Sonnet Mediator PowerPC cards isn’t supported officially by Elbox. This Polish Amiga supportive company from Krakow had big plans to release SharkPPC cards for many years now, but they never did a official release. So, Dennis Boom stepped and gives Mediator PowerPC support a big push forward.
You can also check out our previous powerpc.library article here. He is making sure that Mediator PCI (gives PCI slots for Amiga 1200, Amiga 3000 and Amiga 4000) users can use Sonnet PowerPC G3 and PowerPC G4 PCI cards. We have been following him and saw on 30th of June that he released an important update for Sonnet PowerPC cards. Amazing!
Up to 1GHz is now supported for Mediator PowerPC supported cards
The powerpc.library is a library made by Dennis Boon that you find on Aminet here. It’s a library that interfaces between the CPU and the memory on a Sonnet 7200 G3/G4 or PowerPMC-250 G4 PCI card and the Amiga CPU and memory using the MPC107 chipset on the PowerPC card. It also offers WarpOS compatible functions, which makes the card compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 and up.
It’s a great way for Mediator PCI users to run PowerPC apps and games faster if you’ve got Sonnet PowerPC card somewhere.
What is a Sonnet PowerPC PCI card?
It essentially adds a second CPU to your Amiga through the PCI slot. This being either a 400 or 500 MHz G3 (MPC750), a 400 MHz G4 (MPC7400) or a 450 MHz G4 (MPC7410). Starting with 17.9 800MHz and up (e.g. PPC750FX) is supported. This CPU can be used to run (certain) WarpOS software.
Restrictions by using a Sonnet PowerPC PCI card with Mediator PCI
The PPC CPU on the PPC PCI card cannot DMA to Amiga memory. Any access to non-PPC/PCI memory by the PPC is very slow. The library is trying to avoid
this by means of patching the AllocMem(), LoadSeg() and process creation functions (the latter is optional). This way, PPC data and code is pushed to the memory residing on the PPC card itself. This is not 100% watertight and failure of these patches can lead to a DSI/ISI exception or very slow execution of the PPC program.
Not all functions of the original WarpOS powerpc.library are yet implemented or will be implemented (for example memory protection). 100% compatibility will probably be never achieved, mostly due to hardware banging of certain WarpOS software.
Sound is restricted to AHI. Paula 8 bit DMA is the recommended setting. At this moment, the SB128 and FM801 drivers produce a distortion in the sound output. Paula 8 bit Fast modes have seen some success too.
Albeit that a the library supports AltiVec code, this has not been fully tested as there exist to this moment no WarpOS programs with AltiVec code.
WipeOut 2097 WarpOS version working Nicely with Sonnet PowerPC card installed
This is what you need to get Sonnet PowerPC card Working
- Any Amiga with Zorro III/PCI slots compatible with a Mediator.
- Elbox Mediator 3000Di/4000Di with 3.3V rail.
- 68040 or better that includes 68060 and even 68080 FPGA in the future
- A Radeon 92xx or 3DFX Voodoo3/4/5 card.
- Mediator Warp3D 4.2 for 3D graphics in combination with a 3DFX Voodoo card.
- Sonnet 7200 PCI Card. Supported are MG3-400-512K; MG3-400-1M; MG3-500-1M; MG4-400-1M.
- 5V 168 pins FPM DIMMs 2K Refresh (up to 256 MB in combination with the Voodoo3; 128MB with other supported video cards) for the Sonnet.
- Force PowerPMC-250 Card boasting a 450MHz G4 CPU and on-board SDRAM. PMC carrier card required.
- pci.library version 13.1 or higher.
- AHI for sound. AHI 4.18 recommended.
powerpc.library to LIBS: folder Explanation
The library interfaces between the CPU and the memory on a Mediator PowerPC card such as Sonnet 7200 G3/G4 or PowerPMC-250 G4 PCI card. Also between the Amiga CPU and memory using the MPC107 chipset on the PowerPC card. It also offers WarpOS compatible functions to AmigaOS, which gives a nice speedup. WipeOut 2097 WarpOS PowerPC version works as you see without issues on the video above.
This mean that it essentially adds a second CPU to your Amiga through the PCI slot. This being either a 400MHz or 500MHz G3 (MPC750), a 400MHz G4 (MPC7400) or a 450MHz G4 (MPC7410). This CPU can be used to run (certain) WarpOS software.