An X1000 FAQ -- Part 3
This week we have received many questions relating to the configuration and supply of the A1-X1000 system, plus a few more technical questions which we have done our best to answer.
Q. Will the A1-X1000 computer be offered for sale in different configuration and price points for entry, mid level and pro user; what stores/retailers will actually sell the machine? Are you any nearer to fixing the sales price? (We received many variations on these questions)
A. We think the entry level systems are well catered for by ACube System’s excellent SAM440 SoC products. The A1-X1000 is being released as a premium system for power users, and it is our intention that the standard A1-X1000 meets these requirements.
We are currently in the process of deciding the final specification for the standard A1-X1000 production model. We know exactly what parts we want, but we have to ensure that those parts are obtainable in the quantities we need, with suitable volume discounts and lead times. Once this process is complete we will have a better handle on the total system cost and be able to provide details of the initial retail price. Obviously the final price point is something that everyone wants to know as soon as possible, but a degree of uncertainty is inevitable with an immature supply chain.
We have considered the possibility of providing more than one baseline specification, but we have no firm plans to do so at the moment. We have put a lot of care into specifying best-in-class parts, and believe the specification we have come up with will be very satisfactory. However, the A1-X1000 is a system built with expandability in mind, and we anticipate that it will be sold through existing Amiga retailers who will be only too pleased to supply additional expansion options and accessories.
Q. Can the A1-X1000 motherboard and case be purchased individually? Will the A1-X1000 have an AmigaOne branded keyboard & mouse (Marcel, Vincent) with Amiga/Boing Ball keys replacing the windows keys and if so, will these be available for general sale to non A1-X1000 purchasers for their existing AmigaOS4, AROS, AmigaForever, MorphOS, etc systems?
A. It’s our intention that the A1-X1000 will be sold as a pre-built, pre-installed AmigaOS4.x system complete with an officially branded case, mouse & keyboard and complete with RAM, HDD, Optical drive and graphics card. We have no plans to release the motherboard separately at this moment in time.
We are working with an Amiga retailer to supply AmigaOne branded Keyboard (and mouse combinations) without the dreaded Windows keys, separately from the X1000 package. Additionally, we intend on producing a generic branded version of the X1000 case (without the X1000 logo) to make available to Amiga enthusiasts who wish re-house or upgrade their existing computer systems.
Q. Software support: Will there be supports for program A, B, C, D etc (and many variations thereof); Will any games or software that is developed for the A1-X1000 be compatible with other AmigaOS4 computers? Will any software packages be bundles with the A1-X1000? (e.g. games, office productivity suite, etc).
A. Our initial aim is to produce the ultimate AmigaOne Power computer that can showcase the advanced features of AmigaOS4. There are no specific incompatibilities between the version of AmigaOS for the X1000 and for other AmigaOS hardware but in the case of individual pieces of software, developers may choose to target the higher-end hardware of the X1000. Obviously no software that requires the use of Xena will be able to run on hardware without a Xena chip, and anything that requires the higher-end graphics hardware that the A1-X1000 allows (GPGPU streaming applications, for example) will be limited to hardware with the capability to run it.
A-EON is involved in promoting the development of new software applications for AmigaOS, notably through the hardware loan scheme. Exactly what it is possible to bundle with the X1000 will depend on what is ready when the X1000 is ready for release.
Q. Does the A1-X1000 have proprietary BIOS or free BIOS?
A. The A1-X1000’s BIOS is the Common Firmware Environment, or CFE.
Q. What graphics card will be supplied with the A1-X1000 and what other cards will be supported. Does the PCI Express open up the option for more modern graphics cards with the latest ATI, nVidia and PhysX etc chipsets (Andy)?
A. PCI-e does indeed open up the option of more modern graphics cards, but not without drivers. This is the hard part. ATI have become increasingly open-source friendly when it comes to releasing details of their hardware to allow drivers to be written, nVidia not so much. Over the long term, there will be changes to the way AmigaOS handles drivers that will make it considerably easier to bring new hardware to the platform as it is released. In the short term, we have specified a single hardware/driver combination that will ship with the X1000 as standard, based on the ATI R700 GPU.
Q. Will the A1-X1000 be able to make use of the dual core CPU from its first release or will this feature be implemented later? (Multiple) For example, will it be able to run individual operating systems on each core simultaneously. The teaser website displayed the A1-X1000 CPU running both cores at 1.6GHz full load. Have you tested it any higher since and what is the maximum CPU rating?
A. In the initial A1-X1000 release, AmigaOS 4.1 will not make use of the second CPU core but this is something that the OS4 developers are planning for a subsequent update. Without a virtualizer, it will not be possible to run two OS’s at the same time - there is more than just the CPU involved in that (memory for example, or any other system resource). To date all A1-X1000 motherboards have used CPU Samples and to avoid potential damage we have not run the CPU to its maximum rating. However watch this space…
Q. Have you had any contact with Amiga, Inc and can you shed any light on their current position?
A. We have not had any communication with Amiga, Inc and are unaware of its current situation.
And finally a question from Andy who works for E.ON (pronounced “ee on”) in the UK.
Q. How do you actually pronounce A-EON?
A. We pronounce it “ay-on”, with the “ay” similar to “ay” sound in “hay”. (Technical note: the name is influenced by, but isn’t actually, the traditional British spelling of ‘eon’, ‘aeon’. It’s also an anagram of “A-One”, so the ‘A’ might stand for Amiga. Normally the word aeon is pronounced “ee-on” due to the transition from Greek ‘aion’ through Latin ‘aeon’. The original Koine Greek pronunciation would be something like “eye-on”.)