Speed up 68881- and 68882-optimized software on the 68040 and 68060

By Steve Duff, Contributing Editor, See staff list for e-mail address

This review is very simple. Basically, OxyPatcher is a program which patches the unimplemented FPU calls of the 68060 CPU, so they don't have to be emulated. The goal is to greatly increase the speed of raytracing and other FPU-intensive operations. This job is performed by the CyberPatcher software on phase 5 '060 accelerators, but for those of us who don't have a phase 5 board, OxyPatcher is just what the doctor ordered.

Installation is almost alarmingly straightforward. The installer script likes to put the OxyPatcher in your WBStartup drawer. I took it out of there after a series of crashes, giving me the option of using it only when needed.

There's a fair number of settings you can customize, but I chose to stick with the defaults after fiddling around. On one occasion, a change I made caused the Stairway test scene in Cinema 4D v2 to take 48 minutes to render at 640x480x24-bit, when normally it takes about 9 minutes at that resolution. In fact, OxyPatcher seemed to have no effect at all on Cinema 4D, but then my copy, off the Amiga Format Christmas '96 CD, has never worked properly.

I first saw the real power of OxyPatcher when using Aladdin 4D. Rendering the Robot War test scene at 800x600x24-bit took 58 minutes on a CGX screen without the OxyPatcher. With the patcher turned on, rendering time plummeted to 28 minutes! A quick render of the Space Scene at 1024x768x16-bit zoomed by in only 6 minutes.

OxyPatcher also delivered a slight improvement in Quake Amiga. Using the QuakePlayer95 demo, NTSC performance improved from 9.28 fps to 10.3 fps, and on CGX 320x240, framerate climbed from 8.16 fps to 9.78 fps.

You'll notice all your graphical operations feeling snappier if OxyPatcher is running; JPEG's, PNG's and GIF's load much more quickly. If not for the somewhat finicky nature of my machine, I'd put OxyPatcher back in the WBStartup drawer and let it run full-time.

Oxyron is a team of demo and game coders who made their mark with the games Trapped and Trapped 2, and who have Fratzengeballer on the way. Their OxyPatcher is a no-brainer purchase for anyone with a non-phase 5 '060 accelerator who likes to do raytracing or FPU-intensive gaming (its effect on The Shadow of The Third Moon is supposed to be more dramatic than its effect on Quake). For the meager price of about 26 bucks, you'll see rendering speed double on Aladdin 4D. Many sources report similar speed bumps in almost every Amiga rendering app. If that's not bang for the buck, I don't know what is. OxyPatcher is supposed to improve speed for '040 machines as well, though I was unable to confirm that personally for this review.

Summary: Makes an '060@50MHz behave like an '060@100MHz in certain apps. May cause reboot gurus, however.

Rating: 95%

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