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Darek Dulian (E-Mail)

Elbox: Answers to questions of users
Elbox has issued a statement which answers many questions of the users concerning SharkPPC, sound- and tv-card-drivers as well as Warp3D support.

Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 22:22:13 +0200

X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [pl] (WinNT; I)
Subject: ELBOX about SharkPPC, Sound and TV card drivers and Warp3D support

Below are the answers from Elbox to questions asked by Kay Are Ulvestad. 
The questions (asked in a message to Elbox) refer to SharkPPC cards, 
drivers to Mediator PCI for Sound, TV and other cards, Warp 3D support, etc.

Kay Are Ulvestad wrote: 

> Hi! 
> I'm sorry to hassle, but you know how the Amiga market is. . . keep 
> public relations quiet for a while, and wild rumours start circulating. 
> Anyway, I was hoping you could provide this impatient user with some 
> info by answering some questions. With your permission, I will post 
> the info on the Amiga Mediator ML as well, hopefully calming some 
> people down. The questions may look kind of long, but I think 
> they're mostly easy to answer.  Ok, here I go: 

> 1. There recently was a claim (outside of Elbox), that the Shark 
> products were cancelled. Although I myself don't really believe 
> this on such a weak basis, the recent lack of information about 
> the products as well as the successful marketing of the AmigaONE 
> might lead to some users feeling they've invested in a "dead end" 
> expansion-wise. Perhaps you could tell me how the development 
> is going? Any estimated release date? 

As we have explained many times, we will start producing 
SharkPPC G3/G4 and ShakPPC+ cards when AmigaOS 4.0 is ready 
for releasing. 

> 2. When is the next driver release from you? What kind of drivers 
> can be expected, and how soon? 

Tomorrow we will make available the MediatorUP2.3 update, which 
is a simultaneous update for the users of Mediator PCI 1200 and 
Mediator PCI ZIV.  All the system files and the enclosed drivers 
have been optimized and adjusted to operation with Mediator PCI 1200 
and ZIV. In the pci.library, workaround has been made to avoid the 
incorrect recognition of 68LC060 processors by the LC060.library. 

The next drivers to be made available within the coming two weeks 
will be drivers for SoundBlaster 128 music cards. 

Drivers to TV cards, which were presented in WOA 2000 in Koln 
are ready and will be released in one package with drivers 
for SounBlaster 128 music cards.  

Further drivers, on which we are now working, are drivers for 
SoundBlaster Live! cards.  The work is advanced in ca. 80% on these 

Writing drivers is a very time-consuming work. Unlike drivers to 
the previous Amiga cards, like those in Zorro slots, writing drivers 
for PCI cards requires much more time. The reason is that drivers 
for Amiga cards were prepared usually for one specific series (mask) 
of chipsets around which they were produced.  For example, CyberVision 
64 3D cards were produced around the S3 ViRGE 86C325, chipset  but 
always only and solely for one series (mask) of these chipsets. 
Our drivers for S3 cards support various chipsets of the S3 ViRGE, 
but also have to run with all the series (masks) of these chipsets.  
This applies to other drivers written by us, as well.

In the recent several months , production of other PCI busboards 
for Amiga was announced. Probably many people believed that this 
would result in co-operation of companies for writing drivers 
for PCI cards.  We guess such co-operation would be beneficial for 
users of Amiga with PCI slots.

Elbox has written drivers for Voodoo3, Voodoo4, Voodoo5 and S3 
Virge graphic cards and Ethernet cards. 

We hoped that if a new busboard is to be introduced to the market, 
its authors will prepare drivers for these PCI cards, for which 
no Amiga support is available as yet. Then, by licensing, they 
would make available their drivers for working with Mediator, 
receiving in return licences for drivers  prepared by Elbox. 

Well, as we see , the trend is completely different: 

The only drivers which are made for other PCI busboards are drivers 
to these PCI cards, to which Elbox has already written drivers. 
Writing drivers to these PCI cards, to which drivers have been 
written and made available by Elbox, is like solving a difficult 
problem in physics, when you already have seen its solution...

Therefore, soon we will make available drivers for Mediator to 
such PCI cards, which due to technical reasons cannot work in PCI 
busboards other than Mediator. 

We also hope that external developers will write drivers for 
PCI cards.  SDK for Mediator is available free of charge after 
signing NDA.
However, prospective developers have to remember that: 
- They should approach appropriate companies about documentation 
  to PCI card chipsets, to which they want to write drivers. 
  Usually, such companies require signing an individual NDA. 
  Also, questions about operation of the PCI cards of interest 
  to them must be asked with these companies. 
- PCI specifications are property of PCI SIG and may be acquired 

> 3. Is there a solution within reach to the 4mb memory window problem 
> on early mediators with BlizzPPC cards? Or will AND have to wait 
> for the Shark? 

For users of BlizzPPC cards with Mediator PCI produced last year 
we are preparing a special offer for upgrading to the appropriate 
MACH chip.

> 4. It seems Hyperion has mostly completed the Warp3d drivers for 
> Voodoo3. How long until we can see the true power of Voodoo3 on the 
> Mediator? 

This question should be asked to Hyperion.

Elbox accepted financial conditions of the Hyperion company. 
However, the Hyperion company so far was not able to give any 
specific date when their Warp3D drivers to Voodoo3 for Mediator 1200 
could be released, despite numerous earlier assurances (since December 
2000) on the part of the Warp3D team that preparing such drivers is 
only a matter of a few weeks. 
As soon as Hyperion are able to give a definite date, there will 
be nothing to be an obstacle for signing the contract. 

> Well, that's all I can think of for now. Thanks in advance, 
> and keep up the good work for the Amiga market! 

June is a month of very intense work for us, as , apart from 
all the things I have already written above, we now begin 
production of three more Mediator busboards: 
 - Mediator PCI ZIV for the Z-IV busboards, 
 - Mediator PCI ZIII for any Amiga with Zorro III slots, 
 - Mediator PCI 4000 for controlling Elbox Zorro III/PCI (7xZIII, 
   5xPCI, 1xVideo) busboard of the E/BOX 4000 tower system (known 
   also as Power Tower 4000 or  Winner Tower 4000) for Amiga 4000D.
The two last models of Mediator are technologically the most 
advanced busboards in the Amiga market for Amiga 3000/4000 computers.
Mediator ZIII and Mediator 4000 busboards for Amiga 3/4000 computers,  
unlike other simplified bridges offered for Amiga with Zorro III slots, 
support the most advanced Zorro III  mechanisms like e.g. DMA between 
PCI cards and memory in the turbo card and other features omitted in 
these bridges, which are necessary for cards like SoundBlaster 128 
or SoundBlaster Live! to work properly. 

We are glad to be able to answer your questions. If you still have 
any doubts, please drop us a line.

Best regards,

Darek Dulian
ELBOX COMPUTER, Support Department

[News message: 27. Jun. 2001, 01:44] [Comments: 0]
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