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Old 31 August 2020, 14:04   #1
Otto
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Question A500 + checkmate upgrade suggestions

Hello,

First time poster here.

I recently dug up my Amiga gear and have been playing with 3.1.4 I bought for my A600.

Long story short; I got somewhat carried away and ended up ordering the A1500 checkmate case for my disgustingly yellow A500. The delivery might take a while, so now I have plenty of time to gather some upgrades for it. I'd primarily want to have a HDD interface of some kind and decent video output. I'm not that keen on CPU performance, but a slight improvement would be nice.

I wonder, which upgrade would be the best for my A500 needs? For the HDD interface, both SCSI and IDE are fine. I have disks of both kinds. CF is also OK, although I think the sound of a spinning HDD is part of the vintage computer experience. For the video side I think VGA is enough and I suppose a scandoubler would do the trick? I'm hoping to get away with spending around ~150€. Should I rather be looking for vintage upgrades or something more modern, like a Wicher 508i or Terrible Fire? I believe a separate scan doubler would still be required with the aforementioned?

Suggestions are welcome.

Cheers.
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Old 31 August 2020, 14:37   #2
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If what you're primarily interested in is some extra memory and better storage options and don't care as much about speed you could do a lot worse than considering the ACA-500+.

It lets you use one or two Compact Flash cards as harddisks, gives you 8MB of extra ram and a 68000 clocked at 7-42MHz (user selectable). It also has some pretty nice extra features (including compatibility-boosting features such as emulating slow-ram) and allows you to run WHDLoad complete with quit-key.

I have one of these cards and it works really well. You'd still need some form of scandoubler with this one, but AFAIK that's also true for the other options you mentioned.
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Old 09 September 2020, 14:19   #3
Otto
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Thanks for the suggestion roondar. After some research, I'm beginning to agree that's the best bang for buck. I'm also planning on getting the Indivision ECS V2, which I think is a bit on the expensive side, but on the other hand should cover any display issues I can think of.

Another upside is that the ACA-500+ populates the expansion slot, and leaves the Zorro-slot of the checkmate riser board free for other expansions.
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Old 09 September 2020, 14:25   #4
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Problem is, the aca500 might not work. There seem to be several people who reported incompatibility issues.
I have a TF536, a Clockport adapter with a Silversurfer connected and a Atbus clone. I had to use aranets https://www.arananet.net/pedidos/pro...1000-relocator to avoid colliding with the atx connector.
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Old 09 September 2020, 15:08   #5
Otto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_zzap View Post
Problem is, the aca500 might not work. There seem to be several people who reported incompatibility issues.
I have a TF536, a Clockport adapter with a Silversurfer connected and a Atbus clone. I had to use aranets https://www.arananet.net/pedidos/pro...1000-relocator to avoid colliding with the atx connector.

Incompatibility between ACA-500+ and the checkmate ATX-connector or the ECS v2? Is it just a mechanical problem or something nastier?
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Old 09 September 2020, 17:08   #6
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I have tried the ACA500plus with my 500+ motherboard in my Checkmate case and it is very flaky. It only boots every 2nd time and it was unstable at speeds >14MHz. When inserted directly in the expansion port of the Amiga, the ACA runs perfectly stable at 42MHz, so I assume that the difference here may the extended bus.

Instead, I have a 68020TK accelerator installed in the CPU socket which runs great and also has an IDE connector where I have connected a CF adapter located in one of the expansion brackets so I can access it without opening the case (cannot do that with the ACA500).

Faster alternatives could be the 68030TK or a TerribleFire accelerator like the TF536 mentioned in another post.
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Old 09 September 2020, 17:36   #7
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Ah. That's bad. Bit of a turn off for the ACA500+ in that case. Comparing alternatives, and it's starting to look like a Vampire V2 has the best performance and feature to price ratio. About to bust my budget with +200%, but I believe it packs quite a lot into one single upgrade.
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Old 09 September 2020, 17:48   #8
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I also have a V2+ (in another 500) and it is very nice indeed. If you want RTG and a fast CPU, it might be the cheapest alternative. Notice that it does not do scandoubling so you still need either an Indivision (should work with https://aminet.net/package/driver/mo...onVampirePatch - not sure if needed by v2 though) or something like an OSSC if you want something that can be used with all your Amigas.

If you plan on installing any specific Z-II cards in the Checkmate, check whether it has been tested to work with the Vampire. I'm not sure what you would need though since the Vampire will also provide Ethernet with a simple adapter.
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Old 09 September 2020, 21:10   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Incompatibility between ACA-500+ and the checkmate ATX-connector or the ECS v2? Is it just a mechanical problem or something nastier?
Two different things.
1st, the aca500 seems not to be super stable within the checkmate case.
2nd, in my case the ide port of the tf536 collides with the atx connector.
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Old 09 September 2020, 22:33   #10
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I am looking for a CPU socket (internal) upgrade for my A500 (Kickstart 1.3) and quite like the look of the HC533 as it will give me 1.3 compatible hard drive access, some extra RAM and an accelerator. I can't find any to buy at the moment which is irritating.
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Old 10 September 2020, 09:39   #11
Otto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demolition View Post
I also have a V2+ (in another 500) and it is very nice indeed. If you want RTG and a fast CPU, it might be the cheapest alternative. Notice that it does not do scandoubling so you still need either an Indivision (should work with https://aminet.net/package/driver/mo...onVampirePatch - not sure if needed by v2 though) or something like an OSSC if you want something that can be used with all your Amigas.

If you plan on installing any specific Z-II cards in the Checkmate, check whether it has been tested to work with the Vampire. I'm not sure what you would need though since the Vampire will also provide Ethernet with a simple adapter.

I see. So am I getting this correct; The digital video output on the Vampire is able to output only certain things (WB?), and for the full experience I have to hook up a display to whatever sits in Denise's place?


Quote:
Originally Posted by captain_zzap View Post
Two different things.
1st, the aca500 seems not to be super stable within the checkmate case.
2nd, in my case the ide port of the tf536 collides with the atx connector.


Ah, OK. Thanks for the clarification
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Old 10 September 2020, 09:47   #12
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Unfortunately my ACA500+ did not work in my Checkmate 1500+ case either. After all the reports I had hoped mine would be different, but a quick check found it wouldnt boot - I didnt spend anymore time on it. I tried a new built A500++ board, made no difference, which is a shame.

I ended up putting my Vampire in the Checkmate system
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Old 10 September 2020, 14:32   #13
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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
I see. So am I getting this correct; The digital video output on the Vampire is able to output only certain things (WB?), and for the full experience I have to hook up a display to whatever sits in Denise's place?
Yes, the Vampire can function as a graphic card (RTG) which will be output on its HDMI output. This is only usable in WB. Native video (PAL/NTSC) will still be provided by the Denise IC and sent to the normal RGB output. Since the Indivision is located in the Denise socket, it can capture and digitize this signal.

If you have an accelerator without RTG, another alternative could be the ZZ9000. Although expensive, it will provide RTG, Ethernet, rudimentary USB, fastmem and it can also work as a scandoubler since there is an addon that connects to the Denise socket. This way, you will have just one HDMI output that switches automatically between RTG and native video. No matter which accelerator you pair the ZZ9000 with, it will never be able to match the speed of a Vampire though since the ZZ9000 is limited by the slow Zorro bus.
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