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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon May 03, 2021 8:02 pm

There has been a small but interesting update to the original Parceiro device invented by David Dunklee, which he’s been quietly rolling out to customers.

As a quick reminder, the Parceiro is a side expansion for Amiga 1000 computers. Following the tradition of many of the original expansions made for the Amiga in the 1980s, it is an external solution that provides a real-time clock (RTC), modern RAM (20 ns where most RAM solutions in the 80s were over 100 ns) and semi-autobooting SD flash HDD storage, all fully capable of running beautifully on OS 1.3. In other words, just like the Microbotics, CLtd and Supra solutions before it, the Parceiro also currently depends on a customizable boot disk that passes control from the floppy over to the hard drive.

For me personally, it had replaced my beloved Starboard 2 with StarDrive and 100MB Iomega Zip.

Mr. Dunklee is in constant refinement mode, however, and listens intently to the feedback of his customers. That and his own personal desires for his Amiga mix into a perpetual upgrading of his fantastic device.

Thus, some minor changes have been made and rolled out into production, which will now be described going forward as the Parceiro v1.1.

The first thing you notice - besides the very cool black PCB vs the original green - is the board has two tiny new components labelled "David" and "Jones" in the upper-left corner. Note: The following updates are only applicable to the new black PCBs, not the previous green - and sometimes blue - 1.0 boards.


David doubles the clock speed of the SD card. While the throughput is doubled, the Amiga still does a lot of the filesystem work on the CPU, thus you’ll get about 40 to 50% effective increase in total throughput. “Jones” handles the CONFIGIN stuff so that the Parceiro plays nice on a pass-thru bus. The CPLD firmware has a bunch of updates to handle working on a shared bus as well as handle shifting speeds on the SD card given the faster clock. “David” and “Jones” names honor the developer of scrolling action games, Menace and Blood Money, since having these chips sit between the 86-pin connector pins reminded me of these games.
The new "David" and "Jones"

Dunklee also rewrote the sddevice.driver in Assembly to take advantage of the new clock speed, which cuts down the overhead as well.

I’ve been working with other folks that use FFS or PFS. It’s interesting how much time is used up in the file system and how different file systems perform. Ironically FAT is fastest in WRITEs and FFS is fastest in READs (mainly because it cheats by caching the entire disk bitmap) while FAT and PFS read the bitmap as needed from disk.

Also, I’m really seeing a vast difference in write times between Class 4 cards and Class 10 / UHS-1 cards. My recommendation is go for UHS-3 and your writes will be almost as fast as your reads!
Also, his new drivers allow for vastly larger SD cards.

If you have an SD card with more than 4GB, you can now mount additional 4GB volumes by using the mountlist’s ‘UNIT=’ entry as a multiplier. (i.e. UNIT=0 is the first 4GB of the card; UNIT=1 is the space between 4GB and 8GB, etc.)

Theoretically you can have up to 16 partitions… or the ability to mount 64GBs on the A1000.

There are also a few new additions to the silkscreen print! Pitfall Harry makes an appearance now as do Lemmings and a couple of our favorite characters from Archon caught in an epic battle for survival.

I’m personally just fine with the 2GB drive size from the original Parceiro, but I did go for the 1.1 update for that mild performance increase (and Lemmings, natch).

The updated Parceiro 1.1 devices are the same price as the original 1.0 and are simply the New Normal.

I'm fortunate enough to have a clear case so I can actually see all this groovy tech in all of its glory. (They are not for sale at this time as they are extremely time intensive to create).

It's worth noting that some additional software was written so that the Parceiro could be paired with many of the side expansions from yesteryear. At least in my own experience, that does not seem to hold true to the Starboard 2. However it has been tested to work perfectly with the CLtd A1000 SCSI expansion. Further testing on this front will continue.

And now, for your moment of red Cylon (and Amiga) LED Zen.

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