Amiga Enthusiast Gets Quake Running On Killer NIC PowerPC CPU Core

amiga 3000 ux
The Amiga community remains one of the most passionate and inventive we have ever seen, even now, decades after Commodore’s demise. A couple of weeks back, we featured just a few recent projects that were designed to breathe new life into aging Amiga systems, or at the very least ensure they remain repairable for the foreseeable future. Our article explaining how to build a cheap Amiga emulator using a Raspberry Pi was immensely popular as well. Today, however, we stumbled across a video that encapsulates the ingenuity of many of the more technical folks in the Amiga community. What it shows is an Amiga 3000UX, equipped with a Voodoo 3 card and BigFoot Networks Killer NIC M1, running some software – including Quake – on the Killer NIC’s on-board Power PC processor.

The Amiga 3000UX was a derivative of the original Amiga 3000, but it ran UNIX System 5 Release 4. It was designed to be an entry-level UNIX workstation when Commodore was trying to make inroads in the enterprise computing space. The base configuration featured a 25MHz Motorola 68030 and either a 68881 or 68882 math co-processor, with 1MB of chip RAM and 4MB or 8MB of fast RAM standard when it hit the scene in the early ‘90s. Later on in the Amiga’s tumultuous life, however, PowerPC-based accelerators were developed and added to systems in an effort to advance the migration to a newer, more powerful architecture than the 68K, like Apple did with the Macintosh back in the day.

And that’s where the Killer NIC M1 comes in. The original Bigfoot Networks Killer NIC M1 featured a 32-bit FreeScale MPC8347E processor running at 400MHz (dubbed the NPU), a Xilinx Spartan FPGA, a Broadcom GigE PHY, 64MB of DDR RAM, an embedded Linux distro, and dedicated USB controller / port. A recent update to the Sonnet library for PowerPC-based PCI cards, which was originally meant for Sonnet 7200 G3 or G4 devices, has added support for the Killer NIC M1 and now the Killer NIC can be used to run some applications designed for WarpOS. WarpOS is a multi-tasking kernel for the PowerPC architecture developed for the Amiga that some enthusiasts still port applications to today.
killer nic m1
The Amiga 3000UX in the video is outfitted with a PCI Mediator board, which allows PCI cards to be installed into the system, along with a 3dfx Voodoo 3 and the aforementioned Killer NIC. In the video, a SysSpeed benchmark is run that shows the system obliterating a 68060-powered Amiga 4000 and then the user goes on to run Quake on the rig at a darn good framerate. 

It certainly won’t rival today’s gaming PCs and the graphics have nothing on Doom Eternal, but this looks like it was a fun endeavor for this enthusiast nonetheless.