PowerPC on the Horizon

The PowerPC line of microprocessors promises to bring significantly increased processing power to the Amiga. But how have the developers prepared for it?

By Michael Webb, Editor-in-Chief, MikeWebb@CompuServe.COM

One of the biggest news items floating around the Amiga community these days concerns the development of PowerPC boards for many Amigas. After relying on the excellent 680x0 series of processors for its processing power for its entire existence, the Amiga is preparing to move on. Motorola's 680x0 lineup, culminating in the 68060, has apparently reached the end of the road in terms of development and advance, and the line has begun to show its age.

Members of the Amiga community have cited the PowerPC for years as the Amiga's future direction, but due to the stagnation imparted by Commodore's demise, it was all too long a dream deferred. However, it appears that that dream may now be about to come true. Phase 5's long-awaited PowerUp PowerPC boards are right on the verge of availability.

As we have heard, the PowerPC will not replace the 680x0 in existing Amigas. The main processor will continue to run the OS and all applications written for the 680x0. Therefore, as powerful as these boards promise to be, they would be of little use without software. Consequently, developers have been working with the architecture for some time now, and when the PowerPC boards hit the market (which could be extremely soon), there will be software waiting to run on them. This would help to give the PowerUp boards a foothold in the market, and more applications would ideally follow.

Several companies have been working diligently, preparing for the arrival of the PPC on the Amiga. We have received several press releases concerning this, so included here will be some of these, intentionally unedited. If early progress on the PPC front is any indication, I believe we can look forward to a successful transition to PowerPC processing on the Amiga.

Cloanto Releases PowerPC Blitting Library For Personal Paint 7

The "personal_ppc_blit.library" for Personal Paint 7 and other Cloanto programs has just been released on Aminet (biz/cloan/PBlit_PPC.lha). Like previous 68K CPU blitting libraries, this library allows Personal Paint to work on bitmaps in Fast RAM instead of Chip RAM in supporting RTG environments. The PowerPC version adds to this advantage a considerable performance boost.

Benchmarked on a PowerPC 603e running at 150 MHz, this software-only blitter performed twice as fast as an AGA hardware blitter. The tests were conducted on a PowerUP board by Phase 5, running a mixed combination of average blitter operations (not just simple copies, but complex blitter logic). These results are particularly impressive in consideration of the performance overhead associated to 68K-PowerPC interprocess communication, task switching and memory sharing, which among other things involve frequent CPU cache flushing. As more parts of the Amiga OS are ported to native PowerPC code, and with the fast evolution of Amiga PowerPC compilers, these results can only get more and more exciting.

We proudly believe to be the first company shipping PowerPC code to Amiga users. In spite of the very difficult times for Amiga software developers, at Cloanto we continue to invest more than ever in the Amiga, and we are working on new versions of popular titles like Personal Paint. We would like to thank the entire Amiga community for its continued support and trust in our software.

For more information write to info@cloanto.com, or visit the Cloanto web site at http://www.cloanto.com.

SViewNG Goes PowerUP (TM)

Optional PPC plugin modules available for SViewNg V7.00 plus -Library V17.1 (26.5.97) !


The most time-consuming routines of certain modules of SuperView-Library have been ported to native PowerPC code and perhaps will profit a lot from the presence of an installed powerUP system.

These "native modules" are located in a new subdirectory of LIBS: called "svppc/", with subdirectories for each of SuperView-Library's module types.

If any "native modules" are present, these will be used whenever applicable. Should none of these modules be available, then this does not matter, since the plain 68k code (which may be optimized for a certain 68k CPU, though) will be used instead (fallback option).

Note, that SuperView-Library's native modules won't replace any of the existing libraries or modules as such - they 'only' do supply specialized plugin modules in native code for certain tasks.

You can expect high speed increases with most basic operations, especially when internal, often used and time-intensive routines do take place.


More than 20 modules are made available in a special powerUP PPC plugin module package, which e.g. can be bought by registered SuperView/SViewNG users or will be included with some commercial programs (not on Aminet).

Also, there will follow some PPC modules, which will only be available for exclusive shipment with some commercial programs (as also are the concerned SV modules).

For details, see gfx/misc/SViewNG.lha on Aminet.


This text is (C) 1997 by Andreas R. Kleinert. All rights reserved. It may be distributed in unmodified form, only. All mentioned trademarks are subject to their respective owners.

Release of SViewNG PowerUP (TM) Modules

Registered users of SuperView/SViewNG have been informed that optional powerUP (TM) plugin modules for SuperView-Library are available now. Official release date is 1st June 1997.

The PPC module plugin package does include at least 26 PPC plugin modules for existing SuperView-Library SVObjects and SVOperators, as well as commonly shared support functions.

New modules are currently under development and are going to be added to the release package when available, so the module count may be permanently growing.

As an example, how operations are to be speeded up by powerUP (TM) PPC plugin modules, we took a 716x580 sized 24 Bit graphics and turned it by 125.3 degrees with SuperView-Library's "RotateFree" operator, which makes heavy use of integer and floating point operations as well as various transient math functions.

Here are the measured times:

This obviously is more than 10 times faster. Actually it's more, since we a) rounded the times up (it must have been around 1 second, actually) and b) there had not been much 64 Bit RAM on the CyberStorm board. The operation perhaps mainly took place on the slow A4000 motherboard RAM...

The optional PPC plugin modules are available now for registered users - for a fee, which is equal to the normal SViewNG registration fee. Some commercial programs, which offer licensed SuperView-Library support, will probably be shipped with these modules later on, too. There will also follow module packages with exclusive add-ons for specific commercial programs.