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The Atari Jaguar Ethernet/FLASH card


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#1 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:03 AM

The Atari Jaguar Ethernet-FLASH-card

Posted Image

Hello,

after some hints about my ethernet-card project were given during the last days i thought it would be a good idea to tell you all a bit more about it.

Posted Image

The hardware of the card offers these features:
  • 10 MBit Ethernet based on the Crystal CS8900A chip.
  • 8 MByte FLASH-RAM organized as two banks of 4 MB each.
  • 2 sockets for serial Eeproms.
The first bank of the FLASH-RAM holds the control-software, while the second bank is intented to be used as an Atari FLASH-card substitution.

After a reset the card has access to a 93c86-type (2048 bytes) serial Eeprom. This makes it compatible with new CD-based games for example. To make it compatible with older software which is only able to use a 93c46-type (128 bytes) serial Eeprom, the control-software of the card allows to switch between both desired Eeprom-types.

The control-software of the card currently offers these possibilities:
  • CD-Bypass with MemoryTrack-BIOS
  • MemoryTrack-Manager
  • Webserver including TinyFTP
  • BJL-loader
  • Adam Dunkels' internet-enabled operating system called Contiki

Here is a picture of the new MemoryTrack-manager:
Posted Image

A small amount of cards of the current PCB-generation is produced and already in use by some developers. The feedback and help coming from these developers will allow to design the next card-generation which will hopefully be the last prototype-generation.

Best regards,
Matthias

#2 TXG/MNX OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:21 AM

COOL!! :cool:

#3 BeefMan OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:22 AM

That is friggin sweet! So I could load demos like Phaze Zero and surf the web if i so choose on my jaggy through an ethernet connection?

#4 K3V OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:23 AM

That's some pretty amazing work there Matthias. It's only a matter of time until we're online with our Jags :)

-Kevin

#5 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:26 AM

Sounds as great as it always did! :)

A couple of questions:

What are the 'announced' features planned for the first 4MB bank? Anything more than the possibilities listed here?

Will this bank be switchable by the user? (ie software updates possible, or having 2 4MB images of which either can be used)

How much space is available on the card when it's being used as a Memory Track? 128KB was in the original, IIRC...

How do upload speeds to the various components compare to the already existing solutions for such things? (JUGS/BJL/official flash cart loader)

Could high-speed multi-player networking be possible with this setup too? (4 carts, 4 Jags, 4 TVs, 4 straight-through cables and a hub?) How about connecting to the Net through your LAN, connecting to another user and playing over the internet? Now *that* would be cool :D

Just some ideas for clarification :)

Stone

#6 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:48 AM

Wow,

THis does look great - JagTV :)

Support for Proxy Servers to connect to web?

Downloading of games from the web will be great - This is something worth buying.

Now,
If if woul only plug into the Scatbox I could have my S-Video, Internet and cake too!

#7 rdemming OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 11:50 AM

Really cool device. If it also supports remote debugging of home made software I can throw away the bulky Alpine cart :D

What is the expected retail price of this beauty?

After reading all the posts about a keyboard for the Jaguar, maybe it is possible to add two PS/2 connectors + serial chip on the card to attach a standard PC keyboard/mouse. I suppose that if you really want to use Contiki, you will need the (ethernet) card anyway.

Regards,

Robert

#8 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:11 PM

After reading all the posts about a keyboard for the Jaguar, maybe it is possible to add two PS/2 connectors + serial chip on the card to attach a standard PC keyboard/mouse. I suppose that if you really want to use Contiki, you will need the (ethernet) card anyway.


Well, the original point was that you're gonna need Ethernet to get the full use out of Contiki, so it won't matter if you tie up the DSP with a keyboard anyway :D

Stone

#9 rdemming OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:17 PM

Well, the original point was that you're gonna need Ethernet to get the full use out of Contiki, so it won't matter if you tie up the DSP with a keyboard anyway :D
Stone

Yes, thats true. So no PS/2 ports needed then. But what if you don't have a ST/Amiga mouse to connect to the game port and want to use both a PC serial mouse and keyboard? Interleave the mouse/keyboard data over one DSP serial line?

Robert

#10 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:25 PM

Well, the original point was that you're gonna need Ethernet to get the full use out of Contiki, so it won't matter if you tie up the DSP with a keyboard anyway :D
Stone

Yes, thats true. So no PS/2 ports needed then. But what if you don't have a ST/Amiga mouse to connect to the game port and want to use both a PC serial mouse and keyboard? Interleave the mouse/keyboard data over one DSP serial line?


My current design interfaces a PS/2 port to the DSP - so there's always at least one PS/2 connector ;) AFAIK, mouse support isn't in Jag Contiki atm; to be perfectly honest, using the keyboard for it would be fine. Of course, adding an ST mouse to the joypad port with the existing adaptor design would be a cool option just in case Matthias ever runs out of stuff to do :D

Stone

#11 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:30 PM

That is friggin sweet! So I could load demos like Phaze Zero and surf the web if i so choose on my jaggy through an ethernet connection?


You could put any cartridge-game-image you own onto the second bank, after booting from the card a menu is displayed to offer you the choice between the several integrated features (like starting the game-image on bank two or starting Contiki to browse the web).

Matthias

#12 LinkoVitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:38 PM

One question I haven't seen yet... WHERE DO I GET IT FROM!! GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE!!! :)

That looks awesome.

me wants me wants :)

#13 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:44 PM

Sounds as great as it always did! :)

A couple of questions:

What are the 'announced' features planned for the first 4MB bank? Anything more than the possibilities listed here?


No, i have only listed things i really had running on the card.
Of course i hope that there will a ethernet-networked game available at the release of the card (How about Hearts?).

Will this bank be switchable by the user? (ie software updates possible, or having 2 4MB images of which either can be used)


Software-updates should be possible (= allowed), but using the first bank for a game-image doesn't make sense, don't you think?

How much space is available on the card when it's being used as a Memory Track? 128KB was in the original, IIRC...


Currently it's 128KB, i haven't adapted the MT-BIOS to utilize this card properly.

How do upload speeds to the various components compare to the already existing solutions for such things? (JUGS/BJL/official flash cart loader)


The TinyFTP-upload (the one method i tested) was about 40%-50% of a BJL-speed. That's caused by the small packets used there, with the need to acknowledge each packet.

Could high-speed multi-player networking be possible with this setup too? (4 carts, 4 Jags, 4 TVs, 4 straight-through cables and a hub?) How about connecting to the Net through your LAN, connecting to another user and playing over the internet? Now *that* would be cool :D

From theory this is all possible, even with more than just 4 players.

Just some ideas for clarification :)


Which forced me to tell some speculations ;-)

Matthias

#14 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:50 PM

No, i have only listed things i really had running on the card.
Of course i hope that there will a ethernet-networked game available at the release of the card (How about Hearts?).


Hearts would be cool...mind you, Quake would be cooler :evil:

OK, OK, I'm sorry :D

Software-updates should be possible (= allowed), but using the first bank for a game-image doesn't make sense, don't you think?

Well, 8MB games would be possible, since the bankswitching is under software control...maybe you should give out the binary of the first bank when you sell them just in case :D

The TinyFTP-upload (the one method i tested) was about 40%-50% of a BJL-speed. That's caused by the small packets used there, with the need to acknowledge each packet.

OK; that's still pretty fast though. I'm sure it's tweakable.

Just some ideas for clarification :)


Which forced me to tell some speculations ;-)


Mea culpa ;) Can't help it, this is too cool for its own good :D

Stone

#15 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 12:50 PM

Wow,

THis does look great - JagTV :)

Support for Proxy Servers to connect to web?

Downloading of games from the web will be great - This is something worth buying.

Now,
If if woul only plug into the Scatbox I could have my S-Video, Internet and cake too!


Haven't done this for myself (because of my poor environment at home,
just connect to a PersonalWebserver running on my MSWindows-PC),
but i was told that connecting directly to the Web works fine.

Matthias

#16 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:00 PM

Hello!

Really cool device. If it also supports remote debugging of home made software I can throw away the bulky Alpine cart  :D  

This aspect isn't covered till now.

What is the expected retail price of this beauty?

If i would have an answer to this, i would have listed it in the start-message. Just expect it to be expensive, due to the necessary parts.
But i tried to add as much value to it as possible.

After reading all the posts about a keyboard for the Jaguar, maybe it is possible to add two PS/2 connectors + serial chip on the card to attach a standard PC keyboard/mouse. I suppose that if you really want to use Contiki, you will need the (ethernet) card anyway.


Unfortunately i wasn't able (till now) to add the two PS/2 of "The Jaguar Engine", else they would have been on the card from the beginning (the project started last May, i heard about Contiki at the end of February).

Regards
Matthias

#17 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:08 PM

Software-updates should be possible (= allowed), but using the first bank for a game-image doesn't make sense, don't you think?

Well, 8MB games would be possible, since the bankswitching is under software control...maybe you should give out the binary of the first bank when you sell them just in case :D

Stone


There is no BOOT-(EP)ROM on the card (Look at the photo), so if you destroy the control-software on the first bank, you would need a BJL-modified Jaguar (or something similar) to upload the control-software again!

Matthias

PS: Why aren't you happy with the >600 MB of a CD?

#18 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:14 PM

Hi!

Well, the original point was that you're gonna need Ethernet to get the full use out of Contiki, so it won't matter if you tie up the DSP with a keyboard anyway :D
Stone

Yes, thats true. So no PS/2 ports needed then. But what if you don't have a ST/Amiga mouse to connect to the game port and want to use both a PC serial mouse and keyboard? Interleave the mouse/keyboard data over one DSP serial line?


My current design interfaces a PS/2 port to the DSP - so there's always at least one PS/2 connector ;) AFAIK, mouse support isn't in Jag Contiki atm; to be perfectly honest, using the keyboard for it would be fine. Of course, adding an ST mouse to the joypad port with the existing adaptor design would be a cool option just in case Matthias ever runs out of stuff to do :D

Stone


To be honest: I had forgotten that i already have this mouse-interface ;-)

About the keyboards/mice:
Before Contiki was announced in late February (and i was later able to port it to the Jag) there was no real need for these devices. So i tried not very hard to add PS/2-ports to the card.

Matthias

#19 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:22 PM

Hello!

One question I haven't seen yet... WHERE DO I GET IT FROM!! GIMMIE GIMMIE GIMMIE!!! :)

That looks awesome.

me wants me wants :)


I haven't started this thread with a "Press release", did i?
There are only few cards built till now, and there might be one or two more prototype-generations necessary before a "mass-production" can be started.

Matthias

#20 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 1:52 PM

There is no BOOT-(EP)ROM on the card (Look at the photo), so if you destroy the control-software on the first bank, you would need a BJL-modified Jaguar (or something similar) to upload the control-software again!


Ah, ok. I thought there was...silly me :D

PS: Why aren't you happy with the >600 MB of a CD?

Because cart storage is virtually instantaneous? Because you know what you're getting when you ask for data at a set location? :D

And I just like carts, frankly...I've had enough CD problems that I'm starting to go off them as useful mass storage ;)

Stone

#21 Htbaa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:13 PM

Awww gimme!!!! BJL+ETHERNET+FLASH+MORE=GIMME THAT!!! Man I can't believe this. But do you want to tell the production costs or a possible retail price? I realy want to have thise one :D.

But using internet on the Jaguar with this card, would it be possible to connect the Jaguar on a router?

Is there also an inbuild configuration to edit the internet connection details?

RJ45 huh? So cable/dsl only right? (I have cable, important factor:))

Since I am a reviewer of XGN.nl (Dutch gaming site) and I'm going to do the Atari Jaguar section over there, will you please send me one of yours? :D

#22 Htbaa OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:39 PM

I have also posted a large newspost on my website JagModder. It has all info that mr. Domin said plus some of my own impressions,expectations etc. Man I realy want this product.

But how do you flash the rom or load something up via BJL? With the RJ45 port, over a network?

And a Jaguar CD Unit is NOT needed right?

#23 Stone OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:15 PM

But using internet on the Jaguar with this card, would it be possible to connect the Jaguar on a router?

Yep. In fact I think you have to...

Is there also an inbuild configuration to edit the internet connection details?

That's part of Contiki.

RJ45 huh? So cable/dsl only right? (I have cable, important factor:))

No, Ethernet. If your cable service just needs an Ethernet card plugged into it to work, then it'll work. If you need a modem plugged into the wall and into your LAN then you need to plug the Jag into the LAN. If you have to have the modem connected to your PC (example: it could be USB) then you'd need to plug the Jag into the LAN or into the PC's LAN card with a crossover cable.

But how do you flash the rom or load something up via BJL? With the RJ45 port, over a network?

AFAIK, BJL loading is done as normal (via BJL cable). Atm, flashing the 2nd FlashROM bank is done via Ethernet (though it could be done by BJL...)

Stone

#24 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:15 PM

Awww gimme!!!! BJL+ETHERNET+FLASH+MORE=GIMME THAT!!! Man I can't believe this. But do you want to tell the production costs or a possible retail price? I realy want to have thise one :D.


I can't tell you numbers, because i don't know them. Perhaps you have seen some questions about prices for essential product-parts which i posted to other threads on this forum. For example, the card needs a special shell (hole for the RJ45, additional holes or being transparent for the LEDs).

But using internet on the Jaguar with this card, would it be possible to connect the Jaguar on a router?

Is there also an inbuild configuration to edit the internet connection details?

RJ45 huh? So cable/dsl only right? (I have cable, important factor:))


I started the project to connect a Jaguar to PCs, using it for internet-access is a side-effect. Just wait some months for more details ;-)

Regards
Matthias

#25 Matthias OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 24, 2003 3:28 PM

Hello!

I have also posted a large newspost on my website JagModder. It has all info that mr. Domin said plus some of my own impressions,expectations etc. Man I realy want this product.


As we all know, the current Atari Jaguar Flash Cards are very expensive and Matthias Domin said that the final product can be very expensive, but lets hope it's going to be much more cheaper . Personally, I hope it wont be more than $80.


There seems a digit to be missing in your estimated price...

But how do you flash the rom or load something up via BJL? With the RJ45 port, over a network?


It's possible to upload an program-image using your preferred way (BJL, ethernet, CD). But i haven't tried out all of these possibilities.


And a Jaguar CD Unit is NOT needed right?


Why pay for a CD-bypass with MemoryTrack without having a CD-player?

Cheers
Matthias




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