CyberStorm 060 + Cybervision 64 (CU Amiga August 1995)

Bandying terms like MIPS, FLOPS and basing an evaluation on benchmarks alone would be silly. For reasons that wont be gone into here, it is possible for a slow processor to outperform a faster processor on a MIPS rating. The real test of a machine is when you ask it to do something. What does the machine feel like? Well, after using Silicon Graphics Iris workstations (admittedly these are “low end” Silicon Graphics), an Amiga blows these out of the water both on raw power and perceived speed. It’s fair to say that this accelerator when coupled to the Cybervision will feel nicer than a Pentium based system in use, but I’m probably biased.

The floating point unit on a 68060 is similar to the one on a 68040 in that it doesn’t have all the instructions that a 68882 coprocessor has in hardware. These need to be emulated by adding an extra library to the Amiga operating system to cope with these troubles. What happens when the 68060 comes across an instruction for its FPU that is not supported is that a CPU “trap” is generated, software is called and the instruction is executed. This takes time. I would think that this would be exceptionally time consuming on a 68060 as a trap may have to cause the dual integer pipelines and caches to be flushed. It’s rather like trying to drive your lamborghini on diesel. However, the CyberStorm comes with software to try and patch some programs to run faster by avoiding this problem. The most noticable speedup came when rendering a scene with Scenery Animator – rendering time dropped from 27 seconds to 17 seconds just by running the patch. Compare this to 150 seconds on a 4000/030 with a 25MHz 68882 coprocessor.

Pagestream 3g is pretty much a power application; it needs a lot of grunt to get it moving at a reasonable speed. However, refreshing a 1024×768 screen takes under half a second using the 68060. I couldn’t get a more accurate timing as my reactions couldn’t cope! Without the ‘storm, the 030 takes 6 seconds for the same task.

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