The Concept of the PowerUP Accelerators Boards

The PowerUP accelerators boards are a very complex dual processor design, in which two different processors - namely the PowerPC processor and the 68k CPU - work in parallel. As this is a true multiprocessing solution, both processors share the complete address space of the Amiga computer system. By use of a comprehensive software library provided with the board, the PowerPC processor is seamlessly integrated into the Amiga's multitasking environment, so that application software for the PowerUP accelerators boards can consist of different tasks running on both of the CPUs.

The goal of this solution has been to offer a possibility to upgrade existing Amiga systems with a new and several times more powerful CPU, while maintaining full compatibility to all the existing software - including the Operation System - and the hardware that is installed in the system. To reach this goal this demanding dual-processor solution has been developed, where the customer can even use the 68k processor which mostly will be present on an existing CPU card. With this solution the performance of the new and powerful PowerPC processor can be utilized by software applications which are ported to the PowerPC in part or whole, without the necessity of a complete system change which would include the purchase of all existing components and software applications for the new system.

Software applications which are enhanced to utilize the new PowerPC processor will be able to provide a stunning performance with significant speed increases compared to even the fastest accelerator boards so far available for the Amiga. Because of the way the PowerPC is integrated into the Amiga multitasking environment by use of a comprehensive library, software developers can optimize their programs step by step or in part for the PowerPC - a solution which is highly appreciated by many software developers worldwide who are actually working on PowerUP enhanced software products. In the long run it is of course also possible to port applications completely to the PowerPC, or to realize operation system solutions on the PowerPC side.

With this functionality the PowerUP accelerators boards represents more than just a powerful processor upgrade solution for the Amiga. They can - and will - also be used as a development platform for future generations of application and operation system software. But the PowerUP product line will also be, on the other hand, the state-of-the art processor upgrade solution for all active Amiga users who expect a performance that is up-to-date for todays and tomorrows demanding applications.

Comprehensive PPC library

The comprehensive PPC library which comes along with the PowerUP accelerators boards offers substantial functionality to integrate the PowerPC processor into the Amiga multitasking environment. With this method the transparent and parallel operation of the two CPUs is made possible, and the programming and use of software applications that utilizes the power of both processors is very comfortable. To further support the development of future-oriented and modular structured software a new message system has been developed and integrated into the system with the PPC library.

Which kind of applications are the PowerUP accelerators boards suited for?

Basically, the PowerUP accelerators boards can be used for all kind of applications. Applications that will take most advantage are of course those kind of applications which demand high computing performance - especially the so-called multimedia applications, all kind of graphic or 3D programs, sound editing, animation or stunning games as well. Many developers worldwide are working on applications supporting PowerUP which belong into these categories. But also for own programming purposes of hobbyists or e.g. for scientifical applications the PowerUP accelerators boards are well suited with it's high processing power.

Applications which are mainly operation system or user interface based - such as user interface and control programs, tools and utilities, or also e.g. word processors and similar types of applications - will initially benefit from the faster performance of the 68k CPU because of the faster memory. But even these kind of programs may be optimized for the PowerPC to offer significantly increased performance for special functions, such as e.g. data compression and decompression, font engines or postsript visualisation, or the implemenation of multimedia functionality in such programs in general - just to name a few possible applications.

Which software is available for the PowerUP accelerators?

To support the availability of powerful applications, phase 5 digital products has supported Amiga developers worldwide with developer systems and developer support. Some results of this development program are available in form of software products which are ready for PowerUP at the time the first PowerUP accelerators boards are shipping. Other important developments can be expected in the very near future, as with the release of the PowerUP accelerators boards additional developers have the product available to start development or optimization of PowerUP software, and as the developers who have been working with developer prototypes now have release products available which reveal the full power and performance of this new product generation. Software development is also supported by the new relaeses of the PPC library with new functionalities that allow a rapid development of PowerUP optimized software applications.

With the PowerUP product line, the PowerUP system software development and the developer support program, however, phase 5 not only want to offer and support products that actually increase the performance of the Amiga and applications running on it, but also want to offer a path to the future. Therefore, it will also support developments of alternative operation systems such as e.g. MorphOS and Linux, which can run fully on the PowerPC side of the PowerUP boards. With the demo software and development tools that come along with the PowerUP boards (GNU C compiler with PowerUP support, examples, tools etc.) the system is also well suited for all developers who want to do some hobby programming or also real personal software development on their own. phase 5 digital products hopes that they can support the use of the Amiga as a computer for the creative power user with these steps.

On the CD-ROM supplied with the PowerUP accelerators boards you will find also infos about and/or demo versions of software applications which are available for PowerUP, or are being finalized, prepared or in planning.




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