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|| Tutorial: Using two graphics cards in the AmigaOne X5000|
Dutch AmigaOS 4 user Dave 'Skateman' Koelman has been connected to the Amiga since the 1990s, when he bought an Amiga 500 to replace the Commodore VIC20 and later C64. When the AmigaOne X1000 was introduced many years later, he considered taking another leap onto new hardware, which he finally did in 2017 after the release of the AmigaOne X5000 by ordering it.
Since the interest and curiosity in the new PowerPC Amigas was aroused, Dave has been intensively involved with their hardware and software and has also been running his blog SkateMansWorld since that time. With so much expertise it was obvious that Amiga-News.de asked him to discuss the problem of how to run two graphics cards in the AmigaOne X5000 so that you get optimal solutions for using AmigaOS 4 as well as MorphOS and Linux. At the same time he gives one or two more tips on how to work with the X5000 in the best possible way. Many thanks, Dave!
"My X5000 came shipped with the AMD Radeon R7 250 graphics card (Radeon HD series). This card is great for AmigaOS and can also be used with the PowerPC Linux distros, but does NOT support proper hardware acceleration within Linux. This means that OpenGL based software cannot be used. As many games rely on OpenGL the lack of support was not very satisfying. As PowerPC Linux has hardware support for the older line of Radeon graphics cards, it does not for the newer Radeon HD and RX line of cards. Since I have been testing most Linux kernels over the past years which are being compiled by Christian Zygotzky (Xeno74), I wanted to have a graphics card that has Linux hardware acceleration support and was fully supported by AmigaOS. So there we are… AmigaOS fully supports the HD and RX Radeon cards but these cards don't have the proper LInux support. Alternative could be using an older Radeon card that is supported by Linux but then you will be missing out on all the new OS4 Radeon driver developments that Hans de Ruiter for A-EON is doing. And what about MorphOS that does not support the Radeon RX cards at all. It has some support for the Radeon HD cards but without hardware 3D acceleration...
Two graphics cards
As I do not want to change graphics cards each time I boot an alternative OS, I decided to see if I could fit a second graphics card in my X5000. By doing so I could upgrade my primary Radeon R7 250 to a newer Radeon RX 570 card and use a second graphics card for Linux and MorphOS. Remember that the Radeon RX series are not supported at all by PowerPC Linux and MorphOS When researching the possibilities for a secondary graphics card, I found that the bandwidth of a PCIe-X1 slot should be more than enough for my Linux needs. See this YouTube-Video to give you an idea of the bandwidth capabilities of the PCIe-X1 slot.
As the X5000 also has a PCIe-X4 slot, this would be preferable. The bad thing is that this PCIe-X4 slot is blocked by most graphic cards due to the big coolers on top of these cards. So my project started with a simple graphics card in a PCIe-X16 to X1 adapter. These adapters are mostly used by Crypto miners and cheap. The model I used is shown in the picture below.
To fit the above adapter in the X5000 we have several slots to choose from. Below a diagram of the X5000 mainboard. As you take a close look at the PCIe slots you see that the first slot is the PCIe-X16 slot where your graphics card is seated. The second slot is the PCIe-X4 slot, but most of the time it's unreachable due to the graphics card cooling solution. The third slot is a combined slot. PCIe-X1 / Xorro. The fourth and fifth slot are regular PCIe-X1 slots.
I decided to give it a shot with a Radeon 7450 Low profile graphics card and used the third PCIe slot (the combined PCIe-X1 / XORRO). Be creative when fitting the card in your machine. I used a simple piece of cardboard. The end result, a working 3D accelerated Linux running on my X5000 using the secondary graphics card. Yeah!
As mentioned earlier, the X5000 also has a PCIe-X4 slot with more bandwidth available but sits directly underneath the PCIe-X16 slot. This makes it very hard to be usable, until I found a PCIe-X16 to X4 cable with a 90 degree connector. See the pictures below.
By using this cable we can use the PCIe-X4 slot for use with a second graphics card.
I have been testing many graphic cards successfully using this cable and VoidLinux ever since. Some of this progress can be found on the Hyperion forum.
Some of these models are:
The spacers are used to position the card above the normal screwhole in the case and still be able to tighten it with a screw. The tie-wrap is used to keep the rest of the card in place. It's not the most elegant solution, but for now it will do.
AmigaOS, Linux and .... MorphOS
It's great to have an X5000 capable of running AmigaOS and Linux each using its own graphics card. But being able to run AmigaOS, Linux and MorphOS with 3D acceleration would be best.
The MorphOS website has a hardware compatibility list and found that one of the most powerful cards with 3D hardware acceleration should be an X19xx series. As my X1950 had some hardware issues I was able to find myself a secondhand X1900 and decided to use this card. Its supported with Linux and should work with MorphOS. Let's go!
I have installed MorphOS on a secondary SSD drive attached to the second SATA port on the X5000. The first SATA port on the X5000 has an SSD drive connected with AmigaOS installed. The second SATA port is also connected to a FlexiDOCK which makes it easy to swap drives without having to open the X5000. So now I have the ability to insert my MorphOS ssd drive when I want to run MorphOS and Linux for the moments I want to run Linux. The AmigaOS SSD is fitted inside the X5000 and always available. Installing morphos was a bit tricky but seems to be running fine. What i had to do was start the installation from USB like a normal installation but when you get to the partitioning part I used the following:
For MorphOS DH0: I used DH0.1: and for DH1: I used DH1.1:
I gave DH0.1: the name MOSSYS: and DH1.1: MOSWORK:
By using these values it did not conflict with the AmigaOS drive that is also present in the X5000.
Here is the FlexiDOCK that makes it very easy to swap drives without opening your case.
X5000 and Micro SDcard
As some might have noticed, there is some small black box hanging out of the front of my X5000. What you see here is a Micro SD card extender:
By using this I don't have to open my case and fiddle with the Micro SD card and the delicate connector on the X5000 mainboard. I can access my SD card at any moment now.
So that's the current status of my X5000. Two graphics cards - although I have currently opted for the RX550 instead of the RX570: almost half as small and less resource-hungry -, micro sd extender, FlexiDOCK, 16GB Ram for Linux and several operating systems. Time will tell what else can be done to adapt the X5000. If anyone would like more information, feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to suggestions, comments or further ideas first in the comments here (but you can also find me in the forums of Amigans, AmigaWorld and Hyperion-Support)." (dr)
[News message: 12. Jan. 2023, 05:29] [Comments: 3 - 10. Feb. 2023, 17:31]
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