Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 4th Dec 2016 01:16 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems

The FireBee is a new Atari-compatible computer. Ataris and Atari-Clones are special computers with their own hard & software. They aren't PC's, Mac's nor Amiga compatible.

A FireBee is similar to an Atari Falcon and works very much like that. It will run most of the Atari compatible software that would run on a Falcon. Different to older Ataris and their clones, the FireBee is a modern computer that supports almost everything you'd expect from a today's machine, like USB ports, Ethernet, DVI-I monitor connector, SD-card reader and more.

This brand-new Atari compatible is not cheap, but much like the current Amiga computers, if you're worried about the price, you're probably not the intended audience. Note that even though the order page says "pre-order", I think that's a typo - you can order them directly from the Swiss company that makes them, too.

I love that people and companies are passionate enough to keep developing, building, and selling machines like this - it's a vital effort to keep platforms alive well into the future.

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Love Retro Computing
by kwanbis on Sun 4th Dec 2016 02:08 UTC
kwanbis
Member since:
2005-07-06

But (about) 1000 dollars?!?! Too much for my love...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Love Retro Computing
by Kochise on Sun 4th Dec 2016 08:21 UTC in reply to "Love Retro Computing"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Limited to 266 MHz, and a major design flaw regarding the video bus which makes the machine crawl like a slug.

You'd better look for the Vampire 500 card (68000 replacement FPGA, http://apollo-accelerators.com/ ) or the MiST, MiniMig core for Atari ST ( http://obligement.free.fr/articles/mist.php )

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Love Retro Computing
by feamatar on Sun 4th Dec 2016 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Love Retro Computing"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

Could you point a reference to that major design flaw?

MiST has nowhere near the performance compared to Firebee, also Firebee is mostly Falcon compatible, except for sound and DSP, which is again a nogo for MiST.

Also, Vampire to Firebee benchmarking would be interesting. And Vampire has no FPU nor MMU, but the Firebee is less 68k compatible.

Reply Score: 1

New?
by leech on Sun 4th Dec 2016 04:05 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

They have been around for 4 years already this is just a new run of them.

Reply Score: 2

Maybe Later
by LaceySnr on Sun 4th Dec 2016 05:06 UTC
LaceySnr
Member since:
2009-09-28

Have wanted one of these since they were first released but it's just way to hard to justify the cost. I do have a working Falcon though so VGA is just about new enough to keep things alive for now.

Reply Score: 1

Special computers?
by IndigoJo on Sun 4th Dec 2016 10:36 UTC
IndigoJo
Member since:
2005-07-06

Ataris weren't "special computers with their own hard and software". They used Motorola 68K processors, the same as Macs, Amigas and older Unix workstations in the 80s. Unlike PCs -- which used inferior Intel x86 chips -- they made their machines incompatible with each other and only the Mac survived. If they'd developed some interoperability, they might not have died out. Though perhaps Atari couldn't compete with the consoles.

I just looked at that website and I can't believe how poorly it sells itself. The screenshots are illegible and the biggest one seems to display fonts that haven't changed since the early 90s. Those machines were fun then but really, the world has moved on.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Special computers?
by Kochise on Sun 4th Dec 2016 13:16 UTC in reply to "Special computers?"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

The ST were better than Mac, there was even an emulator to run Mac software on Atari ST (Spectre and Spectre GCR by Gadget by Small) but was 3 times less expensive.

The problem was the lack of good programming interface, partnership with good software companies and a good upgrade plan. In fact, Atari stalled for too long.

Another problem was that for people, the ST were game machine, not professional computers, unlike PC and expensive Macs. So the fate was sealed from start.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Special computers?
by feamatar on Sun 4th Dec 2016 17:12 UTC in reply to "Special computers?"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

1. I think the page was written by a non-native speaker. The special in this case means what is written on the page: not Mac, not Amiga.

2. "I just looked at that website and I can't believe how poorly it sells itself." or "Those machines were fun then but really, the world has moved on."

Though there is information for people on the site for people who does not know what an Atari is, this project is mostly for the remnants of Atari community. They know what Teradesk or Freemint looks like(which is also possible to do on Aranym). These boards are mostly created for fun, to produce some real monster computers, be it Vampire board or Firebee.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Special computers?
by TSDgeos on Sun 4th Dec 2016 21:36 UTC in reply to "Special computers?"
TSDgeos Member since:
2007-05-26

I don't know about Atari, but saying a Mac and an Amiga used a 68K processor so they where the same it's gross oversimplification, what made the amiga an amiga was not the 68K but also the OCS/ECS/AGA chipsets
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_Chip_Set
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Enhanced_Chip_Set
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiga_Advanced_Graphics_Architecture

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Special computers?
by leech on Mon 5th Dec 2016 16:38 UTC in reply to "RE: Special computers?"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Not to mention the operating system on the Amiga from the beginning was fully pre-emptive multi-tasking.

Each system at the time had an advantage... oh wait, I can't think of the advantage of the 68k Macs... The Atari ST was cheaper than either of them, and could do some of the nice business type things the Mac could, but in color. And the Amiga had some seriously nice Audio and Graphic capabilities from the beginning.

But yeah, saying they were all the same because they all had a 68k processor is pretty shortsighted. It's like saying the C64 and Atari 8-bits were the same because they all used 6502 processors.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Special computers?
by Chrispynutt on Mon 5th Dec 2016 16:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Special computers?"
Chrispynutt Member since:
2012-03-14

Agreed, many other examples like the Megadrive, Sharp X6800 and many arcade boards back in the day.

What would be nice is a good FPGA based micro-computer that could run as a variety of machinese. Ideally in a nice keyboard case.

A stand alone Vampire might do it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Special computers?
by Kochise on Mon 5th Dec 2016 19:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Special computers?"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03
Emulators
by ml2mst on Sun 4th Dec 2016 14:13 UTC
ml2mst
Member since:
2005-08-27

I never understand why people buy such overpriced machines.

A cheap Intel Core i3 PC with let's say 8 GB RAM and plenty of disk space will do.

Install an Emulator and you'll have a 16-bit Monster ST/Amiga whatever.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Emulators
by timbit42 on Sun 4th Dec 2016 15:41 UTC in reply to "Emulators"
timbit42 Member since:
2013-03-22

After hanging around vintage computer groups for years, I've noticed people perceive a big difference between software emulators, hardware emulators, and original hardware. Many will not accept software emulation, but many do accept hardware emulation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Emulators
by Kochise on Sun 4th Dec 2016 17:01 UTC in reply to "Emulators"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Well, these machines were often used bare metal, programming directly without operating system layer to make use of every cycle of the 8 MHz clock. For instance for overscan or raster color display. Software emulation is hardly able to do that, hardware emulation do because it is cycle exact.

For system wide emulation, you have Aranym. Perhaps Hatari with FreeMint.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Emulators
by feamatar on Sun 4th Dec 2016 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Emulators"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

I think Firebee is mostly for Calamus and Cubase, not for games.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Emulators
by Kochise on Sun 4th Dec 2016 19:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Emulators"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I reiterate, the Atari machines are no longer, Cubase and Calamus have been ported and improved to other more up to date architectures. Atari softwares lacks of current refinement about gaming, network, printing or scanning, sound, video, whatever.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Emulators
by leech on Mon 5th Dec 2016 03:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Emulators"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

I reiterate, the Atari machines are no longer, Cubase and Calamus have been ported and improved to other more up to date architectures. Atari softwares lacks of current refinement about gaming, network, printing or scanning, sound, video, whatever.


Calamus still supports the Atari (though the 2015 edition requires at least 800x600x256 colors to work, they always required a higher resolution, but back in the day it only worked with no color.)
https://www.calamus.net/download/sl2015.php


Cubase as far as I know still supports the same plugins no matter what platform you're running it on. So yeah, there are still development / software uses for this thing. Otherwise why would they bother? It's not like the Coldfire would run gaming or anything.

Besides, someone actually wrote a google cloud print frontend for GEM. I haven't used it yet, but I should test it out. Loved messing with the DTP packages back then, they always made more sense to me than the fancier word processors... I mean either do basic word processing, or do DTP, don't try to do something in the middle...

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Emulators
by feamatar on Mon 5th Dec 2016 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Emulators"
feamatar Member since:
2014-02-25

And this project is not to replace those definitely, so I don't see what is the problem here. This is about hacking, it is not a commercial project. Though you can buy it, it is not about making profit or a viable company, it is about sharing what you did. I think it is art in its truest form.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Emulators
by Kochise on Mon 5th Dec 2016 11:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Emulators"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Sure is, but when you put 700 € in it, that makes a rather expensive toy. It is supposed to be an Atari computer evolution, yet is rigged with all sort of incompatibilities (beside GEM based softwares).

In itself the project is good, a bit expensive, but good. It is the fact that one can be mislead and think he can use his library of old atari software on it without flaws. First, it is a Coldfire, not a 68000.

So you'd better take this nice machine for what it is, and you described it well : a hackputer. With some emulated atari support.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Emulators
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 5th Dec 2016 15:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Emulators"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

700 Euros is probably the price range for a top level phone these days, no? And lets face it, very few people need a crazy new samsung/iphone. Its likely a toy for them. So this isn't that crazy of a price for a toy.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Emulators
by Kochise on Mon 5th Dec 2016 16:42 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Emulators"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

You can get a LG G3 for less than 200 €, which features quad core running at 2.5 GHz, 3 GB ram, 16 GB rom, integrated 2K screen (2560 x 1440) backed with powerful Adreno GPU, Wifi, Bluetooth, IRda, 13 MPix camera with laser autofocus, Android 6, ...

No, 700 € for that kind of 90s technology IS expensive and you'd better be a hardcore retrofreak to buy one. Knew some dudes that got one, played with it for a while and soon lost interest in it because the whole software stack is not stable.

Edited 2016-12-05 16:47 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Emulators
by sergio on Tue 6th Dec 2016 01:15 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Emulators"
sergio Member since:
2005-07-06

I reiterate, the Atari machines are no longer, Cubase and Calamus have been ported and improved to other more up to date architectures. Atari softwares lacks of current refinement about gaming, network, printing or scanning, sound, video, whatever.


Well, what you say is rational and I agree 100%... but I suspect you've never worked with artists! Many musicians are used to a particular software version and they'll never ever change.

I'm pretty sure there are a bunch of Atari/Cubase users willing to have the fastest Atari in the world to run their loved old Cubase version faster/better than migrate to a new platform.

I have no experience with Atari users but I worked with a ton of musicians that used PowerPC Macs (most of the running OS9) and It's impossible to make them switch to newer software/hardware... they love OS9 and they don't want to upgrade, they use old G4s and G5s and will never change. I suspect the same could happen with Atari/Cubase users.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Emulators
by leech on Sun 4th Dec 2016 19:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Emulators"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Yeah, pretty much GEM compliant software, I still want a play with Calamus 2015 for it, but it is a bit expensive to just play around with.

Reply Score: 2

A Special Atari Project
by PaxD75 on Sun 4th Dec 2016 15:16 UTC
PaxD75
Member since:
2012-03-31

> This is only experimental page and it is under heavy construction. You can expect major changes in near future.

I do hope they improve their pages because it looks like they've done a tremendous job with putting together a complete package (hardware and software) for Atari enthusiasts. Videos, screenshots, application performance. It's time to show off a bit:)

I can see they managed to pull together lots of different softTech to help drive this: TeraDesk, EmuTOS, software bundles (including browser). The recent updates across all software fronts is tremendously encouraging too for a project like this. Would be useful to see how seamless the entire OS is.

Even the board itself, at first glance, seems extremely flexible, open and modular. As an old PC-clone user, the value of this cannot be understated.

> Important thing to know is that this is a totally volunteer project and nobody earns anything

A 'labor of love'. It's clear from their pages that the results speak to solutions driven by user needs and NOT by corporate agendas. As an alt_OS fan, I quite like what they've put together. It feels like a pinnacle of achievement on the alternate OS front.

Reply Score: 1

The Irish Great Famine...
by dionicio on Mon 5th Dec 2016 15:00 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Remembering Us that 'One and Only Great' Solutions are never a good idea. Congratulations to FireBee Team ;)

Reply Score: 2

No future for firebee
by hakossem on Mon 5th Dec 2016 23:00 UTC
hakossem
Member since:
2005-07-15

There is a clear market for new version of old computer.
The C64 Direct-TV sold for more 250,000 units on their first run (I remember it at 30 or 40$)

The ZX Spectrum Vega+, a new version of the ZX Spectrum have raised 482,255 GBP on indiegogo.com (they were looking to raise 100,000 GBP).

Both computer came with free games and a good or great design. Both have a very reasonable price for what they are.

They are sold as game console and rerun of the original computer. They are not sold as better. The goal is clearly to touch those who miss the computer of their childhood and those who look for a game console.

Firebee takes another approach. It sells the firebee as a "modern computer". It's price is those of a high range computer. It's specification are lower than anything you can find for $50.

Maybe you want games... no problem: It comes without any games but happily you can download them (illegally?) from the net. Happily the firebee comes with a web browser, but is it compatible with any modern site? Does it support HTML5?

Clearly Atari took time to design and make their computer look good. Firebee took a cheap aluminum case. They don't sell cheap but they look cheap (and certainly are).

But what if you really want an Atari ST or Falcon compatible computer? you can buy a 643 euro Firebee, or go on eBay and buy an original Atari for 100-150$.

I don't see much future in Firebee

Reply Score: 1