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Old 19 March 2009, 17:06   #1
wXR
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Building the ULTIMATE :) A1200 Desktop

Hi guys!

First time posting, long time reader. :-) I am interested in building the most awesome A1200 desktop ever in my spare time and was hoping for some suggestions and thoughts from the Amiga braintrust here. My list of ingredients is below...

- The A1200 itself (case given a whitening chemical bath!)
- PicoPSU w/ case mod (will this be enough power for all the items below?)
- BlizardPPC w/ 68060 @ 75MHz & 603e @ 240MHz (can these go any higher?)
- 512MB of RAM on BPPC card (I assume that is the physical max?)
- BVision PPC video card (can this card be overclocked?)
- Indivision flicker fixer w/ case mod (VGA in back)
- Subway USB w/ case mod (USB plugs on back of Amiga)
- Kickflash (are these still being sold? would like to put custom 'kickable' 3.5+ ROM on there, plus USB drivers, and ideally be able to rewrite the flash WITHOUT opening the case)
- CF->IDE for storage w/ rewiring and case mod for externally plugging cards in (question: how can I do this without the 100% CPU usage problem mentioned in some threads? Is it a DMA issue, are there DMA-compatible CF cards, or is the issue in the converting hardware?)
- Delfina (clockport version, not even sure if I will be able to fit it into the case! question: has anyone experimented with USB audio 'cards' and the Poseidon stack? How is it on CPU? No highspeed mode is maybe a problem?)
- USB->Ethernet (anyone have any experience with these?)

...So that's my list! Can anyone think of anything to make this even more hardcore? Is Poseidon compatible with any of those USB 802.11 sticks? One thing I am not sure of, and something that I think you all battle with here, is cooling of the PPC+060+BVPPC, especially if they are running overclocked. I feel like there has to be some kind of solution to this, without tacking on those tall feet things as I see some people do.

Voiced stability and compatibility concerns very much welcome here! :-)

Cheers!
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Old 19 March 2009, 20:12   #2
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I have just one question: how do you manage to plug a Delfina and a Subway in the machine on the same clockport ? Is their a trick or something I miss, because I would like to have a Delfina too..
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Old 19 March 2009, 20:41   #3
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Do you have any of the items on your list?
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Old 19 March 2009, 21:48   #4
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frost: For some reason I was under the impression that the clockport was more or less daisy-chainable? Is this incorrect? I don't have either of those items yet.

DDNI: Yes. So far:

- A1200 (Commodore version, KS 3.0, still slightly yellowed )
- BlizardPPC w/ 68060 @ 50MHz & 603e @ 603e at unknown CPU speed (just got it, haven't fully tested yet)
- 256MB of RAM on the BPPC
- BVision PPC video card
- USB->Ethernet adapter :-)

Still want to get: Indivision, Subway, Kickflash equivalent, CF->IDE, and Delfina (provided that the above is correct and I *can* chain up clockport adapters).
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Old 19 March 2009, 22:17   #5
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Putting all this in a desktop case is a bit of a failjob, you better consider a tower expansion for your PPC-based setup.

Not saying it can't be done, but I wouldn't do it, it's a risk for the system's temperature and ventilation.

You can't daisychain clockport devices but I *think* (am not sure) that there are points on the motherboard for a second clockport.
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Old 19 March 2009, 22:36   #6
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What would you do with such a system? Are you interested in using it seriously or is it just something to buy, put together and show your friends "Look what I got". Are you going to use OS4 on it or is it just for WHDLoad games? How will you fit a Delfina and a Subway in there at the same time? For that matter, what are your plans on fitting ALL of that kit (accelerator/graphics card...) inside the desktop case? What about cooling it? And if you're after an "ultimate" system, why go for the crappy old BVision card? Why not stick the whole lot inside a tower case with a Mediator or GRex and use a VooDoo or Radeon card? Heck, for that matter, why not just use a cheap new PC and WinUAE and you'll have a system that does everything your "ultimate 1200" does, and do it faster. Oh, but you want PPC? So that must mean you want to run OS4, which can't be run through UAE. In which case you're better off just going and buying a brand new Sam440, prepackaged with OS4.1, prebuilt and ready to go.

Last edited by Cammy; 19 March 2009 at 22:47.
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Old 19 March 2009, 22:39   #7
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IIRC, there are some clock port devices who have a passtrough, don't remember who have it.
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Old 19 March 2009, 23:47   #8
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@ wXR

Dont forget about fitting a nice slim DVD drive in the back of your A1200 too.
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Old 20 March 2009, 01:34   #9
Akira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
What would you do with such a system? Are you interested in using it seriously or is it just something to buy, put together and show your friends "Look what I got". Are you going to use OS4 on it or is it just for WHDLoad games? How will you fit a Delfina and a Subway in there at the same time? For that matter, what are your plans on fitting ALL of that kit (accelerator/graphics card...) inside the desktop case? What about cooling it? And if you're after an "ultimate" system, why go for the crappy old BVision card? Why not stick the whole lot inside a tower case with a Mediator or GRex and use a VooDoo or Radeon card? Heck, for that matter, why not just use a cheap new PC and WinUAE and you'll have a system that does everything your "ultimate 1200" does, and do it faster. Oh, but you want PPC? So that must mean you want to run OS4, which can't be run through UAE. In which case you're better off just going and buying a brand new Sam440, prepackaged with OS4.1, prebuilt and ready to go.
Cammy has posted one of the most sensical, centered, good advices I read here in AGES!
Bravo
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Old 20 March 2009, 01:42   #10
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Cammy: Ha! Well, certainly "sensible" advice, but I think you will all agree that this is a bit of an obsessive hobby that makes little sense to begin with. :-) The PC overclocking and case-modding fanatics, the people who collect, restore and modify old automobiles. I'm not saying it isn't a strange hobby, but there's certainly some kind of joy in it for me.

That being said, Yotoxionomai, I don't know what I would do with a DVD drive other than use it to install OS 3.9 and 4.1 perhaps one time each. :-) Hopefully a USB external could take care of that. I'd prefer the already cramped beast to have more room for ventilation. Planning to take out the floppy drive as well.

rkauer- Yeah, I actually thought Delfina was one of those cards. Perhaps not though. Which brings me to the question: Do any of you have any experience with USB audio devices on the Amiga with the Poseidon stack?
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Old 20 March 2009, 02:13   #11
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Hello and welcome to EAB, wXR!
I like your spirit, if it wasn't for such "freaks" the good old classic hardware edition of the Amiga computer would be long gone...

( @ all the naysayers)
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Old 20 March 2009, 03:21   #12
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wXR

Good luck to you mate only thing I'm not sure about is the removal of the floppy drive... doesn't the Amiga look for a DF0 before it will start ?

Anyways having already spent more than I anticipated (Accelerator Card, Indivision, IDEfix etc) I can only say "I hope you have deep pockets"

I don't see the point of USB on a 1200... the PCMCIA adapter for CF and/or card of your choice is more than adequate for file transfer requirements... USB keyboards.. ok but whats the point if you are leaving it n the desktop case ? Pen drives? thats showing off.... there ain't no way you will generate a 2 gig File... and forget about transfer speeds... but if you must you must.

With what you plan as others have said, I'd go the tower route. My 1200 gets warm and it ONLY has the Indy and an 030 Accelerator - I run with the trapdoor off. There really aint much space for cooling unless you start butchering the case, (fugliness warning, and yes most hack jobs on A1200's are, with a few exceptions) Fans will also be noisy.....

Not trying to put you off, not at all, just that I have absolutely no idea what you would use such a machine for (watching the "latest" 8 year old '060 'demo' perhaps ?) but as I say... it will be interesting to see how you get on

Andrew
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Old 20 March 2009, 03:29   #13
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You won't be installing 4.1 on it.
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Old 20 March 2009, 03:31   #14
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4.0 is the latest for "classic" Amigas isn't it ? unless there's a secret hax0r that no one knows about...
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Old 20 March 2009, 05:55   #15
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welcome back to the Amiga wXR..youre in good company with many other retro modding/hacking freaks beware that once ya start its damn hard to stop..and forget about keeping track of how much ya spent
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Old 20 March 2009, 06:16   #16
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So many ultimate amiga threads recently.... just wait till mine comes along! Good luck with your Amiga.

To answer your question on how to reduce CPU load, make sure your ppc accelerator is the SCSI version then mount internally a SCSI-IDE adapter. Good luck fitting that in with everything else in there. It's all about priorities. But as you have an 060 probably not as important.
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Old 21 March 2009, 00:47   #17
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5h00n4y -- haha, nice to make your acquaintance, and I appreciate the support!

asm1 -- I'll give it a try as soon as I get back home next week. I figured I could just yank it and it would then boot from the next device when it didn't find it? As for USB, my hope was, as mentioned, to use a USB audio device, and a USB->Ethernet device. And yes, a USB mouse as well. Those seem like reasonably sensible uses to me. And hell, that pen drive idea isn't a bad one when I consider moving over a multi-GB WHDLoad collection. ;-) And yeah, demos and games, and maybe some development if I can keep the hacked up beast stable! :-)

Cammy -- Good point. Bummer!

Calgor -- Can't wait to see yours. Well, mine is pretty much "vaporware" for now, eh? ...About this SCSI->IDE adapter: So there is no way to have DMA mode in the IDE->CF adapters, or is that DMA mode missing from the cards themselves? Come to think of it, I don't even know if an A1200 supports DMA with the built-in controller?

Loving this community already.
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Old 21 March 2009, 01:01   #18
wXR
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BTW found something here: http://www.compactflash.org/

"The CF+ and CompactFlash Specification Revision 4.1 is now available to download for US$100.00. CFA members may download the specification free in the "Members Only" area. Revision 4.1 adds the Power Enhanced CF Storage Card. The 133MB/sec CompactFlash interface data transfer rate, and forward and backward compatibility with old and new host systems is maintained. DMA interface mode is included and reduces the processor power required to manage the CompactFlash data transfers. True IDE Ultra DMA 133 interface mode increases the CompactFlash interface maximum data transfer rate to 133MB/sec. This UDMA interface mode is well defined and tested by the usage on IDE hard disk drives. Faster PC-Card ATA UDMA memory modes are also included and can provide maximum interface data transfer rates up to 133MB/sec. With the UDMA feature, forward and backward compatibility is maintained with systems and CF cards even operating with the interface data transfer rate of 16MB/sec. Full time students and faculty can request an educational use only copy of the specification by making your request using the email to cfa link at the left."
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Old 21 March 2009, 09:39   #19
Calgor
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The main problem is the Amiga's built-in IDE interface can only do crappy PIO0 (i.e. no DMA, and not any of the faster PIO modes at that).

Some adapters do support UDMA modes (not even sure if they need to as it's a passive interface to CF), but the CF card also needs to support that mode too. Most CF cards that have a high speed rating support it. But really I don't think it will have any affect unless you have a big box amiga Cyberstorm UWSCSI (40mb/sec) -> UWSCSI-IDE -> IDE-CF -> UDMA CF card. I don't know the SCSI speed of Blizzard PPC, if only 10MB/s I don't think it matters.

For your speed I would either suggest you go the SCSI option as mentioned before, but probably to fit all things in there the IDE Fix Express Adapter manufactured by Individual Computers may be the easier option. Will speed up the IDE transfer rates.

My amiga had everything working together but I could not fit it in the case, so that is what I am currently working on.
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Old 21 March 2009, 19:44   #20
wXR
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I am not necessarily interested in high transfer rates here -- the most important thing to me is that I don't get high CPU usage when there is disk access. IDEfix will take care of that problem? It seems to come with a port for a clockport expander, which is nice. ;-)
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