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Old 15 March 2018, 14:02   #1
djukon
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Getting into the A1200: from zero to hero

What would be your game plan for someone to get into the A1200, becoming a power user during the next five years, previously having never owned one?

In my case, I only had an A500+ without a hard disk drive back in the day, and then switched to a PC in 1997. I purchased a bundled A1200 in July of 2016, and I finally got around to cleaning it and setting it up properly. The bundle came divided between the A1200 case and a mini-AT tower. I ditched the tower and now have the A1200 and the drives filling up a rather large slide out keyboard shelf.

My main interests for the A1200 are learning how to program for the platform, the historical evolution of the platform (1992->2000+), using as much as I can for everyday tasks and playing some games. I also enjoy making the most out of still working old hardware if possible, such as floppy disks and spinning hard drives.

The A1200 bundle I bought came with 3.1 ROM chips, a 4.02GB spinning 3.5" HDD, an IDE DVD-multi drive, a Blizzard Mk III 030@50MHz with 8MB of RAM, a MicroniK Scandy scan-doubler, a Silver Surfer, a Squirrel PCMCIA to SCSI interface, a SCSI CD drive, two external floppy drives and a few more peripherals.

The hard drive came packed with installed software, and I imaged it, just in case. I would like to slowly build a working HD with WB3.1 from the ground up, so I can understand what is involved in configuring the system and applications. I just don't have a good idea on where to start. I'm open to gradually role-playing my way into adding in the accelerator and other enhancements, as an exercise to understand the tighter constraints first.

Please let me know if you have any ideas on how to go about this endeavor. Thanks!
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Old 15 March 2018, 14:59   #2
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Define "power user" and why you want to become one.
You already have a very good system with a Bliz 030...
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Old 15 March 2018, 15:43   #3
djukon
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Quote:
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Define "power user"
By power user I'm referring more to a system power user, able to configure the OS, as well as get to know more popular tools and utilities for system administration.

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and why you want to become one.
In a nutshell, I just want to "become one" with the system, to understand its ins and outs, as well as the historical events associated with its evolution. There is no end goal (such as developing a specific app or game), it is more for the ride and what I can take from the experience.

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You already have a very good system with a Bliz 030...
Having a fast system really isn't the point, at least for me. If I need more processing speed, I'll just run an emulated system for some specific task. What is important is to be able to grasp the difference between the capabilities of a stock A1200 and an expanded one.

Last edited by djukon; 15 March 2018 at 21:57. Reason: repetition of word
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Old 15 March 2018, 16:35   #4
MigaTech
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Stock A1200 has limitations, expanded one doesn't.

Fast Ram: for loading more programs, specially those that need it. The more you have the more you can do.

Faster CPU: for more pleasing game play and access time. Also folders open much faster.

If you want to program the Amiga a stock A1200 is enough. Unless you want more process and access speed, then an upgrade beckons !

Also later Operating systems such as 3.9 and 4.x require more juice to run.
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Old 15 March 2018, 22:16   #5
djukon
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Fast Ram: for loading more programs, specially those that need it.
Faster CPU: for more pleasing game play and access time. Also folders open much faster.
I'd like to get a better notion of how this varies with which kind of applications and games. Has anyone elaborated some sort of workflow example list for different tiers of Amigas?

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If you want to program the Amiga a stock A1200 is enough.
Most likely for building 68K Assembly programs and not too large, I reckon. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Also later Operating systems such as 3.9 and 4.x require more juice to run.
I was considering sticking to 3.1, so no worries there. How about 3.5, how does it fare comparatively?

Last edited by djukon; 16 March 2018 at 00:35. Reason: missing letter
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Old 18 March 2018, 16:06   #6
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3.5 isn't really worth it to go and get these days unless you don't happen to already have a copy, it's essentially the same as 3.9 but missing a bunch of updates.

3.9 makes sense if in my opinion you are going to be using Workbench a lot and especially if you end up with a more expanded system (graphics card, 040+, RAM). An 030 with 8 megs is kind of on the threshold, but you certainly can run 3.9 on it fine if you desire.
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Old 18 March 2018, 23:59   #7
djukon
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3.5 isn't really worth it to go and get these days unless you don't happen to already have a copy, it's essentially the same as 3.9 but missing a bunch of updates.

3.9 makes sense if in my opinion you are going to be using Workbench a lot and especially if you end up with a more expanded system (graphics card, 040+, RAM). An 030 with 8 megs is kind of on the threshold, but you certainly can run 3.9 on it fine if you desire.
Thanks for the input, ajk. I might eventually get a 32MB SIMM if my usage of the system justifies it. Or I just go the Vampire route. I think for the time being I'll stick to 3.1 and see how far I can take it.

Going back to late 1992/early 1993, from looking at UK magazine ads, the A600/A1200 with HDDs came with 20MB to 170MB sizes. Is anyone aware of what was the most common size of HDDs sold with A1200s (of the ones sold with HDDs)? 40MB? 80MB? Currently I want to get a feel for what you could do with the limited HDD space back then.
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Old 20 March 2018, 07:19   #8
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I think the best guide you can get is contemporary magazines.
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Old 20 March 2018, 08:37   #9
djukon
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I think the best guide you can get is contemporary magazines.
As I learn the platform I also wish to weave into my experience how the platform evolved. I don't want it to be an afterthought.

As such, are contemporary magazines also covering the historical evolution aspect of the platform (from an archeological standpoint), or are they focusing more on getting your classic machine up and running with the latest software and configurations? I had the notion it was the latter. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 20 March 2018, 10:10   #10
ajk
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I assume idrougge meant contemporary to the A1200, i.e. magazines from around 1992 onwards. You can browse some of them here for example:

http://amr.abime.net/
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Old 20 March 2018, 22:24   #11
djukon
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I assume idrougge meant contemporary to the A1200, i.e. magazines from around 1992 onwards.
Since I had previously said I had already gone through some magazines of the time, in particular the ads, I thought he was referring to more recent ones instead.

In any case, looking back through those magazines, besides the ads to get a feel for the range of possible choices, I would need to find a sales figures chart of some kind to find out what was the most sold version of HDD A1200. Considering a 6 month window, and we narrow a sample of 15 magazines, we're talking 90 issues to go through. Not that I mind looking through old mags, it just may take too long to go through them all just to get a rough estimate. I might get lucky and find something right on the contents' page(s). Unfortunately the mags/articles are not particularly well suited for a good old combined keyword search on them to find a reference that is not present in the contents' titles and short descriptions.

I was just hoping someone here on the forums had been in Amiga retail at the time or just remembered some reference to this information.

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You can browse some of them here for example: http://amr.abime.net/
AMR unfortunately is more focused on just having the game reviews (Amiga Power being an example - there are still several issues not totally preserved online, just partially on AMR).

Here are two other alternatives I also use:
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Old 21 March 2018, 01:11   #12
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You're either overdoing it or not doing your research well enough.
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Old 21 March 2018, 22:41   #13
djukon
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You're either overdoing it or not doing your research well enough.
If I would rate in terms of focused research of what I've done so far on a scale of 0 to 10, it'd probably be a 2.

1: Simple forum and search engine searches on the topic (~15 minutes);
2: Look through a random handful of issues to search for any reference on sales figures, taking note of what HDD sizes and prices where in ads (~1 hour);
[we are here]
3. Look through 20+ more magazines to find additional references, starting to gather data in a spreadsheet (~3 hours);
[...]

With each additional integer increase on the scale I have in mind, it implies an exponential increase in time needed to reach it, unless there are additional leads. Three additional hours dedicated to this particular search, IMHO would be overdoing it. I might get those three hours down as I do other searches on different topics and take notes along the way.

Anyway, if there are no more leads on where to narrow the search down to find some hard sales figures on HDD sizes sold with A1200s, I'll just take the MB per ratios in the ads and go with the size below the one with the best ratio. For what I intend, that's a good enough compromise.
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