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%% Emulation Rambler By Jason Compton %%
%% All the emulation I can find (firstname.lastname@example.org) %%
I'll start this week with what has unfortunately become a rare visit to the
realm of IBM Bridgeboarding.
Rock around the doubled clock...
GMR Productions/Vortex Worldwide is (I hope) proud to announce that they
make a 486SLC2 50mhz bridgeboard for the Amiga now. It sports the
usual Vortex BB equipment (IDE HD controller, software screen emulation
to 16 col VGA [I have no idea if they've gone AGA], serial/parallel/mouse/
keyboard support, SIMM slots, and the ever-important onboard PC
speaker), 2.5 megs of RAM and a rather fast SLC2/50 chip. The price?
Well, until May, it's $999. Not exactly a drop in the bucket, but not an
entirely bad price for a bridgeboard. Call them at 718-967-1509 for more
I should have a review of this board for you very soon, since a friend
has decided to chuck her 486/66 for a 4000/040 and this board.
But for now, the MacWars are calling.
A-Max IV and the art of running it
As promised, here's an up-close look at A-Max IV's control window, all
11 buttons of it..
Video: Allows you to configure your various video devices (standard Amiga
video and whatever display cards you may have) and their screenmodes
for A-Max use. Here is also where the screen refresh options lie:
instead of Emplant's frames-per-second selections, you get two "radio
buttons" and a gadget. The "Accurate" radio selection is the recommended
one, presumably for authenticity, and the "Optimised" button can speed
operation but distort display. The option gadget "paranoid" is for use
for Mac programs that do not display at all-it will fix the problem but
slow the overall performance. "Optimised" and "paranoid" allow you to
change the rate at which the screen is refreshed.
Memory: A-Max allows for Amiga memory to be shared between the
emulation and Amiga-at least, the emulation gets it on demand. It
doesn't have to, however-the "Use External Memory" option decides it.
If you choose to lock in a memory size, be it for a program which reads
free memory in an odd way or just because you've never liked to share,
you can allocate specific amounts of memory to the INIT sequence and
to the booted system. The last option, "Best Fit" is described as making
as much free memory available as possible at the expense of using
slow chip memory. I haven't noticed much either way.
Multitasking: Here, the priority may be set. ReadySoft recommends you
not go above 15: I keep it at 8 for most things. Wait in Foreground, in
essence, makes sure that if the Mac is selected but not doing anything,
the Amiga gets the unused system time. It has a box for input of the
timeout delay. The option Wait in Background makes sure that if the
Amiga is selected and the Mac is idle, the Amiga gets the system time.
General: Just an option to select whether or not unrecognized double
density floppies should be formatted IBM by the Mac and whether a right
mouse button click should be interpreted like a left or like a
Device: This is where the Amiga devices desired for A-Max are assigned.
In addition to the hard drive and DF0, by default the "file device" A-Max
Utilities is listed. File devices are AmigaDOS files which by default
reside in a DEVS: directory which the MacOS thinks are 800k disks.
A-MaxUtilities has the File Transfer IV program in it. The file devices
are created by A-Max's double density floppy conversion program. The
menu also allows selection of mounted and booted devices and the
ability to delete old file devices and the like.
SCSI: Pretty much a run of the mill "pick the SCSI IDs in use and give
us the driver" menu. It also allows you to select the type of memory the
emulation will use to communicate with the SCSI device.
Networking: The option to configure the driver for your Ethernet card
or the like for A-Max's benefit.
Serial/Parallel: Configures A-Max's port emulation. Since A-Max comes
with a Mac Printer and Modem/MIDI port, you can choose that the Modem
and Printer support come from either the Amiga ports, the A-Max ports,
or file, in which case all the port's output is directed to an AmigaDOS
Can someone explain the practicality of this to me?
Save: Save your configuration
Start A-Max IV: No-brainer.
Quit: See "Start A-Max IV"
Both A-Max and Emplant provide for transferring files back and forth
between the Amiga and Mac sides. Interestingly enough, the process
is started on the Mac side with A-Max and the Amiga side with Emplant.
For Emplant, there are two buttons: one from the Mac to the Amiga,
one from the Amiga to the Mac. Selecting Amiga to Mac brings up the
usual Emplant file requester, at which point a file is selected to
transfer. Once this is done, the action switches to the Mac side, where
the user finds somewhere to put it. If the Mac to Amiga option is picked,
the process is much the same, except that the action immediately switches
to the Mac to choose the file, then back to the Amiga for a path
A-Max's process is launched from the Mac, using the aforementioned
File Transfer program in the file device. The interface allows for more
Optional translations in text, MacPaint, MacBinary, or PostScript and
allows you to manipulate the all-important data and resource forks. The
requesters work much the same way on A-Max as they do for Emplant.
What do I think? I think the A-Max program works slightly better: I have
run into a few executables which Emplant's transfer turns into plain
documents. A-Max hasn't done that. Both are restricted to one file at a
time, which is not something many people are happy about.
I know, I know, you've probably had more Speedometer benchmarks than
you care to think about printed in this magazine, right? Well, how about
I spare you from the print. How about I include them as screen shots?
That's right, for your "multimedia" enjoyment, I've included a couple
of screen grabs of the Speedometer comparisons done with Slurp.
The shots are of the Emplant because, interestingly enough, Slurp doesn't
recognize the A-Max screen. Here are the conditions of the test:
All benchmarks, save video, are done 5 times. Video are done 3.
No other Amiga programs are running in the background, save WB.
Emplant is running at 0 priority (if you remember, its maximum)
A-Max is running at 0 and 10 priority (indicated in the test)
Benchmarks are conducted with the screenmode black and white.
Now...there are a few things you'll notice. Actually, four. The Math
composite score for Emplant is much, much larger than A-Max's, and
three math benchmarks come out looking hugely in favor of the
Emplant. I am not a benchmark expert, nor am I a real programmer.
I can say this, though, with a large degree of confidence. One of two
things is happening. Either Emplant's emulation has some incredibly
efficient routines for these tests, or Speedometer is getting reports
which, by accident or by design, are horribly erroneous.
Next time around, I'll run tests of the Amiga's free time while the
emulations do something or another Mac-like.
Despair and Graphical Analysis: The Bad Boys of Mac Emulation
Remember them? They're the programs that wouldn't run under Emplant.
Well, they don't under A-Max either. Actually, when I tried to extract
Despair under A-Max, I got errors, leading me to believe that it was
really corrupted after all. But Graphical Analysis shows the same
problems as Emplant: corrupted text that makes it worthless. (It DID
work under A-Max II)
Sound-Trecker: Now why would I want to play MODs on a Mac emulator?
I can now confidently report that Sound Trecker works on both Emplant
and A-Max. A-Max, just as Emplant does, loses so much Mac time to
the job of playing the music that just moving the Mac pointer fast throws
it off. The problem is slightly more noticable with the Emplant, however.
The A-Max also allows more time to the Amiga user than Emplant does.
Remember, of course, the A-Max was at Priority 8 (my usual).
Emplant and A-Max IV and honesty
One of the interesting things about Emplant is that in the "About
This Macintosh" screen, the emulation refers to itself as a Mac
roughly equivelant to its processor. To my 3000 030/25, that
means calling itself a Mac IIci. Not far off, I'd say. On the other
hand, however, ReadySoft figured they'd go right to the throat and
seemingly identify everything as a Mac Quadra 950. So much for
Putting the Mac out of its misery
Every now and then, for whatever reason, one of these fine products
is going to crash pretty bad, to the point where the emulation is locked
up and doesn't want to shut down normally. Emplant provides a
"TURN POWER OFF" Amiga-side option, which will basically yank
the plug on the emulator as though it were suddenly turned off. Not
a great idea, but better than a lockup using up tons of memory. A-Max
IV supports the use of control-alt-esc to quit programs (including
Finder) on the Mac side. I'd have to say the Emplant wins through sheer
brute force and effectiveness, but the option to selectively do it is
A PowerPC sandwich, anyone?
I've been picking up some rather interesting pieces of news about the
PowerPC. Ronny G. Nordvik (email@example.com) has this to say:
"An Amiga 4000/040 with Emplant (Without X-calibur accelerator) is by 12
of 18 tests results better than an Power Macintosh (PowerPC 8100/80).
SoftWindows sucks, Ok you can run small programs, but with 1.2 MB free
RAM you cannot run bigger ones. Total memory for the PowerPC was 16MB.
My suggestion is WAIT WAIT WAIT, do not buy PowerMacintosh............"
How does he back it up? (can anybody feel the benchmark coming on?)
Speedometer Report for Ronny. Prepared March 2, 1994.
Machine Record Version #: 4
A4000/040 18MB RAM
Computer: Macintosh Quadra 900
FPU: Integral FPU
MMU: Mac II AMU
Bit Depth: 4
Horizontal DPI: 64
Vertical DPI: 64
Primary Screen Size: 640 x 480
Physical RAM: 13568K
Logical RAM: 13568K
P.R. Results (Uses Mac Classic as 1.0):
Disk: 1.510 Name of Hard Disk tested: Tassen
Performance Rating (PR): 30.630
Benchmark Results (Uses Mac Classic as 1.0):
KWhetstones: 1578.947 218.872
Dhrystones: 15000.000 16.375
Bubble Sort: 16.360
Fast Fourier: 153.311
F.P. Matrix Multiply: 106.901
Integer Matrix Multiply: 13.019
Benchmark Average: 51.606
Speedometer Report for PowerPC 8100/80. Prepared March 22, 1994.
Machine Record Version #: 4
PowerPC Macintosh 8100/80
Computer: Power Macintosh 8100/80
FPU: No FPU
MMU: Integral MMU
Physical RAM: 16384K
Logical RAM: 16384K
P.R. Results (Uses Mac Classic as 1.0):
Disk: 3.348 Name of Hard Disk tested: Tassen
Performance Rating (PR): 32.555
Benchmark Results (Uses Mac Classic as 1.0):
KWhetstones: 1666.666 231.032
Dhrystones: 12295.081 13.422
Towers: 15.048 (0.700)
QuickSort: 11.326 (0.767)
Bubble Sort: 9.402 (1.450)
Queens: 12.410 (0.650)
Puzzle: 11.418 (0.917)
Permutations: 18.065 (1.033)
Fast Fourier: 124.263 (1.583)
F.P. Matrix Multiply: 127.863 (0.850)
Integer Matrix Multiply: 13.833 (0.800)
Sieve: 10.355 (3.050)
Benchmark Average: 49.869
[Sorry, no screenmarks were given for the PPC, as well as no FPU
routines, but that's because the PPC doesn't HAVE one.]
So where does the end-all be-all in emulation computing, the
PowerPC, lose? Right off the bat, it loses in CPU rating, 14 to
11. It loses Towers, Queens, etc. I count 10 of 16 ratings (I
don't believe in the Speedometer average benchmarks) the
Emplant wins in. Which computer is offering the cross-
platforming here again?
Another interesting PPC comment: the theory behind "Will
my software be compatible, and do I HAVE to get a new
machine or upgrade?" is, "Oh, well, we'll package both a PowerPC
and a 680x0 version in every piece of software for the next
x years!" Are these the same software companies that
sell separate DOS and Windows programs? Not to mention
paying for extra re-compilings and disks along the line, PowerPC
could easy out-maneuver itself into being unwieldly and
distracting, making running an Emplant or A-Max IV look easy.
One can only hope.
One last thing: I don't have enough new material for a
continuation of my Apple2000 review this week, but I
will re-print the author's net address. Contact him with
any questions or comments, particularly if you have hardware
specs for old computer peripherals (like 64s, Apple IIs, etc).
He's Kevin_Kralian@sacbbx.com. 64 information is of particular
interest, as the popular demand is leading him to that emulator
next. Anything you could provide him would be useful. He's
also always on the lookout for Atari 400/800, TI, or Atari
VCS specs and information (I, personally, am pulling for
the VCS emulator, but that's just me.)
I thought that, in all fairness, I would clear a few things up.
Apple2000 does NOT, at present, support parallel or serial.
It does not support 80-column mode. Kralian has told me he will
put these things in if people can send him the specifications
for the hardware used to obtain these things on the Apple.
No Apple floppy support, either.
That does it for this week. Enjoy the picture and keep the