of two possible reasons for this. The second I'll get back to in a moment. The first is that there is a problem inherent to the north bridge they are using or to the motherboard itself. This, of course, could be indicative of manufacturing problems or possibly of lower quality parts.

    As far as the CPU is concerned the first series of boards will use a 600 MHz G3 CPU and will come with this soldered in place, thereby keeping the costs as low as possible. As G4's fall in price/become more available we may also offer a soldered in place G4 CPU option as well. If we can engineer the costs of a socketed/chip carrier version with CPU to be no more than 15% above the price of a soldered-in CPU equivalent then we will consider producing these versions.

    Why not offer a socketed solution? Granted, they're currently only offering a testing mobo, but that's no reason to put off releasing a mobo without the ability to upgrade the CPU. Apple has already created technology that allows CPUs to be mounted on daughterboards that are upgradeable (effectively the x86 slotted CPU equivalent). Basing their socket on this technology could, potentially, allow users to upgrade their CPUs using currently-available parts.

    imho, these are two bad indications that the mobo is either being released too soon (hence, possibly the DDR and slot/socket solution problems) or that the company is looking to stall to earn more profits. By releasing a mobo that is missing some desired functionality, they can guarantee additional profits in the short-run from users looking to upgrade their CPU/mobo combos (of course, that's a required bundled upgrade as well).
  • by SoftwareJanitor ( 15983 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:03PM (#3191657)
    By the time you put together a complete system, this motherboard doesn't look price competitive to buying a recent Mac, and you have to put everything together yourself. Unless you have a religious reason to avoid Apple, it looks like they are a better option. Don't get me wrong, I think competition is a good thing, but this doesn't look like something that is going to give Apple a run for their money, so I don't think it helps there. And I like putting together machines myself, but if I was going to put toether a new machine for myself today, I could buy a dual Athlon motherboard and two Athlon XP 1700's for not too different than what this 600MHz G3 PPC motherboard is selling for. And that is from a local to me shop.

    Don't believe me? ce sheet.htm

    ASUS A7M266D AMD760MPX DUAL $249

    PALOMINO XP 1.7PR $128

    That's only $56 more than the $450 price they mention for the PPC motherboard, and it doesn't have the CPU's soldered down to "save costs" either. And there is no freaking way that a 600MHz G3 is faster than one Athlon XP 1700, let alone two.

    • by Afrosheen ( 42464 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:45PM (#3191800)
      Before you bust out with a price comparison, consider the source. This is a short-run, small time manufacture, not a produced-by-the-billions-in-taiwan motherboard so many intel freaks are accustomed to. This is not Abit, nor Asus, nor Intel, nor Gigabyte. Of course it will be expensive. Have you priced manufacturing your own motherboard lately? Doubtful.

      As the anonymous poster replied, a complete system with this board from these guys runs about a grand in US dollars. That's pretty price-competitive compared to Macs.
      • Yeah but for an extra $600 bucks you can get an LCD screen on a pedastal, a cool OS, and software that works with your hardware. And the chicks think it looks cool.

        But if you're going to build your own box why not go dual Athlon or single Athlon? What is the new Amiga OS going to offer people today that is not already there in either Windows or Linux. (And personally I don't think anyone is going to top OS X for elegance in this decade. That thing is just pure art. Go Steve!)

        I just don't understand what Amiga is trying to accomplish. For one, they look too fragmented with all the consumer electronic stuff that they have going on. Personally I think they had their chance in the 90's and blew it. I don't think the market will support another OS. Look at BeOS. They claim Microsoft killed them. Linux isn't really taking over the desktop world by storm but on the other hand is probably going to kick Sun's butt sooner than later in the server world. How is Amiga going to be any different than lets say Be or Apple as far as competing with Windows? By filling a niche market so people can run their 10 year old software on modern hardware? Speedball wasn't that much fun.

        Let's face it, Amiga's strong point was multimedia. If I am a multemedia professional today then I either have a G4 and Adobe's suite of software or a P4 with Adobe's suite of software. If I am into video then I have a Newtek Video Toaster on an Intel box and my A4000 is propping the window open so I can smell the dogwoods bloom.

        Mod me flamebait, a troll, or call me a bigot if you want. But I just don't see the point. Hell, even using this board as a Linux platform doesn't make that much sense to me. A cheap Mac clone, yeah maybe. But I see Apple busting those who try. (Boo Steve! Betcha you and Woz would have tried to hack it in your college days.)
    • Actually, I don't have a problem with the pricing, for a small hardware producer and not a big company like ASUS, it's even quite good (Think custom hardware, think low volume PCB, think OEM alpha BOARDS a few years ago). The point you could have brought up with the price comparison is "raw performance Vs. price tag". In that case, you make your point, but the idea behind the amiga philosophy was never to beat X platform at Y number crunching (raytracing/rendering took off on personnal computers a bit before the time the amiga went bankrupt, and even then you would have MIPS-based accelerators (remember the Raptor from newtek?) to do that work).

      The idea was to do MORE with LESS. WIth a 040-4000 you could emulate a quadra (heck I did it with a A2000 w/ 040) faster than the equivalent quadra because the bios was cached in ram instead of being a slow chip (like the real Quadra's bios), you could do better realtime smooth video with scala, while PC jerked at anything above 5FPS.

      To give you an illustrated example: realtime 2D effects you could do on an amiga compared to what a PC could do before the DOOM-generation, would compare like running unreal in VGA mode on a 486-100 for the PC, and geforce3 + (XP/P4) CPU for the amiga, and no that's no exageration as for the "wow" factor. PC eventually catched up, and people like John Carmack knew how to squeeze every bit of the superior processor that intel did starting from the pentium-class (compared to 68040), and they catched up on the "wow" factor.

      Anyways, all this said, the reason why someone would shell out money for that platform is NOT to make economies, it's to get back with his old feelings, get in touch with his beloved platform, out of curiosity, or to develop on a new target system (or to grab one of the rare PPC boards out there :) )

      Hope that helps :)

      • Those old Amigas truly rocked for video performance, there is no doubt. Small parts of that had to do with AmigaOS, but it's my understanding that the real key to that amazing performance was always the custom hardware. Amiga DMA was stellar, allowing offboard hardware (such as the VideoToaster) to do their own thing without having to wait on the slow CPU, the whole setup with the blitter and the copper - all of this was way ahead of its time, and made for the sort of performance that makes it impossible to even discuss those old boxes today with people that never had the opportunity to use one without sounding like you're telling tall tales.

        Now maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see any chance of the new Amigas being able to live up to those days. The custom hardware, obviously, has long been passed by and the very concept abandoned. The OS is, still, very nice. Put it on this sort of modern hardware and, well, you might well have a better Mac. But hardly an Amiga as-of-old, right?

        I must point out, though, that this board would make a base for a positively bitchin' Linux/PPC box.

      • Anyways, all this said, the reason why someone would shell out money for that platform is NOT to make economies, it's to get back with his old feelings, get in touch with his beloved platform, out of curiosity, or to develop on a new target system (or to grab one of the rare PPC boards out there :) )

        I was never an Amiga fan in its day, so there is no big nostalgia kick for me there, and frankly I can't see many people spending a lot of money just for nostalgia's sake.

    • ASUS A7M266D AMD760MPX DUAL $249

      PALOMINO XP 1.7PR $128

      If You want two Athlons, why not price with the real thing? Athlon MPs are at least one and a half times the price of XPs of same speed.

      Prices with my local dealer:
      ASUS A7M266-D SOCKET A - 350 (USD 308)
      AMD ATHLON XP 1800+ MP CPU SOCKET A - 332 (USD 292)
      AMD ATHLON XP 1800+ CPU SOCKET A - 213 (USD 187)

      So a dual Athlon XP 1800+ MP using Asus A7M266-D would be 1014 (USD 893), while the double XP solution (no warranty, potentially unstable, may burn, and so on) would be just 774 (USD 682). A difference of 240 - not insignificant, but I want my warranty, and specifically I want computers that work.

      Oh yes, the prices I quoted are higher than Yours. However, I didn't try to find the cheapest dealer around, just the one I usually deal with.
      • The reason I quote the Athlon XP instead of the Athlon MP is that there is basically no significant difference according to the hardware sites like anandtech, so why pay the difference. And I didn't look for the lowest price either, the prices I quoted were from a local dealer that I have bought from.

  • by t0qer ( 230538 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @10:06PM (#3191664) Homepage Journal
    I like PPC, don't get me wrong, but as much as I wanted one, I wouldn't buy it because I was left with only 1 vendor, Apple.

    For a while, apple had the right idea. They tried IBM's strategy of making the platform open, then they chicken shitted out and went back to making their own boxes. I can't recall the manufacturers name, but there was PPC boards made by other manufacturers for a while. Why apple did an about face on this issue I will never know.

    Thing that has allways kept me next to my trusty PC is I never have had to buy a "Whole new computer" I can get the latest chipset or CPU merely by replacing my motherboard. Mac's never gave me that option, sorry apple.

    I think i'll give one of these boards a shot. Word to the manufacturer though, could you drop the price down to the less than 300 dollar range? I know you're going for a niche market but you gotta understand, the only people who are really going to be interested in these things don't really have a lot of money left over to do impulse buying anymore.
    • Apple did an about face because the clone market was cannibalizing Apple's sales. The Clones made hardware that was just as good and was cheaper than Apple's own hardware. Pretty good deal at the time. I'm sure its said other places, but Apple is a hardware company first and a software company second. They couldn't survive as just a software company (or maybe didn't want to, Apple does have larger profit margins than most of the industry)

      Secondly, you don't have to buy a whole new computer when you want to upgrade (ok you used to back with the Mac IIs and what not). You can buy processor upgrades for most recent Mac models (i.e. made in the last 6 or 7 years). When I get the money, I'm gonna take my 350 G3 up to dual 500 G4s, a full gig of ram and a new HD (prolly 80 gigs). Granted that's gonna cost an arm and a leg. but I do get to keep my spiffy blue case.
    • "For a while, apple had the right idea. They tried IBM's strategy of making the platform open, then they chicken shitted out and went back to making their own boxes. [...] Why apple did an about face on this issue I will never know."

      I think they faced the same problem as Palm Computing Inc. faces today: they couldn't make enough money on just selling the OS.

      Sure, allowing other vendors to sell Macintosh hardware would have given MacOS a greater market share, but that doesn't mean it would have been economically viable for Apple Inc. In the end, it's the profit that counts for a company, not market share.

      Making all parts of a computer system (box, motherboard, assembly, operating system, installation) is a form of vertical integration.
      It's a classic way of increasing profit for a corporation. There's a small profit in each of the steps of making a computer: the company making the motherboard makes a small profit, the company making the OS makes a small profit, the company assembling the system and installing the OS makes a small profit, and so on. By taking care of all these steps, a company can put all these little profits under one roof, and increase the profit margin, using their organization and economies of scale.

      That's probably the reason Apple never released an Intel x86 compatible version of MacOS. It would have been too easy for competitiors to make clones, and too easy for user to upgrade their hardware without buying from Apple. Apple would be stuck with the high cost of developing the OS (and there's a LOT of development money going into it), without making money on the hardware.

      The same problem faces the Amiga. There will, most likely, only be ONE company selling Amiga computers. Developing an operating system is so expensive, and the market is so small, they won't be able to survive without the money from selling the hardware.

      Unless, of course, the AmigaOS will be some kind of Open Source and gain enough followers...

    • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:37PM (#3192009) Homepage Journal
      For a while, apple had the right idea. They tried IBM's strategy of making the platform open, then they chicken shitted out and went back to making their own boxes. I can't recall the manufacturers name, but there was PPC boards made by other manufacturers for a while. Why apple did an about face on this issue I will never know.
      IBM never had a "strategy" of making an open platform. Instead they fought clones tooth and nail with every means at their disposal and when they finally lost that battle attempted to redefine the market with proprietary PS/2s running Micro Channel. That their architecture created its own industry was as much a shock to IBM as anyone and was never a part of any big plan.

      On the other hand Apple did try using licensees to get into markets they couldn't enter themselves. The idea was 3rd parties could buy Mac licenses and purchase Mac ROMs and MacOS 7 and sell into education, far east markets, gamers ("Pippin"), and super high-end markets that Apple hadn't the capacity or margins to work in. Instead they promptly began cannibalizing Apple's own markets and were eventually shut down before they bled Apple to death. Every box they sold was one Apple didn't and their licensing fees didn't nearly make up the difference.

      Finally, there have been any number of third parties making PPC boards over the years as well as Motorola. However there's little economy of scale so Apple PPC boards are generally just as cheap or cheaper. There is also always IBM PPC hardware. If you're just looking for a constant flow of motherboard upgrades yeah, that's not where the market is at. On the other hand Apple hardware holds it's value a lot longer then PC stuff so you can usually sell it and buy a whole new box with a better return on value then you'd get with a generation or two behind x86 box.

      • The open architecture of the PC may have been accidental, but no one can argue that it was not successful. Many Macolytes like to scream and shout about Microsoft and how the Redmond dragon did them in. In truth it was not Microsoft but scores of companies all producing and/or selling compatible systems while simultaneously competing with one another on price and performance that did Apple in. Apple is an example of a failed monopoly. Microsoft's monopoly exists because it rode the wave of an open platform, the PC. Today Apple is an also-ran and has been for some time now. Microsoft has kept them on life support because they are useful as token "competition." What will happen when and if Microsoft is finally pimp slapped I don't know.

        • Today Apple is an also-ran and has been for some time now. Microsoft has kept them on life support because they are useful as token "competition."
          Well, that's one opinion.

          Another that the Mac is a viable alternative platform. It offers features not found in MS's OS's nor in the beige-box PC market. MS does make a LOT of money from Mac owners, their products on MacOS are not only self-supporting but also very profitable. Finally Apple acts as a valuable R&D house for the industry and it is through MS's close relationship with them that they get access to Apple's thinking.

          So, is Apple on "life support"? Well, with 4 billion US in the bank and being one of the few healthy PC manufacturers they seem robust enough. Yes they only have a small fraction of the market but then that is true for any number of companies in any number of industries. Is MS Office a key application for Apple? Sure, but then MS has no way to cease development on it without making themselves look completely predatory.

    • >For a while, apple had the right idea. They tried
      >IBM's strategy of making the platform open, then
      >they chicken shitted out and went back to making >their own boxes. I can't recall the manufacturers
      >name, but there was PPC boards made by other >manufacturers for a while. Why apple did an about >face on this issue I will never know.

      That's not quite what happened . . .

      The clone-makers relied on apple almost entirely for engineering. Not only did they use apples OS, the motherboards were apple designed as well.

      Also, apple did not simply pull the plug. The clone-makers were competing with high-end macs, while paying royalties based on the low end. Apple told them, when license renewal time came up, that they would have to pay royalties reflecting their share of the R&D costs--which for Apple, come to hundreds of dollars per machine (at least for the high-end, which bear the brunt of the load). None of the cloners were willing to do so--they wanted to use the apple design at windows costs, pushing the development costs entirely to apple-branded machines, which they could then undercut by hundreds of dollars.


    • Apple didn't "chicken out", they weren't being driven out of their own market either. Companies like Epson and Umax were causing Apple to lose face. Epson and Umax made shitty Macs. They were horrible. I used to work at an Apple Service Center that was authorized for both Epson and Umax repairs. We had an entire bookshelf full of their damned dead clones. They couldn't be fixed for anything less than about 1/2 the cost of the unit new. They were pieces of shit. Literally. You had to wipe the ass stence off your hands after touching one. The was degrading to the Macintosh name. The average Joe wasn't associating the poor hardware with Epson or Umax. They associated it with Apple. After all the startup screen said "MacOS" and there was an Apple menu. It had Apple written all over it. I heard reports from Apple-employed service techs that they were inundated with tech support calls for clones. It was costing them a bundle. They users just didn't get it. The piss-poor clones were causing damage to Apple. They were building horrible machines for less. The people that bought one suffered from horrific failures and swore of Macs because of it. It wasn't Apple's fault that they vendors couldn't get their shit together.

      Now there was one clone vendor that made some damned good hardware. Power Computing did an excellent job. Their engineering team should be commended for their efforts. Apple could have learned a bit from Power Computing.

      Still Apple had to pull the plug. How else do you get rid of the problem? Can you think of any other way to kick Epson and Umax in the nads and make them get their shit together? I can't. Apple did the only thing they could do.

      Now I won't attack the rest of your comment because I tend to agree. I'd love to be able to buy PPC hardware from people other than Apple. When I want a Mac, I'll buy it from Apple. When I want a solid PPC Linux machine, I'd rather get it somewhere else. I think I might buy one of these boards as well. I'm a bit intrigued by them.

  • That were I to buy the OpenPPC bios board, and run AROS on it, that it would be more of an amiga than the final version?

  • Why are these mobo's so much more expensive than what I see for x86 ones? Or for that matter what Apple seems to charge for whole systems. Are they actually somehow better? (I know PPC and x86 are hard to compare, and apparently PPC's run "faster" at the same clock speed, etc) Or does it have to do with demand and buying in bulk?
  • I don't see why running Linux on a PPC is a reasong to buy this thing...

    It's true that i86 architecture isn't the best around but still.. I'd rather see something that is designed to be simple but efficient, and that would scale from a handheld to a "mainframe".. dah.

    Then port Linux on THAT thing.. there.. go.. but well.. maybe it was just me dreaming..

  • $450 is a little steep compared with Intel hardware, but this is worlds better than the $3000 developer boards that have been options before. I don't think I can afford it now, but if the final publicly available version is anywhere near as cheap I will get one eventually.
  • by calc ( 1463 )
    I looked around on the web and found these numbers in a IBM pdf:

    IBM PowerPC 750CXe 600MHz
    specint95 - 25.6
    specfp95 - 16.3

    AMD Athlon 600MHz
    specint95 - 27.2
    specfp95 - 21.5

    This will probably be good for an Amiga system but don't buy it to replace your shiny new AMD Athlon XP 2100+ box. It definitely is a lot cheaper than those old Motorola developer motherboards though.
  • by maggard ( 5579 ) <> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:54PM (#3192072) Homepage Journal
    1. Apple's MacOS is not based on the exact same code as is Darwin. Any number of times Apple's developers have confirmed that while the two code-bases are regularly synched they are not one and the same and some portions of the MacOS X core code never makes it to Darwin.
    2. Apple hasn't used proprietary ROMS for years. Instead they use their code based "New World ROM" that get loaded as a system component. There is no need to talk about stealing one and burning them, they're right there in any MacOS install.
    3. However Apple designs their own Northbridge & Southbridge chips. It is with these that the "New World ROM" interacts which means that non-Apple Northbridge & Southbridge chips wouldn't work. Therefore unless one wants to figure out how to get Darwin to boot on 3rd party Northbridge & Southbridge chips and then to get MacOS X to accept this underpinning you won't get very far.
    4. Finally, congrats; you'd have managed to make a non-Apple Mac. This has been done before, indeed it is rumored there was a version of the IBM RS 6000 that would boot MacOS long ago. However you've now also throw away that tight integration of hardware & software that makes Apple's products special and likely not saved much money in the long run anyway.

    • I remember a long, long time ago there was an article in MacWorld about the guys who got Mac OS running on an IBM machine. It wasn't an RS 6000 though, it was a PowerPC platform preceding CHiRP, and they had a picture of it.

      Basically it was a picture of a couple really guys from somewhere in Europe next to an ugly/generic looking IBM desktop computer with Mac OS on the monitor.

      They somehow either bootstrapped a Mac ROM into memory, or somehow tricked/modified Mac OS to boot without a ROM. I think it was the latter. At that point in time, I think that the only real use of the Mac ROM was to prevent the OS from running on non-Apple machines.

      Anyway, I remember it saying that didn't support all the hardware (sound, I/O ports, etc), and that it was just a demo. It also said that Apple had hired those two guys... apparently because they were so smart or something.

      At any rate, that article was the starting point for me to want a CHiRP machine REALLY badly. I remember seeing a picture somewhere of Windows NT 4.0 for Power PC.. and it was so enticing to think about both Mac OS and Windows running on the same computer without emulation. Of course, no other Windows apps would run on it, but there was hope that PowerPC versions would be available.

      Alas, the CHiRP machines were never released, nor the Power PC Platform machines which were basically the same, just with more PC-ish hardware. It was a real disappointment for me that this all never happened, but if it did, it would have meant the death of Apple, I am sure. Hindsight is 20/20 and the right decisions were made to kill these projects. However, I bet a LOT of money was dumped into them.
      • I remember the name of the IBM platform now... PReP. In case anyone cares...
      • PReP:
        PowerPC Reference Platform []. 1993-ish IBM strategy for building standardized PPC motherboards.

        Common Hardware Reference Platform []. 1995 AIM Alliance (Apple, IBM, Motorola) strategy for doing the same thing but with details like OpenFirmware defined. Motorola lost several hundred million dollars when Apple killed it's licensing program and they were stuck with warehouses full of CHRP motherboards. Be's BeBox were based on a superset of CHRP. This evolved into Apple's modern line of Macs as well as IBM's RS/6000.

        Operating systems that were to run on this hardware:
        Windows NT (up to versions 3.5.1 and 4.0, Service Pack 2), AIX (still does on the RS/6000 & AS/400), OS/2-PPC, Solaris, ChorusOS, Netware, Taligent (never released), WorkplaceOS, LynxOS, MkLinux, LinuxPPC, Yellow Dog Linux, MacOS.

        Most folks aren't aware that Apple actually did ship some fully CHRP boxes, the Apple Network Server 500 & 700 []. These ran AIX by the way, from Apple.

        Also any number of other CHRP-derived boards have shipped over the years, most based on Motorola's VME series but IBM has also released plans.

        On a related topic there was a widespread rumor in '95 that had lots of legs of IBM's PowerPC 615 project. This was supposedly an x86 (486?) core on chip alongside a PPC (604?) core. They'd share data paths, cache, other portions but would be able to run either x86 or PPC OS's. Nothing ever publicly came of it.

  • Interresting but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tcc ( 140386 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @11:59PM (#3192100) Homepage Journal
    This made me react weidly.

    I quote:

    Memory speed concerns The AmigaOneG3-SE supports 133MHz FSB SDRAM. (According to our engineers DDR memory doesn't gain anything in help PPC board design).

    Now, I didn't mess deeply with powerPC chips or any architecture, my last CPUs from motorola were the 68040 series on my amiga 2000 (with fusion forthy) and 4000, but unless the memory controller has some sort of on-die SRAM for caching, I don't see why faster than 133mhz memory, especially with 600+mhz CPU, wouldn't help. Anyone care to explain the technicalities?

    A comment like that without technical backup would probably make most technical people tend to think "oook... if that comes from the engineer that designed the board, I should stay away from getting this"

    Of course I don't want to bash, I "worship" the amiga cause more than most /. users hate microsoft :), I want a technical explanation of that ram issue before trusting my money into a system that "could" have a "potential" of bad design or architecture limitation, and I wouldn't tolerate "don't worry, everything is fine and that's normal" for an explanation. I'd rather hear "look, implementing DDR ram would only give a 5% boost and cost too much of R&D than hearing BS. Still, I am aware that honnesty doesn't drive the computer industry but I can always wish :)

    • The front-side bus is 133MHz, so faster RAM won't help.
    • >>Memory speed concerns The AmigaOneG3-SE supports 133MHz FSB SDRAM.
      >>(According to our engineers DDR memory doesn't gain anything in help PPC board design).

      >Anyone care to explain the technicalities?

      The G3/G4 would still be bottlenecked by their frontside bus speed.
      On G3/G4 PowerPCs, this tops out at 133MHz, according to specs on both motorola's
      and IBM's web sites.

      Motorola PPC compariston chart: taxonomy .jsp?nodeId=01M98653

      IBM page describing their 750 G3's (pdf): .nsf/tec hdocs/852569B20050FF7785256993005870F7

      With SDR available at 133MHz and 150MHz to some extent, there's not
      much point in attaching DDR that goes beyond 133MHz effective speeds,
      as the frontside bus speed will bottleneck it down to 133 anyway. Plus,
      Eyetech has been smart in using a standard PPC northbrodge chipset instead of
      rolling their own in an FPGA like they originally planned to. Their original
      specs were 100MHz SDRAM, AGP1X, and would have taken some time
      to debug the FPGA logic. With the ArticaS chipset, the debug is done for them
      by the chip vendor, and they also get the added 133MHz SDRAM, and AGP2x support
      as a bonus.

      Now, for those concerned about the pricetag, which is of course high
      compared to PC stuff. Compare the number of sales for a PC
      motherboard, to the number of sales you might expect to get out of
      the Amiga market, which this product is targeted at. That PC
      board sells a hell of a lot more units, no? They have to pay for
      production, set up, components, and design with far fewer sales
      than a popular PC board does, which means higher price per board to
      cover their expenses. They aren't marketing this thing to PC users or
      Slashdot folks or Linux users. They're marketing it to Amiga users.
      And considering that my only other PowerPC option is an obsolete
      233MHz 604e card designed by a defunct company, and these boards are
      nigh-impossible to find and start around US$900, I'll happily shell out
      $400 or so for this thing that is truckloads better.

      And yes, I do also have a PC. Windows 98SE and Red Hat 7.2 on it, though
      my new Radeon 8500 All In Wonder doesn't do 98/98SE. >:( Stupid internet
      store didn't tell me that, so I'm pondering my options, but the card
      really wasn't meant for the PC anyway, I just wanted to test it there to get
      support if it didn't work. (Just returned a flaky 8500 AGP no AIW card)
      I just don't like Windows at all, and Linux is too cumbersome to get working
      reliably the first time, it's still weird. And I like to tinker with Amigas
      as an alternative that I do actually like and get along with well.
  • The Real Point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2002 @12:28AM (#3192204)
    You are all (mostly) missing the point. The board is designed foremost to run AmigaOS4. Linux is supported only as an aide to development while OS4 is being finished. Why run Amiga OS? I don't know. :) I love's a sweet, responsive operating system that I've used for over 10 years. It lacks some modern OS features but it is still viable and performs well. It has a small footprint.....I have one 880K disk with the OS, a TCP/IP stack and an IRC client on it that will run on a 1 meg Amiga 500 with motorola 68000 7mhz cpu. We crazy, fanatical amigans have been waiting for nearly a decade for a new amiga. Many thought it would never come. It may not be practical but it's an Amiga. :) Jay Miner was a genious.
  • A bad design (Score:2, Informative)

    by downix ( 84795 )
    The AmigaONE I've been familiar with for months now as a completely *BAD* implimentation of a PowerPC ATX board. It is using the MAI northbridge, one of the slowest, least comprehensive northbridges made. In short, this system would make even a Cyrix 5x86 look like a speed demon by comparison, irregardless of CPU it has.

    Check out the docs. Lack any kind of I/O handling, using the CPU for every last function. End result, a dog slow system. Pass this one by fellas.
  • Linux runs fin on my x86, I am not going to buy a PowerPC box just for linux. I would buy the box to install mac OS X but the article does not detail if it would install. This seems to me, seems like valid information to include in the article. legal or not.
  • Piracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jace of Fuse! ( 72042 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2002 @02:49AM (#3192741) Homepage
    Can I buy a version of the board for running Linux PPC only? We are currently considering making this available. However you should note that it will not be possible to run Amiga OS4 on such a board without purchasing a special copy of OS4 which comes with a firmware update ROM. This is (obviously) to prevent OS4 piracy which is essential if Hyperion/Amiga Inc. are to continue to develop OS4.

    What bothers me about that statement is that there will be people who still feel justified in pirating the OS anyway. "Software wants to be free. They owe me the OS. I don't pay for shit. I'm not buying it because it's just AmigaOS and nobody uses it anyway. It's not piracy if I don't sell it. Information wants to be free!"

    The sad fact is that this OS is coming from a company that is trying really hard to keep an OS alive that was elegant in it's time, and had some concepts that still haven't been realized by operating systems of today. And even though AmigaOS isn't perfect, I'm very glad to see it develope further because with some modern touches it could easily be one of the best operating systems ever.

    Could be, except there's that money issue. Amiga, Inc. isn't Microsoft. They're not even Apple. Hell, they're not even Redhat. They're just a few pennies and a nickle above what BeOS was a couple of years ago (if that much). So I think it goes without saying that pirating from this company is pretty fucking rotten, but that's not going to stop people from doing it anyway.

    "But I'm doing them a favor by using the OS and making it popular." That's another argument I can already hear befor esomeone says it. To answer that shit before someone spews it... "Wanna help Amiga? Buy the OS. Punk."
  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2002 @05:10AM (#3193039)
    Seriously, this is a bit of a milestone. All the independant PPC boards have been around the $2,500 mark. The only way to get a cheaper one until now was to buy an Apple Mac and bin all the bits you don't want.

  • To all the folk whining about using this to build a non-Apple Mac: get over it and just buy a used iMac or B&W PowerMac G3!

    Once you have put together an entire system based on this board, you will have spen nearly enough to buy a brand new iMac straight from Apple. Let's look at a parts-list:

    • eyetech motherboard & CPU (600 MHz G3) $500
    • compatible video card ~$125
    • 256MB PC133 SDRAM ~$50
    • hard disk drive ~$125
    • keyboard & mouse ~$25
    • ATX case & power supply ~$40
    • DVD-ROM drive ~$50
    • monitor ~$150
    • speakers ~$15

    • total price ~$1100

    While these numbers are approximate, I think I've been quite generous and estimated on the low side for most parts. You might be able to shave a bit more off the monitor or hard drive, but I'd bet that I'm within $50 either way on the total.

    You can buy a used iMac for around $500 at any number of recycled computer shops, so even if you can reuse a bunch of stuff you have lying around, you aren't really ahead of the game, especially if you really want to get OS X running on the beast.

    All that said, I think that it would be really nice to have a mass market PPC motherboard (and Eyetech's board looks pretty nice, as far as on-board peripherals and expansion options go) that you could run Linux on. It's too bad that they want to tie it to their proprietary OS (why are they concerned about people pirating the OS if it will only run on this PPC motherboard, anyway?). A nice, integrated, low-power system is just what I need to replace the aging 486 I use as a firewall.

"Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out." -- Montaigne