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Bless and Curse of Atari and Amiga computer designs


calimero
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I have 3x 2 TB hard drives in my PC. Never needed some extra defragmenter SW, especially not as always active (and RAM eater). To add that just bought DVD burner - because it was cheap - only 13 Euros, and I need to check some old DVDs, to make extra backups of my work - beside other PC, Flash cards, Pen drives ... It is not all about prices - I abandoned DVD writings some 6 years ago, in big part because my first SATA writer was poor quality, same for writeable DVDs . And hard disks were already with better capacity/price ratio. 

Intel vs. AMD was present since first days when both manufactured compatible CPUs for PC. Lot of said, written was total crap, often even lie. I have both. But dare to say that AMD had better power/price ratio. Never had reliability problems, despite usual overclocking. At this moment strangely, newest AMD CPUs cost more than Intel ones - in Hungary - because 'virus makes manufacturing, transport more expensive' ... Sounds not realistic.  I don't know how it is on other side of sea, but here sellers gone totally mad with prices, not only with computers ...

Interesting example: there is ASUS Vivobook Pro notebook - was interesting to see because OLED variant is not much more expensive than QLED/IPS (in fact LCD) display variant (about 10% more). However, variant with AMD Raisen is about 20% more expensive than with Intel something ...

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5 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

I have 3x 2 TB hard drives in my PC. Never needed some extra defragmenter SW, especially not as always active (and RAM eater).

The one I've used for years now, UltimateDefrag doesn't remain in memory. But it consumes 1.5GB while working on 2x 2TB drives that are some 80% full of thousands upon thousands of tiny files. While most are archival and not accessed often, I do like them contiguous. For integrity.

 

5 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

To add that just bought DVD burner - because it was cheap - only 13 Euros, and I need to check some old DVDs, to make extra backups of my work - beside other PC, Flash cards, Pen drives ... It is not all about prices - I abandoned DVD writings some 6 years ago, in big part because my first SATA writer was poor quality, same for writeable DVDs . And hard disks were already with better capacity/price ratio. 

I began disliking optical media from the get go when CD-R became a thing. Not reliable enough for me in the long term. From time to time I brag I have a hard disk from 1985 that is fully functional and good signal strength on data retention. I'm a nutcase for sure!

 

But CD-RW pushed me over the edge. The promise of random access and Explorer like drag'n'drop capability was seriously over advertised in the narrow time it was. What a waste of both time and money.

 

The first external HDDs working off of 1394 had terrible enclosures and connect/disconnect protocols. Enclosures with no fan made for hot running drives. My god, did they not test these things? They were one of the things I grew to seriously hate. I was green and against my better suspicion I trusted the manufacturer to have everything spec'd out. Bullshit on that. Should have stayed with ZipDrive till the external HDD market found its way. Another lesson in early adopting.

 

Then the reliable, cost-effective, versatile, and usable, USB 2.0 HDDs finally came out. First as kits, you buy the drive and the enclosure. Then as ready-made commercial products. To what we have now, like 2TB and 4TB pocket-sized boxes.

 

I do fear they're going to convert all that to SSD soon enough.

 

5 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Intel vs. AMD was present since first days when both manufactured compatible CPUs for PC. Lot of said, written was total crap, often even lie. I have both. But dare to say that AMD had better power/price ratio. Never had reliability problems, despite usual overclocking.

I was turned off of AMD for reliability/compatibility reasons very early on. Maybe they're different today. But I don't really want to go learning the nuances of a new ecology. Both platforms are more than fast enough. And a 20$ difference in price isn't enough to sway me one way or another when it comes to having to refamiliarize with a different platform. My ohverclockzerz and m0dDers-boiz days are long done with. Praise'da Lord!!

 

5 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

At this moment strangely, newest AMD CPUs cost more than Intel ones - in Hungary - because 'virus makes manufacturing, transport more expensive' ... Sounds not realistic.  I don't know how it is on other side of sea, but here sellers gone totally mad with prices, not only with computers ...

"Because virus" price increases are all over the place here in the States as well. Let it happen. I just buy other stuff or simply go without. Way more than half the stuff people buy is completely unnecessary.

 

5 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Interesting example: there is ASUS Vivobook Pro notebook - was interesting to see because OLED variant is not much more expensive than QLED/IPS (in fact LCD) display variant (about 10% more). However, variant with AMD Raisen is about 20% more expensive than with Intel something ...

OLED and AMOLED really suck because both have limited life and experience burn in. Don't really care how much more bright and vivid the OLED stuff is when purchased new. LCD far less prone.

 

I suppose that doesn't matter in throw-away phones and things where displays are only intermittently on. And phone OLED has a green cast when viewed off-angle. Don't like that. When it comes to computer monitors, LCD/IPS remains my go-to choice.

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You forgot TV-s ?

Well, limited life problem existed with LCD displays too some 30 years ago. And slowness, later until about 2004. Dead pixels still possible, although it is now really rare.

It is not only bright where real LED display shines - better contrast, better dark parts, larger view angle without losing contrast. Not to mention less light getting eaten ?

Price is where it is still not competitive - especially in computer monitors case.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/16/2021 at 7:15 AM, ParanoidLittleMan said:

Interesting. Did not know about firmware update possibility. So went to Kingston site and DL KSM Setup program. Site self is disappointment. Executed KSM setup after attached problematic SSD, and program is even bigger disappointment - it worked, but nothing from writing on screen what happens. It blocked PC over 1 hour, then asked for restart, then some Win disk check, etc ...  From some reason after that any access to SSD was extremely slow with long waits. I don't know is it Win 10 or whatever, but I connected it to older PC with Win XP - and there works very well, no bad sectors detected.  So, healing worked. Actually, it was for sure remapping of good sectors to logical sector which gone bad - and yes, capacity is now lower couple GB. Still very happy.

Thanx for hint .

 

 

What really grinds my gears is the Windows 10 Device Manager doesn't really do a decent job at reporting firmware versions of devices like SSDs, let alone grabbing the updates across the net. So you end up going to Dell and then sometimes specifically to the SSD vendor if they actually have the information available under "Support" somewhere on their website. 

 

Windows 10 21H2 on Dell laptops with Micron, Toshiba, or Hynix 256GB NVMes have been working well at the office...

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/2/2021 at 7:18 PM, zzip said:

 

The ST did eventually get Wordperfect, and a version of Microsoft Write (a precursor to Word), but no updates.   It did not have a brand name Spreadsheet,

Reading something like this make me wonder if we had same computer (Atari ST) back in 80s and 90s :D

 

Wordperfect and Microsoft Write was worst piece of software ever written for ST. 
 

Non of this two programs could ever compete with Atari ST exclusive text processors like Signum, Thats Write, Papyrus, Tempus... there was probably more advance text procesors to choose from for ST then for DOS. 


More ever, programs like german (not UK) ProText even today does not exist for modern Windows or Mac OS: ProText could mix text, calculation and advance scripting directly in text. You do not need to make a table like in Word to make calculation. 
 

Then there was STeve for ST: combination of database and text editor and much much more. Documentation for STeve is on 800 pages!

 

and finaly if you look at Papyrus today for Win and Mac: it is far more advanced and easy to use then Microsoft Word - perfect combination of text processor and database. (To bad that there is only monthly subscription as paying option... :( )

 

 

Regarding spreadsheets, my favorite was LDW PowerCalc on ST. 
 

You can take a look at:

 

http://www.atariuptodate.de/en/office/wordpro
 

http://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/index.php?folder=/TEXT

 

 

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On 11/12/2021 at 7:41 AM, Lynxpro said:

 

That's all your opinion.  Let's see...

Hmm... how:

- ST had 30% higher resolution then MAC

- ST had 15% higher refresh rate on mono monitor then Mac

- ST had colors modes

- ST had full, numpad included, keyboard

 

can be my opinion? :D 

It is a fact that ST had 30% higher resolution, bigger screeen... ...

 

Not sure why do you call facts my opinion? :) 

 

On 11/12/2021 at 7:41 AM, Lynxpro said:

 

Since someone else mentioned the Mac's single floppy drive... The Mac's disc format had a higher capacity than TOS did. 400K, 800K, etc. That certainly beats 360K and 720K standards. [not counting hacked formats that the software houses didn't greatly support]. You can claim pseudo PC disc compatibility but how many of us back then actually used that "feature"? Not for the typical kids playing games on their STs. 

It seems that 90% users of this forum use ST for games.

I used "hacked formats" on ST all the time. I use 720KB format only on few floppies just to transfer files to PC.

 

1. why you call "pseudo PC disc compatibility"? It just works! ;)

2. why you call "hacked formats" disk with more tracks and sectors? They were perfectly usable and there was no draw back. I do not understand your claim " software houses didn't greatly support" - how software houses did not support such floppies?!? You simple format floppy with e.g. 82 tracks and 11 sector and put on it whatever you like :) 

 

 

On 11/12/2021 at 7:41 AM, Lynxpro said:

You're bringing up the numeric keypad? Well, the original Mac came out in early 1984. The Mac Plus in 1986 had a numeric keypad too. And it wasn't mushy like the 520ST/1040ST keyboards. Are you going to bring up the ST's 2 button mouse next? Because if so, then I could raise you macros being implemented in MacOS before TOS 1.04 if I recall correctly.

Yes, I bring numerical keypad in light of price:

 

- Mac was 2.5 more expensive than ST and lack, among many other things, a numerical keypad.

 

Rest of your post is nice roundup of how Apple pushes Mac into the future.

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On 12/5/2021 at 8:13 AM, Lynxpro said:

 

Really? What mainline commercial software supported 400K, 800K, or 880K formats to ST users to save their data in from 1985-1990? I'm not talking about demo scene wares, pirate compilations, or British magazine pack-in discs. Could First Word? Word Perfect? Microsoft Write? Any of the databases or other productivity software? How 'bout the MIDI sequencers? CAD 3D or the Cyber Studio?

Wait a second!

 

You really think that  First Word? Word Perfect? Microsoft Write? ... How 'bout the MIDI sequencers? CAD 3D or the Cyber Studio? COULD NOT save data to e.g. 880KB floppy? :D 

 

Of course that ANY commercial software could save data on ANY "non standard" formatted floppy!

 

 

btw 

why some of you keep citing Word Perfect and Microsoft Write as somehow important ST software?!

These two programs are pure garbage comparing to ST exclusive software. Any ST (non-gamer) user should know that.

If you did not use Signum, Tempus, Calamus... then you miss best part of ST :)

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3 hours ago, calimero said:

I used "hacked formats" on ST all the time. I use 720KB format only on few floppies just to transfer files to PC.

 

Virtually every 3 1/2 and 5 1/4 floppy I used bitd had extended formats on them, I even wrote

my own floppy formatter to produce a variety of tracks/sectors, even high speed loader disks.

Never had any problems using them in any drive.

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As soon as you got your hands on another copy/format program you never used the one that came with GEM. And of course you formatted the disks to fit more space, unless you needed to transfer stuff to PC as mentioned above. Never had any problem with 'extended' format during the days back then.

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I bought into the Mac Hype (once).  Had it exactly two weeks and return the P.O.S.  It got a virus, crashed, and the hard drive had to be re-formated.  So, much for MAC never getting a virus.  Pure freakin' expensive hype.  Screw Steve Jobs and his freakin' Mac freaks.

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On 1/17/2022 at 5:15 AM, calimero said:

why some of you keep citing Word Perfect and Microsoft Write as somehow important ST software?!

We all know it's crap,  but name-brand software was extremely important to have to get many users to even consider ST as a viable platform.   Doesn't matter if there were better options, people knew how use Wordperfect, Lotus, etc, and that's all they would consider running.

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

We all know it's crap,  but name-brand software was extremely important to have to get many users to even consider ST as a viable platform.   Doesn't matter if there were better options, people knew how use Wordperfect, Lotus, etc, and that's all they would consider running.

Word Perfect 5.2 was the go to wordprocessor for editing house here in Canada back in the day. 

 

As much as I liked the ST and Amiga, business here lived and died by IBM and IBM clones. Funny enough, my first programming contract job I got while in college was to write a program for an editing house that would return the number of words in the document without having to load it into WP so that they could process many manuscript in batches.

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On 1/17/2022 at 3:09 AM, calimero said:

Reading something like this make me wonder if we had same computer (Atari ST) back in 80s and 90s :D

 

Wordperfect and Microsoft Write was worst piece of software ever written for ST. 
 

Back in the 80's and early 90's, in North America, you had to use the same applications from your office (mainly WordPerfect & Lotus) to continue your work at home.  That's why many people bought PC clones.  For those who had ST's had to use WordPerfect 4.1 and LDW Power to work on WP/Lotus files, and yes the ST can read and write on DOS formatted disks which makes it more useful than some game machine...

 

On 1/17/2022 at 10:09 AM, snarkdluG said:

As soon as you got your hands on another copy/format program you never used the one that came with GEM. And of course you formatted the disks to fit more space, unless you needed to transfer stuff to PC as mentioned above. Never had any problem with 'extended' format during the days back then.

Yep, that's what I did to fit more downloaded games and other stuff on floppy disks.  And using the Twisted format made disk drive access faster which was needed for downloading over a 2400 modem (normal disk speed was too slow for keeping up with large files).

 

Yet for things like GIF's and WAV's I kept on DOS formatted disks to move over to a PC later on.  The specially formatted game disks I made images of for emultaors.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/17/2022 at 2:15 AM, calimero said:

Wait a second!

 

You really think that  First Word? Word Perfect? Microsoft Write? ... How 'bout the MIDI sequencers? CAD 3D or the Cyber Studio? COULD NOT save data to e.g. 880KB floppy? :D 

 

Of course that ANY commercial software could save data on ANY "non standard" formatted floppy!

 

 

btw 

why some of you keep citing Word Perfect and Microsoft Write as somehow important ST software?!

These two programs are pure garbage comparing to ST exclusive software. Any ST (non-gamer) user should know that.

If you did not use Signum, Tempus, Calamus... then you miss best part of ST :)

 

You seemed to miss the point. Name major commercial software titles from back then that saved data in formats beyond 720K prior to the release of 1.44MB floppy drives in the Mega STe, TT, and the Falcon030.

Edited by Lynxpro
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12 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

 

You seemed to miss the point. Name major commercial software titles from back then that saved data in formats beyond 720K prior to the release of 1.44MB floppy drives in the Mega STe, TT, and the Falcon030.

It is not SW running under some OS, but OS what deals with disk operations. Ergo, if OS can work with formats like 800, 880 KB, etc.  any SW which uses OS functions for disk operations will be able to save to those not wide standard format disks. All it is filename based, btw. .

 

And I must complain about second statement - I made HD floppy mod back in time in my 520 STM (expanded to 2.5 MB then), and it was before Mega STE. It worked well with 1.44 MB and 1.6 MB formats. I still have lot of those floppies, and most is in good shape after 30+ years.

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5 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

And I must complain about second statement - I made HD floppy mod back in time in my 520 STM (expanded to 2.5 MB then), and it was before Mega STE. It worked well with 1.44 MB and 1.6 MB formats. I still have lot of those floppies, and most is in good shape after 30+ years.

 

I'm not talking about personal mods; I'm referring to hardware and software support straight from Atari.

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On 11/13/2021 at 2:33 AM, atarian1 said:

Same here. I was dumbfounded that Lynxpro minimized this very useful feature that I also know many ST users used.

 

 

There's nothing to be dumbfounded about. There were numerous complaints about "true" PC disk format compatibility on the ST until Rainbow TOS or better. The common complaint was that the disc had to be formatted on a PC first and then it could be used on an ST to write files to them and continuously use between the platforms but if the ST formatted the disc first, then most PCs wouldn't read it properly. 

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9 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

 

I'm not talking about personal mods; I'm referring to hardware and software support straight from Atari.

It is irrelevant in this case, when talking about on what floppy formats diverse SW can save. Actually, TOS can handle even very weird formats, because it is flexible about it, unlike DOS and especially Windows, especially at XP. Win 95 could access fine Atari floppies, since XP only 720 KB format or 1.44 MB. http://atari.8bitchip.info/FloppyMistery.php

With TOS, you can work with floppies formatted to something like 8 sectors/track, for instance.

Personal mod was mod in HW. TOS did not need mod.

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6 minutes ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

It is irrelevant in this case, when talking about on what floppy formats diverse SW can save. Actually, TOS can handle even very weird formats, because it is flexible about it, unlike DOS and especially Windows, especially at XP. Win 95 could access fine Atari floppies, since XP only 720 KB format or 1.44 MB. http://atari.8bitchip.info/FloppyMistery.php

With TOS, you can work with floppies formatted to something like 8 sectors/track, for instance.

Personal mod was mod in HW. TOS did not need mod.

 

Win95 and XP is irrelevant to the comment. The point was, back in the day, if you formatted the disc on an ST equipped with TOS 1.02 and the like, the DOS era PCs had difficulties reading them properly.

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9 hours ago, Lynxpro said:

 

Win95 and XP is irrelevant to the comment. The point was, back in the day, if you formatted the disc on an ST equipped with TOS 1.02 and the like, the DOS era PCs had difficulties reading them properly.

That was just because non-standard bootsector begin. There were floppy format programs which corrected that problem, and could format more formats, higher capacities. Only people not informed used Desktop format.

I wrote myself such:  http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

FLOFOR.ZIP , at 80% of page. It has plenty of settings.

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If I remember correctly there was a driver program for MS-DOS included with PC-DITTO (PC_DDRVR.SYS)

that allowed reading and writing of ST formatted disks (not sure if they worked with "exotic" formats.

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On 9/30/2021 at 1:09 PM, calimero said:

---

 

Both Atari ST and Amiga use CPU from 1979. (68000) to design new computer in around 1983. (3-5 years later). 

 

 

To get Lotus II to run as well as it does on Amiga 1000 from 1985 you would need a 32mhz 68000, which doesn't exist :)

 

The Xerox PARC cost as much as house for a very good reason, the same reason that single comment points out....just because something is technically possible it is not suitable for mass market business. Same thing with Nolan seeing Space War on PDP-1 and having to wait another decade to make PONG consoles in bars remotely viable let alone home Pong consoles on shelves in Sears :)

 

To get from ST to Amiga Lotus II performance you need a 32mhz 68000 (you can try this in STEEM emulator) which doesn't exist, so in those days the genius was in custom silicon design to get the sort of performance you wanted without having to pay for a 24mhz 68020 in the Lorraine Prototype to get that performance. Acorn made their own CPU from scratch to get round this problem for their Archimedes rival to Amiga 1000 ;) 

 

Backwards compatibility, except in the case of PS1 games on PS2, usually meant a real ass fucking for consumer's bang per buck. AGA was a shit idea, 8 bitplanes? What idiot would EVER use ONLY that for a 256 colour display. AGA is not even suitable for a low end computer because it must never be used without CPU exclusive memory included (AKA 32bit Fast RAM) which the A1200 came without, could not be purchased with off the shelf and could never be added to CD32 unless you spent the cost of the machine again to get the other half of the A1200 motherboard to add extra RAM for the CPU not be crippled 50% of the time (so the 1200/CD32 is no better than a 7mhz 68020 for game engine coders...what a complete fuck up). Commodore 128.....another clown special of hardware design....a 64k RAM expansion is all that was needed for C64 to compete with rival 128k home micros!

 

People like Dave Haynie didn't have a clue, or Bil Herd. Nice people but their hardware designs were shit and way below the cutting edge the preceding machines they worked on had. A500 is a cock up, zero improvements and the so called cost cutting could have been pretty much matched just by replacing the 192k RAM daughterboard for Kickstart OS with a single ROM socket on the A1000 motherboard (the fall in RAM prices between Spring 85 to Spring 87 and the reduction of 192k in total RAM required to make a "512k" Amiga combined with the complexity of a motherboard+daughterboard design is what made A1000 so expensive) .

 

The mythical Hombre chipset Haynie keeps going on about, which would have had better than Sega Saturn performance would have cost you FIVE TIMES MORE THAN A SATURN. Ditto the AAA chipset was cancelled because it was a clusterfuck of feature creep and cost more than an off the shelf Diamond Viper VR PC 2D graphics card chipset.

 

Commodore's engineers were clueless compared to the Los Gatos team who designed the Lorraine prototype chipset. The last machine Commodore designed worth mentioning is the C64, they purchased the Amiga and produced the A1000 in Summer 85 but did nothing to improve it until late 1992!!...They didn't even improve it that much, you only get twice as much DMA time I think and the CPU is stuck at 7mhz pretty much unless you write rubbish polygon games like Starglider II. 

 

The downside of custom silicon is your entire back catalogue needs to be updated one by one to get any improvements, you can run Gauntlet 1 on your Mega STE in 16mhz mode and it is instantly nicer (health drops 2x faster though!) but if you run Garrison on an Amiga 1200 it's the same shitty game as on A500 class machine. 

 

PC gaming was never taken seriously outside the USA until VGA and something better than Adlib was in every machine as a minimum, companies supported this standard well before it was the minimum spec too. By contrast there are no AGA games or STE/Falcon games worth getting the machine for. CD32 is the biggest cock up ever, horrible talentless music done on soulless FM synths stuck on the same 32 colour games if you were lucky! PC publishers pushed the standard further, ST/Amiga scumbag publishers held back the market by ignoring the new chipsets. Sure there were AGA games but they are ALL shit compared to the holy trinity of Amiga 68k based gaming (Beast 1, Lotus II, Turrican III). By contrast you could have bought a game for your EGA + Adlib 8086 wank and when you got a 286 VGA + Soundblaster PC 3 years later those same disks could be used to play an improved version of the game you have owned for 3 years. It was a fight that Commodore/Atari could never win and it's all because of utter scum like the owner of US Gold or owners of Domark/Ocean. I wouldn't piss on Amiga Chase HQ if it was running on a 1985 520ST...and that's not even the worst....remember Turbo OutRun...you got better frame rates AND nicer title music on the C64 version lol

 

The difference though is you can write great CPU based code a lot faster than great CPU + custom chip code, less than 10 games on Amiga are technically worthy of the memory of Dave Needle/Jay Miner FACT. 

 

(I use Lotus II as a benchmark because it is data intensive AND it is programmed with talent on both formats)

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"To get Lotus II to run as well as it does on Amiga 1000 from 1985 you would need a 32mhz 68000, which doesn't exist"

 

Well....there are multiple accelerator boards these days. My STacy has a Pak 68/3 board in it for example. It is a 68030

though.

 

I don't think many were made but there was this:

 

160912609_T-boardad.jpeg.7edc896e9266e40412707c27c07928d2.jpeg

 

Exxos over at Exxos's Forum actually has a project for some *very* high speed 68000 stuff, IIRC.

 

So...it's "do-able"...  :)

 

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6 hours ago, DarkLord said:

"To get Lotus II to run as well as it does on Amiga 1000 from 1985 you would need a 32mhz 68000, which doesn't exist"

 

Well....there are multiple accelerator boards these days. My STacy has a Pak 68/3 board in it for example. It is a 68030

though.

 

I don't think many were made but there was this:

 

160912609_T-boardad.jpeg.7edc896e9266e40412707c27c07928d2.jpeg

 

Exxos over at Exxos's Forum actually has a project for some *very* high speed 68000 stuff, IIRC.

 

So...it's "do-able"...  :)

 

Yeah but in 1984/85 these things weren't available as far as I know. It was cheaper to get performance via esoteric custom chips back then, today it seems to be too expensive for MS/Sony to go down the PS2/PS3 custom silicon and the only reason the PS5 is 'custom' is because they threw money at AMD not to release their hacky real time ray tracing APU for PC OEMs, it was meant to be sold to them initially though. 

 

I remember going to an Atari show not too long after I bought Gauntlet 1 for my ST and I did see a 16mhz accelerator for the ST at the show, remember thinking how useful that would be for Gauntlet 1 back then :) I did have a 14mhz 020 CPU card for my Amiga 2000 around 1990 but it does bugger all good for bitmap games on Amiga and most just crashed anyway.

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