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Old 05 May 2008, 20:10   #1
skote
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A1500 purchase: specs and what to do....?

So.... I picked up the new (old) Amiga today. I was out on my motorbike with a mate and he then drove me (in his car) to the place to collect it as it was near him. Unfortunately my wife had our car so I have had to leave it at his. I saw it working and photographed the innards so I had an idea what it was exactly and to start doing some hack / upgrade research.

Here is the spec:

Amiga A1500 motherboard revision 6.2
Xetec Mini Fastcard SCSI controller with rear plate 25 pin connector
Micron Technology 2MB Fast RAM card in Zorro slot
Commodore A2630 accelerator board with 4MB Fast RAM, 68030 @ 25MHz and 68882 @ 25MHz
Some kind of IBM SCSI HDD with 180MB space and a virgin copy of WB 2.1 installed.
This is mounted on a Nexus card which has spaces fo 30 pin RAM


It came in a decent condition case with both floppy drives, Workbench 2.1 disks and an A2000 user manual. The Kickstart ROM is unchanged at version 2.0.

So.... once I can get it home ( I didn't fancy strapping it to my pillion seat ), I have decided not to gut my A1200 and shove that in the case. Instead (comments and advice time please people):

1. I have an old PowerMac 9600 with a 4GB SCSI drive and CD ROM so if these drives wil fit I will install them.

2. I'm thinking about Kickstart 3.1 and Workbench 3.1. Is it worth it?

3. I'm going to try to get some 30 pin SIMMs to go on the Nexus card, which will take up to 8MB apparently, bumping me up to 1MB Chip and 14MB Fast. Can I slip more Chip (ooer ) onto the motherboard to take me to 2MB?

4. Can / should I go whipping out and changing the custom chips e.g. Denise for Super Denise etc....?

5. Presumaby I need a PC bridgeboard before the ISA slots will work. Therefore I can't just slot in an ISA sound card can I?

6. I have read that I can whip out the 030 @ 25 Mhz and pop in an 030 at 50Mhz (it's PGA, so will ut just pull out?). Is this cost effective? I presume the ROM on the Rev. 9 A2630 will just let me do this?

7. Graphics cards. I know NOTHING about Amiga graphics cards..... I'll probably want to play some games and run at least 256 colours on a PC type monitor at least at 640 x 480. Any suggestions?

I have lots of ideas and some retro ambition but I need some directional
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Old 05 May 2008, 22:22   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skote View Post
1. I have an old PowerMac 9600 with a 4GB SCSI drive and CD ROM so if these drives wil fit I will install them.
Yes, if you have physical space, put then inside your Miggy. You'll don't regret it.

Quote:
2. I'm thinking about Kickstart 3.1 and Workbench 3.1. Is it worth it?
No without 2Mb Chip RAM! 3.1 and up don't like only 1Mb CHIP.

Quote:
3. I'm going to try to get some 30 pin SIMMs to go on the Nexus card, which will take up to 8MB apparently, bumping me up to 1MB Chip and 14MB Fast. Can I slip more Chip (ooer ) onto the motherboard to take me to 2MB?
You probably will hit the 8Mb maximum Zorro space, making the computer stop to boot or giving it a lot of misbehaving. Zorro RAM is slow, anyway. Your better move is dig a good accelerator for your 2000 and take away the A2630 (put it in a good-dry-secure place as a backup hardware).

Quote:
4. Can / should I go whipping out and changing the custom chips e.g. Denise for Super Denise etc....?
Yes, you can! But without the Fatter Agnus (not pin-compatible) it will become useless. Try to get an Agnus expansion board first.

Quote:
5. Presumaby I need a PC bridgeboard before the ISA slots will work. Therefore I can't just slot in an ISA sound card can I?
You're right...

Quote:
6. I have read that I can whip out the 030 @ 25 Mhz and pop in an 030 at 50Mhz (it's PGA, so will ut just pull out?). Is this cost effective? I presume the ROM on the Rev. 9 A2630 will just let me do this?
Yes, that's true, but you need to swap the clock crystal too. Anyway, without RAM on board you barely will notice the difference. That's why my advice for a decent accelerator. But you have options: if you find one of those very rare RAM add-ons intended for the A2630 you'll have a "just good enough" accelerator.

Quote:
7. Graphics cards. I know NOTHING about Amiga graphics cards..... I'll probably want to play some games and run at least 256 colours on a PC type monitor at least at 640 x 480. Any suggestions?
You need a graphic card with flickerfixer, or an external unit. They are rare and expensive. Prefer to use a TV and some RGB to YUV (component) or Y/C (S-video) converter. A good and inexpensive to achieve this is modifying an A520 to S-video. Dunno how?

Look at: http://members.iinet.net.au/~davem2/overclock/a520.html

Quote:
I have lots of ideas and some retro ambition but I need some directional
I noticed that!

Last edited by rkauer; 05 May 2008 at 22:24. Reason: spell checking
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Old 06 May 2008, 00:17   #3
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@Skote

awesome machine there my friend, it will make you a very proud owner for sure, although i have not got an a2000 (thats what an a1500 is) its one of the big boxes i am most fond of.

now rkauer has really put it down as to your questions, however i will say that i noticed you wanting to run atleast 256 colours, on a PC monitor, with respects, the A2000 is an OCS chipset and cannot do this many colours unless in HAM mode, and to be honest i have no idea how that will work in conjunction with a SD/FF.

you could buy a small tft/crt tuner from ebay for around £35

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/External-TV-Tu...2em118Q2el1247

I have one of these and there pretty damn awesome, although slightly washed in colour due to the composite input it looks great and holds a flicker free image at super hires interlaced screen (thats 1280x512) this is then scaled to the screen mode of the device, with the unit in the link is anything up to 1440x960
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Old 06 May 2008, 20:38   #4
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Thanks for the information guys. My head is swimming with stuff at the moment.

It seems that to upgrade to KS 3.1 then I am going to have to:

1. Swap the Agnus chip
2. Increase my Chip RAM to 2MB
3. Fit KS 3.1

This surely is going to cost a fair bit? I have only been able to find one place in the UK that has an 8372B Agnus. They want £60 for it (which is equivalent to $120 USD! Madness!). So adding the KS chip (£30) and Chip RAM (where to get this?) and then a copy of OS 3.5 or 3.9 I am looking at an expensive proposition aren't I?

I had considered something else: Can I get an old A500+ or A600 and whip an 8375 out of it and presumably the Chip RAM, or is this incompatible with the A2000 motherboard?

Decisions decisions.....
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Old 06 May 2008, 20:47   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skote View Post
Thanks for the information guys. My head is swimming with stuff at the moment.

It seems that to upgrade to KS 3.1 then I am going to have to:

1. Swap the Agnus chip
2. Increase my Chip RAM to 2MB
3. Fit KS 3.1

This surely is going to cost a fair bit? I have only been able to find one place in the UK that has an 8372B Agnus. They want £60 for it (which is equivalent to $120 USD! Madness!). So adding the KS chip (£30) and Chip RAM (where to get this?) and then a copy of OS 3.5 or 3.9 I am looking at an expensive proposition aren't I?

I had considered something else: Can I get an old A500+ or A600 and whip an 8375 out of it and presumably the Chip RAM, or is this incompatible with the A2000 motherboard?

Decisions decisions.....

Contrary to what has been said 2MB chipmem is nice, But KS3.1 runs fine with 1MB, 8372A AGNES should be fitted to your machine and already configured for 1MB Chipmem being an A1500.

My A2000 is running OS3.5 & Bloodwych's Classic Wb3.1 Lite with an 030 Processor & 8MB Fast Ram under KS3.1

You can also plug in a Hires Denise with the 8372A, it is compatible with that AGNES, as is the case with my A2000. My system does super Hires.

So order your KS3.1 for the A500/2000 chip ... It will work fine..
You may have to upgrade the ROMS on your accelerator if they are to old though, and I'm sure we can help with that..

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Old 06 May 2008, 21:16   #6
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Hmmmm. Thanks for that TheCorfiot (did I spell that right?). I think I could take a gamble on a 3.1 ROM for £18 or so and see what happens. My accelerator is Rev 9 which if I read right on the InterWebNetDotCom is the latest ROM version for it. I think I might splash out on that KS 3.1 then.

One question: how would I fit 2MB Chip RAM
Other question: Would the A600 / A500+ chips option work?
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:25   #7
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@skote

there are about 7 ways to get 2mb chip (with full ECS features ) on the A1500/2000

http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/search....&base=dec&pid=

thats 7 ways, unless you want to hack your own... but its a fair bit of work, and involves writing your own code to assist the gary chip in addressing the extra chip memory.
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:27   #8
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Aha. I didn't realise. Thanks Zetr0. My coding is frankly a$$. I haven't done ANY since 2000. None. Not even any html. I guess working at IBm made me allergic.....?

I think if I want my project to succeed I am going to have to spank my credit card a bit I suppose... or wait paitently and trawl eBay.
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:29   #9
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reviewing it at the moment, if you had some time, a spare Fat Agnus and an A500 1.5mb upgrade you could use that as a basis for some hardware hackery...

still that wouldn't be for the faint hearted....
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:30   #10
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@Skote

post a WTB on www.amibay.com that might help some... but these chip ram clip on's are around £50+ on average my friend.
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skote View Post
Hmmmm. Thanks for that TheCorfiot (did I spell that right?). I think I could take a gamble on a 3.1 ROM for £18 or so and see what happens. My accelerator is Rev 9 which if I read right on the InterWebNetDotCom is the latest ROM version for it. I think I might splash out on that KS 3.1 then.

One question: how would I fit 2MB Chip RAM
Other question: Would the A600 / A500+ chips option work?

The 8375 Agnes is NOT pin-compatible with the 8372A, so you would need to look at my good friend Zetro's options.
Better option is find a HIRES DENISE (pinch one from an old 500+ but leave the 8375 alone you have been warned!!!)

The Rom rev on your accelerator is fine..KS 3.1 Will Boot fine, don't know about compatibility issues with your other cards though.
I know everyone wants 2MB chipram but to be honest most A500 /A2000 software only expected 1MB, you will not increase the Max no of colours on your desktop, and screen update will still be slow down to the ECS chipset. It's more trouble and expense than you will actually get benefits.

OS 3.5 will run on PAL Hires screen with 16 Colours, KS 3.1, 1MB Chipram, 8MB Fastram & an 030 is all you need.
All my WHDload games and apps run fine...

Anyway you can always take it one step at a time, I still recomend Bloodwych's Classic Workbench, It's extremly good.

Go for it... These Big Box A2000 machines are classics.
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Old 06 May 2008, 21:37   #12
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I thak you all for the advice. My knowledge as you can see is somewhat... lacking. I'll have a hunt on t'Internet then and probably have MORE questions soon.
ANd I never knew AmiBay existed until just now!
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Old 07 May 2008, 02:15   #13
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And once you invest in a graphics card, the amount of chipram you've got becomes less important. Amigas with graphics cards are a much nicer experience.
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Old 07 May 2008, 02:39   #14
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indeed.... i would say... sublime!
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Old 07 May 2008, 12:15   #15
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And once you invest in a graphics card, the amount of chipram you've got becomes less important. Amigas with graphics cards are a much nicer experience.

Agree with Zetro too,,,

Money much better spent on a Gfx Card than a Megachip.

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Old 07 May 2008, 20:45   #16
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/me gets myself scanning Amibay
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Old 07 May 2008, 23:57   #17
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there is such a thing known as "The Recycle Bin" you need to request a mod to move you into the AmiBayer group to give you access
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Old 08 May 2008, 19:20   #18
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You'd be one of those then?
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Old 08 May 2008, 19:58   #19
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LOL, its a slow day.... i supose i can for you

hows your search for a gfx card coming?
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Old 09 May 2008, 13:07   #20
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My main problem at the moment is cash to be honest. (Surprise surprise ) . I think the cheapest graphics card I have found is from SoftHut and that will probably cost me £100 in total including shipping.

I am going to concentrate on getting the A1500 (I pick it up from my mate's tonight and the wife is working this weekend. Guess what I am going to be doing ) jazzed up a bit on the cheap with some bits I already have (bigger SCSI HDD, SCSI CDROM) and KS 3.1 which I will hopefully get from Amiga-Digital for a good price. I've also been kindly given a load of 30-pin SIMMs (in 1MB and 4MB flavours) by two guys at work who appreciated my retro desires, so I am going to stick some of those in my Nexus to max out my Zorro RAM. I'm also about to get hold of an A500 (don't know if it is a Plus or not) and hopefully next week an A600. That way I can take the Denise out of one of them and get the graphics moving a bit better on the cheap.

After that... well... I'll have to make a decision what to do next based on the performance and utility of the A1500 compared to my A1200. I've found a compatible PCMCIA network card for my A1200, so I'll be sticking that in it. Now it's 10MB'ed up with my GVP Jaws card (might be getting a 68882 for that cheap next week too ) I'll see what that is like and investigate a spot of basic surfery and emailage. I'm definitely going to get a KS 3.1 for that and an Amiga to VGA cable adapter, and probably put OS 3.5 on it (via WinUAE and a port over as I don't have a CD-ROM for the A1200). I'll then see how I feel about the A1500 and decide whether it's a decent computer to use or just a keepsake / museum piece .

That decision might also be based on cost. "Do I stick a network card, graphics card and accelerator in it or not?" will probably be my question-to-self-decider. To be honest, again this will come down to cashflow. I currently have another retro project in my garage that is vying against the Amigas for attention (a 1990 Honda VFR400 NC30 I am rebuilding).

There is also a little voice in my head when I think about the PowerMac 9600 I am going to strip the drives out of. (It's still at my wife's friend's in Suffolk). It says "You want an Amiga with a sexy PowerPC 604 CPU and slippery PCI slots don't you Big Boy? Go on, it won't cost you that much. Just don't eat next month......"

/me inserts fingers in ears "LALALALALALALALALA! I can't hear the voices LALALALALALA!"
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