Description: Amiga Aktuell Ausgabe 7/98
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[url=https://www.amigafuture.de/app.php/kb/viewarticle?a=1838&sid=f4c22292e13a2cefc5f957676136159d]Artikeldatenbank - Blizzard 603e+/160+25MHz[/url]
Hardwaretest: Blizzard 603e+/160+25MHz (von J.O. Aho)
Blizzard603e+ (603e/160Mhz & 040/25Mhz)
A PowerPC based acceleration board for Amiga 1200, with a MC680x0 as CoCPU. It has a "Fast add on" port for BVPPC (a graphics board) and a MiniDB50 connector for Fast SCSI-2.
Address: In der Au 27
Telephone: +49 6171 628455 (Support)
FAX: +49 6171/628456 (Support)
The latest price information can be found at Phase5's homepage, you should know that there is ways to get this board cheaper.
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
Amiga 1200 An expensive selfmade SCSI cable.
Phase5's exec library or H&P's WarUp for full functionality.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
Amiga 1200T, 2 MB chip RAM, 40 MB fast RAM.
Quantum Fireball 2.5 GB internal hard drive (IDE).
Acer CD-743e internal CDR (IDE).
Zip 100 (SCSI-2)
Quantum LP52S 52MB internal harddrive (SCSI-1).
Installation of the hardvare is quite simple, just plug it into the Amiga 1200's "Zorro" expansion port. The software you will install with help of the provided installers. This is much easier than "Plug and Play" on Win95.
Let start in April, I sent a mail to DataKompaniet (www.datakompaniet.no) and preordered a Blizzard603e+ (160Mhz with a 040/25), this gave me a 5% discount on the prise, which already was lower than I would have to pay if I had bought the card in sweden.
While waiting for the delivery of the board I collected all the ELF based PowerPC programs for Amiga which I wanted to use like QuakePPC. I did download WarUP in case I would need it (haven't needed it yet and I hope I will not).
When I opened the box from DataKompaniet I found a CD with games, which was included by DK (Sorry to say, but haven't managed to get anything to work on that CD), the PowerUP CD (this was in a "CD-envelope"), two disks, one named "SYSTEM DISK" and the other "SCSI DISK".
Fist I took a look in the manual, which looked like a manual to a pirate copy of AutoCAD, but thinner, to see if I had to go and buy new simms or if I could use my 32MB simm from the Blizzard 030 board. To my supprise I could use different sizes of simms or one, as long as all the connected simms had the same access time. So I put in the 32MB simm and a 8MB simm from an 486/120Mhz (bought that one only to get the case and the CDR), now I had 40MB of fast RAM. Futher use of the manual was pointless, it didn't give much future information.
I installed the board on the motherboard, somehow the system crashed everytime I booted from HD, it was due the latest VisualPrefs didn't work with Kickstart 3.0 (had softkicked 3.1 on my 030 board), it took a while before I understod that. When I at last got the computer to boot from HD, I did install everything from the disks by clicking on the "Install English" icons.
I decided it was time to test the PowerPC and clicked on the QuakePPC icon. I wasn't disappointed, it was fast, even faster than on a firends P200, atleast it felt so after playing Quake on a 030/50Mhz. After a hour or two I quit to play for take a look at the PowerUP CD, there was alot of stuff, mostly CyberGraphiX stuff which requered that I did install CGX version 3 which works on AGA too. I should point out that by running CGX3 I saved approx 50kb of chipmem and this without using the option to move unused graphics to fastmem. Some of the programs didn't want to run as they wanted a newer version of the ppc.library, so I installed the requered version from the CD, but hell no, the programs wanted still to have a newer version (the same version which I had installed and no, I didn't forget to reboot). When you take version on the library it says a completly different version that what Phase5 claims it is. Other programs works only on 060 and some wanted MK3 boards (the B603 is MK1), so I got the feeling that this was a CD made more for CyberStorm604e owners.
Last time I played with SCSI, then there wasn't any SCSI-2 or so, so I thought that that thinn cable connected to the board was how a standard SCSI-2 cable looked like, but guess my surprise when I was at my local computer dealer looking for a Zip-Drive (SCSI), the SCSI-2 cable look like the old SCSI cable. I asked if he had some cables of adaptors so I could connect the Zip to my board. He showed me everything he had, but nothing which would have made it possible to connect the internal Zip to my computer. The provided cable has an "MiniDB50" connector, which you connect to the board, and a Centronics-50, to which you can connect some external equipment. The cable is really short, in a tower it will not reach a 3.5/5.25 bay, nor will it reach the back of the computer so that you could have it as an external port. So I wrote to Phase5 and asked if they had a such cable which made it possible to connect SCSI & SCSI-2 devices, the answer I got said,
"Sorry, but I do not know a vendor of this adaptor. By the way, it is easy to build one, if you are familiar with soldering. The pin assignments is exactly the same for half pitch and standard connrctor."
DataKompaniet had another suggestion how to solve the problem, by buying some adaptors and in that way get the needed cable, but this is quite expensive. Building the cable can prove to be impossible if you deside to not use the cable which is supplyed with the card, as the "half pitch" connector is impossible to get from an electronic component vendor. I used SysInfo to see how fast the devices was, on my SCSI-I HD I got a speed of approx 1.2MB/s while the Zip-Drive came up in the impressive speed of 6MB/s.
The board has a "Fast add on" port, to which the BlizzardVisionPPC graphics card will be connected. It will pe bossilbe to add other devices there as soon such has been developed, but I guess in that case you will need a passthru bus on the BVPPC which it prolly will not have. Another sad thing is that the BVPPC comes only in a 4MB version, while the CVPPC comes in both 4MB and 8MB version.
I want to say, think carfully before you buy a Blizzard603e/603e+, for you can't upgrade the board a shit afterwards, you must buy a new one. The included SCSI is quite usless as it's to expensive to get a cable for it of the type needed in a tower, buy a faster 603e and a PCMCIA-SCSI card, as you will know it works. And be aware about that there is boards with a 040 without a FPU and you CAN'T use the 603e's FPU when using an MC680x0 program!!!! Oh, yes the MC68040 is clocked 24MHz and not 25Mhz, so you will not reach 20Mips with it. The provided PPCTools says that the 603 runs at 125Mhz, I hope that is only due an error in the software and not that the CPU would be clocked to that slow speed.
Can have different sizes of simms Really fast when using PowerPC programs
It costs to much to connect internal SCSI devices. You can't upgrade the PowerPC or the Co-CPU
You could say a B603e is more worth the money than a B603e+ as you have to invest a great deal money to use internal SCSI devices.
Copyright 1998 J.O. Aho
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