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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved



The QBox is a home DIY project that will be developed as a full computer system. The system is produced by one man, who views it as a personal successor to the Amiga.

I did this because if the Amiga should die
(I don't hope this, but the possibility is there...)
I don't want to use an industry standard "PC".
In many ways, Project QBox is a development on the Classic Amiga style of computing, similar to the Impulse Multiprocessing system it is based upon the Motorola ColdFire processor. A faster RISC implementation of the 68k used in the Amiga. To be more specific the XCF5206e, rated at 54MHz. The author has also taken a number of tips from the Amiga way of doing things, including dedicated custom chips designed for specific tasks (graphics, sound, etc). The processors are promises to support hardware multitasking, allowing two layers of task scheduling- an all-purpose task scheduler and a processor specific one controlling particular functions, such as graphics. System performance of such a system is higher than conventional computers through intelligent task sharing, dividing a large task into smaller ones which can be solved in parallel.

The Coldfire is particularly useful for this type of task, allowing the author to create almost an entire computer without having to use another computer platform such as an Amiga or Windows. The first stage of the QBox design was to build the developer system. This consists of an ColdFire 5206/25MHz, 2Mb PS/2 RAM, 256kb FlashROM, 2 Serial Interfaces, a BDM Debug port, an ISA-Slot and a selfmade FPGA-board equipped with an Xilinx XC4005XL.

After numerous designs and redesigns of the layout the "5206e Adapter V1.0" CPU board was completed on the 24/2/1999. The next task was to create a motherboard for the 5206e adapter to be plugged into.
Coldfire Processor
This would allow the connection of PS/2 RAM, GoldCap-buffered SRAM and an I/O-Interface for a simple but fast network connection to the Amiga via parallel port.
ppQBox Mainboard
Three weeks later (21.03.99), the main board, dubbed the ppQBox had been completed. The feature list included 256Kb buffered (GoldCap) high speed SRAM, 1 - 64Mb PS/2 DRAM, network interface for data exchange between the Amiga and the QBox, and 2 proprietary expansion slots for additional hardware (Hard Disk, Sound, IO, GFX, PCI-Slots).

Operating System

A computer is no use without an operating system. Like the AmigaOS, the QBox uses a  small preemptive Multitasking kernel, capable of running over 20 Tasks. There is still a long way to go in the operating systems development. With the addition of an VGA-compatible graphics board and a IBM Keyboard interface later in the year the author will begin to build a complete OS, called QOS. The kernel is just the first stage of this, the file system, IO-device and a simple text based DOS all need to be developed. After this a friendly GUI interface will need to be developed. At present this is planned to be fully coded in C++. Although nothing exists of it yet the authors brother created a number of concept designs of its general look, showing that the AmigaOS has played a large part in the aesthetics of the user interface.

To read more about the project visit the QBox Home page.


Last Update: 1/11/2001


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