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PAK68/3 for ATARI ST Family - Absolutely Unique Stuff:
What is a PAK?The PAK68 / 3 is for a 68000 processor.The addition / 3 indicates that the PAK68 or even briefly named PAK is already present in the 3rd generation.The design and layout of the card is designed to replace the processor in an Atari ST or for the 'E' models, ie STE and MegaSTE,since adifferentdesign of the CPU ie processor) has been used here.The PAK68 isnotsuitable for replacing the processor of another Atari computer system, ie TT or Falcon,Why is that good?The PAK68 / 3 is probably the fastest and most widely used accelerator for 68000-based systems.In addition, the PAK is a public project (first published in the c't magazine), which is still maintained and maintained by the developer Holger Zimmermann.The extensive possibilities offered by a PAK68 / 3 with its extensions as well as the reliability in the operation give the slightly out-of-the-way Atari systems fresh wind.Even if the PAK does not stand out in the 'Megahertz high altitude' of today's technology, this accelerator offers the Atari enthusiast of the first hour a little more pleasure in the system.The PAK at a glanceHere the abilities of the PAK68 / 3 in short form:
- 68030 Processor, 32 Bit, Instruction and Data Cache on Chip, PMMU
- 68881/882 FPU (optional)
- 32-50 MHz Clock frequency
- EPROMs with an adapted TOS 3.06 on the PAH (optional)
- Possibility to switch to the 68000 CPU (optional)
- High compatibility with the Atari motherboards and other hardware thanks to a clean bus interface (the PAK runs even in 68000-based MacIntosh systems!)
TheFRAK / 2also allows up to 64MB of TT-RAM-compatible fast RAM to be retrofitted.What's the matter?The performance of the PAK68 / 3 depends, of course, on its expansion stage and the screen resolution as well as on the availability of fast RAM.Accurate information on the acceleration factor is therefore always inaccurate.A higher bus clock brings again additional speed gain, as the PAK does not so much of the precious time wongered to wait for an access window to the mainboard.Agraphic cardis a great work relief, because one sees by the higher resolution at the same time more.Unfortunately, this also means a larger screen memory (after all, 768KB at 1024x768 pixels in 256 colors compared to 32KB at ST-High).The larger amount of data naturally results in a loss in speed,So that when a graphics card is used, a PAK is the ideal complement.In order to test the pure process performance of a system, theDhrystonetest isrelativelywell suited.Therefore, here are some test results to get an overview of the performance increase:systemFast-RAMST bus clockDhrystonesRelative factorStandard ST---8 MHz1.0571.0Standard ST---12 MHz1.5941.5PAK68 / 3, 32 MHzNo8 MHz3,6763.5PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzNo8 MHz4.5354.3PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzNo12 MHz5,6985.4PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzYes, no burst mode8 MHz8,9688.5PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzYes, FPM burst mode8 MHz9.2598.8PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzYes, EDO burst mode8 MHz10.0509.5PAK68 / 3, 50 MHzYes, EDO burst mode12 MHz10.1529.6Athlon / MagicPC, 1.400 / 133 MHzSDRAMemulation104,91299.3Dhrystone Test Results / ComparisonThe computing performance can also be improved by more efficient operating system components (eg, Betex & Behne's NVDI) or by a complete replacement of the TOSoperating system, eg by Magic Atari (available atApplication Systems Heidelberg), which also offers multitasking.In general, it can be said that the different benchmark test programs provide only approximate information about the speed increase (this also applies to the above-mentioned Dhrystone test).In order to be able to keep an effect in the daily work, only a time-intensive task with a stopwatch can be judged.The last line does not really belong here, but is supposed to relate to the current technology.As you can see,A 'standard Atari' is practically 100 times slower than its emulation on a current computer system.So I think, the Atari finally deserved his 'place in the to the software, just age, is an important factor when choosing an accelerator card.The PAK uses a 68030 processor as in the Atari TT, so that normally TT-executable software is also compatible with the PAK, as long as no TT specific hardware functions are needed.Fortunately, the trend in software creation has been clearly oriented towards hardware independence over time, so that problems with current software are not to be expected.Clean GEM programs, such as CALAMUS, CAT, TEXEL, Papyrus, to name but a few, have been running at the PAK for years.Installation and installationThe PAK68 / 3-030 is available as a self-assembly kit, which contains the empty board and some components or is available as a ready-to-use device.Theinstallation and installation instructions are availableas an HTML document.TheJEDEC filesfor the GALs used are public, but are only released for private use.If there is no way to program GALs yourself, they can also be programmed as programmed.If you want to make nails with your heads here, you can check into ourGABI project.To get an overview of the effort to build up and install a PAH, here are a few points:
- The assembly and installation of the PAH requires about 1,000 soldering points
- It may not be easy to get a 68030-50MHz processor, the same for the 68882 FPU.
- The processor must be removed from the motherboard and replaced with a socket.This is unfortunately not as easy as it sounds, especially if the CPU is in PLCC-design (as in the 1040STE and MegaSTE).
- Under certain circumstances, the PAH no longer fits into the original housing (1040ST), at the latest with theFRAK / 2 ontop it becomes too tight in every Atari cardboard box.
- In some circumstances, the power supply is not strong enough to supply the PAH adequately, together with theFRAK / 2and a graphics card.
For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that there is also a 68020 version of the PAK68 / 3.However, since the processors 68030 and -020 are not pin-compatible, so they can not be easily replaced, another board is required, which can not be upgraded or upgraded to the better 68030 processor.As today the price difference between the two processors is negligible, but the 030er is significantly better, the decision has now become superfluous.Accessories and updatesIn the course of time, the PAK68 / 3 has undergone a whole series of further developments and additional circuits which improve the overall behavior or make it possible to do so at all.Here is an overview:
In the first place, the GAL-set is to be mentioned, which is the core of the PAK, since the logic in the GALs is responsible for the sequence control.The latest version of thePAK-GALs is available here.There is also an update service, if there is no possibility to program the GALs themselves.
- FRAK / 2
The most important extension for the PAH at all: the fast RAM cardFRAK / 2.This offers the possibility to retrofit up to 64MB EDO-RAM by standard PS / 2-SIMMs.This should help to overcome the memory shortage, especially in image processing.In addition there is a considerable gain in speed, since the fast RAM (TT-RAM) is used with the full bus width of the processor (32 bits).
- Buffer board
Thebuffer board, also called PuPla for short, is an important aid.It is necessary to be able to fix problems with the slow ST motherboard with more than 32 MHz PAK clock or a FRAK or both.The PuPla also helps with FPU problems.The PuPla is the DIL version of the buffer board.The PuSTE, the STE version of the PuPla with PLCC adapter, is unfortunately sold out and therefore no longer available.For this purpose, see also the next point.
- PLCC-DIL adapter
Since unfortunately it is very often (almost always) a lot of contact problems with pluggable PLCC-DIL adapters (the PUSTE is unfortunately also such a case), the owners of a 1040STE or MegaSTE actually only a reliable alternative: Remove the PLCC socket from the mainboard and replace it with precision socket pieces.ATTENTION!This can easily damage the mainboard irreparably!If you do not want to remove the PLCC socket, you should leave this project better.Now you can use our PLCC-DIL adapter, which is equipped with IC adapter pins like the PAK, in order to connect the PuPla and the PAK to the top.
- TOS 3.06 patch
TheTOS usedon the PAK is a patched (adapted) TOS 3.06 from the TT.The current patch, together with the latest version of the TOSPATCH by Markus Heiden, may be available here.
Since the TOS, the operating system of the Atari computers, is still subject to the copyright of the company Atari or what is left of it, unfortunately no finished version of the PAK-TOS can be published here.
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