Statement (July 2001)
Why is there no PPC-version of ArtEffect or its Plugins?
If we compile the plugins for the PowerPC, the speed-improvement for versions 3 and 4 is minimal, and virtually non-existent. This is, for the most part, due to the internal structure of AE, which consistently uses the OS for its virtual memory management. This leads to the prevalent context-switches between PPC- and 68k-CPU's on the Phase5-boards, eliminating any possible speed-increases.
A translation of AE (considering that the OS runs almost exclusively on the 68k), would virtually mean programming it from scratch. This wouldn't make sense, because it would run at full speed on "normal" PPC-systems (without a 68k-CPU). We've been waiting for such a system for three years, but naturally had no way of knowing about it in advance.
Our suspicions were confirmed, and this statement can be found in the product AmigaWriter. Here we went through a great deal of trouble to create a special Phase5-PPC optimised version. This resulted in a speed-increase of 5 to 30% with some functions. This a far away from the expected 5 to 10-fold speed increase (5-fold because of the 5x higher tact rate of the PPC, and doubling speed through the superior techniques of the CPU).
Other programmers can readily testify to this fact. However, there are exceptions; such as when a program is divided into ideal modules, and can perform the pure calculations on the PPC as long as possible without having to switch to the 68k. Examples of this are Tornado3D and Wildfire, which actually achieve a 5 to 10-fold speed increase with the PPC.
In the past we have often contemplated whether we should publish this viewpoint or not. We chose not to, as we wouldn't endanger the market any further, since for publishers and retailers it has been a declining venture for a long time. We've been hoping for the release of "real" PPC-boards for the Amiga (we had known of at least half a dozen such projects). It's surprising that hardly anyone wondered why we didn't publish a PPC-version of our programs, when we mentioned in the StormC advertisements that only a new compilation would be needed for it. Had we been under pressure from the Amiga community, we probably would have made this statement earlier, but since no-one asked...
Markus Nerding (e-Mail)