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Reply 300 of 361, by appiah4

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These days I find myself spending more and more time tinkering with my upgraded A500 (ACA500Plus 680CE00@21MHz, 1MB Chipmem, 8MB Fastmem, 8GB CF-IDE HDD, Plipbox Nano network adapter and HDMI-520 Upscaler/Flicker-Fixer) and I must say if I knew this kind of Amiga configuration was possible I may have thought twice before I switched to a 486 33MHz in 1993. Until I started running OS/2 Warp in 1995, I really missed Workbench, even 1.3.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 301 of 361, by Caluser2000

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I've all the different x86 cards for the Acorn RiscPC, a few RiscPCs in different configurations, some A4000s an A3000 and upgraded A410. Tons of software for them and some spare roms.

There's a glitch in the matrix.
A founding member of the 286 appreciation society.
Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.
Of course, as always, I'm open to correction...😉

Reply 302 of 361, by brostenen

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Errius wrote on 2021-04-12, 13:57:

I would totally buy a newbuilt C64.

You can build one yourself, and install it in an ATX case. Yup. The motherboard can NOT sit inside a standard case. And then you can build expansion cards for it.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 303 of 361, by Grzyb

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-19, 11:00:

A replacement, aftermarket EISA backplane for the A1500/A2000 would have had been a wise decision here.

It doesn't make sense.
EISA is 32-bit
A1500/A2000 is 16-bit

Chances are, that Zorro<->ISA bridge wasn't a bottleneck, at least in an A2000.
ISA is 16-bit 8MHz - slow, but still seems faster than the 68000@7MHz bus.

For A3000 and A4000, however, ISA graphics must have been bad.
If I was looking for some SVGA chipset for use in such Amigas, I would consider something with memory-mapped I/O, like CL-GD5429.
There's no I/O address space in 680x0 CPUs, so a chipset with MMIO would noticably simplify the design.

Reply 304 of 361, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote on 2021-04-20, 03:11:
It doesn't make sense. EISA is 32-bit A1500/A2000 is 16-bit […]
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Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-19, 11:00:

A replacement, aftermarket EISA backplane for the A1500/A2000 would have had been a wise decision here.

It doesn't make sense.
EISA is 32-bit
A1500/A2000 is 16-bit

Chances are, that Zorro<->ISA bridge wasn't a bottleneck, at least in an A2000.
ISA is 16-bit 8MHz - slow, but still seems faster than the 68000@7MHz bus.

For A3000 and A4000, however, ISA graphics must have been bad.
If I was looking for some SVGA chipset for use in such Amigas, I would consider something with memory-mapped I/O, like CL-GD5429.
There's no I/O address space in 680x0 CPUs, so a chipset with MMIO would noticably simplify the design.

That is why there are PCI for Amiga3000, 1200 and 4000. The ISA slots in the top-tear Commodore Amiga's are good for bridge boards and PC expansion cards.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 305 of 361, by appiah4

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Yeah, Mediator Bus enables PCI for big box Amigas and it's a godsend.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 306 of 361, by megatron-uk

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I've bought a Mediator 1200 years ago and could never get it working reliably; there just seemed to be too many variations of the MM CD drivers and patches and bodges to get any cards working reliably. I tri d Voodoo cards, Realtek network, a SB PCI and even a Virge... Only the Virge worked - partially.

I ultimately pulled it out and just decided to use the 15KHz modes and the entire system just for gaming via an OSSC.

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Reply 307 of 361, by Jo22

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Grzyb wrote on 2021-04-20, 03:11:
It doesn't make sense. EISA is 32-bit A1500/A2000 is 16-bit […]
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Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-19, 11:00:

A replacement, aftermarket EISA backplane for the A1500/A2000 would have had been a wise decision here.

It doesn't make sense.
EISA is 32-bit
A1500/A2000 is 16-bit

Chances are, that Zorro<->ISA bridge wasn't a bottleneck, at least in an A2000.
ISA is 16-bit 8MHz - slow, but still seems faster than the 68000@7MHz bus.

I was thinking of bridge boards and accellerator boards..
EISA could have been a robust alternative to PCI that didn't break ISA compatibility.
Because, EISA was a serious server technology. The ET4000 existed in EISA* variants, too.

32-Bit or not, it might have been less stressing to use EISA slots instead, because that bus had more head room than pure ISA.
Ie, multiple cards on the EISA side could have had talked to each other at quick speeds without slowing the whole bus down.

I'm tinking of netword cards, IDE controllers, SVGA cards. On ISA, each of them alone has the ability to demand capacity of the whole bus.
That's why even on low-end PC platforms, ISA was a bottle-neck.
And the ET4000 was quick not only because of the VGA core itself, but also its FiFo buffer.

Sure, ISA had a higher clock rate. But who in his/her right mind ran an 68k/7Mhz freely in 1991/1992 in his/her main "PC"** ?
I mean, even the 68010 was a common replacement. Comparable to what the NEC V20/V30 was on the PC platform.

From what I saw, the Amiga people often were hardware hackers and or at least technically inclined.
Things like RAM or Kick EPROMS often got upgraded, anyway, which is not far from installing a CPU replacement. 😀

Grzyb wrote on 2021-04-20, 03:11:

For A3000 and A4000, however, ISA graphics must have been bad.
If I was looking for some SVGA chipset for use in such Amigas, I would consider something with memory-mapped I/O, like CL-GD5429.
There's no I/O address space in 680x0 CPUs, so a chipset with MMIO would noticably simplify the design.

A3000, A4000. Hm. Weren't these rare, niche, high-end Amigas owned by Amiga fans that came out when the platform reached its end? 😉
I thought the majority of users had Amigas based on A500/A2000 technology.
Personally, I've never met a person that had an A3000/4000. 😅

Edit: ET40oo/W32i datasheet says "The Tseng Labs ET4000/W32i video controller is an ISA/EISA/MCA-compatible graphics chip that delivers an 8-/16-/32-bit bus or CPU direc[..]"
Source: http://www.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheets_pd … 4000-W32I.shtml

Edit: ** Never mind. I'm comming to the conclusion that I'm not quite able to understand the common mind set of real Amiga users. 😅
That being said, I think it was an interesting platform, though. And I do truely appreciate it for its demo and tracker scene, too.

Last edited by Jo22 on 2021-04-20, 07:46. Edited 4 times in total.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 309 of 361, by Jo22

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But weren't A600/1200 rather like early 90s home computers ? 😕
They had that console design again that made useful expansion difficult. ZX81, VC20, C64, A500.. 🙁

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 310 of 361, by appiah4

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I have a Radeon 9250 PCI and a Terratec 512i I am keeping around just to use them on a Mediator board at some point (if I can afford it 🤣)

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 311 of 361, by Keatah

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Having had an Amiga 1000 on release day, and an A500 sometime later in '87 I clearly recall the first and old days.

I personally believe it was the amazing (at the time) custom chipset that was the downfall. So many things were baked into it. So many things not customizable and modifiable through software. No ability to upgrade/replace the sound and graphics circuitry to keep pace with new developments. Any A/V upgrade would seem to need a complete redesign of that chipset from the ground up. And that essentially meant a whole new machine. With the PC this was the complete opposite. Everything was modular. Upgrades could be done piecemeal or in full. Any time. And while PC hardware wasn't as advanced in the A/V department, it was only a matter of time.

I started eying the PC with the advent of the later 286 12MHz machines. At first I started seeing software on those that would never come to the Amiga. This included sciencey stuff like eclipse plotters, sky chart generators, fractal rendering sandboxes, cad/cam tools, and more.

I stuck it out with the Amiga through the entire 286/386 era in hopes its promise would be fulfilled. Unfortunately I was mistaken. In 1992 I got serious about purchasing a PC after reading the DX2 clock-doubling article in the May issue of Byte Magazine. It was astonishing and suddenly it was the way forward.

Not only that there were 4 big-boxes and at least 3 mom'n'pops within BMX range that stocked PC hardware. Not to mention the software-only chains. Stuff was everywhere. And everyone knew the stores.

Reply 312 of 361, by LunarG

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-11, 09:36:

By the end of its life, the A500 got an external HDD, but it was of little capacity (20MB) and very expensive.

I had a sidecar HDD back in the early 90's on my A500. It was a GVP HD8+ with a 120MB SCSI HDD in it, and 2MB Fast RAM installed. It also had an expansion connector for a PC-emulator card (basically a whole 286 PC), although I didn't really have any interest in that at the time. I bought my HD8+ second hand, around '92-'93 I believe (it's been a while, can't remember exact), when the previous owner upgraded to the A530 (which had a 40MHz accelerator as well). So the A500 didn't only have a 20MB HDD available to it. 😀

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 313 of 361, by LunarG

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Keatah wrote on 2021-04-22, 13:31:
Having had an Amiga 1000 on release day, and an A500 sometime later in '87 I clearly recall the first and old days. […]
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Having had an Amiga 1000 on release day, and an A500 sometime later in '87 I clearly recall the first and old days.

I personally believe it was the amazing (at the time) custom chipset that was the downfall. So many things were baked into it. So many things not customizable and modifiable through software. No ability to upgrade/replace the sound and graphics circuitry to keep pace with new developments. Any A/V upgrade would seem to need a complete redesign of that chipset from the ground up. And that essentially meant a whole new machine. With the PC this was the complete opposite. Everything was modular. Upgrades could be done piecemeal or in full. Any time. And while PC hardware wasn't as advanced in the A/V department, it was only a matter of time.

I started eying the PC with the advent of the later 286 12MHz machines. At first I started seeing software on those that would never come to the Amiga. This included sciencey stuff like eclipse plotters, sky chart generators, fractal rendering sandboxes, cad/cam tools, and more.

I stuck it out with the Amiga through the entire 286/386 era in hopes its promise would be fulfilled. Unfortunately I was mistaken. In 1992 I got serious about purchasing a PC after reading the DX2 clock-doubling article in the May issue of Byte Magazine. It was astonishing and suddenly it was the way forward.

Not only that there were 4 big-boxes and at least 3 mom'n'pops within BMX range that stocked PC hardware. Not to mention the software-only chains. Stuff was everywhere. And everyone knew the stores.

I tend to agree with you. The custom chipset was amazing for getting tons of performance out of modest hardware at the time, but the more custom you make something, the more problematic the upgrade path. And sure, if you ask any Amiga user, they'll tell you that there's hardly any limit to how much you can upgrade an Amiga. You could take a relatively modest A1200, add a Mediator PCI busboard, add a PowerPC card, a Radeon 9250 graphics card, USB card... Add a FastATA IDE controller to improve drive performance. Perhaps an '060 accelerator card to improve 68k performance... Etc. etc. You'll end up with something that would still be fairly up to date by the late 90's to early 2000's. However, all the PowerPC software would be totally separate from the "classic" Amiga stuff. It's not like the PowerPC CPU makes old software faster. And the graphics card? Yep, it's great for software that supports retargetable graphics, but not for everything, and certainly nothing that uses the custom chips. As for audio? Well, once you have a faster CPU, the Amiga is totally capable of doing software audio mixing just like a PC. I can play multi-channel .xm files on my '030 A1200 no problem, but it's still limited to 8bit. In the end, the more you upgrade an Amiga, the less of the original "Amiga" architecture is being used. Less and less of the original software library will benefit from it. Even Commodore knew this. They were planning on moving to Risc before they went bankrupt.
In 1985, the custom chipset was amazing. It could do things that the very modest 68000 CPU shouldn't have been capable of. But as soon as PC graphics and sound caught up, the custom chipset became a liability.

That being said. My A1200, with '030 CPU at 50MHz can do things to this that that is almost unbelievable for such an old system. As soon as it's booted up, it's online, just like a modern PC. Drag and drop file transfer from my Windows 10 PC. Modern up-to-date web browser. It's actually way better for web browsing than my Windows 3.x systems, despite those having more powerful hardware. Just goes to show how dedicated the Amiga following is.

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 314 of 361, by LunarG

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-19, 19:15:

These days I find myself spending more and more time tinkering with my upgraded A500 (ACA500Plus 680CE00@21MHz, 1MB Chipmem, 8MB Fastmem, 8GB CF-IDE HDD, Plipbox Nano network adapter and HDMI-520 Upscaler/Flicker-Fixer) and I must say if I knew this kind of Amiga configuration was possible I may have thought twice before I switched to a 486 33MHz in 1993. Until I started running OS/2 Warp in 1995, I really missed Workbench, even 1.3.

Affordable Amiga upgrades were few and far between back in the early 90's though. Sure, you could get tons of stuff, but in general, upgrades for Amiga were much more expensive than upgrades for a PC. Or perhaps that was just here? I dunno. I remember looking in computer magazines back in the early 90's, seeing how crazy expensive it would be to upgrade an Amiga to keep up with PC's rapid development. And all the new cool games, which were certainly a draw at the time, were all being released for PC, none for the Amiga. At least not for OCS/ECS. Amigas are so much more upgradable and fun to mess with today 😁

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 315 of 361, by appiah4

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LunarG wrote on 2021-04-22, 16:21:
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-19, 19:15:

These days I find myself spending more and more time tinkering with my upgraded A500 (ACA500Plus 680CE00@21MHz, 1MB Chipmem, 8MB Fastmem, 8GB CF-IDE HDD, Plipbox Nano network adapter and HDMI-520 Upscaler/Flicker-Fixer) and I must say if I knew this kind of Amiga configuration was possible I may have thought twice before I switched to a 486 33MHz in 1993. Until I started running OS/2 Warp in 1995, I really missed Workbench, even 1.3.

Affordable Amiga upgrades were few and far between back in the early 90's though. Sure, you could get tons of stuff, but in general, upgrades for Amiga were much more expensive than upgrades for a PC. Or perhaps that was just here? I dunno. I remember looking in computer magazines back in the early 90's, seeing how crazy expensive it would be to upgrade an Amiga to keep up with PC's rapid development. And all the new cool games, which were certainly a draw at the time, were all being released for PC, none for the Amiga. At least not for OCS/ECS. Amigas are so much more upgradable and fun to mess with today 😁

Amiga upgrades were indeed very expensive, but there is a dissonance here. Yes, an Amiga hard drive was very expensive but so was a VGA card in 89/90. Only come 1992/1993 did PC components become widely affordable. Unfortunately Amiga expansion options remained expensive, so now in our memories there is a discrepancy between the costs. However, take the time machine to a time closer to Amiga's inception and you'll find a multimedia Amiga was hell of a lot cheaper than a multimedia PC.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 316 of 361, by LunarG

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-22, 18:58:
LunarG wrote on 2021-04-22, 16:21:
appiah4 wrote on 2021-04-19, 19:15:

These days I find myself spending more and more time tinkering with my upgraded A500 (ACA500Plus 680CE00@21MHz, 1MB Chipmem, 8MB Fastmem, 8GB CF-IDE HDD, Plipbox Nano network adapter and HDMI-520 Upscaler/Flicker-Fixer) and I must say if I knew this kind of Amiga configuration was possible I may have thought twice before I switched to a 486 33MHz in 1993. Until I started running OS/2 Warp in 1995, I really missed Workbench, even 1.3.

Affordable Amiga upgrades were few and far between back in the early 90's though. Sure, you could get tons of stuff, but in general, upgrades for Amiga were much more expensive than upgrades for a PC. Or perhaps that was just here? I dunno. I remember looking in computer magazines back in the early 90's, seeing how crazy expensive it would be to upgrade an Amiga to keep up with PC's rapid development. And all the new cool games, which were certainly a draw at the time, were all being released for PC, none for the Amiga. At least not for OCS/ECS. Amigas are so much more upgradable and fun to mess with today 😁

Amiga upgrades were indeed very expensive, but there is a dissonance here. Yes, an Amiga hard drive was very expensive but so was a VGA card in 89/90. Only come 1992/1993 did PC components become widely affordable. Unfortunately Amiga expansion options remained expensive, so now in our memories there is a discrepancy between the costs. However, take the time machine to a time closer to Amiga's inception and you'll find a multimedia Amiga was hell of a lot cheaper than a multimedia PC.

Oh, sure, while they were both competing on an equal footing so to speak, then the prices weren't that different, but once we hit the point of the Amiga having to try to keep up with the PC, and prices of PC hardware starting to take a downwards turn, it seemed like Amiga parts stayed expensive. I've been told that Commodore demanded licensing fees for hardware, but I'm dubious about whether or not that's true, but anything manufactured in smaller quantities tend to be more expensive than things manufactured in much larger quantities. This seems like a much more likely reason why prices stayed high as the Amiga lost market share.
Also, I do remember well how expensive some PC parts remained, even well into the mid 90's. RAM didn't really get affordable until well past '95. My first 8MB 72-pin stick of ram, was like $300 or so, and that would've been late 1994 I think. I'd saved up for a long while to get that upgrade. 😁

WinXP : PIII 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, 73GB SCSI HDD, Matrox Parhelia, SB Audigy 2.
Win98se : K6-3+ 500MHz, 256MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Matrox Millennium G400 MAX, Voodoo 2, SW1000XG.
DOS6.22 : Intel DX4, 64MB RAM, 1.6GB HDD, Diamond Stealth64 DRAM, GUS 1MB, SB16.

Reply 317 of 361, by SodaSuccubus

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I'v drooled over owning a tricked out A1200 for sometime but I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon with the insane asking prices Amiga diehards seem to want to request.

$400 CAD for a barebones A1200. Yikes!

Reply 318 of 361, by brostenen

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SodaSuccubus wrote on 2021-04-22, 20:45:

I'v drooled over owning a tricked out A1200 for sometime but I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon with the insane asking prices Amiga diehards seem to want to request.

$400 CAD for a barebones A1200. Yikes!

400 seems like a reasonable price, if everything works and have been tested and serviced totally. By that I mean disk drive aligned, cleaned and lubricated. Of course it would be more expensive if recapped and the membrane replaced with a new one. 120 to 160 CAD for recap, is somewhat the price and a membrane can be bought in the neighbourhood of 50 to 60 CAD.

Now. As the 1200 is a somewhat deluxe machine in when it was released in 1992, and it had an extremely good sound quality. Then you might want to look at something in the top line of PC in 1992 and see what the prices are today for that hardware. I would argue that you need to compare the 1200 to a PC with Gravis Ultrasound ACE and SB16 card. I bet the 1200 at 400 CAD is not that expensive at all. Look at what they can fetch in USA. That is extreme prices. Like 800 USD at a minimum is insane.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 319 of 361, by brostenen

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-20, 07:19:
I was thinking of bridge boards and accellerator boards.. EISA could have been a robust alternative to PCI that didn't break ISA […]
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Grzyb wrote on 2021-04-20, 03:11:
It doesn't make sense. EISA is 32-bit A1500/A2000 is 16-bit […]
Show full quote
Jo22 wrote on 2021-04-19, 11:00:

A replacement, aftermarket EISA backplane for the A1500/A2000 would have had been a wise decision here.

It doesn't make sense.
EISA is 32-bit
A1500/A2000 is 16-bit

Chances are, that Zorro<->ISA bridge wasn't a bottleneck, at least in an A2000.
ISA is 16-bit 8MHz - slow, but still seems faster than the 68000@7MHz bus.

I was thinking of bridge boards and accellerator boards..
EISA could have been a robust alternative to PCI that didn't break ISA compatibility.
Because, EISA was a serious server technology. The ET4000 existed in EISA* variants, too.

32-Bit or not, it might have been less stressing to use EISA slots instead, because that bus had more head room than pure ISA.
Ie, multiple cards on the EISA side could have had talked to each other at quick speeds without slowing the whole bus down.

I'm tinking of netword cards, IDE controllers, SVGA cards. On ISA, each of them alone has the ability to demand capacity of the whole bus.
That's why even on low-end PC platforms, ISA was a bottle-neck.
And the ET4000 was quick not only because of the VGA core itself, but also its FiFo buffer.

Sure, ISA had a higher clock rate. But who in his/her right mind ran an 68k/7Mhz freely in 1991/1992 in his/her main "PC"** ?
I mean, even the 68010 was a common replacement. Comparable to what the NEC V20/V30 was on the PC platform.

From what I saw, the Amiga people often were hardware hackers and or at least technically inclined.
Things like RAM or Kick EPROMS often got upgraded, anyway, which is not far from installing a CPU replacement. 😀

Grzyb wrote on 2021-04-20, 03:11:

For A3000 and A4000, however, ISA graphics must have been bad.
If I was looking for some SVGA chipset for use in such Amigas, I would consider something with memory-mapped I/O, like CL-GD5429.
There's no I/O address space in 680x0 CPUs, so a chipset with MMIO would noticably simplify the design.

A3000, A4000. Hm. Weren't these rare, niche, high-end Amigas owned by Amiga fans that came out when the platform reached its end? 😉
I thought the majority of users had Amigas based on A500/A2000 technology.
Personally, I've never met a person that had an A3000/4000. 😅

Edit: ET40oo/W32i datasheet says "The Tseng Labs ET4000/W32i video controller is an ISA/EISA/MCA-compatible graphics chip that delivers an 8-/16-/32-bit bus or CPU direc[..]"
Source: http://www.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheets_pd … 4000-W32I.shtml

Edit: ** Never mind. I'm comming to the conclusion that I'm not quite able to understand the common mind set of real Amiga users. 😅
That being said, I think it was an interesting platform, though. And I do truely appreciate it for its demo and tracker scene, too.

Zorro-II and Zorro-III are superiour to EISA. If Commodore had stayed in business, and Dave Haynie had continued develloping the platform, then we would have seen Amiga's with PCI as standard from the factory. He had plans for it, but Commodore went bust before he could start develloping any prototype with PCI. The thing is, that Zorro have autoconfig. And PCI have plug and play plus higher bandwith. As far as I know, the EISA is inferiour when we look at autoconfig or plug and play.

Can someone tell me if I remember correct or not on the following.... I think I remember something about a tiny portion of autoconfig, were implemented into PnP, because PnP was too buggy in the beginning. I vaguely remember I was told about it, back in the 90's. I just can't recall what exactly it was, that I was told or read.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
My YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/brostenen

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