The FireBee project in all details

It started in December 2008: The Atari-Coldfire Initiative.

After new impulses from Switzerland and Austria several developers contacted each other at the beginning of December 2008. The aim was to find out which competencies and how many supporters were still available in the Atari-Community. Subsequently it would be decided if - and how - the project could be pursued, respectively how to get the ball rolling on new hardware again.

After a detailed phase of evaluation it turned out that the project would be realizable, and we decided, to work on from this moment forward as "Atari Coldfire Project (Reloaded)"

Many notable developers assured their support, also as well for the non-technical parts (Website-design, Editorial Office, Translations into other languages, ...) soon several volunteers found one another.

The FireBee (the name was chosen by the community out of more than 100 suggestions) got assembled in the context of an international team of volunteers starting in 2009. That means nobody earns any money with the development of the FireBee. The FireBee is a matter of so-called "Free Hardware", that means the schematics and construction files are freely available.

Block diagram of the FireBee components

The FireBee PCB got built by the famous company "Medusa Computer Systems" in Switzerland, which previously built and distributed two Atari-compatibles.

First (what might interest you the most) the technical data:
  • ColdFire-Processor with 264 MHz.
  • Powerful FPGA with 128 MB Graphics - and Special-RAM, 512 KB SRAM and 8 MB Flash-Memory (ROM) for the Operating System. Firmware Updates are easily possible by software.
  • Single Tasking operating system FireTOS (based on the Falcon-TOS 4.04) and the Open-Source operating System EmuTOS inside the Flash-ROM.
  • 512 MByte DDR SD-RAM.
  • DVI-I Monitor Connector (VGA per Adapter possible).
  • 5x USB 2.0 (4x external and 1x internal).
  • Ethernet 10/100, High Speed-Serial port.
  • Compact Flash- and SD-Card-Slot.
  • Sound: Line in, Line out, Mic (mono).

Atari-compatible connectors:
2 TT/Falcon IDE-Busses, ST/TT Floppy, Atari-Keyboard with Mouse, Printer Port parallel, RS-232 serial, MIDI in/out/thru.

Additional ports like SCSI, ACSI, ROM-Port and PS/2-Mouse/Keyboard are prepared on the hardware side, but currently not completely implemented.

Here's a detailed description for better understanding of all the FireBee components from Vincent Rivière:

Zoom inside the ColdFire shows all the details of the FireBee's main processor .

Zoom inside the FPGA : The Field-programmable gate array .

Zoom inside the PIC is the third article about FireBee components.

Zoom inside the FireBee shows how everything comes together .
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