Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st May 2007 14:20 UTC
Morphos The Efika motherboard is now available for the promised pricetag of USD 99. On top of that, MorphOS 1.5 2.0 is apparently on its way, and it will support hardware accelerated transparent windows, among other things. Screenshots and pictures can be found at MorphZone. As promised, MorphOS 2.0 will run on the Efika.
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Nice!
by nicholas on Mon 21st May 2007 14:34 UTC
nicholas
Member since:
2005-07-07

I might buy one on tommorow but i don't know whether I should just wait for MOS2.0 first.

Decisions, decisions.........

Reply Score: 1

RE: Nice!
by -ujb- on Mon 21st May 2007 14:41 UTC in reply to "Nice!"
-ujb- Member since:
2005-10-21

Since the price will not drop again, it does not make big sense to wait. If you order a plain board instead of a bundle it'll take some times to assemble the system anyway. The most time consuming part is to find or craft or tinker a nice case, since the board is so pretty tiny you should give it a tiny nice housing - which is hard to find out ofthe shelf. If you start "today" you have your system up and ready the day MOS 2.0 is out.
In the meantime you can play around with Linux on the board.

Anyway, great news. MOS 2.0 should follow soon.

Edited 2007-05-21 14:41

Reply Score: 4

Cool!
by ferrels on Mon 21st May 2007 14:37 UTC
ferrels
Member since:
2006-08-15

Now I won't have to wait for any more overpriced vaporware from ACK.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Cool!
by Tuishimi on Mon 21st May 2007 17:15 UTC in reply to "Cool!"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

ACK?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Cool!
by ferrels on Mon 21st May 2007 17:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Cool!"
ferrels Member since:
2006-08-15

Oops...typo on my part. I meant to type ACK Software Controls Inc., the firm that just announced another vaporware system to run AmigaOS 4 in partnership with Amiga, Inc.

Reply Score: 1

$99
by Rasmus on Mon 21st May 2007 14:44 UTC
Rasmus
Member since:
2005-11-12

$99 is the big news. This is a disruptive technology, especially with the new Freescale chip mentioned this morning: http://bbrv.blogspot.com/2007/05/99-efika-on-road-to-mobility.html

/rasmus

Reply Score: 3

RE
by Kroc on Mon 21st May 2007 14:48 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Transparent windows - that great enhancer of usability.

Anyways, this is good news. Nice to know the Amigans still have something to cling to, and I hope it's an excellent release.

Reply Score: 4

RE
by leech on Tue 22nd May 2007 02:09 UTC in reply to "RE"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Actually I love transparent windows. It is usable in that if you happen to have a progress bar for something (like copying, encoding, etc) then all you have to do is use whatever combination of keys / mouse clicks to make the window transparent to see it's progress, without having to minimize your browser, word processor or whatever.

Of course I guess if instead they decided to set up something like what Gnome has when nautilus is copying files. It puts a "copying" box in the task list with a square that fills up as the copying completes. Unfortunately not all programs that use progress bars use this style, personally I love it.

Reply Score: 2

RE
by -ujb- on Tue 22nd May 2007 07:40 UTC in reply to "RE"
-ujb- Member since:
2005-10-21

> Actually I love transparent windows

It is not only transparent windows, but the entire UI is hardware accelerated. The transparent windows are just an example to show this feature.
Mind the rather slow cpu, taking away calculation of gfx primitivs from the cpu benefits the overall performance.
And - in contrast to many other OSes - the UI is lightning speed fast.

Reply Score: 1

screenshots
by Laurence on Mon 21st May 2007 14:56 UTC
Laurence
Member since:
2007-03-26

I know I'm being picky, but it's a pity they couldn't take a screen capture instead of taking a photo of their visual display unit.

That aside - MorphOS 2.0 looks good.

Reply Score: 2

RE: screenshots
by Tuishimi on Mon 21st May 2007 17:16 UTC in reply to "screenshots"
Tuishimi Member since:
2005-07-06

Yes it was hard to appreciate some of the shots.

Reply Score: 2

screenshots
by Captain Halibut on Mon 21st May 2007 15:00 UTC
Captain Halibut
Member since:
2007-04-08

You've to register to see the images. You just can't buy PR like that.

Reply Score: 0

RE: screenshots
by nicholas on Mon 21st May 2007 15:09 UTC in reply to "screenshots"
nicholas Member since:
2005-07-07

You've to register to see the images. You just can't buy PR like that.


No you don't.

Reply Score: 1

RE: screenshots
by Laurence on Mon 21st May 2007 15:10 UTC in reply to "screenshots"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

No you don't. The link to the screenshots are clearly labelled on the on the page linked in the summary above.

I've not registered yet saw the images fine (hense my previous post)

Reply Score: 2

Looks nice...
by Mage66 on Mon 21st May 2007 15:02 UTC
Mage66
Member since:
2005-07-11

I'll most definitely buy one once MorphOS 2.0 is available...

But $150 for a case and powersupply seems pretty steep.

A shame they didn't make the board in a standard Micro ATX form factor so that mass produced and less expensive cases could be used.

The price is almost certainly correct given the small numbers they will be running for this board. Which is why making the board a more standard size would have been better.

I've got a couple of G5 cases at home, it might be fun to try to put one of these inside of one of those cases.

Reply Score: 2

Really Narrow Market
by tarpit on Mon 21st May 2007 15:12 UTC
tarpit
Member since:
2006-10-16

It just seems like this is such a narrow market that it doesn't make any sense. Why don't they port it and let a user base grow?

Reply Score: 2

screenshots
by Captain Halibut on Mon 21st May 2007 15:24 UTC
Captain Halibut
Member since:
2007-04-08

Doh. I was going to the left hand column linky.

Reply Score: 1

nice!
by erebos on Mon 21st May 2007 15:25 UTC
erebos
Member since:
2006-02-09

Really nice, 99$ is a good price for the EFIKA, it,s a pity the bundle price do not drop a little, but still kudos for it! Go Genesi and make us a PEGASOS III !!!!!

By the way, here, behind my pegasos II keybord, i'm dying to touch Morphos 2.0

Reply Score: 3

cash
by _df_ on Mon 21st May 2007 15:37 UTC
_df_
Member since:
2005-07-06

bbrv, thanks for hitting the $99 you said you were targetting a long time ago. now about those rumours of the MPC5121e + new efika.........

Reply Score: 5

Price is right but...
by biffuz on Mon 21st May 2007 15:52 UTC
biffuz
Member since:
2006-03-27

Now the question is: does it make sense to spend $375 for a 400 MHz desktop computer nowadays?
Don't get me wrong: the price is right for a little, custom piece of hardware built in only some hundreds. Nobody will care to sell something like that for less. But I think the time for 400 MHz processors on the desktop is gone. If you look at the chip specs, you'll see it is clearly geared toward embedded and automotive market (I2C, CAN, etc.). It supports ATA, DDR and PCI just because they're so widely used and cheap, they also are in our cars.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Price is right but...
by Kroc on Mon 21st May 2007 16:03 UTC in reply to "Price is right but..."
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

You are comparing 400MHz, with Windows. This is inherently wrong, and stupid. You should be comparing 400MHz, with AmigaOS and MorphOS, which run blazingly fast on 400MHz. If you think this is overpriced for a low-run, independent, niche system, you're clearly not a user of these kinds of OS/hardware.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Price is right but...
by alcibiades on Mon 21st May 2007 17:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Price is right but..."
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

And if he could run either one on an old 500mhz P3, say a Deskpro, which he can buy for around $30-50, he might be interested....

That's what he's saying.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Price is right but...
by biffuz on Mon 21st May 2007 19:52 UTC in reply to "RE: Price is right but..."
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

I'm not comparing it with Windows, I'm comparing it with the rest of the world. I'm comparing it with PCs where you can do video editing with your digital camcorder, photo editing with your 8MP camera, watch DVDs, make video calls over the net, play 3D MMORPGs on wide screens. You know, things that people do in 2007.
Many of them also do that on a mobile way.

And please read posts carefully before replying; look at what I said about the price.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Price is right but...
by aliquis on Mon 21st May 2007 23:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Price is right but..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

You, good luck with finding that kind of software for AmigaOS/MorphOS anyway, just use a wintel or mac for that and use the Amiga for fun/recreational use ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Price is right but...
by biffuz on Tue 22nd May 2007 06:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Price is right but..."
biffuz Member since:
2006-03-27

It's not only the fact there isn't the software, the problem here is that with such a machine you're not going to have it, never!
I'm an Haiku fan, and you know how it can barely surf the net. But at least it has the potential to do everything, I don't have to spend tons of money to play with it because it runs on most stock PCs, I can use it on the road and I don't even have to stop my workflow in Windows or Mac thanks to VMWare.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Price is right but...
by dagw on Mon 21st May 2007 21:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Price is right but..."
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

So what can it do on the processor? I'd like to note that I'm very well aware of what AmigaOS could do in the past with very little resources, but what can MorphOS do? Can it play HD video? Or edit it? Can it edit SD video, with real time effects? What about editing large images? Or is it simply a web surfing and word processing platform. Basically I can't find anything about what MorphOS can do beyond the very basics.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Price is right but...
by -ujb- on Mon 21st May 2007 22:03 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Price is right but..."
-ujb- Member since:
2005-10-21

@ dagw

No, it cannot do hd video. Also it isn't the best device for editing video.
But it isn't intended to be.
If you're interested just try and find out what it can do. The hurdle is quite low now - 99$ to be precise.

But to sum it up, there are three major fields for the Efika:
1st - the "boring" work part: Put a small Linux on it and let it serve or control (a robot or whatever). It can be a pretty small and energy saving mini computer for many things, except Desktop (well KDE and Gnome are not really light weight) usage - a full Linux desktop distro on 400 MHz with 128 MB RAM isn't too much fun, but many, many, many other things work perfectly well on that board. Most prominet a small headless home server, the Efika is not a calssical desktop board.

2nd - the multimedia/fun/hobby/* part: Put MorphOS on it and the only limitation is your phantasy and the processor power and ram. But - unlike Linux- 128 MB and 400 MHz are a lot with MOS*. After booting the full OS, there are still about 100 MB RAM free, the OS is ubelieveable fast. With 100MB RAM you can do a lot. There are sound programs, video players, games, gfx programs, internet programs, etc. Some progs are old from the Amiga days, some are new. everyone is invited to contribute to the MorphOS effort, as programmer, as user.
Don't forget Hollywood a *very* easy to use programming language, ideal for multimedia things. The possibilities are endless.

3rd - the thin client aproach: Plug in the network cable and let the work be done remotely.

* I am sitting on a MOS setup right now and have a browser with several windows open, an emailer, a sound player, an IRC client, an editor and a picture viewer and currently there are about 80MB RAM in use.

Edited 2007-05-21 22:05

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Price is right but...
by DoctorMorbius_FP on Tue 22nd May 2007 14:10 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Price is right but..."
DoctorMorbius_FP Member since:
2007-05-22

@ dagw & whoever will like to know

> So what can it do on the processor? I'd like to note
> that I'm very well aware of what AmigaOS could do in
> the past with very little resources, but what can
> MorphOS do?


Whatever you can do on an Amiga with AmigaOS, you can also do on a Pegasos or an Efika with MorphOS.

You may want to read the article I published here on OSNews one year ago:
http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=15209">MorphOS: V1.0

or its extended (doubled) version published on Power Developer web site six months later:
http://www.powerdeveloper.org/morphos-article.php">MorphOS: V2.0

Of course the articles refer to MorphOS 1.4.5, so be aware that each OS feature explicitly described as absent in MorphOS 1.4.5 has been inserted in MorphOS 2.0. This new version of the OS still exists in beta stage and the time of its coming is NOT far away.

Edited 2007-05-22 14:22

Reply Score: 3

Does anyone know.
by fithisux on Mon 21st May 2007 15:59 UTC
fithisux
Member since:
2006-01-22

if RAM is upgradable?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Does anyone know.
by _df_ on Mon 21st May 2007 16:21 UTC in reply to "Does anyone know."
_df_ Member since:
2005-07-06

no, ram is fixed. you cant upgrade it or add more. 128mb is what you get, 128mb is what you live with.

Reply Score: 2

polaris20
Member since:
2005-07-06

....unchecked. It's not "apparantly", it's "apparently". On topic, MorphOS looks super cool. It's nice to see people actually working to get operating systems more efficient, not less, as is the case with other developers.

Reply Score: 3

Interesting product, sane price ...
by MacTO on Mon 21st May 2007 16:59 UTC
MacTO
Member since:
2006-09-21

At $100 USD, at least it is at an "I can afford to buy this for entertainment" price. And if it actually turns out to be useful, all the better!

I do agree that measuring speed by MHz alone, or even by MHz and RAM, is pretty lame. I play with old computers, and can tell you that there is a lot of stuff that you can do on them that most people think is impossible with anything less than a modern computer. Then again, some algorithms are naturally CPU and RAM intensive -- so just make sure you're buying what you think you're buying.

Reply Score: 3

It tickles me...
by Tuishimi on Mon 21st May 2007 17:15 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...when a crew of young engineers / developers get together to bring a product to market. Even if it never becomes a "hit", it is a wonderful process and effort.

Reply Score: 2

ram
by poundsmack on Mon 21st May 2007 19:22 UTC
poundsmack
Member since:
2005-07-13

if ram truly is non upgradeable that really is a shame, i was really looking into this up until that point...

Reply Score: 1

RE: ram
by zima on Tue 22nd May 2007 16:46 UTC in reply to "ram"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

While from experience with operating systems popular today you may think that 128MB of RAM will be painfull, MorphOS (and any Amiga like operating system) flies even on such amount.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: ram
by Earl Colby pottinger on Tue 22nd May 2007 21:53 UTC in reply to "RE: ram"
Earl Colby pottinger Member since:
2005-07-06

I have been programming light-weight OSes for years. That includes AmigaDOS and BeOS. And one thing I depend on is lots of memory for my data structures.

When I had 4 megabytes of memory on my Amiga 1000 in 1986 most Intel PCs had less than a megabyte, but I needed the memory - the data structures I was using were 2M, 512K and 64K in size. I never even looked to the PCs because they did not have the needed flat memory.

Today, my BeOS machine is expanded to 768 megabytes, and the largest data structure is 512M and the remaining 256 is still enough to run BeOS, my code and browse the web while I wait.

In the future, Haiku may end up using even less space than BeOS but I expect my data structure to expand well beyond 2G.

This design needs memory expansion, even if it is just a single DIMM socket, people will have need for more than 128M just for their data.

Reply Score: 1

$99 and MorphOS...not bad
by mbpark on Mon 21st May 2007 20:31 UTC
mbpark
Member since:
2005-11-17

Hello,

This isn't a PC for a PCs sake. This is a good price for a (mostly) Amiga-compatible product that also happens to run Linux and MorphOS (and soon AROS).

One of the major complaints in the Amiga world is the scarcity of decent hardware, like $700-$800 PPC accelerators for the 68K series, AmigaOne boards, and even the $200+ Mediator PCI adapter and case that requires a Voodoo3 video card. I used to own an Amiga, and a few people I know still do. The market is expensive, and the hardware is starting to hit the failure wall. Many Amiga fans also expect the new ACK Controls hardware to be available sometime after never.

MorphOS, on the other hand, has been available, and yes I've used it. It's incredibly fast, and can run a lot of Amiga programs (and UAE for the chipset-dependent SW). It's fast on an upgraded Amiga 4000. It'll be much faster on an EFIKA (400Mhz is a LOT for this OS).

$99 for this means that those of us who want an Amiga-like system that doesn't take up much space can get one. It's also a lot cheaper and faster (not to mention smaller and sturdier) than the aging upgraded Amiga/Commodore hardware it can replace.

This is also designed to hit the hobbyist/hacker market quite well. $99 means that you can try it out and use it for little projects where you don't want to use a full-fledged desktop PC. This is treading into Gumstix territory.

This product hits well for two markets which converge: The Amiga market, home to some of the best hardware/software hackers ever, and the hobbyist/hacker market, where many of the old Amiga/C= afficionados still hang out.

Reply Score: 4

popper
Member since:
2006-02-24

if its confirmed that this 50/$100 Efika has the new SOC with USB2 as standard and its already lowest power requirement per hour ,then it seems it could well be the best option for the UK Virgin Media cable users.

they are needing a cheap low power general PC to power up and download/archive their overnight downloading content to a USB2 harddrive due to the restrictive primetime VM throttling put in place at present.

so does this new 50 Efika have full speed use of an on-board USB2 port?.

Edited 2007-05-21 20:51

Reply Score: 1

looks good here...
by Rasmus on Mon 21st May 2007 22:05 UTC
Rasmus
Member since:
2005-11-12
RE: looks good here...
by poundsmack on Tue 22nd May 2007 00:06 UTC in reply to "looks good here..."
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

the demo is running QNX. and its nice to see the game whipeout i loved that game

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: looks good here...
by Rasmus on Tue 22nd May 2007 01:36 UTC in reply to "RE: looks good here..."
Rasmus Member since:
2005-11-12

The demo is running what the page says...

Start
Simple browser example
Linux-based
diskless

0:25
OpenGL samples
Full hardware 3D acceleration
Linux-based (kernel 2.6.19.2)
diskless (10MB)

1:07
QNX 6.3
Various precompiled QNX application

2:12
DVD-resolution video
Audio Playback
MorphOS

2:32
Wipeout 2097
Full hardware 3D acceleration
MorphOS

3:10
Small educational game
Linux based
diskless (9.7MB)
3:33
Multiplayer Pacman clone
Linux based
diskless (7.1MB)

3:48
KDE 3.5 Linux Desktop
Webcam
OpenGL Samples

Hardware:
Efika 5200 (MPC5200B/400Mhz, 128MB Memory)
Radeon 7000 PCI
USB keyboard and mouse

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: looks good here...
by poundsmack on Tue 22nd May 2007 06:06 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: looks good here..."
poundsmack Member since:
2005-07-13

i realize that i was only simply stating that it was running QNX and as aon who developes QNX apps that made me happy

Reply Score: 1

my own apreciations ;)
by neuechristian on Mon 21st May 2007 22:27 UTC
neuechristian
Member since:
2007-01-14

For all people that doesn't see the beauty in this piece of hardware...

1) The efika is not designed to get a high end computer, it's a OPEN and cheap hardware, to make too many things that computing is...not only 3d, hdvideo and wow.

2)Only 75 !! (it's my european nature, no the f--king money trasnlation that makes apple..1 = 1 $)

3) A great device for programing, demoscene and hacking(the real wardriving box in your pocket)

4) Remember what type of computer use the man to go to the moon & back, that must remember to all of us, that the important is not the machine, is the human that uses it.

With all my good desires to the Efika(i will buy one!!)

Edited 2007-05-21 22:42

Reply Score: 2

re: price is right but...
by Leo43 on Mon 21st May 2007 22:46 UTC
Leo43
Member since:
2006-06-26

>So what can it do on the processor? I'd like to note that I'm very well aware of what AmigaOS could do in the past with very little resources, but what can MorphOS do?

Here is a little review of MorphOS I wrote something like 1-2 years ago: http://www.warpdesign.fr/warp/PegMOS.php3

In this review I sum up everything you may do with MorphOS...

This was MorphOS 1.4, and was running on a Pegasos 1 (G3@600 Mhz) but apart from a new browser coming (in alpha stage for now, don't know when it will be finished), nothing has changed. Speedwize, I guess that the Efika is slower than the Pegasos as well.

Hope this will answer some of your questions.

Reply Score: 2

Interesting
by bsharitt on Mon 21st May 2007 23:31 UTC
bsharitt
Member since:
2005-07-07

I see this a less of a small PC plat form, and instead as a small cheap, yet powerful embedded platform(closer to the gumstix boards, though a big bigger) that is afforably availiable off the shelf. For $99, now I just need to pick which really neat project this would work well in.

Reply Score: 2

If I buy one of these..
by MYOB on Tue 22nd May 2007 07:45 UTC
MYOB
Member since:
2005-06-29

right now (well, Friday, need to wait till payday...), what can I do with it when it arrives? Is there a working, publically available MorphOS build for it, or is it stuck using Linux until that arrives some time in the future?

Reply Score: 1

more efrika specs, screens configurations??
by bnolsen on Tue 22nd May 2007 16:47 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

I didn't really see as many options or spec sheets on the efrika.
Nor screen shots for that matter.

What all does the $99 include? What extra would the APG riser card cost? Does the AGP riser card make any difference whatsoever over a PCI vid card?

What are the case options and what do they look like?

I like the idea of something like this for playing. Perhaps playing with another OS, perhaps as a springboard for something else.

This thing hardware wise with an ATI 9250 installed likely gives a nintendo Wii a run for its money without having to cirumvent a bunch of DRM. And there's more memory to boot!

Edited 2007-05-22 16:49 UTC

Reply Score: 1

-ujb- Member since:
2005-10-21

What all does the $99 include? What extra would the APG riser card cost? Does the AGP riser card make any difference whatsoever over a PCI vid card?


For $99 you'll get the board with 128MB RAM and the AGP riser.

You need to add a psu (any atx will do) , case, gfx card (recommended ATi 9250), harddisk and a usb kbd/mouse.

What are the case options and what do they look like?


Best is to do a custom case. Of course you can put it in nearly every case, since the board is so tiny.
You can put it into a 5 1/4" case like for examle this one: http://www.geit.de/deu_efikase.html

Reply Score: 2

bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

Actually I just found this very handy site.
The PDF is very descriptive aboiut the hardware.

http://book.efika.org/

The "AGP slot" is a PCI2.2 66MHz slot masquerading as an AGP1x part. That leaves out compatability with any AGP 4x/8x board (9500+). Best card for this is a low profile radeon 9250. Scary, I have a voodoo3 2000 laying around somewheres I could scare up with a trash power supply to frankenstein one of these...if I only had the time...

Reply Score: 2

Max resolution?
by konfoo on Wed 23rd May 2007 16:18 UTC
konfoo
Member since:
2006-01-02

Does anyone know how this board would fare at 1920x1200 output?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Max resolution?
by bnolsen on Wed 23rd May 2007 23:59 UTC in reply to "Max resolution?"
bnolsen Member since:
2006-01-06

A 9250 would handle that fine.
Just don't expect any magical 3d acceleration.

I'm currently running a powercolor 9250 to drive a dell 20.1" monitor at 1680x1050 through the DVI port.

Reply Score: 1