Remember the Amiga? Well, I do and I remember how much I envied all my friends that had one, or an Atari ST for that matter. Both of these brands disappeared off into the dusty corner of forgotten computers, but now it seems like Amiga is trying to return to its former glory under new management. The Amiga brand name is now owned by a Canadian company and has returned to manufacturing hardware. The first of the two new Amiga systems was announced 10 days ago and features some really basic specs. You can find that press release here. This announcement is far more exciting, as this is meant to be the new performance platform.
The specifications are baffling to say the least; the CPU is a P.A. Semi PWRficient PA6T-1682M dual core 64-bit chip clocked at 2GHz. Now this sounds quite competitive, but P.A. Semi is a new company with unproven technology. However, looking at the specifications of this CPU, it offers a range of interesting features. Not only does it offer an integrated DDR2 memory controller, much like the ones AMD use in their current range of processors, but it also features 2MB of L2 shared cache and 128kB of L1 cache per core.
It supports up to 16GB of DDR2 memory per memory controller and it has two memory controllers, i.e. one per core. The PA6T-1682M is more than just a processor as it has a wide range of functionality built into it, but I suggest you go and read their website if you're really interested as it would take me far too long to explain it all here and there are some really neat clickable diagrams of the CPU on the website.
It doesn't seem like Amiga has taken full advantage of this new processor, as the motherboard only has four DIMM slots and this means a maximum of 8GB of RAM, but this is comparable to standard desktop PC's from Intel or AMD. This time Amiga has gone for PCI Express when it comes to expansion slots, rather than the odd choice of a 66MHz PCI slot on the entry level machine. There is one x16 slot for graphics, one x2 slot - we weren't even aware that such a slot existed - and one x1 slot for peripherals and finally a single 33MHz PCI slot.
Further to this you'll find six USB 2.0 ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, dual serial ports - why? - and four SATA connectors that are powered by two Silicon Image Sil3132 controllers. There's also an 8Mb flash ROM for the U-Boot firmware, which one has to presume is something similar to the BIOS on a PC. No other information was given, except that it will be sold as a whole system, but without a monitor, for the insane asking price of US$1,498. I hope they stick a decent graphics card in there as well as plenty of RAM and a couple of big hard drive at that price. Oh, and there are no pictures of either system as yet, so it's anyone's guess what these machines will look like, but if the website design is anything to go by, they won't be pretty.
To read the press release, head over to the Amiga website.