ACAtune

From IndividualComputers
Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

LEGAL DISCLAIMER

This software is copyrighted by its respective owner and may not be modified in any form. By using this software, the user agrees that the authors and Individual Computers GmbH are not responsible and can not be held liable for any kind of problems and damage which may and can be caused by the use of this software. Names and trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Individual Computers is not affiliated with these owners. Use at your own risk!

What it does

ACATune is a commandline tool written for the Amiga Classic Accelerator (ACA) series of turboboards from Individual Computers. Its purpose is to configure each card by using a range of options to enable various functions, which are not active on power-up. By default, every ACA turboboard starts with basic functionality on a cold start in order to boot the Amiga. Depending on the Amiga model and accelerator, ACATune is necessary to activate full operation of the card. Other options are available to tweak performance related issues in order to unleash the full power available. The most popular feature is the Maprom function, which allows the execution of the operating system from Fast-Ram, speeding up the whole system considerably.

Installation

Use your favourite file manager or a shell command to copy ACAtune to the C: directory of your boot partition. Now open a shell and type:

ACATune -status

After pressing ENTER, you should get a complete list of all features, their current status and, most importantly, the type of accelator you are using. If the tool suceeded in identifying the installed ACA card, then you may proceed now by adding it to your startup-sequence, described later in this document.

If the tool failed to recognize the card, turn off your Amiga and re-check the physical installation of the card. Is the card properly seated? Does it sit firm and tight on its designated place? Do you have the latest version of ACATune installed which actually supports your card?

How to use the tool

As a command-line tool, ACATune can and should be executed on every start by adding it to the startup-sequence. It is important to note that in order to ensure proper operation, ACATune must be the first program being started from startup-sequence. Please note that programs that are installed later may also put themselves in the first line of the startup-sequence, pushing ACAtune further down (a popular example is the Poseidon USB stack). In such cases, you need to edit the startup-sequence manually in order to have ACATune at the top of your startup-sequence again.

After succesful installation of ACATune, you can configure your system using a range of options and arguments, setting the operating mode of the card. Options and arguments are activated in the following manner:

ACATune -<option> <argument> (-<option> <argument>) >NIL:

Note that the last part (>NIL:) is necessary so that ACATune is being executed quietly, without opening the Workbench screen prematurely. Also note that all option names and parameter names are case-sensitive. That means you need to write "status", but not "Status" or "STATUS", as ACAtune would not recognize the option in that spelling.

Available options

The following is a list of available options in ACATune. Please note that not all ACA cards support all options. Especially new cards have been cleaned from options that make the system instable.

maprom

Using the Maprom function, you can copy the Amiga operating system to the on-board memory of your accelerator card, speeding up overall system performance significantly. Note that for ACA630 and ACA1230 cards, ACATune needs to allocate the necessary memory at a specific position, which is why this feature should be enabled as early as possible, so that no other task can take this memory. Owners of an ACA1231 can disregard this warning, as the maprom memory is always kept reserved and never marked as "free" for any other program to use. On ACA630 and AC1230 cards, this feature will deduct 1MB of memory, regardless of the actual ROM size that you have specified. Examples:

ACATune -maprom *

Using one asterisk, ACATune will copy the internal 512KB ROM into Fast-Ram. This feature can be used without rebooting the system and will only be activated if the Amiga was booted from the internal ROM.

ACATune -maprom **

Using two asterisks, ACATune will copy 1MB internal ROM memory to Fast-Ram. Otherwise, it works the same as the 512KB option.

ACATune -maprom <romfile>

In addition to using the internal ROM, you can load any 256KB, 512KB or 1MB romfile into Fast-Ram and use it as operating system. Just specify the name of the romfile, including the full path, and ACATune will attempt to load and execute it immediately. After loading the file, the screen will flash shortly and your computer will be rebooted using the new operating system.

ACATune -maprom off

To disable the Maprom function, you can specify the "off" parameter, which re-enables execution of the actual ROM chips in your computer. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately, making the 1MB of Fast-Ram available to the system for ACA630 and ACA1230 users.

ACAtune -maprom * p

With Kickstart in fastmem, the computer starts extremely fast. Sometimes so fast that the Gayle chip is not yet out of reset state - it will miss some accesses. As a result, the computer does not find a harddisk and comes up with the "insert disk" screen, waiting for a bootable disk to be inserted. By adding the "p" option to your maprom command line, ACAtune will attempt to patch the kickstart and insert a short waiting period on every reset. This will give the Gayle chip and harddrives enough time to wake up from reset condition and go into normal operation. The screen is turned light brown during the waiting period.

setc0mem

In order to enhance compatibility with old programs, ACATune allows enabling a special kind of memory configuration, which resembles an Amiga 500 with a memory expansion. Back in the old days, programmers did not care much about different hardware and software configurations, the result being that old programs, especially games, expect to find memory at a specific position in the 24 Bit address range of the 68000. On modern Amigas, which usually map their memory in the upper 32 Bit address range, those programs will either fail to recognize the memory, or crash, because the operating system dared to place system structures at a different place the program expects. Using this option in combination with maprom and setchipmem options allows you to recreate the most popular memory configurations from the old days. With compatibility never affected in a negative way, we decided to have this option always enabled on ACA1231, ACA1232, ACA1220 and ACA620 cards with 1MByte available in that space. Examples:

ACATune -setc0mem 512

By passing "512" as argument, a 512KB memory expansion is simulated. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately. Note that due to the hardware design of the ACA accelerators, enabling this option takes away 2MB of Fast-Ram. When the maprom function is active, the amount of Fast-Ram being used is 1MB.

ACATune -setc0mem 1024

By passing "1024" as argument, a 1MB memory expansion is simulated. The rest works the same as the "512" option.

ACATune -setc0mem off

By passing "off" as argument, the memory expansion is disabled. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately, making the 2MB available as Fast-Ram again.

setchipmem

In order to enhance compatibility with old programs, ACATune allows limiting the Chip-Ram to a specific size. Back in the old days, programmers did not care much about different hardware and software configurations, the result being that old programs, especially games, expect to find memory and system structures at specific positions. On modern Amigas, those programs may not work, because, due to the increased Chip-Ram, the operating system dares to put system structures at different places the program expects. Using this option in combination with the maprom and setc0mem options allows you to recreate the most popular memory configurations from the old days. Examples:

ACATune -setchipmem 512

By passing the argument "512", the amount of Chip-Ram is limited to 512KB. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately.

ACATune -setchipmem 1024

By passing the argument "1024", the amount of Chip-Ram is limited to 1024KB. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately.

ACATune -setchipmem 2048

By passing the argument "2048", the amount of Chip-Ram is limited to 2048KB. ACATune will reboot the computer immediately.

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

fastmem

With this option, you can enable and disable all on-board Fast-Ram. It can also be used to decrease the speed of the system, since the CPU is forced to execute all code from Chip-Ram. Note that this option has no effect on the maprom and setc0mem settings. Examples:

ACATune -fastmem off

By passing the argument "off", Fast-Ram is disabled and the computer is rebooted immediately.

ACATune -fastmem on

By passing the argument "on", Fast-Ram is enabled and the computer is rebooted immediately.

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

chipcache

On most Amiga accelerator boards, accesses to Chip-Ram either disable the CPU caches completely, or only allow instructions, but not data to be cached. The reason for this are DMA operations performed by the chipset, altering data which may still reside in the CPU data cache. The result is lack of consistency which may compromise system stability. On the other hand, performance might be gained in some cases when enabling the data cache on Chip-Ram operations, which can be accomplished with this option. Be careful though, as there is always the danger that data might get corrupted and ultimately lost. Examples:

ACATune -chipcache on

By passing the argument "on", the data cache is enabled during Chip-Ram operations.

ACATune -chipcache off

By passing the argument "off", the data cache is disabled during Chip-Ram operations (recommended setting).

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

z2cache

On the Amiga, the term "Zorro II" usually refers to a memory area, which is 8 MB in size and where a multitude of expansions may have their resources mapped, which is, in most cases, memory. Additionally, on Amiga 600 and 1200 computers, this area is also occupied by PCMCIA memory expansions. In order to speed up memory operations in this area, you can activate the CPU caches using this option. Examples:

ACATune -z2cache on

By passing the argument "on", the caches are enabled during Zorro II memory operations. Caution: This may corrupt accesses to Z2 or PCMCIA IO cards!

ACATune -z2cache off

By passing the argument "off", the caches are disabled during Zorro II memory operations (recommended setting).

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

fastchip

In order to use a fast CPU in your Amiga, memory acesses to Chip-Ram have to be slowed down in order to not violate the timing specifications given by the chipset and the bus designation of the original on-board CPU. All ACA accelerator boards emphasize maximum compatibility by default, implementing the Amiga chip interface as close to the original as possible. However, on many Amiga systems, Chip-Ram performance may be increased by aborting memory cycles a little earlier, which can be enabled using this option. Note that, depending on your configuration, especially the Amiga model and the type of memory chips used in your particular board, enabling this option might lead to an unstable system, resulting in data loss. Use it with extreme caution. Examples:

ACATune -fastchip on

By passing the argument "on", fast Chip-Ram memory acesses are enabled.

ACATune -fastchip off

By passing the argument "off", fast Chip-Ram memory acesses are disabled.

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

fastz2

On the Amiga, the term "Zorro II" usually refers to a memory area, which is 8 MB in size and where a multitude of expansions may have their resources mapped, which is, in most cases, memory. Additionally, on Amiga 600 and 1200 computers, this area is also occupied by PCMCIA memory expansions. Since the Zorro II area is usually part of the original Amiga mainboard, memory acesses have to be slowed down on fast CPUs. To gain maximum compatibility, all ACA accelerators implement the timing specifications of the original bus as closely as possible. However, performance might be increased by reacting to data transfer acknowledgements coming from the Zorro II device as fast as possible, which can be enabled using this option. This might work in some, but not all configurations, resulting in possible data corruption. Use this option with extreme caution. Examples:

ACATune -fastz2 on

By passing the argument "on", fast Zorro II memory acesses are enabled.

ACATune -fastz2 off

By passing the argument "off", fast Zorro II memory acesses are disabled.

This option is only available for ACA1230 and ACA630. It is not available on later accelerators.

cache

This option is intended as a replacement for the "cpu" command and its options. It is recommended to activate it for maximum speed. Examples:

ACATune -cache on

By passing the parameter "on", all available CPU caches are enabled.

ACATune -cache off

By passing the parameter "off", all available CPU caches are disabled.

burst

This option is intended as a replacement for the "cpu" command and its options. A burst access makes use of the fact that consecutive memory accesses are much faster than random memory accesses. With cache enabled, a cache line consists of 16 bytes of consecutive data or instructions. With programs usually being executed in forward direction, it is very likely that the following data word is also required, so fetching data from memory in bursts in order to fill a cache line will increase the overall system performance. If you enable caches, you should also enable burst. Examples:

ACATune -burst on

By passing the parameter "on", burst mode is enabled.

ACATune -burst off

By passing the parameter "off", burst mode is disabled.

This option is only available for 68030 accelerators. Please note that 68(EC)020 processors do not have the capability to do fast burst accesses.

status

Entering:

ACAtune -status

will show the current state of your ACA hardware configuration.

help

Entering:

ACAtune -help

or

ACAtune ?

will show a short summary of all available options for your ACA card. Note that not all options mentioned in this document may be available for your specific ACA model. If in doubt, please consult the short summary.

slowpcmcia

This option is not an actual ACA card option, but will re-configure some registers of the PCMCIA controller in your A600 or A1200 computer. Slowing down accesses to PCMCIA cards may increase compatibility. Examples:

ACAtune -slowpcmcia on

By passing the parameter "on", PCMCIA accesses are slowed down.

ACAtune -slowpcmcia off

By passing the parameter "off", PCMCIA accesses are made at normal speed.

slowpcmciamem

This option is not an actual ACA card option, but will re-configure some registers of the PCMCIA controller in your A600 or A1200 computer. Slowing down accesses to PCMCIA memory cards may increase compatibility. Examples:

ACAtune -slowpcmciamem on

By passing the parameter "on", PCMCIA memory accesses are slowed down.

ACAtune -slowpcmciamem off

By passing the parameter "off", PCMCIA memory accesses are executed at normal speed.

resetpcmcia

This option is not an actual ACA card option, but will configure some registers of the PCMCIA controller in your A600 or A1200 computer. Sending a reset pulse to a PCMCIA card may be required to make it compatible with the quick startup process of the Amiga. This may or may not work depending on the revision of the Gayle chip that you have in your computer. Example:

ACAtune -resetpcmcia

noargcheck

This option will suppress any error messages if unsupported options are requested by the user.

kick12

Kickstart version 1.2 is not compatible with A600 and A1200 computers, because a defective memory-search routine confuses the Gayle chip with memory. As a result, memory is added to the free memory pool, although it is not physically present. Adding the kick12 option to your maprom command line will add a patch to repair the memory-search routine in order to properly work, even if a Gayle chip is present in the system. This will let you use very old or badly programmed software, like Microsoft's Amiga Basic.

kicksum

Adding this option to your maprom command line will correct the checksum of your kickstart file. Use this option if you want to test your own patched kickstart files. Currently only works on 256K kickstarts.

delay

Some options of ACAtune will initiate an immediate reboot of your computer, so it is extremely difficult to read the output messages of ACAtune. Add the delay option to your command line to get an extra ten seconds delay before a reboot is executed. This will give you enough time to write down any error messages.

patfile

This option lets you specify a #?.pat file from the SKick package (available on Aminet). This option is currently experimental.

vbrmove and vbrclear

VBR stands for vector base register. A vector is a pointer to a program location that is executed everytime an interrupt occurs. This can be from an IO card or harddisk controller, but also a recurring event like a screen refresh. Under normal curcumstances, the VBR is placed into chipmem by the Amiga operating system, because not all processors have the capability to move the VBR. However, processors of the ACA cards have this capability and can move the VBR into fastmem. As a result, interrupt-heavy operations like serial transfers and large harddisk transfers are sped up. Don\B4t expect wonders from this option - the increase is minimal and often times difficult to measure. Examples:

ACAtune -vbrmove

The vbrmove option will reserve a space in fastmem and direct the VBR to that position.

ACAtune -vbrclear

The vbrclear option will reverse the previous action and move the VBR back to chipmem. These options are only available on 68020 and 68030 accelerators. Note that the 68EC000 of the ACA500 does not have a VBR register, so this option is not available.

replace maprom

This option is under development and currently not available. It is an extension to the normal maprom option that lets you replace a kickstart file without having to disable maprom first. This will save you a reboot.

kickdisk

This option is under development and currently not available. It will let you load a kickstart from an A1000 Kickstart disk or from an A3000 Superkickstart disk. This will save you the hassle of converting to a binary file first and let you decide if a kickstart disk is worth the hassle of converting.

maxram or maxmem

This option will add memory for the ACA620 and ACA1020 cards. Since these cards have 24 bit address space only, memory will be scattered betwen the normal Amiga address space. After running the ACATune tool with the maxram option, you will have a total of 11648 kBytes of memory (11.3MByte). The Maprom option will not cut on this memory space, and an adapted freezer monitor can use another 1Mbyte of hidden memory on the ACA620 and ACA1020 cards.

Supported cards

ACA630

ACA1230

ACA1231

ACA1220

ACA1232

ACA620

ACA1221

Download

Media:ACATune_V191.lha

Bugfixed version V1.91 now works woth all memory configurations of the ACA1221 under Kickstart 3.0.

Personal tools