PDA

View Full Version : Kickstarter for Amiga/Atari Game Player



vintagegamer8200
September 22nd, 2015, 07:00 PM
I wanted to share a new Kickstarter campaign with you all.

The goal is to re-release classic video games from the 80ís and 90ís via a player that works on mobile phones, tablets, and smart TVs. This includes 100s of popular games from Amiga, Atari and others.

You can learn more about it on the Kickstarter website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1863001882/retro-infinity-player

Al Kossow
September 22nd, 2015, 07:34 PM
Kickstarter website: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1863001882/retro-infinity-player

Care to comment on the three comments left there, Mr Junior Member?

Trixter
September 22nd, 2015, 08:11 PM
I cringed watching the video... then cringed again when I realized they were just reading the copy that made up the campaign text.

I can't count enough fails for this. Who did they intend their target audience to be? What does Nascar have to do with this project? Have they never heard of already-free emulators? Why did they feel they needed 250K to make this happen (and then only ask for 100K in the kickstarter)?

A quick look through the games catalog shows that it is essentially the Gremlin catalog. So someone paid $25k (or something) for Gremlin's mobile rights or something, and now have no idea how to make money with it.

commodorejohn
September 22nd, 2015, 09:28 PM
Well, I don't have a smartphone, tablet, or smart TV, and I never will, so eh.

Scali
September 22nd, 2015, 11:22 PM
I have real Amigas!

vwestlife
September 23rd, 2015, 04:19 AM
The AmigaGamesInc web site proclaims the CD32 as "the world's first 32-bit games platform." I guess they never heard of the Fujitsu FM Towns Marty (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_Towns_Marty)?

Scali
September 23rd, 2015, 04:40 AM
The AmigaGamesInc web site proclaims the CD32 as "the world's first 32-bit games platform." I guess they never heard of the Fujitsu FM Towns Marty (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_Towns_Marty)?

Well, a 386SX is a bit of a difficult case :)
It has a 16-bit bus, so the chipset will be 16-bit as well (similar to the early Amigas). CD32 is a full 32-bit machine, both CPU and chipset.

vwestlife
September 23rd, 2015, 06:18 AM
Well, a 386SX is a bit of a difficult case :)
It has a 16-bit bus, so the chipset will be 16-bit as well (similar to the early Amigas). CD32 is a full 32-bit machine, both CPU and chipset.

True, however, the SNES is universally considered to be a 16-bit console even though its 65C816-based CPU only has an 8-bit bus. :) Classic gaming enthusiasts have attempted to settle the issue by referring to consoles as belonging to the "16-bit era" or "32-bit era", etc. For example, the Intellivision belongs to the "8-bit era" even though it has a 16-bit CPU, and the NEC PC Engine / TurboGrafx 16 belongs to the "16-bit era" even though it has an 8-bit CPU.

1ST1
September 23rd, 2015, 10:41 AM
All Motorola 68000 based homecomputers and consoles are 32 Bit machines. Yes, the bus is 16 bit only, but they already use the same commands as the 32 bit bus machine 68020 and later to operate with 32 bit datas on real 32 bit registers. It's the same as the 8088 is also a 16 bit machine with 8 bit bus. Or think on 386SX versus 386. Both are running 32 bit code. Half the bus only for cheaper external design (and results in less speed).

Anyhow, this topic has been opened on the Atari subforum. But all the offers on that website only include Amiga games, no ST games, no PC games, no ... Funny is also, when I looked first this morning, only 146 USD have been reached, out of 100.000, and the target should be reached just in 13 days. Aditionally, emulators on Apple iOS devices are impossible, they (Apple) will not allow to offer this in Appstore as it can run uncontrolled code and offers probably in.app buys beyond Apple's control financial share, so no iPad, iPhone, Apple-TV support, and how to get the app on these smart TVs? The only way to do it would be streamed emulator to the target devices to bypass Apple's policy. Would streaming of the emulatet machines work? I have big doubts if this project will happen. Amiga, ST and C-64 emus for Android are for free, so what would make the difference here?

krebizfan
September 23rd, 2015, 11:29 AM
I think iOS permits emulators but the emulator has to be bundled with the specific program being loaded. Rather wasteful of storage having all those extra copies of an emulator but fortunately Amiga emulators are tiny.

The people running this Kickstarter should have brought it to a local startup evaluation meeting and gotten advice on how to fix it to be worthy of VC money.

Scali
September 23rd, 2015, 11:09 PM
All Motorola 68000 based homecomputers and consoles are 32 Bit machines.

None of them were marketed as such though.
Amigas, Ataris, Macs etc were considered 16-bit.


It's the same as the 8088 is also a 16 bit machine with 8 bit bus.

Again, machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines.

vwestlife
September 24th, 2015, 04:15 AM
Again, machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines.

Wrong:

http://i61.tinypic.com/jtrwk4.png (http://digitize.textfiles.com/items/1982-ibm-personal-computer/.m/1982-IBM-Personal-Computer-04.jpg)

Scali
September 24th, 2015, 04:29 AM
Wrong:

I said *machine*, not *microprocessor*.

vwestlife
September 24th, 2015, 06:23 AM
I said *machine*, not *microprocessor*.

PC Magazine, Feb-Mar 1982
Interview with Gary Kildall
https://books.google.com/books?id=w_OhaFDePS4C&pg=RA2-PA35&lpg=RA2-PA35#v=onepage&q&f=false

http://i60.tinypic.com/20kr7es.png

Scali
September 24th, 2015, 06:33 AM
Gary Kildall's opinion is not IBM marketing.
This manual for example, lumps PC/XT systems together in the 8-bit category, and has good reasons to do so (see page 23 and further):
http://ptgmedia.pearsoncmg.com/imprint_downloads/informit/que/upgrading/fourteenth_edition/DVD/PCs10th.pdf
This is how the systems were commonly viewed historically. The CPU was not the defining factor.

Maverick1978
September 24th, 2015, 06:41 AM
Bringing this thread back on-topic for a moment....

These guys are dreaming. Their images are poorly-photoshopped images. That's not the way to get me to shell out my cash on a dream. Their association with NASCAR... uh.... weird. I mean, I get that they're trying to offer some unique tiers, but uh.... weird. They'd have done better offering a few NOS pieces of the games that they plan to emulate, IMO. Their explanation that their game is an app which will bring up the virtual keyboard when it's needed. OK. Gotcha. But if an emulator does that with a button press, why would I pay you to do this for me? I'm not advocating piracy here, but chances are if I'm purchasing a digital copy of a game, it's because I already own that game and wish to enjoy it in another manner. Give me a good emulator, and I'll create a disk image and transport the game I want to play myself, violating no copyrights, with no need to repurchase.

A nice idea... but this one's gonna fall flat on it's face. They'd have been better off to have gone for a "best of amiga" collection that's available world-wide via PSN or X-Box Live with stretch goals to include mobile support.

Al Kossow
September 24th, 2015, 06:43 AM
None of them were marketed as such though.
Amigas, Ataris, Macs etc were considered 16-bit.


Bullshit

http://www.storiesofapple.net/meet-the-apple-32-supermicros.html

Scali
September 24th, 2015, 07:04 AM
Fine, Apple actually DID market them as 32-bit then (should have known, Steve Jobs and all. You never saw any Apples in this part of the world anyway, so I'm not familiar with their marketing). Or did they? I see they use the term '32 SuperMicro', but I can't actually read the text, so not sure if they ever say '32-bit' or merely imply it with the use of '32'.
Edit: http://www.248am.com/images/apple_32_supermicro.jpg
I only see '32-bit microprocessor' there, which is stretching things somewhat, but not entirely wrong. I don't see them claiming that the *system* is 32-bit.

The others weren't. And Apples weren't seen as any more 32-bit than the others at least.

vwestlife
September 24th, 2015, 02:42 PM
Apple was not shy to advertise the Macintosh's "32-bit power":

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/2f/b9/8e/2fb98e8be029a7c9003632bcda630ea7.jpg

geoffm3
September 24th, 2015, 02:57 PM
Istr that my Amiga box literature referred to the 68000 as a 16/32-bit system, and I'm Real certain Atari saw it that way as well (since ST is short for sixteen thirty-two).

Regardless I've always thought of a machines bitness as the word size the processor could support, rather than the data bus width.

commodorejohn
September 24th, 2015, 03:14 PM
I like how "software synthesis mixing multiple channels down to a single-channel DAC" equals "a built-in polyphonic sound generator" in Apple marketing-speak...

Trixter
September 24th, 2015, 06:43 PM
This is how the systems were commonly viewed historically. The CPU was not the defining factor.

This wasn't what was originally stated, though. The statement was "None of them were marketed as such" which is untrue. They were most definitely marketed as such.

The topic of what makes a system N-bit is a topic for an entirely new -- and undoubtedly long -- thread.

Scali
September 24th, 2015, 11:00 PM
This wasn't what was originally stated, though. The statement was "None of them were marketed as such" which is untrue. They were most definitely marketed as such.

No, they were not, the statement is still true.
Both examples merely mention the *microprocessor*, not the *system* (I know this distinction is hard to understand for people who grew up on PCs and have no clue about other systems, but that doesn't make it any less true).

Also, if PC/XT systems were marketed as being 16-bit, then clearly the common view would not have been that they were 8-bit, historically.

Scali
September 24th, 2015, 11:06 PM
Istr that my Amiga box literature referred to the 68000 as a 16/32-bit system, and I'm Real certain Atari saw it that way as well (since ST is short for sixteen thirty-two).

Exactly, they all just mention the CPU as 32-bit. Amiga and Atari ST even specifically mention the 16-bitness of the rest of the system. Motorola itself also describes the 68000 as a "16/32-bit" processor (which is the only correct way to refer to it, because unlike a 386SX or an 8088 it's not just the data bus that is 16-bit. The ALU is not entirely 32-bit either, many 32-bit operations take longer than 16-bit ones, because they are broken up in 16-bit operations internally, and in some cases, eg MUL/DIV, the 32-bit variations are not implemented at all, and were added with the 020).
Commodore started marketing the 32-bitness with the Amiga 1200/4000/CD32, when the whole system was 32-bit.
Which pretty much implied that they never saw the earlier models as 32-bit. Of course, back in 1985 16-bit was impressive enough already.


Regardless I've always thought of a machines bitness as the word size the processor could support, rather than the data bus width.

It's not necessarily the data bus width, but rather the chipset, which is taken for the 'bitness' of the system. However, technically the chipset can't really use more bits than the data bus width allows... Although there are some exceptions... Eg, you can have a 32-bit VGA chip with its own 32-bit memory controller and 32-bit memory, but connected to a 16-bit bus.

But yes, all 8088 systems have an 8-bit chipset, and Amiga/Atari ST/early Apple 68k machines all have a 16-bit chipset.
Therefore calling them 16-bit or 32-bit systems resepectively would be wrong, and I have never seen this done (of course, in my country it is actually illegal to do so. There has been an instance of an AMD commercial being pulled off the air here, because it was too misleading, by claiming that its no-execute bit prevented viruses. So I may have seen less misleading adverts than people in other countries).

Scali
September 25th, 2015, 12:14 AM
Oh and the humble 386DX25

Speaking of which, some early 386DX models had a bug in 32-bit mode, and were labeled "16 bit s/w only" ;)
http://cdn.cpu-world.com/CPUs/80386/S_Intel-A80386-16%20(16%20bit%20s-w%20only).jpg

Caluser2000
September 25th, 2015, 12:29 AM
Only the faulty ones.

vwestlife
September 25th, 2015, 05:27 AM
No, they were not, the statement is still true.
Both examples merely mention the *microprocessor*, not the *system* (I know this distinction is hard to understand for people who grew up on PCs and have no clue about other systems, but that doesn't make it any less true).

Also, if PC/XT systems were marketed as being 16-bit, then clearly the common view would not have been that they were 8-bit, historically.

You're making an irrelevant distinction. In the PC/XT era, the CPU was effectively the entire machine because it did all the work. Except for specialized industrial applications, there were no dedicated graphics processors or DSP chips. There was no local bus for devices to "talk" to each other; everything was interrupt driven. Hard drive controllers didn't have DMA and in real-world use were more limited by the speed of the drive than the speed of the bus. So for all intents and purposes, if a computer could run 16-bit code and could access more than 64K of RAM without bank switching, it was a fully 16-bit machine, as Gary Kildall attested.

It became a much different ballgame when machines like the Macintosh and Amiga came along with highly specialized custom chipsets that offloaded much of the work from the CPU. That's when the speed and word length of the CPU's external data bus really started to become important.

Scali
September 25th, 2015, 06:00 AM
You're making an irrelevant distinction. In the PC/XT era, the CPU was effectively the entire machine because it did all the work.

By that logic, an 8088 would be equivalent to an 8086. Which it clearly is not.


Except for specialized industrial applications, there were no dedicated graphics processors or DSP chips.

As primitive as the PC may be, it DOES have quite a few components connected to the bus, such as the MDA/CGA card, PIT, PIC, and DMA controller, ROM, RAM, floppy controller etc.
And these all have to be 8-bit. Which means they perform like an 8-bit class machine. Which is why a 4.77 MHz PC struggles to keep up with a 1 MHz C64.


There was no local bus for devices to "talk" to each other; everything was interrupt driven.

Technically the ISA bus *was* a local bus. It was certainly possible for devices to talk to eachother directly. The devices just were rather primitive and did not make use of this functionality.


Hard drive controllers didn't have DMA

Even floppy controllers worked with DMA on a PC. Hard drive controllers certainly did (as CPUs became faster, they moved to polled I/O, since the DMA controller did not evolve).


So for all intents and purposes, if a computer could run 16-bit code and could access more than 64K of RAM without bank switching, it was a fully 16-bit machine, as Gary Kildall attested.

Which is completely arbitrary and meaningless.


It became a much different ballgame when machines like the Macintosh and Amiga came along with highly specialized custom chipsets that offloaded much of the work from the CPU. That's when the speed and word length of the CPU's external data bus really started to become important.

Really? Get a clue. Firstly, advanced chipsets have been around long before the Mac and Amiga. Look at early Atari 8-bit machines for example, or the C64.
Secondly, the Mac is about as primitive as the PC is, regarding chipset. It just happens to be based on the more powerful 68000. But it is nowhere near an Amiga.

Trixter
September 25th, 2015, 07:18 AM
Bitness is never something people will agree on as it was affected by locality/environment, marketing, technical specifications, personal experience, and opinion. It's like trying to argue which color is the best color -- you can't. Let's please drop this before people enter an utterly pointless flamewar with no positive outcome.

Moderators, please lock this topic.

geoffm3
September 25th, 2015, 07:49 AM
As primitive as the PC may be, it DOES have quite a few components connected to the bus, such as the MDA/CGA card, PIT, PIC, and DMA controller, ROM, RAM, floppy controller etc.
And these all have to be 8-bit. Which means they perform like an 8-bit class machine. Which is why a 4.77 MHz PC struggles to keep up with a 1 MHz C64.


This is kind of a pointless and/or silly argument really. Using this logic a modern PC is an 8-bit machine because the simplest peripherals connected to the LPC bus are 8-bit only.

I tend to agree with Trixter though... having witnessed many of these discussions over the years I think you will not arrive at any significant level of consensus and the discussion will quickly devolve into a flamewar.

Back on topic, you'd be crazy to back this kickstarter. ;)

vwestlife
September 25th, 2015, 10:53 AM
And these all have to be 8-bit. Which means they perform like an 8-bit class machine. Which is why a 4.77 MHz PC struggles to keep up with a 1 MHz C64.

Not in terms of floppy drive performance! http://www.vwvortex.com/Anthony/Smilies/biggrin_upper.gif

Caluser2000
September 25th, 2015, 11:38 AM
Not in terms of floppy drive performance! http://www.vwvortex.com/Anthony/Smilies/biggrin_upper.gifIndeed. Of course anyone with a bit of nouse would go for a hdd which is quite trivial to do with a PC.

As the others have mentioned this has turned in to another chest bashing thread ;)

Yeah and the kickstarter is a hopeless effort.

1ST1
September 25th, 2015, 01:12 PM
By that logic, an 8088 would be equivalent to an 8086. Which it clearly is not.

Yes it is, as the 8088 runs the same software as the 8086. 8088 commands is same as 8086 commands, not only a 8 bit subset. Same for 68000/68010 versus 68020 and later. The 8088 code uses fully the capabilities of the 8086. 68000 software immediatelly uses the full data bus width of the 68020 if you run it onto, without any change. No modification needed. Even harder, 68008 has only 8 bit data bus, but one machine command is however able to load/save a 32 bit value over that narrow databus (four bytes one afgter the other) and automatically puts it correctly in a 32 bit register.

Eudimorphodon
September 25th, 2015, 01:54 PM
So for all intents and purposes, if a computer could run 16-bit code and could access more than 64K of RAM without bank switching, it was a fully 16-bit machine, as Gary Kildall attested.

Technically speaking the "definitive" 16 bit machine, the PDP-11 (And other minicomputer-centric designs like the TI-990) couldn't support more than 64k without bank switching either, IE, the large memory versions all required MMUs combined with ISA extensions that are largely analogous to x86-16's memory segmentation.

In any case, yes, it's a very silly argument. I'm sure any number of people here could find examples of eight-bit CPU-equipped machines bristling with chipset-based acceleration capable of outperforming minimally-equipped 16 (or even 32) bit machines at certain specific tasks. And even if we're just talking about CPUs there are all sorts of other factors in play: the purely 16-bit 80286 can comfortably outrun the "sorta-32 bit" 68000 on most arithmetic-centric benchmarks simply because its almost four year newer architecture gives it a substantial IPC advantage.

(For tasks like calculating a spreadsheet the original Macintosh-through-Mac Plus was often right in the same ballpark as the 8088-based IBM PC, and if you threw an 8087 into the PC you could potentially run rings around said Mac. Granted, some of that is due to the DMA overhead of the Mac's video system, which was excessive enough to merit a redesign in the 1987-vintage SE, but at a design level the 68000 is still solidly 8086-era technology. The Amiga looks so good almost *entirely* because of all the goo around the CPU, not the CPU itself.)

In short, the whole "number of bits" thing might be vaguely useful shorthand for describing CPU ISAs and video game eras but by itself it's wholly inadequate for accurately comparing the performance and capabilities of two random machines. I've thrown away plenty of 32-bit Pentium 4 machines capable of hanging just about any 64-bit Ultrasparc II or MIPS R1x000 box out to dry on most any practical benchmark you want to name, does that demonstrate that 32 bit machines are superior to 64 bit ones? Obviously not, it just proves that 7 or 8 years is a *long* time when you're talking about CPU designs no matter how many bits the ISA's integers are.

I've arbitrarily decided that my old Xeon Mac Pro is a 10/14 bit machine, based on the number of serial lines it has running to the FB-DIMM RAM's onboard buffers. That's the number of bits it can electrically transfer at the same time so that's what it is, don't care about all that jazz about frames and channels and whatever. Therefore it is clearly in the same ballpark as an Intellivision console.

Eudimorphodon
September 25th, 2015, 02:08 PM
... and, yeah, back on topic, that Kickstarter was exceedingly painful. (I lost it *way* before they even got to the NASCAR cross promotion and then... wow.) It may actually be even more painful than the Commodore PET smartphone, and that takes a lot of work. Should Commodore fans take it as a complement that people keep dragging pieces of the corpse out of the crypt to crudely desecrate in desperate attempts to wring just a little more money out of the franchise? Because, well, it kinda doesn't feel like one.

krebizfan
September 25th, 2015, 03:20 PM
... and, yeah, back on topic, that Kickstarter was exceedingly painful. (I lost it *way* before they even got to the NASCAR cross promotion and then... wow.) It may actually be even more painful than the Commodore PET smartphone, and that takes a lot of work. Should Commodore fans take it as a complement that people keep dragging pieces of the corpse out of the crypt to crudely desecrate in desperate attempts to wring just a little more money out of the franchise? Because, well, it kinda doesn't feel like one.

Well, with the changes at Apple, all that Reality Distortion Field had to end up somewhere and Amiga proves to be the lucky recipient. If advocacy Usenet groups from 20 years ago could be monetized, nothing could generate the revenue stream of Amiga.

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 03:23 AM
This is kind of a pointless and/or silly argument really. Using this logic a modern PC is an 8-bit machine because the simplest peripherals connected to the LPC bus are 8-bit only.

No, that is not the same logic.
My logic is based on the fact that the widest bus available in the system is 8-bit, not the most narrow one.
A difference of best-case vs worst-case.


I tend to agree with Trixter though... having witnessed many of these discussions over the years I think you will not arrive at any significant level of consensus and the discussion will quickly devolve into a flamewar.

I wasn't expecting any discussion at all. As the book I linked earlier says, PC/XT systems were widely regarded as 8-bit. I figured most people here have been around in those days, and were used to this 8-bit/16-bit division between XTs and ATs, and the book also gives a ton of arguments as to why this is.

Besides, my point was mainly about marketing, regardless of what anyone (including Gary Kildall) thinks, my point was only that I have never seen an IBM PC/XT marketed as a 16-bit machine. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 03:25 AM
Yes it is, as the 8088 runs the same software as the 8086.

From a software point-of-view it is, obviously. But we were talking about hardware, and things like capabilities and performance.
The 8086 is faster, and is capable of 16-bit transfers.
This is not something you have to explain to me btw. I was one of the authors of 8088 MPH, remember? I'm quite familiar with the programming environment of an 8088, and fully aware of its 16-bit nature. And also fully aware of the fact that it doesn't really buy you anything over a Z80 or 6502 in terms of performance, since the bottleneck is that 8-bit memory.

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 03:32 AM
(For tasks like calculating a spreadsheet the original Macintosh-through-Mac Plus was often right in the same ballpark as the 8088-based IBM PC, and if you threw an 8087 into the PC you could potentially run rings around said Mac. Granted, some of that is due to the DMA overhead of the Mac's video system, which was excessive enough to merit a redesign in the 1987-vintage SE, but at a design level the 68000 is still solidly 8086-era technology. The Amiga looks so good almost *entirely* because of all the goo around the CPU, not the CPU itself.)

This is something I don't quite agree on. Yes, a 286 is indeed faster than a 68000, but there's a huge leap from an 8088/8086 to 286 (and even a bit of a leap from 8088 to 8086).
The Mac was a poor design indeed. The Amiga... the irony of the system is that because the chipset is so advanced, it actually gets in the way of the CPU. The blitter and display hardware steal a lot of memory cycles, which makes the CPU come to a grinding halt in some cases.
The Atari ST is a good example of what the 68000 is capable of with a simple, but efficient chipset. And as advanced as the Amiga's chipset is, quite a lot of tricks can be done on the Atari ST as well with clever code. The 68000 is quite far removed from an 8088/8086. Mainly because it just has a much more advanced instructionset, allowing you to write the same routines with less instructions, and using more registers to reduce memory access.

vwestlife
September 26th, 2015, 09:22 AM
my point was only that I have never seen an IBM PC/XT marketed as a 16-bit machine. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.

Actually you said, "machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines." -- not just IBMs.

InfoWorld, Oct. 22, 1984:

http://i58.tinypic.com/e9evkl.png

commodorejohn
September 26th, 2015, 09:31 AM
The Amiga... the irony of the system is that because the chipset is so advanced, it actually gets in the way of the CPU. The blitter and display hardware steal a lot of memory cycles, which makes the CPU come to a grinding halt in some cases.
The Amiga's chipset only uses the alternate cycles that the 68000 doesn't, up to a certain point. I haven't pulled out my copy of the documentation in a while, but I believe it's when you put it in high-resolution mode and/or higher bitdepths or use the blitter that it starts infringing on actual CPU time - IIRC, in 320-pixel mode in 16 colors with no blitter activity, you're entirely free of overlap.

1ST1
September 26th, 2015, 11:03 AM
Besides, my point was mainly about marketing, regardless of what anyone (including Gary Kildall) thinks, my point was only that I have never seen an IBM PC/XT marketed as a 16-bit machine. I have yet to see evidence to the contrary.

Yes there were some... Olivetti M24, AT&T 6300, Xerox 6060 (they are all technically the same) were based on Intel 8086 with 16 Bit data bus and they even have proprietary 16 Bit ISA BUS. They were sold as 16 bit alternative to IBM XT, twice as fast.

krebizfan
September 26th, 2015, 11:37 AM
The Amiga's chipset only uses the alternate cycles that the 68000 doesn't, up to a certain point. I haven't pulled out my copy of the documentation in a while, but I believe it's when you put it in high-resolution mode and/or higher bitdepths or use the blitter that it starts infringing on actual CPU time - IIRC, in 320-pixel mode in 16 colors with no blitter activity, you're entirely free of overlap.

Making the chipset that tightly coupled to the CPU performance made it more difficult to replace the CPU with a faster CPU. Counterproductive in the long run.

commodorejohn
September 26th, 2015, 12:05 PM
No, it was dead simple to replace the CPU - accelerators just decouple from the chipset entirely except when accessing chip RAM. You still hit the bus bottleneck then, but that's just as true of anything trying to maintain compatibility with a legacy bus (see also: every ISA PC.)

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 12:07 PM
Yes there were some... Olivetti M24, AT&T 6300, Xerox 6060 (they are all technically the same) were based on Intel 8086 with 16 Bit data bus and they even have proprietary 16 Bit ISA BUS. They were sold as 16 bit alternative to IBM XT, twice as fast.

Read more closely: I said "IBM PC/XT", not any clones.
Besides, if they are 8086-based instead of 8088-based, with a 16-bit bus and chipset, then they are indeed fully 16-bit, so there is no problem if they are marketed as such.

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 12:32 PM
The Amiga's chipset only uses the alternate cycles that the 68000 doesn't, up to a certain point. I haven't pulled out my copy of the documentation in a while, but I believe it's when you put it in high-resolution mode and/or higher bitdepths or use the blitter that it starts infringing on actual CPU time - IIRC, in 320-pixel mode in 16 colors with no blitter activity, you're entirely free of overlap.

Yes, something like that. The CPU uses only the odd cycles, where the chipset uses the even cycles, and odd cycles in some cases, which is basically the copper, blitter, and using the more 'high-end' videomodes which require 'high-resolution DMA' (hi-res or low-res with more than 4 bitplanes).
Also, there was the option of fast RAM, which could not be accessed by the chipset and therefore had no CPU waitstates.
The design of the common Amiga 500 did not allow adding fast ram via the trapdoor though, so software generally had to be designed to run entirely from chip/slowram.
So in practice this meant that using the blitter would cut into the CPU performance.

Scali
September 26th, 2015, 12:51 PM
Actually you said, "machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines." -- not just IBMs.

InfoWorld, Oct. 22, 1984:

That does not look like an actual ad from ITT, but rather some news report from Infoworld themselves.
Besides, I'm not going to bother with every single clone builder here. There may have been some that sold lies, the exception that proves the rule. General consensus was that IBM PC/XT machines were 8-bit class.

vwestlife
September 26th, 2015, 05:59 PM
I'm not going to bother with every single clone builder here. There may have been some that sold lies, the exception that proves the rule. General consensus was that IBM PC/XT machines were 8-bit class.

There's no use in anyone trying to win the argument here, because you keep changing the parameters of the discussion to suit your pre-determined conclusion. First you made the blanket statement that "machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines". Now you say "I said 'IBM PC/XT', not any clones" and use the weasel words "general consensus" and "8-bit class".

Scali
September 27th, 2015, 04:19 AM
There's no use in anyone trying to win the argument here, because you keep changing the parameters of the discussion to suit your pre-determined conclusion.

No I don't.
You see, you don't understand about human interaction and generalizations.
What I meant to say is exactly what is in the book I linked to: PC/XT machines are seen as 8-bit systems. To my knowledge, IBM has never advertised them as being 16-bit.
I have always said '8-bit machines' (as in '8-bit systems' or '8-bit class'), never '8-bit microprocessors'. You wrongly confused the two. I never changed the parameters. This is just a lack of insight and comprehension on your side.
That is not 'my pre-determined conclusion' as you so arrogantly put it. That is the consensus as it has been over the years, as demonstrated by the fact that it is defined exactly that way in the book I linked to (and probably tons of other books on PC hardware, such as Peter Norton's material). You are making this into a personal thing, while it isn't even a statement I personally wish to represent. I am just mentioning it as a historical context (which is indeed pre-determined, as it was written down in books long before I made my post here, as demonstrated).

Clearly nobody in their right mind would think that I would actually have studied every single advert ever made by every single PC/XT-clone maker when I made that statement, nor that I myself would think that there would or could not be any obscure exceptions to this. That's just common sense given the sheer amount of clone makers and marketing statements that they have produced. You have an issue with taking things too literally and missing the overall context. This comes across as anti-social, especially in the aggressive manner in which you display it.
Having said that, even though you tried, you did not manage to produce any marketing material from any vendor that made any claims that go against it.

So even though I am willing to amend my original statement from:
"Again, machines built around an 8088 were never marketed as 16-bit machines."
To:
"Again, machines built around an 8088 were rarely marketed as 16-bit machines."
To cater for the small amount of exceptions that there may be to this rule, to stop the ...retentiveness of some, so to say.
The original statement still stands because no proof of an exception was produced so far (which is NOT an invitation to continue trying, just to be clear).

I am by no means a weasel, I always stand by what I say. You have been reported. Your repeated attacks, accusations and generally anti-social behaviour are not exactly what I want in a friendly vintage-computing community.

mbbrutman
September 27th, 2015, 07:28 AM
Reported? For what?

Grow up and learn to play with others. vwestlife is a valued member here.

Trixter
September 27th, 2015, 10:27 AM
"Again, machines built around an 8088 were rarely marketed as 16-bit machines."

But even this isn't true. They were always marketed as 16-bit systems. This is what I remember growing up in the USA, an experience that was markedly different than yours in the 1980s but is no less valid.

As proof, try reading the first issue of PC Magazine published in February of 1982: https://books.google.com/books?id=w_OhaFDePS4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=pc+magazine+1982&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAGoVChMIqPjj8-SXyAIVTI-ACh3dHwDR#v=onepage&q=16-bit&f=false

It is choked with references to the system as a 16-bit system, from the articles to the advertisements. There are articles describing why "16-bit software is different than 8-bit software", "the move from 8-bit to 16-bit", and Microsoft's own advertisement in the magazine says "software for the 16-bit world". From the very beginning, the system was described and marketed as a 16-bit system, and the industry followed suit. (Please don't try to discredit PC Magazine as a fluke, it was a very respected print magazine for over 20 years. I'm sure if you want more proof we can go digging around other magazines but I'd rather not.)

I also remember the Amiga and Atari ST being marketed as 16-bit systems when they were released, lest you think me biased.


Your repeated attacks, accusations and generally anti-social behaviour are not exactly what I want in a friendly vintage-computing community.

Arguments require at least two people.

It distresses me immensely to see my friends fighting with each other. Can we please talk about bit-ness in some other thread, some other day, under different and more well-defined terms?

Scali
September 27th, 2015, 12:16 PM
But even this isn't true. They were always marketed as 16-bit systems. This is what I remember growing up in the USA, an experience that was markedly different than yours in the 1980s but is no less valid.

I don't feel like continuing the discussion any longer, but it seems that your references speak mostly about 16-bit software. And indeed, the whole point of an 8088 is that it is software-compatible with an 8086.
And there are mentions of CP/M-86 and MS-DOS, which is QDOS, which is 86-DOS. They are, as the name implies, software for 8086 systems, not specifically 8088.

Perhaps the difference is that I got into 8088-based PCs after the AT was already on the market. It may be that the distinction between 8-bit and 16-bit got stronger because of that (16-bit more or less became equivalent with AT, because of the new 16-bit ISA bus and other changes to the PC-architecture. PCs based around an actual 8086 were extremely rare anyway, it was mostly 8088 before the 286 arrived).
But what I remember is exactly what is stated in the book I linked to, it has never been a point of discussion.

Eudimorphodon
September 27th, 2015, 03:21 PM
(Please don't try to discredit PC Magazine as a fluke, it was a very respected print magazine for over 20 years. I'm sure if you want more proof we can go digging around other magazines but I'd rather not.)

January 1982 issue of Byte Magazine, review of the brand new IBM Personal Computer, introductory paragraph:

"What microcomputer has color graphics like the Apple II, an 80-column display like the TRS-80 Model II, a redefinable character set like the Atari 800, a 16-bit micro-processor like the Texas Instruments TI 99/4, an expanded memory space like the Apple III, a full-function
uppercase and lowercase keyboard like the TRS-80 Model III, and BASIC color graphics like the TRS-80 Color Computer? Answer: the IBM Per-
sonal Computer, which is a synthesis of the best the microcomputer industry has offered to date..."

I completely agree that the IBM PC and 8088-based friends were generally considered/called sixteen bit machines in the contemporary literature, and for what I would consider the correct reason, IE, they had a CPU with a 16 bit instruction set architecture. Yes, it's certainly true that "16 bit" was sometimes trotted out as a point of differentiation for marketing when 8086 and better clones started appearing (I think I vaguely recall an ad for the Tandy 2000 that crowed about it being a TRUE 16 bit machine, for instance) and I'm pretty sure I also recall the Amiga and Atari ST aficionados jumping on the "it's only eight bit!" bandwagon, but that doesn't negate the fact that 8088-equipped computers are *functionally* 16 bit. The 8088 is 100% software compatible with the 8086 and only differs in details of the bus management circuitry and the size of the prefetch queue, and nobody debates whether the 8086 is a 16 bit machine. Sure, it's a *slow* one, and the eight-bit bus is certainly a contributor to that, but unless you're actually building a plug-in card for it that technical detail really doesn't matter.

Since when was how something was marketed the ultimate factor in deciding the truth anyway? Marketing is lies almost by definition.

Scali
September 27th, 2015, 11:14 PM
but that doesn't negate the fact that 8088-equipped computers are *functionally* 16 bit.

No, but that was never the point.
By that logic, 68000-based computers are *functionally* 32-bit as well. But the *systems* aren't seen as 32-bit.
The argument was always about the hardware, never about the software.
I mean, you will agree that the fact that a certain system can run 16-bit software does in no way imply that the system itself has to be 16-bit.
Heck, the world still revolves around x86 processors, which are still capable of running 16-bit 8086 software. Most of them aren't actually are 16-bit though.


Since when was how something was marketed the ultimate factor in deciding the truth anyway? Marketing is lies almost by definition.

My argument was rather the opposite: Since even the marketers didn't really dare to market these machines as fully 16-bit or 32-bit respectively, apparently it was quite a controversial issue.
In fact, the "ST" in Atari ST is said to stand for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", referring to the 68000.

vwestlife
September 28th, 2015, 06:26 AM
There seems to be a continental difference in perspective here. In Europe, 8-bit machines like the C64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, and Atari XL/XE were more expensive and stuck around longer, thus were seen are more serious competitors to the IBM PC and clones. Plus the European based companies and magazines of course wanted to boast the advantages of their own home-grown systems over the American PC, thus were likely to downplay its 16-bit CPU and dismiss it as no better than its 8-bit competitors because of its 8-bit bus.

Whereas in America, the PC put most of its 8-bit competitors out of business by 1985, and the rest were relegated to elementary schools and toy stores. The PC's takeover of the market was much more swift and complete here, to such an extent that it took just a few short years for the once industry-dominating 8-bit CP/M business computers to completely disappear from the market, and forced objectively superior systems like the Amiga and Atari ST to cling to small niche uses such as graphical design and A/V production. The technical arguments of whether or not the PC was a "real 16-bit machine" were almost irrelevant because the PC's biggest advantage was the IBM logo on the front.

And yes, marketing is more brazen in the USA, as evidenced by Apple touting the Mac's "32-bit" 68000 CPU, and NEC selling the 8-bit PC Engine game console as the "TurboGrafx 16". (But then again, Sinclair tried to claim that the QL had a "32-bit" CPU, despite the 68008's 8-bit bus...)

p.s. If you insist that "machines built around an 8088 were rarely marketed as 16-bit machines", then feel free to find an example in which an 8088 based machine was marketed as an "8-bit machine" or "8-bit system"... because that's the logical conclusion of your argument.

Scali
September 28th, 2015, 06:45 AM
There seems to be a continental difference in perspective here. In Europe, 8-bit machines like the C64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, and Atari XL/XE were more expensive and stuck around longer, thus were seen are more serious competitors to the IBM PC and clones. Plus the European based companies and magazines of course wanted to boast the advantages of their own home-grown systems over the American PC, thus were likely to downplay its 16-bit CPU and dismiss it as no better than its 8-bit competitors because of its 8-bit bus.

I'm not sure if that has much to do with it, considering the fact that Atari and Commodore were actually US machines as well.
BBC, CPC and Sinclair didn't see a lot of popularity outside of the UK. Commodore and Atari were the biggest players on the European mainland.
The UK is the only European country that produced any successful platforms at all. But even in the UK, the C64 and Amiga were and still are wildly popular. A lot of classic Amiga games were made in the UK.

Also, the book I referenced was written by a US author...


Whereas in America, the PC put most of its 8-bit competitors out of business by 1985

Perhaps. It would explain why there's no demoscene at all in the US: there simply wasn't any hardware capable of demos in the first place.
Over here the PC was only popular at the office in the 80s. C64s and Amigas were cheaper and the games were much better, so why would you want a PC at home?
The IBM PC simply wasn't a competitor in the home market. Far more expensive than the other options, and far less capable.


p.s. If you insist that "machines built around an 8088 were rarely marketed as 16-bit machines", then feel free to find an example in which an 8088 based machine was marketed as an "8-bit machine" or "8-bit system"... because that's the logical conclusion of your argument.

That is not a logical conclusion, but the logical fallacy known as a "False dilemma".

Eudimorphodon
September 28th, 2015, 09:41 AM
The argument was always about the hardware, never about the software.
I mean, you will agree that the fact that a certain system can run 16-bit software does in no way imply that the system itself has to be 16-bit.
Heck, the world still revolves around x86 processors, which are still capable of running 16-bit 8086 software. Most of them aren't actually are 16-bit though.

Okay, so that brings up another point: is a Pentium-based computer a "64 bit system"? The CPU has a 64 bit wide data bus so going by your logic that should be the deciding factor, not the length of its registers. Or, how about some of those Macintosh systems that mixed bus sizes like crazy, like the LCII and Mac Classic II: they have a 68030 CPU, a "32 bit" CPU that transparently supports dynamic bus resizing, and thanks to a diabolical piece of VLSI logic those systems have 32 bit access to ROM, 16 bit access to RAM, and most of the peripherals are 8 bit. How many bits is that "System"?

Personally I sympathize with your position in that I acknowledge that everything downstream of the bus unit in an 8088-based computer is on a bus 8 bits wide, but I can't really 100% agree that it makes the IBM PC an "8 bit computer" and I totally remember them being advertised as 16 bit machines outside of the specific instances where the narrow bus was being pointed out as a performance bottleneck.


My argument was rather the opposite: Since even the marketers didn't really dare to market these machines as fully 16-bit or 32-bit respectively, apparently it was quite a controversial issue.
In fact, the "ST" in Atari ST is said to stand for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", referring to the 68000.

So... let's acknowledge that with both the 8088 and 68000 we're somewhere on slippery slopes between 8/16 and 16/32 bit respectively. Slopes do have a dimension, however, and I'd argue that the 68000 is closer to being a 16 bit processor *despite its 32 bit ISA* than the 8088 is to being an 8 bit one. The 8088 has exactly the same execution unit/ALU/register file/etc as the 8086 and is therefore genuinely 16 bit internally; only the BIU has been swapped out. When an 8088 is actually crunching numbers it's doing it a full 16 bits at a time, exactly the same as its older brother. The 68000, on the other hand, is more of a mixed bag; it has 32 bit long registers and the microcode describes a 32 bit ISA but it processes everything with a 16 bit ALU. Therefore the 68000 never actually does anything 32 bits at a time (other than some address calculations carried out by their own specialized circuitry), so it *is* actually more of a stretch to call it a 32 bit CPU than it is to call the 8088 a 16 bit one. Maybe *just* enough more of a stretch to scare the marketing people?

In any case as previously noted it's exceedingly silly to rate systems by how many "bits" they are anyway because, as noted, that number alone can have only the most tenuous relationship to the actual capabilities of the system. It's understandable how it became so popular in video game marketing given the adolescent male culture that buys game consoles is all about size matters (MOAR == BETTER, always!), but in serious conversations its value is pretty much nil.

It is sort of amusing that even that January 1982 Byte review, which is generally enthusiastic about the IBM PC, points out that its raw performance seems a bit unimpressive. (IE, they note that the BASIC seems hardly faster than Applesoft on an Apple ][, and also mentions it seemingly losing several off-the-cuff tests against a 4Mhz Z-80.) Their enthusiasm seemed to be entirely predicated on the idea that the larger RAM capacity would be the enabling factor the PC had over the competition, and I think they were dead on about that. As capable as a C64 might be compared to a 5150 when it comes to throwing graphics up on the screen you can still hold a much larger spreadsheet in RAM on the PC.


Over here the PC was only popular at the office in the 80s. C64s and Amigas were cheaper and the games were much better, so why would you want a PC at home?

The IBM PC simply wasn't a competitor in the home market. Far more expensive than the other options, and far less capable.

Well, America is the land of working yourself to death, and when PCs started sprouting like mushrooms in offices the allure of being able to take work home became a deciding factor in most home computer purchases made after 1985 or so. And... maybe my memory is getting fuzzy, but I do remember it was somewhere around '85-'86 or so when suddenly the math just stopped adding up for the 8 bit micros. Sure, you could get a C64+1541 for only about $300 or so, but by that time rotgut PC clones with 256k and dual disk drives were starting to break the $1000 mark and for the difference in price you were getting four times the RAM (and trivially expandable), four times the disk space (and the ability to relatively cheaply add a hard disk), an 80 column screen, etc. Sure, it's an apples-to-oranges comparison, the C64 doesn't "need" as much hardware to be useful, but it still comes off looking like not that great of a bargain when you factor in the impossibility of lugging your office work home to it. Being cheap and "good at games" just make it look even more like a toy instead of a real computer.

(Likewise the math ruthlessly undercut the chances of the Atari ST and Amiga in the US. Sure, objectively they were pretty attractively priced for the level of capability you got, but they both cost "about as much" as a complete PC once you factored in a monitor and similar amount of disk storage, but they weren't compatible with the "gold standard", and as the market ruthlessly moved forward through '86 and '87 they actually both started looking a little pricey for what you got, particularly if you wanted a hard disk. When the Amiga 500 came out in October '87 at $699 for just the system unit it was competing against off-brand Turbo XT clones that'd give you dual floppies and a mono monitor for that price; add a color monitor to the Amiga and you can just about have a hard disk in your XT.)

I totally envy the European home computer market for not having the crushing boot heel of PC compatibility pressed on its throat through the second half of the 1980's but that's how it was on the west side of the pond. Pity that.


That is not a logical conclusion, but the logical fallacy known as a "False dilemma".

Well, isn't this entire argument something of a false dilemma? You support the "not 16 bit" conclusion by claiming that they were not advertised as sixteen bit, but in the process you've summarily excluded from evidence all the editorial content that refers to them as such. (The Byte archive is convenient so... here's a review of the TI Professional that says "Like IBM, TI abandoned its own proprietary microprocessors and based this computer on Intel's 16-bit chip instead." And, in fact, if you search for "16-bit" in this issue you will find multiple press releases and ads that refer to 8088 machines as 16 bit.) (https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazine-1983-12/1983_12_BYTE_08-12_Easy_Software#page/n287/mode/2up)

26905

(And that really is just one; there's another for Sanyo MBC-550's earlier, there's more later...) There are indeed ads and editorial content that call them "16/8 bit" computers instead of just "16" because of the bus size, but there *is* a good reason they're not advertised as simply "eight bit" (by people who actually want to sell them, anyway) and that is because they are not according to the most accepted measures of a system's "bitted-ness". (IE, register/ALU size and programming model.) But in any case, it seems sort of illogical/dirty pool to site a lack of advertising as support for your position while simultaneously denying that it's valid to apply the same argument in reverse.

Anyway, seriously, can't everyone win here? The PC is a 16 bit computer with an eight bit bus and, by extension, an 8 bit system architecture. I see no harm in someone informally referring to it by either number but apparently that must *really matter* in some way I'm missing.

vwestlife
September 28th, 2015, 10:03 AM
Anyway, seriously, can't everyone win here? The PC is a 16 bit computer with an eight bit bus and, by extension, an 8 bit system architecture. I see no harm in someone informally referring to it by either number but apparently that must *really matter* in some way I'm missing.

The whole argument started with the debate over whether the 386SX-based FM Towns Marty really qualifies as the "world's first 32-bit games console" or not. I thought that would be a non-issue, given that 386SX-based systems can run "Win32" software, and 386SX-based 486SLC systems were equipped with 32-bit VESA Local Bus slots (I know, because I had one!).

Scali
September 28th, 2015, 10:36 AM
Okay, so that brings up another point: is a Pentium-based computer a "64 bit system"? The CPU has a 64 bit wide data bus so going by your logic that should be the deciding factor, not the length of its registers.

I am not sure what logic you're referring to, because I never claimed that a single spec would decide the whole thing, on the contrary. Let alone that this would be the data bus.
If anything, the logic is more that in order for an entire machine to be considered X bits, all relevant components must be X bits or more. So, lowest common denominator, rather than the 'peak value'.
I also don't like the continued reference to "my logic" or "my conclusions" or anything.
This is not about me, and all these fallacies aren't even worth a response really.


Well, isn't this entire argument something of a false dilemma?

No, the argument is based on historical evidence such as the book I linked.
It's not an argument at all, people are just making it into an argument because they are contesting something that I considered to be common knowledge.
What is understood, does not need to be discussed.


You support the "not 16 bit" conclusion by claiming that they were not advertised as sixteen bit, but in the process you've summarily excluded from evidence all the editorial content that refers to them as such. (The Byte archive is convenient so... here's a review of the TI Professional that says "Like IBM, TI abandoned its own proprietary microprocessors and based this computer on Intel's 16-bit chip instead." And, in fact, if you search for "16-bit" in this issue you will find multiple press releases and ads that refer to 8088 machines as 16 bit.) (https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazine-1983-12/1983_12_BYTE_08-12_Easy_Software#page/n287/mode/2up)

Again, there is a difference between a microprocessor, software and a system/machine as a whole. I was only talking about the machines as a whole.
Nobody ever claimed the 8088 was anything other than a 16-bit processor (certainly not me, I specifically explained that when I discussed the sprite compiler I wrote for 8088 MPH). So I don't see why this is brought up time and time again.

I will say, people REALLY need to get out more if they think of machines only in terms of the CPU. Really!


but apparently that must *really matter* in some way I'm missing.

For me, it's not the point itself, I don't really care. What bothers me is the way people make this into a personal thing, and make personal attacks at me. Also, people refuse to acknowledge the fact that I referenced a book (by a US author no less), which describes the platforms in exactly the same way as I did.
I don't see why this 'discussion' hasn't ended long ago.