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/// Portal Online Conference:  Dave Haynie, Commodore Engineer

This is an edited transcript of a special *live* chat conference, held
on the *Portal System in the Amiga Zone chat area, on the evening
of November 7, 1993.  This transcript is Copyright 1993, The Amiga Zone,
and may be freely distributed provided no further editing of any
kind is performed on it.  User Groups may reprint this transcript
in their newsletters and it may be posted on Bulletin Boards, Usenet,
and FTP sites. 

Our special guest speaker was Mr. Dave "Hazy" Haynie, of Commodore
West Chester.  The conference took the form of a question & answer
session with Dave. 

This conference took almost exactly four hours in real time.  Much
superfluous yakking and hellos and g'byes have been edited out to
make for a cleaner read.  Thanks to Brian J. Cerveny for his 
yeoman's job of editing this capture of the conference.  Thanks to
Bill Seymour for maintaining the question queue during the evening.
And thanks to all who participated.  And special thanks to Dave Haynie
for his vast storehouse of Amiga knowledge and willingness to give
an entire evening to this endeavor.


The edited transcript begins here. The host was Harv Laser, head
Moderator/Sysop of The Amiga Zone.


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hazy: Cough!

      At home, drawing pictures, of mountaintops...
      Whoops, I thought I was Eddie Vedder for a sec, I'm OK now.

Kerry - Stratford: I have an accelerated 2000 and a Picasso II board on order. 
                   I understand that with the new 3.1 ROMS I will be able to
                   use many AGA programs in 256 colors with Picasso's
                   Retargetable Graphics.  How do I get these ROMS and
                   can you confirm the above.  Also will they allow me to
                   finally upgrade my CDTV so I can run 2.0 programs and 
                   Operating System?

hazy: I don't know the exact status of 3.1.  Last I heard, it was, like 2.04
      before it, planned as an upgrade for all systems. This would be for
      A3000, A500/A2000, and probably the new ones, since it is a different
      ROM.  I don't know if you necessarily want to upgrade a CDTV, since
      there are a number of programs that seem to be 1.3-specific.
      The CD32 has what's essentially a per-title patch library to handle CDTV
      titles, I don't know if they plan this sort of upgrade for CDTV or not.

Kerry - Stratford:  Sorry, I use the CDTV for my kids as a computer and you
                    can't with the CD-32.

hazy: Like I said, I don't know of the CDTV plans.

ScottJ: Dave, has CBM decided which RISC chip to use in future Amigas? If they
        haven't, which one would you prefer to see used, PowerPC, Alpha, MIPS,
        or HP/PA?

hazy: We have looked at all of the RISC chips.  No decision has been publicly
      announced, however. Keep in mind that chances are, the chip we pick will
      need to be servicable at all levels of computing, from our high enough
      down through the games level. However, I don't imagine we would be going
      with a chip _not_ on the list you have given, if that's enough of a clue
      for you (it's all you're gonna get).

ScottJ: I hope its not SPARC, that chip's a dog.  Thanks, Dave.

hazy: The next generation high-end systems will use a CPU independent local
      bus, so the RISC decision isn't particularly critical at this point.

Timeus: Will there be a display enhancer for the A4000 similar to the A2000's?

hazy: The planned display enhancer for the A4000 has been tabled at present. 
      That means that no one is currently working on it, not that they never
      will.  I believe the design was offered to 3rd parties, though I don't
      know if any of them picked it up or not. I'm not certain it's much
      advantage over some of the existing 3rd party display cards.

soft-logik: Dave, do you have any guess as to who bought a lot of Commodore
            stock last Thursday?

hazy: Rumors abound.  The rumor mill has been quite active lately, with talk of
      some financial improvements and some possible takeovers.  However, I
      don't know what's going on.

soft-logik: Well, good luck to ya.

hazy: In fact, one of best sources for rumors couldn't make our Friday lunch
      this past week, so I'm at least a week behind on the best gossip.

Bjarian: Hazy, thanks for your inputs.  My question is about UNIX.  The Amiga
         was first in V.4 and beat even SUN.  It is the only viable PC platform. 
         What is being done now for Amiga UNIX?

hazy: Currently, nothing is being done on UNIX.  Sorry, I liked it too.  It
      doesn't seem that Commodore management was willing to support it, though.

Bjarian: RUPUGHE!

hazy: That has nothing to do with the troubles of the past year, it was a much
      earlier decision, something nobody in Engineering was happy about.  But
      that does happen sometimes.

mykes: Is there any truth to the rumor that Dave's currently busy designing
       the dream Amiga?

hazy: Basically, yes.  I'm currently working on several things, all of which
      involve the AAA chips to some extent.  But of course, I don't design the
      Amiga chips, I design the system they go into.

      After the A3000 went out, I started thinking about What Next, as you
      might imagine. A bit over two years ago, I formally started writing up a
      new system architecture.  We are NOW starting to implement that
      architecture. If all goes well, that will be the first AAA machine.

DonM: I know you aren't/weren't marketing.  Maybe you have a feel, though
      for how things are going.  Ex: I just got a ToysRUs catalog.
      as they look to me?  They GOTTA start marketing these things
      whatever fiduciary finagling goes on.  ga

Harv: [Note - Commodore has SAID (at WOCA) they will be introducing CD32 to 
      the USA as of Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in january]

hazy: The US market has grown so small relative to the rest of the world, I
      think they pretty much take any sales as good, as long as they don't cost

      I have, as Harv said, heard they plan to introduce CD32 in January here,
      but that they didn't have the quantities available to hit every market
      for Christmas '93. However, this is apparently not a repeat of last
      year, when we simply couldn't make enough systems due to supply
      problems. As far as I know, the factory in the Phillipines has been
      running CD32s at full force on 3 of the 4 production lines.  That's full
      production for a Christmas rush.

Harv: Dave - quick Q from me... tell us about the Philippines plant, if you
      can. what's it making and how many?

hazy: I don't really know numbers.  It's set up for surface mount, which is
      what everything is these days.  They have four production lines.  The
      fourth has been running A4000s and I suppose, anything else they needed,
      over the Christmas rush time (it's hard to get away from the low end at
      all this time of the year).

Aurelius: Hi Dave, Which of your current projects is the most exciting to work 
          on?  the one you can talk about anyways?

hazy: The next generation system project.  Everyone's heard about AAA, of
      course, and I did build a AAA prototype machine, which we have running in
      the labs of course.  However, while that's fun, it's not as cool as when
      I get to build My Own Thing.  That will be the system that "houses" the
      AAA subsystem.

Aurelius: does AAA include PAULA upgrade/replacement?

hazy:  The AAA system has a thing called "Mary", which is kinda-sorta Paula on
       steriods.  And then some.

David-L: Was the A4091 turned over to a third party?  If so, who?...

hazy: Yes, the A4091 has been turned over to a third party.  Management has for
      some time been trying to get out of the peripherals biz, even while
      acknowledging that sometimes, we have to make them. I don't know if the
      third party involved has been officially announced, but having used some
      of their stuff and all over the years, I think they're a good company.

David-L: Do you know where I go for support?

hazy: I don't know how the support end is managed, though I don't suppose
      they're taking over the software anytime soon, so ultimately C=
      Engineering will still be dealing with problems at the technical level.
      I really don't know what happens at the user level.

David-L: What's Doin w/ DiskSalv - I sent my money - should I expect somethin? 

hazy: As for DiskSalv, I spent all last week stuffing envelopes.   Anyone who
      registered at any level should get something in the mail very soon.  If
      you registered for updates and/or the commercial version, you'll get the
      V11.28 update disk too.

colins: Dave, it seems that the PCI bus has been embraced by much of the
        computer industry.What chance is there that CBM might incorporate the
        PCI bus in a future Amiga? Also,will AmigaOS survive the transition to
        a RISC based Amiga?

hazy: There is a very good chance Commodore will endorse the PCI bus sometime
      in the future.  No official announcement has been made yet, of course. 
      However, PCI is very much a solution to a problem I started working on
      over two years ago. It's very close, in fact, to my solution to this
      problem.  And standard, as well.  Draw your own conclusions :-)

fredness: Are there plans for an AGA Amiga with SCSI-II on the motherboard?

hazy: The A4000T (T=floorstanding) is an AGA machine with SCSI-2 on the
      motherboard.  That's the same NC53C710 SCSI-2 you get on the A4091, only
      integrated into the motherboard.  This machine isn't out yet, I don't
      know the status of it, but the samples seem fairly complete.  This is a
      Greg Berlin project at present.  No other AGA/SCSI-2 system has been

CarmenR: Hazy: Do the RISC chips [or DSP if you're gonna use them for that
         matter] handle multi-tasking as elegantly as the Motorola chips do?

hazy: RISC chips are generally as good at multitasking as the Motorola chips. 
      Some have a slightly greater task-switch overhead, but that's really no
      big deal if you're going that much faster to begin with. They vary in
      their abilities at other things.  Some handle interrupts as well, others
      used a more primitive interrupt model.  Same goes with exceptions, MMU
      table walks, etc.

CarmenR: Is IDE here to stay? :) -=> GA

hazy: Industry-wise, IDE isn't going away anytime soon.  Even though it
      presently doesn't go much beyond 4MB/s, there are mental patients out
      there building IDE controllers for VL-Bus and PCI. And the PC industry
      is planning an enhanced IDE that supports four channels, more
      addressing, and greater speeds.  As for Commodore... I believe it'll
      always make sense for the low-end systems.  I don't like it for high end
      systems, and I think we have taken some steps in the next generation
      architecture to bring the cost of SCSI down relative to IDE.  But we'll
      see -- if it's free, and there's a low cost SCSI option, you shouldn't
      complain too loudly.

Harv: Dave - Any comment on Colins' "Will Amiga OS survive transition to a RISC
      based CPU"?

hazy: Oh yeah.  I believe it has to.  The reasoning -- low end systems.  You
      can argue in favor of WindowNT or UNIX for high-end systems.  And in fact,
      I think both of those are good options, especially something like NT, 
      which should essentially be shrink-wrapped for any CPU supported.
      However, no one's going to see any sense in outfitting a $500 RISC low-
      end or CD machine with the $1200 worth of RAM, Hard Disk, etc. necessary
      just to boot one of those.

      Also, there are rather dubious Multimedia characteristics in those OSs. 
      Most of what people call "Multimedia" are a set of realtime problems.
      The industry still hasn't figured out that GUI is a realtime problem.  I
      don't know how long it's going to take them to get the Multimedia thing
      figured out properly.

colins: That was my worry Dave, something like Scala won't look too hot on
        WinNT. Thanks.

Pjotr: Let me describe a scenario:  The new line of computers CBM will
       concentrate on. One main RISC architecture, Windows NT (f ex?),
       Multimedia libraries (incl video) as primary advantage over NT PCs etc,
       Interfaces for Video CD cable, PCI(?), Video conferencing standards etc.

       Q: How will the next Amiga stand out without being propriery?

hazy: On the hardware side, you'll still have Amiga chips.  There are things in
      AAA which will make a very impressive difference in many of the things
      we're doing with computers these days. But hardware is expensive, and
      time consuming to design.  If we have to build every piece of the system
      from scratch,  it's going to take longer and cost more than comparable
      "standard architecture" systems.   Everyone has pretty much figured this
      out, except maybe Sun.  DEC and Apple certainly have.  I think you have
      to concentrate on the things that will make your system stand out.

      On the software side, like I said, I think we'll still have AmigaOS
      around.  Check out the last BYTE for their preceived effect of NT or
      OS/2 on your hardware, relative to Windows.  

      From C='s point of view, supporting NT isn't a big deal if the shrinkwrap
      version is available for your processor, so why not?  Yet I think the
      processors (RISC-based) need to run Amiga binaries to make the system an
      Amiga straight-off.  Of course, keep in mind I'm not the management or
      the software group, but that's the way I see it.

Furr: I would like clarification on the Z3 BUSTER DMA mess; I've
      gotten conflicting stories from different people. I have an
      A3000, and I want to know if there is a new BUSTER available
      for this machine that fixes the Zorro 3 DMA problems. I am
      considering a Z3 board that this is apparently a consideration
      for (the GVP Spectrum/24).

hazy: The Buster chip in the A3000 (Rev G or -07) does not support Zorro III
      DMA.  That feature was simply left out, to get the machine out on time.
      You can get the latest, Rev K or -11, which supports Zorro III DMA and
      also fixes a bug in the Zorro II DMA to Chip RAM on the A3000.
      I suppose in the USA, you would have to order this part through your
      dealer or one of the C= parts specialty places.  I don't know who's in
      charge of replacement parts anymore, it might be SMG.

Furr: Also, when might the first machines based around the AAA
      chipset actually reach market, and will those first AAA machines
      still use 680x0 processors, or the as-yet undecided RISC chip?

hazy: The first AAA machines will ship with 680x0 processors, hopefully the
      68040 and 68060 will both be options, assuming Motorola's silicon
      development keeps paces with ours.  For RISC, you would simply plug in
      a RISC CPU module.

KyleW: Is it true that AAA will not work on AGA machines (my UG refuses to
       upgrade it's antique A500 because of that rumor) and will AAA be
       available for older machines (I have way too much money in my 2500 to
       upgrade any time soon).

hazy: The AAA chip set is a radical departure from anything you have seen
      before.  Everything in it was designed new, from the ground up.  There
      is no way possible to retrofit it into any older system other than
      building a Zorro III card for A3000/A4000 class systems.  That certainly
      could be done, it's up to management to order this or not. It's not
      practical to implement AAA on a 16-bit card (I won't say impossible, but
      it would be a great deal of trouble).

LadyHawke: Hi Dave, nice to see you again, we owe you at least a cement-mixer
           full of macadamia nuts by now ...

hazy: That's a rather curious image.

LadyHawke: My question is more of a dilemma than a question.  I have an A3000. 
           The A4000T at the show looked good, more slots, two hard drive
           controllers, AGA.

Harv: [and two video slots!]

LadyHawke: I am at a loss as to whether to continue to upgrade my A3000, since
           every dollar spent on that is a dollar less to save for a new
           system, and now we have even further developments.   I'm worried
           that there is less support for the 3000 than I expected, and then
           RISC machines on the way.  What would you do if you were a high end
           consumer?  (and computer artist)

hazy: Well, part of the question is, just what do you want for the A3000? 
      Barring a DMA upgrade, Zorro is Zorro.  AGA is a big improvement for
      some, maybe especially if you're into art.

      I still have an A3000 here.  It's got an '040 card, a 3rd party display
      card, ab18MB and about a gig of hard disk space. I'll admit the A4000T
      is a bit tempting, but I don't know (I didn't work on it, so I don't
      necessarily get a freebie or anything).

Harv: [a friend of mine has an 040 3000 with 84 meg of ram.. I hate him :-) ]

hazy: It's always going to come down to new stuff coming along.  The very
      nature of this business is Faster, Bigger, More, ASAP.

      I have a long-term goal to make systems far more modular than they have
      been, and we just might get that in the next generation.  It hasn't been
      technically feasible before.  

LadyHawke: Dave, how long before another system comes along?

hazy: Lew says AAA will hit sometime in '94.  Don't expect it for another
      year, though, to be reasonable about it.   I'll guarantee you someone
      buys an A4000 the day we announce the new machines. These things
      always happen.

Jim-Guy: My question is about using my Video Toaster on the A4000 with a 1960
         monitor.. C= was supposed to build an adapter?  Has this been built..
         will I ever be able to use my 1960 on my A4000 so I get full AGA

hazy: I have seen these around the labs.  Apparently the first batch came in
      from soemme cave in China marginally functional.  They do exist.  I
      think they're probably just in short supply at present.

Jim-Guy: What is the relationship or how is the relationship between CBM and

hazy: We seem to get along fine with NewTek these days, at least from what I
      can tell.  Personally, I have a blast every time I get together with
      those guys.

Teletran: Dave, What's the general feeling at C= in regards to how well the
          CD^32 has doneso far (acceptance, sales, etc.)?...
          ALso, any thoughts (personal and/or professional) regarding 3-DO?

hazy: For whatever reasons, we're often the last to know about sales.  But the
      word on the street, or by the coffee machine, is that CD32 is doing well.
      I will admit to being a real skeptic during its development.  But I think
      it was done very well on both the software are hardware levels.  And they
      kept the proice pretty reasonable.

      Also, MPEG is as cool as Jeff Porter originally claimed it would be. 
      I think you have to give the coolness edge to 3DO, of course.  CD32 is a
      big upgrade to existing games machines, but 3DO could be out of this
      world.  Then again, what do expect me to say -- I have all the respect in
      the world for Dave and R.J., and every day more of my friends work for
      3DO :( They're aren't a guaranteed success yet, though.  Remember back
      when CDTV came out and everyone hard that zillions of companies would be
      making Phillips CD-I players.  Seems I can still count CD-I players on
      one finger.  3DO will certainly do better than this, since it's going
      into lots of places other than "game machine"

      The price point is a problem now, no other CD machine has been successful
      up there, at least in the volumes they were after.   They'll need
      3DO-specific games.  They will have some, but they'll also have ports of
      PC games.  They may have to count on stuff filtering down from embedded
      arcade machines before they really  differentiate themselves.  The SGI
      technology is very cool, at least on a $10,000+ workstation.

      What you'll get in the home for $250 is another story.  Nintendo may be
      able to play the old game of CPU power vs. cool display hardware to some
      extent.  But if they wind up with an embedded R3000-derivative rather
      than a semi-decent R4x00, they won't be much beyond the 3DO's CPU.  

lbperez: Greetings...just wondering when are we going to see the expansion
         box for the CD 32.

hazy: I haven't heard any release dates on it.  It's real, though, a number of
      the low-end guys asked me about various bits and pieces for it.
      And I suppose you may have noticed, if you have been pricing CD-ROM
      drives, that the CD-32 is about the same price.  I'm certain interface
      solutions will be quick in coming.

wms: Last time I heard you in conference here on Portal, was after some
     bloodletting at C= and ewhac asked "Is the light still shining,
     so to speak?" You replied that you were withholding judgement
     for the moment. How do you feel now? And how is morale in general?

hazy: Well, it's a tough call.  There are good things happening, no doubts. 
      AAA is progressing, management has made committments for new chip
      revisions on an actual schedule, etc. CD32 seems to be doing what A1200
      was supposed to have done last Christmas -- make some money. And I am
      getting to work on the architecture I have been designing for the last
      two years.  On the other hand, there has been lots of attrition in

      I expected this, having been through exactly this same kind of thing 
      back in '85-'86, but it's never something to build morale.  While it's
      impossible to say, I believe a great deal of this could have been
      prevented with some good management.  As well as morale in general.
      Things may even be turning on these points, too, though perhaps it's too
      early to tell.  We are getting some new hired in HW to replace a few who
      have left.  I imagine SW is too, though they lost more key people than
      we did. 

elc: Motorola driven AGA is slow...will Motorola driven AAA be faster? Say the
     Indy were to drop in price why should my next computer purchase be an
     Amiga?  What is it really ofering that I can't get anywhere else...

Harv: [go price an Indy. if you want 24 bit and a hard drive I hope you have
      $10,000 handy]

hazy: AGA is, in general, slow. Slow, certainly, as compared to what you
      expect in modern 32-bit systems. There's a good reason for this -- it's
      based largely on the ECS architecture.

elc: The Amiga always seems to be just shy of what the Amiga community is
     looking for, will the next generation Amiga wait for "perfection"?

hazy: AAA is completely new.  While I don't expect it to be the fastest system
      known to man for all things, it will be a substantial improvement.
      For instance, a demo in the lab is blitting around 24-bit images
      substantially faster than AA can move an 8-bit image.
      It has lots of good features, compressed-video modes to speed up
      animations, copper-programmed-blitter to help offload the CPU, etc.

      The current system architecture plans call for additional system support
      to speed things like RAM to Chip RAM transfers.  You can have either 8MB
      or 16MB of Chip RAM, depending on system configuration.  A VRAM system
      consumes no chip bus bandwidth for video fetch.  Lots of good stuff in

      I don't know how you compare it to an Indy, they're different systems. 
      An R4000 is faster than any 68040, and we don't know what the '060 will
      do just yet.

MarcR: Will there be a Laptop Amiga? Will there be more "specialized" Amigas
       like CD32 but for professional and other uses? Will AAA bout out too

hazy: They have no plans for a laptop Amiga at present.  I want one too, I
      think it may take a 3rd party to actually get one (keep in mind most 3rd
      party video displays run on a VGA of some kind).

      There will definitely be more "specialty" Amigas.  I don't work on them,
      but we do have a group focusing on that kind of thing. I suppose if they
      went high-end, I might even get involved.  One big advantage of the next
      generation high-end architecture is that it's designed to implement
      amodular systems. Most previous architectures did one thing well, and
      got in your way when you tried to do something else with them.

      I don't think AAA is coming out too late, though it's later than I (and
      all of you, of course) would have liked.  There's still not a big move
      to 4MB floppies yet, everyone's still trying to work out just how to do
      multimedia, and I think AAA supports much of this in hardware, the right

MarcR: Would C= licence the Amiga chips for someone to make a laptop, etc.?

hazy: I know C= is much more interested in licensing, and does have plans for
      chipset deals, at least into the markets they're after.  Jeff Porter might
      know more about this.

JWolf: What are all the details about the AAA chipset? Any other new custom
       chips? Details? Also, when is AmigaDOS 3.1 due out? What new features are
       in AmigaDOS 3.1 (both under the hood and over the hood)?

hazy: Well, I would need hours to discuss all of AAA, and I'd probably have to
      read the manuals.

      I can tell you it consists of four custom chips: Andrea, Mary, Monica,
      and Linda.  They are all full 32-bit chips, and actually, Linda and
      Monica have a 64-bit mode.  The chips support 8 MB of Chip RAM in
      32-bit mode, 16MB of Chip RAM in 64-bit mode.  RAM can be DRAM or VRAM,
      and can actually be mixed in a system on 1MB/2MB boundaries.

      Andrea is the Agnus/Alice replacement.  It supports the old 16-bit
      registers, new 32-bit registers, enhanced Blitter and Copper, Burst mode
      to Chip RAM, and display rates up to 110MHz.

      Mary is the Paula replacement.  It has 8 16-bit audio channels, an
      enhanced flooppy interface that can handle 4MB floppies, 150KB/s CD-ROM,
      and probably even ST-506 hard disks if anyone cared to dust one off and
      interface it.

      Linda is a smart Line Buffer chip.  It takes data from Chip RAM, as
      directed by Andrea, and assembles it into a scan line.  This allows bursts
      from Chip RAM to go long, and allows the chip bus rate to be decoupled
      from the pixel speed.

      CD-ROM support was kind of a freebie.  The Mary chip has a few data
      formats, as low-level data formats, one of which is the CD-ROM format. 
      While we expect 4x CD-ROMs soon, and CD-ROM on SCSI as the 
      standard way in a high-end machine, the CD-ROM format throught the floppy
      interface does illustrate how fast the floppy interface is now.

      Monica is the Denise/Lisa replacement.  This handles a variety of planar
      and chiunky display modes, HAM and some new compressed mode included.  It
      can handle all kinds of resolutions, and with the variable pixel clock,
      they can be just about anything you want, assuming the system can
      provide that clock.

      The chip designers name the chips.

NES-Bill: Serial ports Dave?

hazy: Two buffered serial ports.

DeckApe: 1) Has the A4000T hit the stores yet? If not, when is it expected to?
            What is its list price....

hazy: Far as I know, the A4000T has not shipped.  I don't know any details on

DeckApe: 2) Will the A4000T be outdated technology within 24 months of it's

hazy: Will it be outdated?  Well, on some level, anything that ships is
      outdated, since work on its replacement is already underway.
      It certainly won't be useless.  A machine remains what it was when you
      bought it.  However, better stuff will always come along.

Harv: [lots of people still use Amiga 1000s. I bet some people here are using
      them right now]

DeckApe: [Won't bet - *I* am one of the 1000 users!]

hazy: My dad bought a C= PC-10 III system maybe 4-5 years ago.  That's a 12MHz
      8088 or some-such.  At a computer faire today, I saw a stack of 8088
      machines going for $25 each.  He paid around $500, C= discount at the
      time.  You have to decide when it's right to upgrade and when it isn't,
      and I can't tell you what your needs are.

Aaron: With whatever RISC Chip that C= Chooses/chosen (PowerPC I hope)
       will they be doing the same as Apple with  Emulation Q. This 
       Would allow the software to run in 68k Mode but if it is 
       Compliled for the PowerPc it can run in PowerPC Native mode
       Giving it a the full power of the very powerful Power PC chip.

hazy: Again, I'm not the software group, but I anticipate a 680x0 emulator
      would go into any RISC OS we ship.  It's really not that difficult, in
      that only user-mode stuff has to be emulated.
      They can play tricks with the OS, using the emulator or native code as
      they see fit.  And of course, the underlying hardware is the same, so you
      don't have to emulate it.  That's perhaps the worst thing a PC Emulator
      has to do.

Aaron: Second Question: How expensive is it to make the AGA chipset 
       Compared to the Future AA+ and AAA. If the AA+ or the AAA is 
       the same or just a bit more will C= put them in the CD32.
       Would this not bring the CD32 power up past the 3DO's??

hazy: As far as chip prices, AGA is chip.  Real chip.  Like, cheaper than ECS,
      as I understand it, since it yields much better.
      AAA will cost more, though much less than we originally guessed, thanks
      to the downsizing of chips (AAA takes about a million transistors).

      A AAA game machine is certainly possible, though I'm not sure if it's the
      right direction.

      AAA has a lot of features than make more sense in a computer than a game
      machine.  I mean, 3DO certainly didn't waste any silicon making sure you
      could get 1280x1024 noninterlaced.

AmiGadget: Dave, it's obvious CBM is convinced, that there are plenty TOMORROWS
           for Risc Amigas, AAA chipsies 4000-T's, etc. This stuff is two years
           late, now. By the time you get it engineered, there'll be ZERO
           Amiga software developers with any capital to support it. With all
           due respect for you personally and NO respect for C=, I see no
           sense of urgency, yours or CBM's, to DO something NOW. DO you ...
           think there's plenty of time?  Or should we all just set our clocks
           for 2099, when that year's LAST year's technology will then match
           what we can buy on several other platforms now.?

Harv: [for you IRC people... AmiGadget publishes a magazine by the same name]

hazy: Well, I can't make things happen any faster than I'm making them happen. 
      I wish they were moving faster, but we're doing what we can.  I think
      you'll find this new system isn't lacking as a '94 machine.
      I can't get into too much detail, only to say that [a] I have been
      working on this architecture for two years, something that never happened
      at C= before (two weeks was more like it in the...
      old days), and [b] I'm doing things with system throughput no one else is
      doing, or at least talking about, now.  No big surprise, really, though.
      There's little incentive to get too fancy in "standard" architecture. 
      Apple doesn't build clever hardware, and they seem to be wanting out of
      the hardware business anyway.

AmiGadget: ALSO... you keep saying "high end"- what kinda money? $12k, $4k? 

hazy: C= "high-end" is $4k and below, generally.  I think it should start at
      about $1.5K-$2K, less if possible.  
      High end is the stuff that's not game oriented.  "That which does not
      suck" one might say.  I don't think we're going for $10K systems ever,
      there's no market there.

mykes: Has C= considered distributed computing? ...

hazy: We have done some distributed computing.  Nothing real fancy, but
      useful nonetheless. 
      It started out with a renderer and a custom CPU server that allowed one
      machine to request CPU time of anyone participating over the network. 
      This wasn't formalized, but it's a good model, and could be formalized
      over Envoy without too much trouble.  There has also been some work with a
      distributed database model, though I don't know much about that one.

mykes: Which 3rd party gfx board do you own, if any? ...

hazy: I have a thing called oMniBus, designed by a guy named Oliver Bausch
      in Germany and marketed through ArMax.  This is a passive bridge card that
      puts Workbench up on the VGA card of your choice.
      It's cool, it works, it's faster at many things than AGA, does 256 colors
      (true color with a special loader program), 
      and works under 2.x and 3.x.  This never made the US market, unfortunatel
      y, and probably scared off Bridge Card users.  But it does me just fine,
      at up to 1280x1024.

mykes: ISA is faster than ECS...

hazy: Actually, the ISA/Zorro II CPU to RAM interface is 1/2 that of the CPU to
      AGA interface speed.  But the VGA card never blocks CPU access.

mykes: Do you feel that C= will be able to crawl out of the niche market
       and into mainstream? ...

hazy: Well, at least we can pursue the niches.  I would like to see us grow
      and hit the mainstream, at least some mainstream.  But increasingly, the
      mainstream is defined by the the software you run,
      it has NOTHING to do with your hardware platform.  Or, at least, it
      shouldn't, and won't if MicroSoft has their way.  What can you do against
      that, I don't know.
      [a] SGI only sells in niche markets [b] SGI machines run Windows NT, a
      mainstream OS.

mykes: When's the new R.E.M. album coming out? And do you have it on your
       workbench along with your other prerelease stuff? :-)

hazy: Last summer, REM said the new album would be out this fall and they'd
      do a tour.  Now they say the album will be out maybe in the winter and
      they might not tour before 2000.

mykes: most important question of all :-)

Furr: As far as the IDE/SCSI business goes, there are now some MS-DOS
      systems that use IDE for the primary hard drive, and have a chip
      socket and connector on the motherboard for SCSI, if the user
      wants it. I think this would be an excellent route to go, in that
      it gives you an inexpensive HD interface, and no-slot SCSI access
      for those who need it; what do you think?

hazy: Well, the high performance SCSI chip we use now is a 160 pin PQFP
      package, it doesn't exactly drop into a socket (well, anything like a
      production-worthy socket).  I do agree with the spirit of this --
      If you do go IDE, SCSI should be a simple addition, it should not require
      a full expansion card with all the inherent costs of such a card.  My
      personal opinion, of course.

Furr: Now that we're getting one-chip Ethernet interfaces, how long
      do you think it will be before a 10baseT port is standard on the
      Amiga motherboard? Artisoft [maker of the LanTastic networking
      software for the MS-DOS world, for those who don't know] is
      already calling their ALICE chip "The Serial Port of the 90's."

hazy: Actually, most of the UNIX and all the networking magazines seem to be
      pushing 10-Base-T as a kind of serial port-ish solution.  Which is
      appropriate, since you can't really use it directly to network anything.
      However, given that 10-Base-T chips are getting motherboard-cheap, and
      trancrivers over to 10-Base-2 are also cheap (as low as $50), I would 
      definitely support 10-Base-T as the most practical networking solution
      for motherboards.

Furr: Are there any new BridgeCards or other similar emulation items
      coming from Commodore, or will that market be left to 3rd parties?

hazy: There has been nothing beyond the '386SX BridgeCard, at least
      discussed in public.

Furr: What is your personal opinion of the Commodore Stockholder's Movement?

hazy: As a stockholder, of course I'm concerned about the relatively minor
      investment I have in C= stock.  As a C= employee, I'm far more concerned
      about the long term viability of C=.  Since it seems to me that the
      Commodore Stockholder's Movement has only the Amiga and, as a result,
      Commodore's best interests in mind, I couldn't rightly do anything but
      applaud the efforts.

RMills: I work at Warner bros. animation and see plenty of SGI and Macs come
        in for testing and wondered who or if Commodore would do this?...who
        should I get in contact with there?  Getting my A4000 in my office
        was like pulling teeth.

hazy: Technically, that kind of request should go through Marketing.  But I
      don't know who would be in charge of that.

RMills: Can you give me a name?

hazy: I would recommend talking to Jeff Porter at Commodore, in Engineering.

RMills: ok I really think stations set up at Warners could be a great plug for
        Commodore and they seem to miss this as a viable thing for them.

hazy: Jeff does a fair share of Evangelizing in addition to running what's
      basically the "multimedia" branch of engineering.

Harv: [Jeff P did a good job with his speeches at WOCA in pasadena]

hazy: Well, the US does have new Marketing Prez.  If his hands aren't tied too
      much, maybe he's interested in doing something.

Timeus: Dave, How hard would it be for a developer to put external instruction
        cache on an a4000 accelerator card?  

hazy: You could build a cache into the design of a CPU card -- the first C=
      '040 prototype had a 128K cache.  However, it's probably not worthwhile. 
      You can just about always get more performance by going faster than
      caching, at least until you run out of clock speed (eg, you can't get
      '040s beyond 40MHz).  We got between 5% and 15% speedup in most code
      with the 128K cache. As for Apple, I assume they didn't sue Commodore
      because they had insufficient legal grounds for a suit.

Timeus: So you actually looked into it.  Impressive.  And why did't Apple sue
        Commodore over look and feel as it did to Microsoft and HP.  The amiga
        has the better interface and the Mac is a poor copy of Amiga.

hazy: Keep in mind that MicroSoft licensed some stuff from Apple for Windows
      1.0, and since HP's NewWave is built on top of Windows, anything that can
      be said for WInindows can probably be said for NewWave, at least legally.
      There were plenty of elements in the Amiga's GUI that didn't enter the
      Mac's until later.  So it was also possible that C= would have had just as
      much on Apple as they could have dug up on C=.
      Of course, C= probably could have done like NeXT and paid Xerox PARC for
      a GUI license, which should sufficiently stimie Apple's attempts at any

KyleW: the window/icon interface was developed by U of AZ and is PD!

RedWine: Do you forsee any conflict between the interests of RTG and the
         apparent functionality of the AAA chipset?  Or is it safe to
         assume that anything AAA will support will also be available to
         any other cards that come along from other parties?

hazy: No.  In fact, some features of AAA, such as chunky pixel support, require
      at least a degree of RTG to built into the system.  There's a good chance
      that most vanilla chunky display cards won't even need a full RTG driver
      as a result, since that mechanism will be built-in for AAA.

RedWine: With respect to the slow memory system of the 4000, why was the
         decision made to not include a more appropriately fast memory
         capability on the 68040 card itself?

hazy: The card that's in the A4000 was designed to be the lowest cost '040 card
      possible without going to custom logic.  That necessitated some
      compromises, but it did help on cost.  Welcome to the world of the
      desktop system. :-)

RedWine: What's the standing the CD-ROM drives for AGA machies, and is it
         technically feasible to include the advantage of chunky->planar
         hardware from the CD32's Akiko chip?

Aaron: Is the Chunk->planar Feature included in AAA and AA+?

hazy: Well, I thought about buying a CD-ROM drive for my A3000 today.  The CD
      FileSystem is built in to 3.1 and beyond.  You don't need any special
      magic to get one.  The chunky-to-planar conversion (what we call
      corner-turn memory) is in Akiko, it's not possible to add that as-is to
      any other system.  I expect my version of corner turn memory (which
      predates Hedley's, though <he didn't know about it) will  show up in the
      AAA systems.

RedWine: I'd really LOVE to get a 4000 keyboard hooked to my 1200.  Is
         this a real tough task, or is it something a college senior in
         computer engineering like me could take on? :)

hazy: The A1200 is a tricky one, since the keyboard micro (normally in your
      keyboard0 ) sits on the A12000 motherboard.  You can't easily get at the
      CIA serial port lines that connect between that micro and the CIA.
      Also, like the A500, the A1200 gets its reset via a dedicated line from
      the keuyyboard, it doesn't understand the encoding used on "high-end"
      keyboards.  So if you did hook it in, C-A-A wouldn't work.

LadyHawke: Re: CD^32, Dave.  When I first saw/heard about it $400 for a game
           machine felt a little consumer-pricey on thinking about it some
           more, the other way around, with it as a CD-ROM play with cache,
           memory, fast CPU, that is, a FREE computer atttached, it took on a
           different appeal.  So how feasible is it to make it into a
           whiz-bang CD-ROM for multisession, multiplatform?
           (with a FREE computer attached)

hazy: A few developers have already expressed interest in providing the
      "multiplatform" solution.

LadyHawke: $365 for the most awesome CD-ROM player on the market takes on a
           whole different perspective

DeanF: Julie...not unless there's awesome software for it

LadyHawke: Dean, if it's multiplatform, there *is* software for it

Harv: julie - you talkin about playing ANY CD-ROM format in it? Mac? MPC? CD-I?
      3DO? etc.? is that what you mean?

LadyHawke: Yup, Harv, I mean multiplatform capability/interfaces

hazy: Yeah, I mentioned earlier looking at CD-ROM drives today at the computer
      fair.  $175 for a Teac 150kB/s, $350 or so for a Sony 300kB/s.
      I didn't buy one, but I am still in the market :-)

Harv: $150 for an NEC CDR25 from NES-Bill (see him outside :-)

Aaron: Heck $360 for double speed Multisession CD Rom drive alone isn't that
       bad.. with the CD^32 you get a game machine and computer with it....

CarmenR: Hazy: Fist of all, I'm assuming that when you refer to "Next 
         Generation" and "Hi/Low End" and "A5000", you're talking about the
         same thing.  How much of the A5000 will be 32-bit?  How much 64-bit
         [zorro slots, etc].  Will there be any part of it higher than 64 bit?
         The CPU slot perhaps?

hazy: Basically.  "Next Generation" defines the architecture.  "A5000" would
      define one instance of that architecture.  Most of the system will be
      32-bit, though generally everything will have upward/downward paths to
      full 64-bit implementations.

      AAA register-wise is all 32-bit (except where necessary for backward
      compatibility), though display fetching (the GD and VD buses, to get
      technical) are either 32 or 64-bit, depending on the configuration.

      The system's Fast RAM will certainly be 64-bit (yes, even feeding a 32-
      bit processor), though we have looked into 128-bit versions, and may use
      this if it improves things even more.

      No enhancements are planned to the Zorro III architecture, though
      certainly we'll have a much better implementation.

      Data bus width isn't everything, throughput is what you really care
      about.  There's perhaps an aggregate bandwith of 400-600MB/s in a basic
      next generation machine.

JimB: Will  allowances be made for more than 5 slots???

hazy: We may have more slots, certainly I would expect more in a tower system.

CarmenR: And will the case be more attractive than the A4000 case [pretty
         please]? :)

hazy: I don't know what they'll plan for a case.  It's virtually certain we'll
      be using more standard parts, like we did in the A4000 and even moreso in
      the A4000T case (which most maybe haven't seen yet).

Harv: the 4000T case is very pretty (there's a pic of it in the library here)..
      has a cool smoked plastic door in the front too.

CarmenR: Dave: I've seen the A4000T case.. It's decent..  I love the A3000
         case..  The A4000 case bites it.

hazy: I like the A4000T case too.  And keep in mind that uses more standard
      parts than the A4000.  They'll always do a custom bezel of some kind.
      The A4000 case was a compromise -- it was supposed to be the "universal"
      case, for Amigas and PCs.  Only, the PC guys got in there first, then we
      stopped making them.

Pjotr: Can you tell me the status and plans for the software side of AAA
       development? (OS support, multimedia support etc)

hazy: Some AAA stuff will get "built-in" like with the current chips, some
      may only be available via RTG drivers, and I suspect some will get really
      hot under specialfx.library.  

Pjotr: Workbench is TM CBM? I have seen Workbench used for other software,
       why not sue?

hazy: I believe they have a TM on Workbench, but who knows.  AT&T has a
      "writers workbench" a zillion years ago.  My great grandfather had a
      workbench in his wood shop.  It may he hard to defend.

Pjotr: How's your kid doing? Old enough for a CD32 now? :)

hazy: Sean is in his two's.  He's old enough to demolish a CD32 in short
      order, though I suppose I will be setting up something for him before
      long.  Brat #2 is due in March.  She's the last one.

NES-Bill: Dave, last time you were we were chatting here you mentioned
          some work you were doing on the side with a hack for the
          4000 that would allow for more motherboard memory. Something
          similar to the old 'piggyback memory' hack for the 1000.
          What, if anything, has come of that? Needless to say, I
          think that a lot of people would be interested in the
          potential for 64M on their motherboards. :-)

hazy: Yeah, uh, umm, well, er...  Seriously, though, it's still alive and well
      and fermenting in my mind.  No real trick, though, other than tracking
      down someone who'll lend me some 8MB or 16MB SIMMs to play with.  I have
      been really busy with DiskSalv stuff, that's my only excuse.


[many lines of "applause" and salutations deleted].


What follows is a listing of the names of everyone in attendance at
this special conference. The format is the output of the "who" command
in Portal's chatting software, which is "log in name (chat handle)".
In total, 84 people attended, although not all of them asked questions.

     Aaron Mustang Smith (Aaron)
     Amiga2 (AHD)
     Amiga2 (Pjotr)
     Amiga2 (RedWine)
     AmiGadget (AmiGadget)
     Andy - Finkel (Andy - Finkel)
     Aurelius (Aurelius)
     Bjarian (Bjarian)
     bobschulien (bobschulien)
     Brian - Dziki (Brian - Dziki)
     Bronx (Robert E Wanser)
     CarmenR (CarmenR)
     Chris-W (Chris-W)
     Cole (Cole)
     colins (colins)
     Daniel J McCoy (DMcCoy)
     David-L (David-L)
     DeanF (DeanF)
     DeckApe (DeckApe)
     devasoft (devasoft)
     DeVoid (DeVoid)
     djjames (djjames)
     DJWalker (DJWalker)
     DocPierce (DocPierce)
     DonC (DonC)
     DonM (DonM)
     Drakon (Drakon)
     DrAllosaurus (DrAllosaurus)
     DrGandalf (DrGandalf)
     DrTed (DrTed)
     elc (elc)
     ferg (ferg)
     FPW (FPW)
     fredness (fredness)
     Furr (Furr)
     grog (grog)
     gsarff (gsarff)
     Harv (Harv)
     HAWK (HAWK)
     hazy (hazy)
     Imaginer (Imaginer)
     JeffH (JeffH)
     JeffW (JeffW)
     Jeric (Jeric)
     Jim - Marias (Jim - Marias)
     Jim-Guy (Jim-Guy)
     JimB (JimB)
     JoeKJr (JoeKJr)
     joeles (joeles)
     John D Short (Jodash)
     JohnG (JohnG)
     JWolf (JWolf)
     Kerry - Stratford (KerryS)
     Kirk (Kirk)
     KyleW (KyleW)
     LadyHawke (LadyHawke)
     lbperez (lbperez)
     MarcR (MarcR)
     Michael - Meshew (Michael - Meshew)
     mykes (mykes)
     NES-Bill (NES-Bill)
     PKB (PKB)
     Prolific (Prolific)
     Rabel1 (Rabel1)
     RCleav (RCleav)
     RMHarrold (RMHarrold)
     RMills (RMills)
     Robert-CCN (Robert-CCN)
     Russ (Russ)
     ScottJ (ScottJ)
     soft-logik (soft-logik)
     SteveBurroughs (SteveBurroughs)
     SteveX (SteveX)
     Syl (Syl)
     ted-c (ted-c)
     Teletran (Teletran)
     thomas (thomas)
     Thomas William Clarke (TomC.)
     Timeus (Timeus)
     Tragedy (Tragedy)
     wms (wms)
     Worley (Worley)
     WTSmith (WTSmith)

== end of transcript ==