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===========================================================================
==  Review:  CyberStorm                              By:  Michael Wolf   ==
===========================================================================

Here I am again, back with a review of the long awaited Cyberstorm and some
news.  The Cyberstorm I tested is one that I had ordered for a client of
mine.

The Cyberstorm 40/40 was shipped in a neat black box, which contains the
Cyberstorm Carrier board, the RAM board, the CPU board, a sheet of
cardboard and a preliminary handbook (note: this ought to have changed by
now).

Installation
------------

The CS is quite easy to install.  Just replace the Amiga CPU board with the
Carrier board, add the CPU and the RAM board, stir slightly and switch on
the machine.  On an A4000/40 it may be necessary to set two jumpers.  The
sheet of cardboard isolates the RAM board from the Amiga Zorro III daughter
board.  Once installed the board ought to look like this:

      ______________
      |            |       connector for optional second level cache
      |  RAM       |      _|______     
      |            |_____/ |     /__
     /|____________|   //<-|    /  /
    /                 //  CPU  ////<-- connector for optional I/O board
   / Carrier board    /_______////
  /_________________________|/__/
          | A4k CPU Slot  |


Actually, it shouldn't look that bad, but I hope you get the idea.  The CS
is quite big once assembled completely, It fills out just about all of the
space left in the A4k.

The preliminary hand book explains the installation quite well (alas in
German), but there isn't much you can do wrong anyhow.

The boards
----------

The Carrier board is the backbone of the system.  It is populated by a few
IC's and the connectors for the various add-ons.

The CPU board is a bit larger than the 040 CPU.  There is an oscillator and
a few IC's on it, the 040 is cooled by a fan.

The RAM board just features 4 SIMM sockets and lots of jumpers.  You can
add every kind of 32 bit SIMM starting at 4MB up to 32MB, with or without
parity.  Every combination of SIMMs possible is allowed, just use the right
jumper settings.  The SIMMs ought to be at least 70ns fast, but the
performance you get out of these (see benchmarks) of up to 50MB/sec makes
me wonder why GVP for example insists on using those expensive custom
SIMMs.

All boards a manufactured using SMD, and look extremely professional.

Optional add-on's
-----------------

AS&S intend to release a number of add-on modules for the CS.  Due to be
released soon is the SCSI board and the I/O board.  The SCSI board just
features a Fast-SCSI host adapter, which is in fact identical to the
Fastlane Z3.  The I/O board features the SCSI host adapter, ethernet and a
fast serial port.

Not available yet is the second level cache module, that should provide for
a further burst in performance.

Also not yet available is the 68060/50 processor board, which will be
released once 68060s become available in quantity.

likes/disklikes
---------------

Well, the board performes as excpected, the RAM performance is excellent
and the modularity of the whole system allows you to get just the
components you need.

The Cyberstorm is quite cheap for what it does, the fact that you can use
standard 32bit SIMMS makes the board even more cost effective.

The manual could me more detailed (I only got a preliminary version), and
the cardboard sheet as an isolation separator is a bit cheap.

Also, due to the size of the complete board, you can't use it in an A3000
(It may fit in an A3000T...).  Especially the RAM board takes a lot of
space beacause it is mounted vertically.

Benchmarks
----------

I performed the following benchmarks on the Cyberstorm40/40, on a standard
A4000 Pal, with an 8MB 70ns SIMM on the Cyberstorm and 2 MB Fast on the
A4000 Motherboard.

Bustest
-------

This benchmark evaluates the memory performance.

Result:

BusSpeedTest 0.07 (mlelstv) Buffer:    16384 Bytes
==================================================
loop overhead:      3.4ns
register move:     24.4ns
memtype   op      cycle      bandwidth          (A 4000/30)
fast      readw    48.5ns   41.3MByte/s          8.2MByte/s
fast      readl    79.5ns   50.3MByte/s         12.1MByte/s
fast      readm    81.8ns   48.9MByte/s         13.1MByte/s
fast      writew   64.0ns   31.2MByte/s          8.2MByte/s
fast      writel  128.1ns   31.2MByte/s         16.3MByte/s
fast      writem  131.0ns   30.5MByte/s         17.8MByte/s
chip      readw   904.8ns    2.2MByte/s          2.2MByte/s
chip      readl   905.2ns    4.4MByte/s          4.4MByte/s
chip      readm   905.4ns    4.4MByte/s (?)      6.1MByte/s
chip      writew  569.8ns    3.5MByte/s          3.5MByte/s
chip      writel  570.0ns    7.0MByte/s          7.0MByte/s
chip      writem  569.8ns    7.0MByte/s          7.0MByte/s
rom       readw   123.1ns   16.3MByte/s          7.6MByte/s
rom       readl   235.7ns   17.0MByte/s         10.9MByte/s
rom       readm   239.7ns   16.7MByte/s         11.7MByte/s

The breakdown of the Cyberstorm with readms from chip bugs me, anybody know
why this happens ?

Sysinfo V3.23
-------------

A much disputed benchmark, included for completeness.

Result:

SysInfo V3.23 by Nic Wilson
---------------------------

CopyBack Mode................................ ON 
Instruction Cache............................ ON 
Instruction Burst............................ ON 
Data Cache................................... ON 
Data Burst................................... ON 
Central Processing Unit Type................. 68040 
Memory Management Unit Type.................. 68040  (IN USE)   
Floating Point Unit Type..................... 68040+68882
Vector Base Register (VBR) Address........... $0803BC14
Ramsey Chip Revision (A3000)................. N/A
Gary Chip Revision (A3000)................... N/A
DMA/Gfx Chip................................. AGA ALICE - 2Meg 
Display Mode................................. NTSC:High Res Laced
Display Chip................................. AGA LISA CHIP   
VBlank Frequency in Hz....................... 60
Power Supply Frequency in Hz................. 50
Horizontal Frequency in KHz.................. 15.72
Card Slot Installed.......................... NO 
Hardware Clock installed..................... CLOCK FOUND
EClockFrequency in Hz........................ 709379

SPEED COMPARISONS AGAINST KNOWN MODELS & PERIPHERALS
A500 512k or A600 with 1MB CHIP ONLY.........  55.08
B2000, A2000, A1000 or A500 with fast ram....  41.68
A1200/14 68EC020 ICACHE 2MB CHIP ONLY........  23.94
A2500/14 A2620 68020 card....................  14.17
A3000/25 68030 ICACHE IBURST DCACHE NODBURST.   6.29
A4000/25 68040 ICACHE DCACHE COPYBACK........   1.59
CPU Million Instructions per Second..........  30.41
FPU Million Floating Operations per Second...   7.71
Speed of Chip Memory vs A600 Chip Memory.....   5.68
Dhrystones per second........................ 29140
Nics Comment................................. Numero Uno        
CPU speed in MHz............................. 43.50

AIBB
----

An AIBB loadable module is included with this issue of AR, either in this
article as an UUcoded file, or separately.

I used AIBB 6.0 to generate this module, because I had no newer version
around.

Price
-----

Here are the list prices of the Cyberstorm and the modules, I assume an
exchange rate of $1 = DM 1.60.

Cyberstorm 040/40               DM 1,995.-      $ 1,247.-
Cyberstorm 040/0 (no CPU)       DM 1,095.-      $   685.-
Cyberstorm 060/50               DM 2,895.-      $ 1,810.-
(including the base board, RAM board and the CPU board)
SCSI board                      DM   395.-      $   247.-
I/O board (SCSI, Ethern., ser.) DM   795.-      $   497.-

For more information contact: 

Advanced Systems & Software
Hamburger Landstrasse 412
60433 Frankfurt am Main
Germany

Fon: +49-69-54 88 130
Fax: +49-69-54 81 845