Yokemate of Keyboards
Posts: 4604 from 2009/1/28
From: Delaware, USA
A lot of people have memories of the Amiga that don't match the reality. The first is it's CPU: many people still believe the 68k to be a super CPU, but in reality it was a 1979 design actually not much faster than the Zilog Z80 inside a ZX Spectrum, and by that by the mid-80s had been clearly surpassed by the 286. Apple even had an 8-bit CPU that was faster. Updates from Motorola were anaemic and more meant for Apple's needs. Pushing a 680EC20/14 out in a 1991 A1200 was almost a joke, although AGA hid it for a long time.
The second was the Amiga's graphics, which by 1985 were clearly ground-breaking, but by 1990 compared poorly to VGA in terms of colour and data transfer rate. AGA, as Haynie admitted, was too little too late. A good in-place upgrade in compatibility terms, but only a stop-gap.
Hobre was an attempt at solving both problems at once, even fixing Commodore's decade-long indecision on whether their computers should be for productivity or games. Hombre was intended to be both, and to not only restore the Amiga's technological edge, but push it even further over the rest of the market than the A1000 had.
Unfortunately by this point, senior CBM management was no longer listening to the engineers. They'd ridden the C64 all through the 80s, failing with everything else but the Amiga, gotten rid of Tramiel, treated their engineers like garbage, and no doubt believed they should ride the Amiga all through the 90s. The company was haemorrhaging cash left right and centre, and the execs were only in it for themselves - stories abound of corruption and cocaine and hookers. So it never happened. And Commodore finally went bankrupt, and were still making both Commodore 64s and ECS, 68000/7 computers when they did.
TL;DR: It was a non-compatible Amiga replacement that Commodore engineers wanted to develop but didn't because management were self-absorbed idiots.
remember the 68000, especially in regard to its status compared to other cpus, as I sold both 68K and Intel based systems.
You are WAY off when you make that comparison between the 68000 and the Intel '286.
Because of its address mode limitations, the '286 was fairly useless to my company as we couldn't port our 68K code (which relied on position independent addressing) to it.
We actually looked forward to the introduction of the '386 (particularly the i386SX as it could be had relatively cheaply), and attended several meetings with other companies anticipating its availability.
Your opinion of the 68020 is equally off base, as the '20 is, in many operations, several times faster than the 68000. It was a nice leap forward, and was the cpu we used in our higher end offerings.
As to Motorola's later developments, they weren't produced primarily for Apple.
In fact the '040 was only used in a limited number of systems and the '060 wasn't used at all. The '60 being introduced too late to even be considered by Apple, which was already shifting to the PPC.
Although, before the Pentium, 68K cpus were
holding their own in comparison to Intel.
As the ISA grew more dated, the focus did shift.
The reason Coldfire has some functionality reduced, is that Motorola was shifting 68K focus toward its most successful market, embedded products. This is where 68K and related cpus continued for some time to come.
Next, the Z80, an eight bit cpu with a 64K address range, is hardly comparable to a 68000. Its a knock off design promoted as a cheap alternative to Intel, plain and simple. Doesn't really have that much to offer outside of being able to run CP/M.
right that Amiga graphics were dated ,but you are preaching to the choir here on that, as MorphOS only supports re-targetable graphics.
Its interesting to note that PA-RISC doesn't exist anymore (or Itanium), and that PowerPC is winding down, but 68K seems to just keep trudging along, with a recent re-introduction of the 68000 and 68020 cpus by a licensee.
To close, I'm of the opinion that if the Amiga had survived, either at Commodore or at one of the future IP holders, that it definitely would have transitioned to a PPC cpu.
The alternative cpus, outside of Intel, held little appeal.
And at the time, CISC seems to be a dead end approach that even Intel thought was limited[ Edited by Jim 17.07.2017 - 11:41 ]
"Never attribute to malice what can more readily explained by incompetence"