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Advice needed on Amiga compatibility.


Keatah
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A buddy of mine is interested in getting into the Amiga sphere of things. Ok. And wants to know what the most compatible configuration across the board is. Not interested in ultra-turbo speed, or, rather, it's not a requirement.

 

But what model(s) or methods would work? Like you get an A1000, you won't be running ECS and AGA software. And if you get a 4000T or something, you won't be running the early 1984/1985 software and first workbenches.

 

So without spending a ton of money and bulking up with multiple consoles - what's the best solution? Emulation? FPGA MiST-like hardware? Which consoles? A2000? A1200? A600? A3000 or A4000? I understand and explained that it might be some combination of all those and may include modding.

 

Remember the goal is having the most software compatibility without bulking up.

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The A1200 has a bulit-in menu where you can choose between OCS, ECS and AGA chipsets for software compatibility. Its been awhile since I have owned an Amiga 1200, but if memory serves me correctly - you can access the chipset compatibility menu on the A1200 by pressing and holding both mouse buttons upon powering up the system.

Edited by ColecoGamer
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The A1200 is the obvious choice here, but it is far from ideal.

 

The A1200 in North America is rare and fairly expensive. It is also quite fragile compared to the A500. The caps fail, the keyboard mylar fails, the case discolors at the merest hint of sunlight, and without a 2MB memory expansion WHDload is pretty much useless.

 

I would suggest you look for an A500 Rev 6. Easily converted to 1MB chip RAM. It can switch between NTSC and PAL. The ACA500+ and other side-car expansions seem to work fine, and the Vampire V2 makes it insanely fast and promises to one day add AGA support too. Even without AGA, most games seem to have been written to the OCS/ECS configuration. The capacitors don't leak, there is no battery to destroy your motherboard, and they are still relatively affordable.

 

If Individual Computers ever get around to releasing the A1200 Reloaded then that would be my first choice. But until then....

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I agree with the above. Until the A1200 came out, pretty much everything was designed to run on the A500 as it was the best selling model. It's also a relatively inexpensive way to get into the Amiga and see if you like it.

Edited by Arnuphis
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A1200 with an accelerator is the 'best' solution for classic Amiga gaming but quite expensive.

 

An Amiga 500 with an ACA500plus is a fantastic solution (allowing extra speed, CF based hard drives, Kickstart ROM selection, WHDload support, etc) and as mentioned above quite affordable. The A500/ACA500plus combo is so good that my loaded A1200 isn't actually seeing use these days.

 

As pure entry level an A500 with a Gotek and FlashFloppy is hard to beat.

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And is it possible to mod a rev-5 A500 to 1MB ChipRAM?

 

The ACA500plus can automagically do this with the proper Agnus chip, which is all kinds of awesome.

 

ACA500plus is an external expansion which is plugged to the left expansion port of your A500 or A500+. There is no need to open the computer at any time. This includes a new revolutionary method that can turn your 512k trapdoor memory expansion into chipram! If your Amiga is equipped with an ECS Agnus chip and said internal 512k memory expansion, you can turn your computer into a 1MByte-Chipram computer

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It is a toss-up between an Amiga 500 (Rev 6 with a MegAChip or Rev 8 which IIRC has all 2MB ChipRAM) or an Amiga 1200 with an 030 accelerator. There are also a lot of good AGA games out there, some which will run on an un-expanded A1200, and if you want to run the older OCS/ECS games well you would want the 030, RAM, and WHDLoad.

 

Depending upon where you get it -- watch the Marketplace here or hit AmiBay -- the price different between suitable 500s or 1200s can be pretty slim, the 1200 being more expensive, you just have to keep a close eye out. It would not hurt to let others know you are interested as there are some who sit on equipment and will happily part with it for reasonable pricing for the right enthusiast.

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I think the "W" on WHDLoad stands for "Workbench". As in "Workbench Hard Drive Load".

 

Anyway, this is a good discussion. It really all depends on how you grew up on an Amiga. I never saw the AGA versions see the light of day in my region personally. It's like the A2000 was the "end" of the Amiga where I live on the east coast. Nobody I knew could afford an A2000, so we all had A500's. We loved them and used them for years and then pretty much moved directly to PC machines when the Amiga was no longer spoken of in the area...and that was about it.

 

It wasn't until a decade or so later that I found that Commodore kept up with the line and released the A600, A2500, A3000, A1200, and A4000. I was pretty amazed and upset that I missed out on these machines.

 

That said, I really have no nostalgic feelings toward the AGA chipset. I have seen some AGA software and games that look cool...but again nothing that makes me personally really care about it as I was not exposed to it in the day. The OCS/ECS stuff is where my heart resides to this day.

 

So, it depends on how you grew up on the Amiga. If you have only had exposure to the OCS/ECS stuff an Amiga 2000 is a fantastic choice due to its incredible expand-ability and dependability. If you had exposure to the AGA stuff you can grab an A1200 (which is getting pricey) or an A4000 (which is really pricey). But then again, they are all pricey so what the hey.

 

If you don't have money for any of it but want to enjoy it like a stand alone computer I would say a Pi with a properly set up Amibian setup is a great choice.

 

 

And by the way, there are a ton of workarounds to run any software (OCS/ECS) on AGA machines so this is a non-issue.

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There's still a guide here with a system-by-system breakdown of compatibility.

 

A buddy of mine is interested in getting into the Amiga sphere of things. Ok. And wants to know what the most compatible configuration across the board is. Not interested in ultra-turbo speed, or, rather, it's not a requirement.

 

But what model(s) or methods would work? Like you get an A1000, you won't be running ECS and AGA software. And if you get a 4000T or something, you won't be running the early 1984/1985 software and first workbenches.

 

So without spending a ton of money and bulking up with multiple consoles - what's the best solution? Emulation? FPGA MiST-like hardware? Which consoles? A2000? A1200? A600? A3000 or A4000? I understand and explained that it might be some combination of all those and may include modding.

 

Remember the goal is having the most software compatibility without bulking up.

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Dan Wood posted a good video about this a few years ago:

 

 

Some things have changed the playing field since however...namely the Vampire which makes the A600 a much better choice than it was beforehand...same with the A500/A2000 :)

Edited by eightbit
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The bulk of the games on the Amiga are OCS.

 

I find that when it comes to Amiga gaming, I spend the most time on the following:

Amiga 500 (with 1MB Blitter set to PAL by default)

512K RAM upgrade (for a total of 1MB)

Kickstart 1.3

External disk drive.

1084 monitor.

No hard drive.

 

A lot of people are ga-ga about the Amiga 1200. However, I can't think of enough AGA games that I actually like better than the OCS games. And when it comes to OCS and ECS titles, there are lots of compatibility issues when trying to run them on the A1200 (even when it's set to OCS).

 

If the point is to work with AmigaOS/Workbench, then I'd say the best option is to jump straight to the Amiga 4000 (or at least take the Amiga 1200 to a 68030). Workbench on a 68020 is a bit sluggish.

 

 

If they want to try before they buy, there's always a simulation like this:

Edited by Nebulon
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Well, that't not entirely true. It depends on what version of Workbench you are running. I am running WB v2.1 using a 68020 and it is really snappy with WHDLoad and pretty much everything else.

 

Additionally, you can speed up an AGA Workbench by using fewer colors. I used 256 colors on a 68020 and it was slow, but change that down to 32 or 16 colors and the speed increases dramatically.

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Well, that't not entirely true. It depends on what version of Workbench you are running. I am running WB v2.1 using a 68020 and it is really snappy with WHDLoad and pretty much everything else.

Try setting it to a 256-color desktop.

 

And then I looked up at the message from OLD CS1 and realized that he's already mentioned this.

 

 

Believe me, I love AmigaDOS 2.x and 3.x. It's just the slowness of using it with more than 128 colors that irks me.

Edited by Nebulon
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Try setting it to a 256-color desktop.

 

And then I looked up at the message from OLD CS1 and realized that he's already mentioned this.

 

 

Believe me, I love AmigaDOS 2.x and 3.x. It's just the slowness of using it with more than 128 colors that irks me.

 

 

Thing is I lived in 4 colors for years. Now at 16 colors it is perfect (to me).

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What does "W" in WHDLoad stand for?

 

And is it possible to mod a rev-5 A500 to 1MB ChipRAM?

 

 

I wanted to add how important it is to get whatever Amiga machine you want to use to 2MB of chip, not just 1MB if you want to get the full WHDLoad experience. A lot of games (Cannon Fodder comes to mind) in their WHDLoad versions require 2MB of chip. I found this out the hard way after getting my A2000 rig all together and just when I thought I was good to go....I needed 2MB. The excellent MegaChip solved the problem but it is pricey. I paid $150 for mine.

 

Also, some type of acceleration that at least gets you to a 68020 is a must for WHDLoad. I also could not run a ton of games as they complained of requiring a 68020 or better. I added a 68020 and all has been peachy since.

 

If you go with floppy versions of the games and use a Gotek with flashfloppy you need not worry about such things. But, WHDLoad is just so darn convenient ;)

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I prefer to use my a500 with 500kb expansion and gotek drive. I dont feel the need for adding a harddisk to my amiga, although i now that at least the games that spanned several disks could benefith because of the disk swapping. For 90% of the games i like to play this is a good enough setup.

That said i did have a 1200, but sadly it was broken and i didnt want to sell out a lot of monet to replace it.

I think my preffered setup would be a amiga 600 with a compact flash harddisk. Nice small form factor and ide compatible.

My collection of amiga stuff used to include the a1000, nice looking machine, but in standard config to limited.

A amiga cdtv, nice looking machine, but not compatible with normal amiga mouse and joysticks, expensive.

A1200, nice machine but very expensive, low powered psu.

A amiga cd32, with a keyboard, nice to load games of cdrom, but the drive mechanisme is a bit to fiddly. Also expensive.

So price wish i think the a500 is the cheapest way to get into amiga gaming.

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