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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
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Siamese PCI

Developer: Index Information
Year of Announcement: 1997

Siamese PCI- Click for larger image

The Siamese PCI was a new Amiga designed to fulfill different gaps in the market. While the BoXeR was aimed purely at Amiga users, the Siamese PCI is designed for Amiga users who also have a PC and cannot justify a whole new computer. It played a similar function as the Amiga bridgeboard but in reverse- the Amiga hardware was located on a PCI and could be used from within the host environment. If released, the card would have utilized a Motorola 68040 33MHz or 68060 66MHz CPU. The use of modern hardware would remove existing bottlenecks- all calculations would have been handled by the host machine, theoretically making it the equivalent of an 68k 100MHz system. Current Amiga technology such as the AGA chipset, 2Mb Chip Ram, CIA's, floppy & IDE connectors would also have been included. Serial, parallel and mouse I/O would be handled by the host machine, allowing the use of cheap hardware. Drivers were under development to allow the Amiga to use hardware connected to the host machine. This would set the Amiga free from current hardware restrictions and allow it to use almost any graphics, sound, modem & network card available for the PC. Communication with these devices would be handled by the host OS allowing the hardware to be used without custom Amiga drivers. It was hoped that this would form the basis of a new range of 3D games, communication and technical applications that utilized the power of AGP and next generation graphic cards. Memory could also be dynamically allocated as Amiga Fast RAM. To finance the card the developers were accepting advanced orders that would be paid on release. These indicated that the card would be available for £399. The CPU would have to be bought separately pushing the price about £500.

Mac...
The card was also aimed at non-Amiga users using a policy dubbed 'Amiga by stealth'. Adverts would be placed in Mac magazines, explaining that it would run Mac 68k faster than the PowerPC processor. Like the Amiga market, there are still MacHeads who are happy with their existing Mac and do not need a PPC. Apple Mac emulation would be achieved through 3rd party Amiga software, such as ShapeShifter and Fusion. This would make it possible to share information between three operating systems through cut-and-paste functions. The emulation could also be launched when the host-OS encountered an application for a specific platform.

Development was canceled in 1999 when Gateway lost interest in using it as an official Classic emulator for the Amiga MCC. The current depression in the Classic Amiga market means that development is unlikely to be restarted. The card remains 75% complete, requiring additional work to iron out problems. Development may be started again when the BoXeR is complete and if there is sufficient demand.

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Last Update: 14/6/2002
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