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Old 03 July 2019, 16:59   #181
Glen M
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I was terribly disappointed that Christmas morning when I seen Amiga 1200. I asked for an Amiga 600 that all my friends had.

When I see these questions I like to ask "Have you ever made a mistake in hindsight?"

Looking back its easy to say do this, do that, do the other but if there is one thing I can guarantee you its that the hardware that they put out they genuinely believed it would win the race. They were in it to make money full stop end of story.

Yes the Amiga 1200 would of been really cool with a 33mhz 030 2mb fast ram chunky graphics blah blah but then again if it did in all likely hood I wouldn't of got one cause it would of cost twice as much as Santa wasn't rich.

It was a budget machine and from the pick it was the best of the bunch. Wiped the floor with the Atari muck and comparing my 1993 A1200 to my early 90s 386 I can categorically tell you the A1200 is my first pick each time. The only thing the 386 has over my A1200 at the time was the HDD so lack of disk swapping but to be honest other than games like Monkey Island 2 with its 13 million disk swaps to merely watch the intro it wasn't an issue.

Yeah when we got our Windows 95 Packard Bell the A1200 was passed down to little sister and forgotten for many a year. Of course you'll forget that Commodore were dead and buried by that time and all Escom did with the hardware was change the logo on the badge.

People also tend to forget that hardware in those days and especially the 90s moved at a very quick pace. The PS4 is 7 years old and still going strong, they are only now talking of replacing it and I can guarantee you it'll be about for several years even after the PS5 comes. Back in the mid 90s the life span for the current tech was a couple of years max and that what in some ways killed Amiga along with all the other hardware companies. It was going to happen at some point and when it did it weeded out all dead leaving Nintendo, Sega, Sony, the IBM compatible and Apple hanging on for dear life. In terms of only computers, architecture was moving away from the custom chipset to the x86 and off the shelf components. Its a miracle apple managed to hang on as long as they did before following the same route. In fact if I remember correctly the mid to late 90s was shakey time for the fruit.
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Old 03 July 2019, 17:31   #182
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Doom killed Commodore not the A1200 or CD32 but neither were a disappointment.
Pcs were getting cheaper and could play games too, so the Amiga 1200 looked obsolete next to all the PCS running Doom demos in my local PC shop at the time.
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Old 03 July 2019, 18:15   #183
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Originally Posted by roondar View Post
HD Floppy: If you desired, you could simply get a HD floppy disk drive - they were for sale. Though you are correct it was less than optimal this was not standard.
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HD floppy were not standard
"less than optimal" is answer of politican. Right answer is "It was stupid decision by Commodore"

Also even so the HD floppy disc drives were available, reading/writing was damn slow due old chipset and could not be used to distribute software and games

HD floppy were standard since 1987. In 1992 HD floppy drives were probably already at the same price level as DD drivers or even cheaper...
Amiga 4000/040 released in 1992 had HD floppy...

Last edited by ExiE; 03 July 2019 at 18:28.
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Old 03 July 2019, 18:22   #184
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Yeah, why didn't the Amiga come with a 5.25" 1.2MB floppy drive?
Coz in 1992 nobody give a damn about 5.25" floppies? The era of 5.25" drives ended around 1990.
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Old 03 July 2019, 18:28   #185
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HD floppy were standard since 1987. In 1992 HD floppy drives were probably already at the same price level as DD drivers or even cheaper...
Amiga 4000/040 release about the same time had HD floppy...
Yes, but as I pointed out, Amigas couldn't use HD floppy drives directly, instead needing specially customised drives to be able to read HD disks. So, in the Amiga's case, HD floppy drives were still very much more expensive than DD drives, and thus were only fitted to the high end models.
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Old 03 July 2019, 18:43   #186
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Yes, but as I pointed out, Amigas couldn't use HD floppy drives directly, instead needing specially customised drives to be able to read HD disks. So, in the Amiga's case, HD floppy drives were still very much more expensive than DD drives, and thus were only fitted to the high end models.
You are just describing reality based on wrong decisions made by Commodore during A1200 development, noting more.

Lets get it upside down. If Commodore improved PAULA chip to be able to read HD floppies at full speed of 300rpm, they would be able to use standard *cheap* HD floppy drives instead of expensive drives modified to run at 150rpm
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Old 03 July 2019, 18:54   #187
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More important instead of HD floppy a hard drive would be the better choice. And in about 93-95 you could add an CD-ROM for software delivery. At leas I was glad to use a hard drive and don't need to handle with floppies.

I was disappointed with the A1200 because Paula wasn't upgraded to at least 8 channels and 16bit. Also higher and faster screen solutions I missed with AGA.
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Old 03 July 2019, 19:24   #188
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Doom killed Commodore not the A1200 or CD32 but neither were a disappointment.
Pcs were getting cheaper and could play games too, so the Amiga 1200 looked obsolete next to all the PCS running Doom demos in my local PC shop at the time.
Not really. What killed Commodore was they simply never had a consistent plan for Amiga.

Damage was long done by the time Doom arrived in 1993/1994. ID's precursors starting 3/4 years earlier - hovertank, catacomb, wolfenstein etc should have been enough of a warning to get a chunky mode going.

Pointless to go over all this yet again but the bones of this, AAA (edit AA) chipset in Haynie's A3000+ (with chunky mode) was booted as early as 1991. Planned budget version to follow - A1000+, would have been absolutely incredible for the day. Had this happened it's debatable even the whole PC fps revolution and exponential hardware proliferation driven by ever more powerful 3d game engines ever would have come to pass (e.g.MS office did not drive 3d accelerator cards). Bill Sydnes arrival stopped this development entirely in it's tracks.

Back to the 1200 then, not a bad machine at all imo.. bit too little bit too late. But even again Commodore hobbled it fast ram lack of.. up to 4 times quicker with as someone else pointed out here many times.

Last edited by activist; 09 July 2019 at 15:20.
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Old 03 July 2019, 19:45   #189
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Originally Posted by ExiE View Post
You are just describing reality based on wrong decisions made by Commodore during A1200 development, noting more.

Lets get it upside down. If Commodore improved PAULA chip to be able to read HD floppies at full speed of 300rpm, they would be able to use standard *cheap* HD floppy drives instead of expensive drives modified to run at 150rpm
Indeed, but that too would have meant an increase in cost of the A1200, so the same issue remains. Anyway, it was mainly addressing your point that the A4000 had a HD floppy fitted but the 1200 didn't.
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Old 03 July 2019, 19:58   #190
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People seem to forget the A1200 like the A600 and A500 before were budget computers, simply saying they should have added a harddrive or lots of fastram simply wasn’t feasible to hit their target price of £399 of launch machines.

I also don’t get why people think there is only one market for every games machine? There is multiple markets for machines, the Amiga/ST carved a niche market, as did the Mac, PC and consoles, they weren’t really competing against each other except the odd occasion i.e CD32/Pippin etc

The A1200 COULD have saved Commodore for another few years, at the end of the day it was the Amiga ‘sector’ that decided it wasn’t good enough to warrant upgrading in large enough numbers, and that wasn’t because of lack of any expensive hdd or fastram. The A1200 form factor, ram, launch time frame, price were all fine, it was because of the custom chips were not being advanced enough pure and simple, most things Commodore did indeed improve upon but sadly they overlooked the most important ones.

When things were looking like being delayed or too expensive with AAA, they should have outsourced to companies like Flare who did the Jaguar chipset, just imagine an A1200 with that power and game support from the Amiga Publishers...
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Old 03 July 2019, 19:59   #191
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Damage was long done by the time Doom arrived in 1993/1994. ID's precursors starting 3/4 years earlier - hovertank, catacomb, wolfenstein etc should have been enough of a warning to get a chunky mode going.
I'm not arguing that no one could have foreseen the need for a chunky mode, but hovertank and catacomb were EGA, which is planar, and Wolfenstein is from 1992, same year when AGA was released. But yeah, Wing Commander is from 1990 and already benefits immensely from a chunky mode.
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Pointless to go over all this yet again but the bones of this, the AAA chipset in Haynie's A3000+ (with chunky mode) was booted as early as 1991. Planned budget version to follow - A1000+, would have been absolutely incredible for the day. Had this happened it's debatable even the whole PC fps revolution and exponential hardware proliferation driven by ever more powerful 3d game engines ever would have come to pass (e.g.MS office did not drive 3d accelerator cards). Bill Sydnes arrival stopped this development entirely in it's tracks.
No, A3000+ and A1000+ were equipped with AGA, not AAA. There was never a fully working AAA chipset AFAIK, only some early incomplete revisions. AGA was a quick & dirty stopgap solution, its development in fact started after they began working on AAA. Still, those two would have been very nice machines (esp. the 3000+ with the DSP), and they could have been on the market earlier.
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Old 03 July 2019, 22:34   #192
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By the time I got my A1200 commodore had probably already gone bankrupt. I just thought it was cool to have an Amiga that was better then my A500. I did not expect it to compete with my friends Pentium 90.
Looking back at it now though I think the A1200 was a huge disappointment. Most of the Amiga models are disappointments really (the A1000, A500 and A3000 being the exceptions).

The 1200 really should have had a faster CPU. An 030 would have done the trick (none of that silly EC020 nonsense) and 2mb ram was quickly too little. They should have made it possible to add more ram right on the motherboard. With an 030 and 2mb (upgradabe to 8/16mb on MB) the A1200 would have been a winner, and those specs would have overshadowed AGA's shortcomings (and the dated soundchipset). It would have been a more expensive machine, and possibly slightly larger, but I don't see any problems there.
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Old 04 July 2019, 00:12   #193
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Coz in 1992 nobody give a damn about 5.25" floppies? The era of 5.25" drives ended around 1990.
Unlike most PC's, the Amiga has always had a 3.5" drive as standard. Double density disks were cheaper and more reliable than HD disks, and were also used in a number of other machines (including the first and only true IBM that I owned). so why change? Amiga Software would still be distributed on 880k disks for compatibility anyway, so the only real advantage of having a HD drive would be being able to copy 60% larger files over from a PC. As someone who had an HD drive my A3000, I can say that it didn't get a lot of use.

What the A1200 really needed was a hard drive, so users wouldn't have to keep swapping disks all the time.

Another thing that rarely gets mentioned is the PCMCIA slot. When the A600 was being designed the PCMCIA standard hadn't even been released yet (and USB was years away), so that was some pretty forward thinking from Commodore. That slot is very useful! It has been used for high speed modems, audio and video digitizers, CDROM drives, and of course CF cards and network cards.

But does Commodore get credit for having the guts to go with new hardware standards? No, just brickbats for not turning the Amiga into a PC clone.

COMMODORE INTRODUCES NEW AMIGA
By PETER H. LEWISJULY 30, 1985
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COMMODORE'S new Amiga A1000 computer was unveiled at Lincoln Center last week last week amid flashing lasers, rip-snorting jazz, rented tuxedos and rented celebrities, including Andy Warhol, who was there to bestow the first 15 minutes of fame on the machine... Whether it will sell is another matter.

Its operating system (Amiga-DOS) is incompatible with other computers, which means that it will not run software written for other machines without optional hardware and software modifications... Standard is one built-in double-sided 3 1/2-inch disk drive, yielding 880K of formatted storage (twice that of the Mac). External 3 1/2-inch and 5 1/4-inch disk drives are optional...

Commodore, avoiding the closed-box philosophy that retarded the Mac's development, opened its machine to third-party peripheral makers and has several add-on products already in the pipeline. The most interesting is an optional ''I.B.M. emulator'' that will allow the Amiga to run most off-the-shelf I.B.M. software, including Lotus 1-2-3, dBase III and Wordstar.
Yes, right from the start the question on most peoples' lips was, "is it IBM compatible"?

Fast-forward to 1992 when the A1200 was released, and every PC still had to have a 5.25" drive for compatibility. Low-end machines often only came with a 5.25" drive.
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Old 04 July 2019, 00:34   #194
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I'd say that maybe about 25% of my games worked. And I feel like I'm being generous here.
I'm 100% certain you're either the unluckiest person alive when it comes to the Amiga 1200, or that you're exaggerating this figure by a rather large amount.

Of my old A500 games, about 60% worked without me doing anything - meaning they just worked. About half of the remaining games worked when I used the early start-up menu option to disable the caches. Of the rest, maybe 20 or 30 did not work at all. However, what remained did work when using a degrader.

It is true that I only had about 600 or so games (of which 50 or so originals)*, so maybe your collection just happened to have all the incompatible stuff.

*) Yeah.. these days I'd not use that many cracked games. Growing up does change you it seems.
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Extremely old games, like those which were hardcoded to run from diskette, were troublesome. I don't recall any problems with getting CGA/EGA games running on newer display hardware, but I don't doubt that it's possible.
To be fair, most of my problems had to do with stuff made for the DOS 5 era.

The rest had to do with hardware incompatibilities - VGA/Adlib/Soundblaster/etc were only 'standard' in a loose sense. In my experience many games were incredibly picky regarding sound of video card. And the more recent the graphics/sound card was, the larger the chance of things failing.

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I'm not sure what you're referring to regarding the memory.
There are differences in the amount of conventional memory & high memory available between DOS versions. In particular, DOS 7 (which is what I got to use alongside Windows 95) has slightly less of the stuff than any other version of DOS. This means that a surprisingly high number of games won't work. Unless you do insane stuff like have several DOS versions on floppy at the ready.

And that's not getting into the 'minor inconvenience' of needing separate configs per game to begin with. My A1200 with degrader was sometimes not so much fun, but it was a metric ton easier to get (old) games to work on that than on the total mess that was MS-DOS in the mid 90s.

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When current, the A1200 was already a very expensive computer for what it was.
Nah, it wasn't. It was cheaper than a comparable PC on release.

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"less than optimal" is answer of politican. Right answer is "It was stupid decision by Commodore"
Commodore asked developers what they wanted. They preferred more memory over a HD floppy drive. I happen to think they were right as floppies were already starting to be replaced by CDs and HDDs in the early 1990's.

So no, it was not 'stupid'. It was a compromise.

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What the A1200 really needed was a hard drive, so users wouldn't have to keep swapping disks all the time.
Didn't Commodore offer HDD options for the A1200 from day one? I seem to recall a 40, 80 and 120MB option?

(This is aside from the people who didn't mind installing one themselves, or having their shop do it for them at the expense of warranty).
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Old 04 July 2019, 00:56   #195
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The 1200 really should have had a faster CPU. An 030 would have done the trick (none of that silly EC020 nonsense) and 2mb ram was quickly too little. They should have made it possible to add more ram right on the motherboard. With an 030 and 2mb (upgradabe to 8/16mb on MB) the A1200 would have been a winner
The market says otherwise. It had to be cheap, or people wouldn't buy it. Putting an 030 and FastRAM on the motherboard would have raised the price too much (and if price wasn't an impediment then there was the A4000). But worse, with an 030 and FastRAM jammed onto the motherboard there probably wouldn't be enough room for a good-sized trapdoor slot - and that meant no further expansion. This is the same problem that plagued 'slim-line' PCs and laptops, forcing users to buy a whole new machine when they needed more power.

Third party manufacturers already had lots of experience producing accelerators and RAM boards for the A2000 etc, so it wouldn't take them long to produce A1200 cards. And look what we got! Everything up to 75MHz 060 and PPC, and now even beyond. Shortly you will able to put in a card with HDMI RTG graphics, SD card slot, 128MB of super fast RAM, and a 68k CPU with double the power of an 060 without the heat! But only because Commodore had the forethought to make an affordable machine with open-ended expandability.
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Old 04 July 2019, 01:03   #196
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Why do you feel the need to defend everything that people find disappointing, this is "Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?"

and it would only cost more for such and such because commodore were greedy they could have lowered there profit margins that were probably very high and lack of investment.

Also you just cant except PC was the leading force and there was a need for compatibility with it.

Also its all irrelevant now we all have XBOX's

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Old 04 July 2019, 01:12   #197
Bruce Abbott
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Didn't Commodore offer HDD options for the A1200 from day one? I seem to recall a 40, 80 and 120MB option?
Yes they did, and almost all the machines we sold had one. I understand that was not the case in the UK though (buyer preference?).

Anyway my point is, they did give us a hard drive, and that was more important than having an HD floppy drive. Not that it would been that hard, but considering Commodore's financial frailty it's a miracle we got as much as we did. Just think how many things they could have done to the A1200 that would have totally screwed it up...
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Old 04 July 2019, 01:54   #198
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Why do you feel the need to defend everything that people find disappointing, this is "Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?"
OK let's just say that yes, someone somewhere was disappointed with the A1200. Close thread?

However I won't sit back while lies and misconceptions about the Amiga continue to be promulgated.

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and it would only cost more for such and such because commodore were greedy they could have lowered there profit margins that were probably very high and lack of investment.
Commodore International
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In 1983, Tramiel decided to focus on market share and cut the price of the VIC-20 and C64 dramatically, starting what would be called the "home computer war". TI responded by cutting prices on its TI-99/4A, which had been introduced in 1981. Soon there was an all-out price war involving Commodore, TI, Atari, and practically every vendor other than Apple...

Commodore's board of directors were as impacted as anyone else by the price spiral and decided they wanted out. An internal power struggle resulted; in January 1984, Tramiel resigned due to intense disagreement with the chairman of the board, Irving Gould... Now it was left to the remaining Commodore management to salvage the company's fortunes and plan for the future. It did so by buying a small startup company called Amiga Corporation in February 1983, for $25 million ($12.8 million in cash and 550,000 in common shares)...

The company put effort into developing and promoting consumer products that would not be in demand for years, such as an Amiga 500-based HTPC called CDTV. As early as 1986, the mainstream press was predicting Commodore's demise...
I bet you never tried to manufacture computer hardware. Profit margins are generally not high, the upfront investment required is enormous, and it only takes one slip up to lose it all.
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Old 04 July 2019, 01:57   #199
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Unlike most PC's, the Amiga has always had a 3.5" drive as standard. Double density disks were cheaper and more reliable than HD disks, and were also used in a number of other machines (including the first and only true IBM that I owned). so why change? Amiga Software would still be distributed on 880k disks for compatibility anyway, so the only real advantage of having a HD drive would be being able to copy 60% larger files over from a PC. As someone who had an HD drive my A3000, I can say that it didn't get a lot of use.
Only part I can agree with is that DD floppies were more reliable.
If all AGA machines had HD floppy drivers, there would be no reason whatsoever to distribute software for AGA machines on DD floppies. It would mean also less crippled game ports probably...
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Why change?
We call it progress.

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Fast-forward to 1992 when the A1200 was released, and every PC still had to have a 5.25" drive for compatibility. Low-end machines often only came with a 5.25" drive.
Nice image but if you check cover of the very same magazine from September 1988 you will find there several machines with both drives already and even IBM 386 with only 3.5" drive. After 1990 5.25" drives was there just for compatibility as you said and rarely used...
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Old 04 July 2019, 02:59   #200
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PC was the leading force and there was a need for compatibility with it.
To be fully compatible, it would have to have run the same software. How do you propose Commodore should have achieved that!?
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