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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved



Unreleased Commodore Devices

During the years Commodore have developed many things that have never been seen by the public. These great things, if released, could have changed the Amiga as we know it. For example, the Scarab could have revolutionized the Amiga community allowing the use of cheap SVGA monitors as standard in 1994 rather than during 1996 when they became affordable enough to be an object of desire. Here are a few of projects, printed in order of development, that Dave Haynie spearheaded over the years at Commodore. This page is based upon facts created from comments by Dave Haynie on Usenet as well as certain web sites that have included information on Commodore products.

After months of being developed as a side project it was released. The A2630 was an 68030 accelerator running at 25 MHz for the A2000. It was fitted with a 68882 co-processor and 4MB RAM.

Developed during 1988, only two prototypes of the BigRAM board was produced. It was a 16Mb RAM board designed for the A2630.

An other attempt at a RAM expansion for the A2630, this time it was an 8MB board with fast page support.

The BigRAMZ3 is a 64MB Zorro III memory card that supported Zorro III burst. Benchmarks rated it at around 80% of the speed of local bus memory. Allegedly, it was created as an example of Zorro III card design for the Developers Conference during 1991 and only two weeks to design.

I shall reprint the original description of the A2631 by Dave Haynie:

After the A3000 went out, Commodore was still, strangely enough, shipping lots of A2500/30s. Certain niches wanted the larger box of the A2000. Every A2500 got an A2630 and A2091 board. One Friday, over beer and Mexican food, Dave Haynie and Greg Berlin got the idea that this was stupid, in the light of the A3000 architecture. So the next week, Dave cranked out a replacement, based on the A3000 architecture, which we called the A2631. This was an A2000 CPU socket board with Buster, RAMSEY, the DMAC and SCSI chip, 68030, and 68882. It cost less than the A2630, delivered high performance SCSI, and could take 16MB of RAM. Management wasn't interested, even though it would have saved money. Two prototype boards were built.

The Gemini was a multiprocessing board, designed to test and stress the features of the Level II Buster chip (Rev 8 and beyond). It included two 68030 processors, each with 4MB of RAM and independent Zorro III access. Only two were built.

The Acutiator was never prototyped although it is possible to make. It was the code name for new system-level architecture. Aimed at a cost effective, high performance system it was to be a replacement for the A3000 architecture used in all A3000 and A4000 systems. In a similar style to the BoXeR boards of today, the system was to be entirely modular in design with a system board design that was independent of CPU or graphics subsystems. The design was originally to use Dave Haynies' design, the Amiga Modular Interconnect bus, but with the release of the similar PCI bus it swapped to this. It never got into the prototype stage and was almost entirely ignored.


Once again I shall reprint the whole description of the Scarab high-performance graphics card:
The SCARAB board, the last thing Haynie worked on at Commodore, was an effort to build a high performance graphics card based on off-the-shelf SVGA chips. The card ran a PCI bus locally, with bridges to Zorro III and to the video slot. With the video slot interface, Amiga chip graphics could be converted, in real time, to PCI cycles, which wrote the SVGA graphic memory, in a window controlled by SCARAB registers. In essence, this was a programmable "flickerFixer" that could handle any scan rate. The board could also support "hybrid" graphics modes, where in the Amiga chips were still used, but went into a very slow scan mode, so they could put out 1024x768 at 8 bits in slow scan, which would be converted to 72Hz non-interlaced by SCARAB (this is somewhat like "Hedley hires", an easy addition to the AmigaOS). RTG drivers would ultimately hit the board, directly, over Zorro III. Lots of design work went into this, but it became pretty clear there was no money left to actually build any of it.




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