Answers to questions about the DRAGON
Q: Is DRAGON a busboard or a turbo card?
A: DRAGON is a busboard with AGP/PCI slots, integrated with a turbo
Q: Why do you make a card with ColdFire processors only now?
Motorola has been producing ColdFire processors for a long time...
A: Recently, Motorola has developed and produced several series
of the ColdFire processors but none of them were compatible enough
with 68k processors to be able to run AmigaOS3.x. This changed with
appearance of the MCF54xx processors family. These are the first
ColdFire processors based on the V4e core. MCF5475, included in
DRAGON, is the most powerful processor in this family. The first
production of these processors is beginning just now (January 2005).
We expect DRAGON to be the first commercially produced computer
board based on this newest Freescale processor from the ColdFire/68k
Q: Is DRAGON's processor upgradeable?
A: Yes. The modular DRAGON design allows very easy processor upgrade.
The CPU card with the ColdFire processor is fitted in the dedicated
Q: Will the ColdFire CPU be offered in higher speeds at a later
A: Yes, when faster processors are made available. ColdFire MCF5475
266MHz is the fastest ColdFire processor so far.
Q: Does DRAGON use SDRAM or DDR DRAM memory?
A: DRAGON uses DDR SDRAM (Double-Data-Rate Synchronous-Dynamic-Random-Access-Memory),
called DDR in short. DDR SDRAM technology differs from SDR SDRAM
(Single-Data-Rate Synchronous-Dynamic-Random-Access-Memory, SDRAM
in short) technology in that the data are transmitted twice during
one clock cycle, thus doubling data bandwidth for DDR SDRAM comparing
with SDR SDRAM with the same clock.
Q. Is ColdFire MCF5475 able to fully use DDR memory speed?
A: Yes, it is. In case of ColdFire MCF5475, the memory bandwidth
is doubled with DDR SDRAM instead of SDR SDRAM. This is due to the
very fast external bus (266MHz) of the ColdFire MCF5475 processor.
Q: How much RAM can be installed on the DRAGON board?
A: The DRAGON comes with two DIMM slots for DDR-266 SDRAM modules
for up to 1GB memory in total.
Q: Which tower cases for A1200 are compatible with the DRAGON
A: The DRAGON ColdFire busboard is designed to be used in the following
tower systems: Mirage 1200, E/BOX 1200, Power Tower, Winner Tower
and Infinitiv Tower.
Q: Will drivers for all the supported gfx cards enclosed with
the DRAGON board?
A: Drivers for Radeon 9700, Radeon 9500, Radeon 9200, Radeon 9000,
Voodoo 5, Voodoo 4 and Voodoo 3 cards will be enclosed in the DRAGON
board package. Drivers for the less powerful Radeon cards (Radeon
7500 and Radeon 7000) will be added later if there are users interested
Q: Will there be support for high-speed IDE and/or SCSI PCI cards?
A: Drivers for Serial ATA controllers (based on SiI 3114) are being
developed. Initially we have not planned developing drivers for
SCSI PCI cards, but we received so many requests from users with
SCSI hardware that we have changed our plans.
Q: How fast FastATA 1200 MK-III run with the DRAGON board?
A: With the DRAGON board, devices connected to the FastATA 1200
controller run at its maximum speed of 16MB/s. There is no longer
speed limitations, which were related to the design of the turbo
cards installed into the A1200 trapdoor slot.
Q: Are the ColdFire processors PowerPC-compatible?
A: No, they are not. ColdFire processors are compatible with the
68k processors. The main ColdFire processor instruction set is a
subset of the 68060 instruction set. It has been common practise
in case of each new processor from the 68k family: some instructions
are reduced in the new processor in order to gain better performance.
Q: What is the speed of the DRAGON's board compared with the
A1200 turbo cards available so far?
A: When only clock rate of the processor is taken into account,
the ColdFire MCF5475 speed is comparable with 68060 clocked at 266MHz.
Much higher performance of the DRAGON board compared with the fastest
A1200 turbo cards is definitely affected also by: over 25 times
faster speed of DDR SDRAM as compared with SIMMs used in A1200 turbo
cards, bigger processor caches, and many times faster access to
peripherals. For example access to the frame buffer of the graphic
card in the DRAGON's AGP slot reaches up to 264MB/s, which is over
20 times faster then the access to the graphic card from any A1200
turbo card available so far.
Q: Is DRAGON able to execute 68k apps faster than G3 based boards?
A: Yes. Most of 68k Amiga applications run faster on DRAGON ColdFire
then in the JIT emulation on currently available PowerPC G3-based
Q: Does power of the ColdFire processor in DRAGON allow smooth
playing of Divxs?
A: Yes. Performance of the ColdFire MCF5475 processor combined with
elements of hardware support for the decoding process of Radeon
9xxx cards allows smooth playing full-quality video from the compressed
files (DivX, MPEG-2, DVD).
Q: Will using SharkPPC card be possible with DRAGON?
A: Yes. SharkPPC can be used in the PCI slot of the DRAGON board
as well as in the PCI slot of the MEDIATOR board. What's more, due
to the enhanced DRAGON's DMA capabilities, the SharkPPC card in
the DRAGON PCI slot has direct access to all resources of the Amiga
1200 motherboard as well as to DRAGON's DDR memory and all cards
in the DRAGON's AGP and PCI slots.
As we informed many times, SharkPPC production will not start before
the final version of AmigaOS4.0 is released.
Q: Are you planning production of an A4000-compatible version
of the DRAGON ColdFire product?
A: Yes, we are. We plan to offer a ColdFire upgrade for Amiga 3000(T)
and 4000(T) computers.
Q: Where will the ColdFire card be installed in A3/4000 computers?
A: The Coldfire card for Amiga 3/4000 computers will be installed
in a special slot in the Mediator 3/4000 boards, replacing the Mediator
Core Logic card.
Q: Could I use the DRAGON logo on my website?
A: Yes, but you must follow the enclosed disclaimer. DRAGON's logos
are available in the NEWS | Press Materials section.
Feel free to ask
question concerning this product.