I know this is a little late, but better late than never. I just wanted to put a post here about my new project I've spearheaded with long time Amigan, Tim Wacker, called Buffee. We've since seen interest from a number of major players in the community and I cannot be more thrilled, humbled and maybe a little terrified by the sudden interest in it.
So what is it?
Well, it's an accelerator that uses a special kind of threaded JIT (I call PJIT) to provide microcode-like translation of 68K instructions into ARM on the fly that does not suffer the high memory usage or "jitter" of regular JITs. Now, the fact that it's running on ARM is really incidental; this could have been x86, RISC-V, or whatever, but we chose this particular ARM for two major reasons:
- it can access the 68000 bus without FPGA or CPLD as-if it were it's own RAM
- it's really fast, having a 1GHz (2 BIPS) Cortex A8 with 512MB or 1GB of DDR3-800 memory
Buffee will be an in-system accelerator for all 68000-based machines without equal. It is, however, only planned to be a CPU replacement with a ton of RAM -- there is no HDMI, audio, USB, Ethernet, etc.. This is because we feel that there are plenty of complete system replacements out there like MiSTer and the Vampire V4 and don't want to compete with them. We believe in the purity of the Amiga system (and Atari, and Macintosh), and that their limitations of weird graphics modes, crunchy sound and floppy clicks is what makes them special. And we don't want to take anything away from that.
But we still want a stupid amount of processing power to open the door for much more intense and modern gaming, applications and development ... finding new ways of pushing the Amiga hardware and give everyone a powerful processor at a very reasonable price.
We're still really at the early stages and this cannot be overstated. We're wrapping up the design of our first actual prototype board and should have those in-hand in the coming weeks. Once we fail to destroy our junk Sega Genesis consoles, we'll move onto the beta phase and make 10-20 units available for interested testers and reviews. We're hoping for an early Spring Beta launch and a mid-Summer retail launch. Our units will all be professionally manufactured in Shenzhen China and supplies will NOT be limited.
There are already a couple of potentially interested retailers in talks with us and we're hoping for an MSRP of under $140 US for the 512MB model and $180 US for the 1GB mode (and retailers will have enough room to offer sales, promotions or kits with any extras they like).
You're all welcome to come pick our brains on our Discord server https://discord.gg/EEn4nftS7z
or you can follow us on our blog https://www.buffee.ca/home/
. I am, of course, here to answer any questions as well.