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Old 01 November 2006, 00:16   #28
Monochrome and 8 bit

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Underbarrow, Gods Country
Age: 51
Posts: 587
Thats due to the properties of an HD disk, and the coil strength of a DD drive.

Regarding finding a hardware copier, peruse Aminet hardhacks, iirc there is a diagram for making your own "Cyclone" hardware.

For buying an original hardware copier, well, simply put the internal version of SuperCard Ami II was the creme de la creme of the bunch. It was aimed at the B2000, as it connected to one of the CIA chips as well as the internal drives. Whether it will work in an A3/4k I dont know. I still have the hardware, but the CIAs in the A4K are surface mounted... Anyway, SCA II blew Cyclone out of the water in terms of what it could copy, i.e. titles that Cyclone couldnt cope with. However, depending on what was being copied it could take some time to do so (this was the exception rather than the norm, and usually the two took a comparable amount of time to copy a given disk). Another advantage was that Cyclone could only copy 80 (or 81) tracks, SCA could copy up to 82 (0r 83?) I cant recall anything off hand that needed that many, but track 80 protection was often found.

For small box Amigas, the choice is between Cyclone and SupercardAmi. My preference would be Cyclone. It's not as effective as an internal SCA, but probably sold in greater numbers than all versions of SCA together, simply as it was aimed at the mass market. Its not bad all told.

Apex, MAC, and a couple of others were blatant rip offs of SCA or Cyclone. I wouldnt bother.

Synchro Express was different, and as I recall not as effective as Cyclone, and hence nowhere near as capable as SCA II.

Cyclone shipped with X-Copy, (which in turn originally shipped with the CV Parameter Copier).

SCA originally shipped with the excellent NIB (or NIB v2), a fantastic software copier which could deprotect some titles. Just some history.

Good copiers? Well, Project D and Marauder II were circla 1986-88, so dont expect much! They used "parameters" to copy and/or deprotect some titles, but copy protection in those days wasn't that advanced, nor were disk copiers, and - Marauder especially - relied on glitxy copper effects to 'look good'. There was a third copier vieing for your buck, but the titles escapes me.

Eurpean copiers of the time included DeepCopy by gefland & Thubeauville (who wrote a few copiers), and Fast Lightning.

X-Copy took a while to take off, but certainly in the UK by 1991 had become the copier to have. Simple interface, no parameters to confuse the user with, and a few basic copy modes; DOSCopy (straight DOS level disk copy), DOSCopy+ (same as before, but corrected read erros), and Nibble. Index syncing was an option on all. bear in mind I haven't seen X-Copy in at least 10 years if I have forgotten something!

Lockpick was a later parameter copier, but with the same basic idea of using parameter files to copy/deprotect a given title.

Parameter copiers suffered one major flaw: the parameters were for a given version (or issue) of a title. Often one saw parameters for <game title>v1 and <game title>v1.2 Indeed, given most of the paramter copiers originated in the US, it wasn't unknown for them not to work on European versions of the game.

SCA II v4 used parameters, but these were slightly different. Many games could be backed up by nibbling an entire disk in normal nibble mode, and then nibbling a specific track(s) using index sync or some other fancy footwork. This took two (or more) copy runs. SCA parameters simply automated this process in one run, switching the copy mode during the process. But the same flaw was inherent - the parameters were version/release specific.

Frankly, I found Nib and Maverick to be better software nibble copiers, but they were aimed at the US market and not really marketed over here. And X-Copy did have the cleaner, more appealing/less confusing interface. And there wasn't that much that X-Copy nibbler couldnt do anyway. Frankly, if X-Copy software nibble couldnt do it, then one might as well jump straight to a hardware copy rather than try a better software copier. But it was always a nice comfy feeling having a goodly few copiers in the toolbox, as it were.

I might - *might* - have a spare cyclone copier somewhere, and possibly even the schematics for a couple of hardware copiers. These too, evolved over the years, istr one that plugged into the parallel port as well as the external drive port (early Synchro Express springs to mind as doing this), another that plugged into the video port (!).

Anyway, I know Arkanoid can be backed up. Wish I handn't lost the 2000 or so Amiga disks I had...
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