New Graphics Card for the X1000 and Other Guff

So I have the next week off. I finished work for for the company I worked for and start at a new one in a weeks time and have decided to get a few things in order.

One of the things which has been bugging me is my AmigaOne X1000 and so I plan to do a re-install of AmigaOS4.1 FE in conjunction with the enhancer pack I just recently purchased as well. One thing which has been causing me to hold back was the fact that the graphics card I bought for the X1000 when initially purchased is an ATI HD 6870. I went for the better of the cards available at the time since I thought it would be a better long term investment ie. would not need to upgrade as soon as if I can a less powerful card. Unfortunately things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. A new version of Warp3D was released some time ago for the new AmigaOne computers and it didn’t support the card I have. At the date of the launch, support for the Northern Island (HD 6000) series was promised so I have been holding out but I have seen no hint that it will ever appear so I have given up on that idea.

Now I have the time, and it appears the bearings in my current card may be on the way out, I decided to get myself a new AMD R9 270x off EBay. I was looking at the R7 250x which a local shop had for sale but except for the fact it is supported by Warp3D, grunt wise it is pretty comparable with the ATI HD 6870 so without paying to much more, I found the R9 270x on EBay and look forward to it turning up.

If I remember, I will do a benchmark to compare the old 6870 with the R9 270x and publish them.

Stupid Hardware Problems

I finally got off my lazy butt and bought a replacement hard drive for my main computer that had a disk failure. Why lazy? Well, the drive failed a good 6-7 months ago.

Let me start from the beginning.

I recently moved, well relatively speaking it was recent, in March this year. Just before doing this I had yet more problems with already problematic hardware and had one of four drives fail in my main computers RAID10 set. No problem, that is one of the reasons I am running RAID10 (I picked up an old 3ware 4 drive SATA RAID controller cheap and thought why not). The plan was to replace the drive after the move.

This would have been fine if it wasn’t for the fact that the RAID controller proceeded to die at about the same time that the house move started in earnest. Within a week of moving to my new place of residence, I went to do a temporary Windows/Linux dual boot install on a spare disk I had only to also discover the motherboard had also died! ARGH!

First thing first, I bought a new motherboard but since I could not get one with the same chipset and also needing a compatible RAID controller, I just went ahead with the temporary setup. The new motherboard and CPU is nice, being an AM3+ Gigabyte motherboard (sorry, I can’t remember the model number) with an AMD FX 6 core 3.3Ghz CPU.

With getting my main work horse sort of back up and running again, I was then able to track down a compatible controller which I could plug my existing RAID set into in the form of a 9650SE-8LPML RAID controller with Battery Backup unit, again much nicer than my old 9650SE-4 controller which was missing the BBU and it was cheaper as well. Yay EBay.

The new controller was purchased 3 months ago. Yesterday I finally got the before mentioned disk. The pain has now begun.

This morning I connected the old RAID set to the new controller and found it to be in a degraded state (it lost a disk) and needing to verify what was still there. So I had to wait a few hours for the verify to finish. When it finished, I shut the machine down, replaced the dead disk and powered the system back up. At which point I proceeded to choose the RAID set and the new disk and told it to rebuild. Nope, apparently I did something wrong. The controllers BIOS was telling me I needed to choose the RAID and a spare disk and then select rebuild but that’s what I did!

I stuffed around with it a bit more, same results, then it dawned that the spare disk was automatically in a state of JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks). Hrmmm, maybe it classifies that as a disk in use. I told the controller to remove the disk and low and behold, when I select it and the RAID set requiring the new disk and select rebuild it finally does!

At the moment, I am typing this up on my little AmigaOS4.1 machine while I get to which the RAID rebuild on my main machine. Which is about as much fun as watching paint dry. Once that is complete, I get to enjoy making both Linux and Windows play nice with the new motherboard chipset. I am hoping it will not be to painful. They both boot and it appears I really only need to fix the USB3 and ethernet drivers on both OS installs but until that is all working, I am not going to hold my breath. The amount of times I have seen something that appears to be easy on the surface and then have it turn into an extremely painful exercise in the IT world is amazing.

Boxapocalypse is here!

Some years ago I had a work mate show me a web site, it was called something like boxapocalypse and covered instances of excessive and over the top packaging. Some of the examples were quite awe inspiring with how ridiculous they were.

Today, we received a replacement battery for a RAID card and upon seeing the way it was packed reminded me of the above mentioned web site. Check out the pictures and be amazed.

All the packaging in question laid out.

As you can see, all in all, the item was inside the fifth bag. But what did we order?

A zoom in so you can see what we actually ordered.

The item we ordered is in the first picture but you may have missed it due to its size. This is a close up picture. As you can see, it is an itty bitty battery. At least we know the sender took our order seriously and wanted to make sure it turned up in one piece.

The other amusing piece is the warning label on envelope in the middle warning you about the dangers of posting batteries on passenger aircraft.

An Interesting Week in AmigaOS Land

This week in Amiga land has been interesting. There have been a few announcements of interest. Some have been expected, others I definitely was not expecting.

The first cab off the rank would be the announcement of the availability of the AmigaOne X1000 Limited Edition. This is the first chance the generally public has to get access to the new, high end hardware to run AmigaOS4 on. The announcement seems to have been met by the public with mixed results, mainly due to the price point. I have to admit, I was really keen for one but with the price it is going for, I will have to definitely stop and think about it but as has been constantly expressed by those involved, due to the hardware involved, it was never going to be a cheap option and was more for the rabid enthusiasts out there anyway.

The details of the deal are:

The First Contact system includes the official AmigaOne X1000 Boing Ball case in either black or white and includes the Nemo rev 2.1 motherboard complete with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a Radeon HD4650 graphics card, 500GB HDD,
DVR R/W optical drive, Audio & Ethernet cards.

Prices start from: £1699, USD $2682.56 (excluding AmigaOS4 license, shipping, handling and sales tax).

The next new thing was the launch of an official AmigaOS web site. I found it interesting that this is one of a few things the community at large has been crying for and now it has been launched, it looks well done and is informative yet some people are complaining about it. As they say, you can’t please all the people all the time.

Personally, I found it has a good blend of information from details about the Operating System and Applications which can be used on it, links to the support forum, links and details about the Community at large and other useful pieces of information or links and directions to the various areas you may interested in. This has all been wrapped up into a tidy, professional and easy to navigate site.

Now here is the piece of news which really came out of left field. Hardware already exists and AmigaOS is already running on, albeit in early form, a new netbook computer! This is another of those things the community has been going on about wanting for a while now so as you can imagine, there has been a lot of frothing at the mouth about this unexpected piece of news.

The details are being discussed on a few forums at the moment but the details in this thread are the closest to the source of truth at this point in time. The limited details being discussed are:

Price: $300 – $500 including OS4 license.
It’s a specific AmigaOS product. PowerPC based.
Prototype has external VGA port.
Prototype can use external USB mouse and keyboard.
Delivered with OS4 preinstalled

Thus is all subject to change, so don’t complain to me when any or all of the items below do not make it onto the final device:
– It’s a netbook. That means it isn’t intended to compete with a desktop system. It is using an integrated graphics chip. No RadeonHD. No PA Semi.
– Price point will be the complete system, including AmigaOS 4. Hopefully, it will be around $300, but we cannot say this for sure yet so calculate a price of $300 to $500.
– The prototypes we have (plural, yes) all have 2 USB ports, internal audio with external jack plugs for headsets/microphone, Keyboard and touch-pad mouse.
– The prototypes have built-in Wireless and wired ethernet. Whether both or just one of them will be on the final device I do not know yet.
– Internal mass storage. Don’t ask me about the capacity, few gigs AFAIR.
– The prototypes have 512 MB memory -I think-. No idea about the size of the final product.
– AmigaOS *is* running on the device, although in a very early state. There are questions to be answered still, so the tentative release date is somewhere near the middle of 2012.
– It’s NOT used Mac hardware

The price is definitely right and it will be a great entry point to get people back into the Amiga world again due to a number of factors such as price (of course), space requirements, portability etc. but before you get to excited, the tentative release date being thrown around at present is mid-2012. Since we are near the end of 2011, it’s not as bas as it sounds but still requires a little patience. The other interesting point I read in the thread was about the hardware. When asked if it was an existing PPC netbook being ported to, the following was the reply:

No, this is a specific product for AmigaOS, not just any netbook. It’s a PowerPC-based system.

And last but not least, Timeberwolf. This is Firefox for the Amiga. I have seen two seperate update posts on this subject.

The first one was just an informative post letting the community at large know of the current progress of the project with a nice screenshot.

Timberwolf playing Youtube videos

The next piece on Timeberwolf was Youtube footage of Timberwolf running on an AmigaOne X1000. Not the best camera work but some nice confirmation that it works and appears to work well even though it is still in development.

Oh, I don’t know how but I almost forgot this little bit of news. The Hyperion Blog announced that the developers are working on AmigaOS 4.1 Update 4.

The good thing is that this is yet another free update for those of us running AmigaOS 4.1. It should hopefully iron out the last of the bugs new features added to the OS may still have and the post also alludes to the potential of some nice surprises that may come with the release of the update.

All in all, it has been an interesting week for the Amiga community. Dare I say exciting with much promise over the horizon? All we can do is wait and see.