Hombre chipset

In 1993, Commodore International canceled the development of the AAA chipset and began to design a new 64 bit multimedia system with 3D graphics chipset including fully RISC architecture that would once again bring the Amiga back into the limelight. It was to be known as 'Hombre' multimedia system and would be developed in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard over an estimated 18 month period

Hombre (pronounced ómbre which means man in Spanish) was based around two chips the first one (designed by Dr. Ed Hepler, Designer of AAA Andrea chip) is a System Controller chip similar in principle to the Chip Bus Controller found in Agnus, Alice, and Andrea of classic Amiga Chipset. This chip featured an advanced DMA engine and blitter with 3D texture mapping plus gouraud shading and a 16-bit resolution sound processor with eight voices as well as a PA-RISC processor (PA-7150) at 125 MHz clock cycle. The other chip (designed by Tim McDonald, Designer of AAA Monica chip) is a Display Controller chip like Denise, Lisa, and Monica found on "Classic Amigas". The chipset also supported future official or third party upgrades through extension for an external PA-RISC processor. These chips and some other circuitry would be part of a PCI card (through ReTargetable graphics system) also Hombre was to form the basis of Amiga CD32 type game console that was to be launched in 1995 competing with Sony's Playstation and Sega Saturn.

There were plans to port AmigaOS Exec kernel to low-end systems but this was not possible due to financial troubles facing Commodore at that time. However, a licenced OpenGL library was to be used for the low-end entertainment system.

Commodore chose PA-RISC 7150 over MIPS R3000 RISC CPU and first generations embedded PowerPCs (which lacks MMU) because these low cost CPUs were unqualified to run Windows NT , this wasn't the case for the 64-bit MIPS R4200 this one was powerful enough to run Windows NT but was rejected for its high price at the time which was not suitable for a low end machine. The original plan was simply to have Windows NT compatibility until native AmigaOS recompiled for the new big-endian CPU to run 68k AmigaOS legacy software through emulation. Hombre was designed with a clean break from traditional Amiga chipset architecture with no planar graphics modes only 32 bit (24-bit with 8-bit alpha channel) and 16-bit chunky graphic modes was supported with 1280 x 1024 resolution in 16.8 million colors, additionally It can display 4 playfields at 16 bit graphics mode each. However Hombre has an indirect 8-bit (256 colors) chunky mode which could be chosen from 24-bit CLUT. standard TV compatibility and HDTV was also to be included in Hombre.

The chipset can use 64-bit DRAM for high resolution PCI graphics card , with minimal peripherals ASICs and DRAM a low end multimedia computer (like the successful A1200) could be built.

for an entertainment system Hombre could have a cheap 32-bit DRAM for a lower cost CD-ROM game system (possibly CD64), it could also be used for Set-Top-Box embedded systems.

According to Dr. Ed Hepler Hombre was to be fabricated in 0.6 µm 3-level metal CMOS with the help of HP (which fabricated AGA Lisa chip and collaborated in AAA chipset designing).However Commodore were planning to adopt Acutiator advanced architecture designed by Dave Haynie for Hombre before it went out of business and bankrupt.

References

* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/21helper.txt Description of Hombre chipset by Ed Hepler during an interview]

ee also

* OCS
* ECS
* AGA
* AAA
* PA-RISC family processors.

External links

* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/hombre.html Hombre- The last Commodore custom chipset]
* [http://www.thule.no/haynie/ The Dave Haynie Archive with lots of detailed info & specs]
* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/amigartg.html Amiga ReTargetable Graphics]
* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/acutiator.html ACUTIATOR]
* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/homcon.html CD64: Hombre CD32-style console]
* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/ludwig.html Chris Ludwig Interview- Conducted by Amiga News, 1995]
* [http://www.amigahistory.co.uk/haynie3drisc.html CBM's Plans for the RISC-Chipset By: Dave Haynie]


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