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Old 14 March 2017, 19:13   #1
VresiBerba
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Is a ACA-1233n worth the money?

The Individual ACA-1233n would cost me about 250 euro while I can get a DKB Cobra 33MHz/32MB ( http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/cobra ) for about 140 euro. I know the ACA1233 should be a little faster but 100 euro is after all a considerable amount of money for me.

I'm going to use it mainly for WHDload, so, is the ACA worth the extra cash?
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Old 14 March 2017, 19:28   #2
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I think for WHDload any 030 will be fast enough.
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Old 14 March 2017, 19:36   #3
VresiBerba
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Originally Posted by grond View Post
I think for WHDload any 030 will be fast enough.
Obviously, but there are other things to consider such as compatibility, warranty, features etc. etc.
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Old 14 March 2017, 19:56   #4
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Watch out for anything that isn't a Blizzard or ACA, sometimes the yare not compatible with WHDLoad.

my Microbotics XAA1230 is a WHDLoad shit-show.

An ACA is more assured to work with WHDLoad, as it has been created with that in mind, as far as I remember.

But with that in mind, even a cheaper ACA (1221) will do the trick. You don't really need a fast 030 in most cases. It will all depend on your general AMiga use.
Since you said "mainly WHDLOad", I would consider a cheaper ACA like the 1221 http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...oducts_id=1251
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Old 14 March 2017, 20:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
Watch out for anything that isn't a Blizzard or ACA, sometimes the yare not compatible with WHDLoad.
I'm not questioning this but I wonder how that is possible. I would have thunk that an 030 is an 030 and compatibility for any software cannot change from one accelerator to the other.
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Old 14 March 2017, 20:41   #6
Akira
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grond View Post
I'm not questioning this but I wonder how that is possible.
An accelerator is not just a new CPU wired straight to the computer. It's not just the CPU you are dealing with, an accelerator has other stuff in it that could make stuff work or not, and/or how things interact with each other (speed between CPU and RAM, types of RAM and their speeds accepted, timings between the card and motherboard, etc etc).

I don't know technicalities, but it is possible, especially if the developers don't have hardware to test it with.

I have no personal experience with a Cobra accelerator nor have I heard of any issues particularly, but from my experience dealing with my MX1230 for years, while my ACA experiences have been just transparent, is that I pose the warning against going for an accelerator that just isn't very popular. Blizzards and ACAs all have a much larger userbase and support for them is more widely available in the community.
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Old 16 March 2017, 17:52   #7
VresiBerba
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Anyone else has any input?
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Old 16 March 2017, 19:32   #8
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@Thread

Firstly the DKB Cobra will need a firmware update to work with RAM under Kickstart 3.1, so before leaning on that card I would ensure that it had the firmware update or it was easy to do. From my knowledge this can be done in workbench without RAM installed on the card - but have a good Google and ensure its something you can do.

I am going to assume for the detail of this post that the DKB Cobra also has a 68882 FPU Co-Processor

The ACA1233n V's the DKB Cobra 030

The ACA1233n will have a slight speed advantage in the MIPS however has absolutely no FLOPS' so if you want to offload some jpeg compression to the FPU or perhaps 3D rendering the ACA simply wont perform as well as the DKB Cobra.

The ACA1233n can be upgraded with an FPU - however this will generally slow the 030 state-machine down as you have to disable burst mode to allow for time with the FPU on the bus to maintain stability. Adding an FPU will invalidate any warranty from the manufacture.

So all thing being equal, both 128MB RAM, both 50Mhz CPU 030 and 68882 FPU it simply will come down to price -

250E for the ACA (this would actually be more to source the FPU, install it and a Crystal)

150E for the DKB Cobra.

For me its a no-brainer, there is little to no benefit moving to the ACA1233n over the DKB Cobra if you plan to have use of an FPU - however this is accepting the caveat that the DKB Cobra is firmware upgraded.

@Akira
I think I remember reading about your strange Macrobotic's issues before, I have used a range of Macrobotics kit in the past and I have not noticed these issues, I have also tried Apollo, ACA, Blizzard, GVP to name a few - if you can get to workbench then WHDLoad works. I have noticed some SIMM's and motherboard times have created strange issues with some adaptors - but once these are repaired or replaced this issues are abated.

If memory serves you did post a thread about this particular car so I shall have a look for it.
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Old 16 March 2017, 20:17   #9
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Hey Zetro, we did discuss this in the past, and if you currently do not have the kit and can't test with WHDLoad, any speculation based in any perceived past experience is moot. I have had the XA1230 for like 15 years and WHDLoad has always been a problem, when absolutely EVERYTHING ELSE works. This has been an issue with absolutely EVERY configuration of RAM, FPU, settings and everything, and it has been tested in every way possible short of using technological equipment I do not own. Everyone's analysis on my tests concluded the card is fine, yet WHDLoad always has issues which go away as soon as I remove the card or take the CF to WinUAE and use that instead.

Saying "if you can get to workbench then WHDLoad works" is really not accurate, I am not the only one experiencing issues with it as it has come to light when I posted about my issues. You will have to take our word for it as current XA1230 owners and users.

But I don't want to go more off-topic than I already did. My point is: not all accelerators are made the same and compatibility problems can arise among similar specs on different brands. YOu just now noted a key difference in how the DKB configures RAM, for example. Tehre's also teh issue of PCMCIA compatibility related to RAM.

The most popular brands are ACA and Blizzard and I would suggest getting either of those to be able to get the best support there is, ACA not only has real life current tech support and a WARRANTY (which is very important), it also has such a big, current userbase, that if any issues should arise, and they cannot be helped by Jens at Individual Computers or your product reseller, someone in the community will surely be able to give you a hand. So my vote goes for the ACA for support alone. Several more bucks are worth the 1 year warranty alone in my opinion.

The Cobra is a used item, not very popular, that if you buy, you have no way to "take back and return", and if you run into any issues, the amount of users of said hardware will be less and you will have a smaller chance of getting community help.
As I suggested before, for your use and budget, I'd seriously consider the ACA 1221.
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Old 16 March 2017, 21:25   #10
VresiBerba
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I bought the DKB Cobra, the deal was too good to pass up. The difference is 100 euro and that is money I both currently do not have and when I do can be spent on a Indivision which basically has few if any competitor for the price. The firmware is the latest, thanks Zetr0 for the heads-up.

Also thanks, Akira for your input, but the 1221 is simply too weak. It could of course be upgraded, but then it gets almost as expensive as the DKB.

Anyhow, I went with the DKB and it's supposed to work just fine, have a battery backed-up clock, a SCSI interface and can sport a maximum of 128MB, so I can preload my Beneath a Steel Sky CD32 disk I have no use for into WHDLoad
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Old 16 March 2017, 22:06   #11
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@Akira

Hello buddy =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
Hey Zetro, we did discuss this in the past, and if you currently do not have the kit and can't test with WHDLoad, any speculation based in any perceived past experience is moot.
To be fair you are compounding a lot of possible variables including IDE>CF / RAM / Accelerator / A1200 Motherboard & Revision - unless you have tested your configurations independently then your point is speculation too - I would like to help you get to the bottom of this problem as it intrigues me =)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
I have had the XA1230 for like 15 years and WHDLoad has always been a problem, when absolutely EVERYTHING ELSE works. This has been an issue with absolutely EVERY configuration of RAM, FPU, settings and everything, and it has been tested in every way possible short of using technological equipment I do not own. Everyone's analysis on my tests concluded the card is fine, yet WHDLoad always has issues which go away as soon as I remove the card or take the CF to WinUAE and use that instead.
There are lots and lots of variables to isolate here my friend, i.e. A1200 motherboard (and revision), HDD / CFIDE, RAM (Speed & Brand), CPU, FPU - the list goes on - I tried searching for your thread but I struggled to find it - do you have a link to it, I have some ideas that might help =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
Saying "if you can get to workbench then WHDLoad works" is really not accurate, I am not the only one experiencing issues with it as it has come to light when I posted about my issues. You will have to take our word for it as current XA1230 owners and users.
On a binary level, code is code, if it can load ROM/Workbench, then it should run WHDLoad - unless possibly there is a timing issue with the IDE and WHDLoad IDE Requests. Have you tried running WHDLoad games running from RAM ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
But I don't want to go more off-topic than I already did. My point is: not all accelerators are made the same and compatibility problems can arise among similar specs on different brands. YOu just now noted a key difference in how the DKB configures RAM, for example. Tehre's also teh issue of PCMCIA compatibility related to RAM.
As you know PCMCIA conflicts arise from a vector overwrite in GAYLE address - and this happens in the Z2 memory space on the A1200 (and A600) - these cards use Z3 memory space and shouldn't suffer that effect.

The only difference I have in my tests is that but before I declare a problem with a BRAND of accelerator I would need to test more than one on more than one set up - otherwise its a quantity of one and thats not conclusive (its the scientist in me ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
The most popular brands are ACA and Blizzard and I would suggest getting either of those to be able to get the best support there is, ACA not only has real life current tech support and a WARRANTY (which is very important), it also has such a big, current userbase, that if any issues should arise, and they cannot be helped by Jens at Individual Computers or your product reseller, someone in the community will surely be able to give you a hand. So my vote goes for the ACA for support alone. Several more bucks are worth the 1 year warranty alone in my opinion.
Indeed here is the herd inoculation principle, in this regard the more people that adopt a given system the more support there is for it, but by and large we have admit that while the components are new(ish) the CPU's are not and they - like the Classic Cards have that in common.

In regards to warranty, this differers from country to country as in the UK you have a statutory right which is up to 5 years (Scotland is 7 years I believe) - with each year there is a devaluation of the product.

What I do like about the new cards is the POINT OF SALE and POINT OF RETURN that is available that is great for new and old collectors expanding their kit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akira View Post
The Cobra is a used item, not very popular, that if you buy, you have no way to "take back and return", and if you run into any issues, the amount of users of said hardware will be less and you will have a smaller chance of getting community help.
As I suggested before, for your use and budget, I'd seriously consider the ACA 1221.
To be honest, I can see where you are comming from, but I can promise you there are a lot of users out there, there is also a lot of common knowledge at one's fingertips - there is a huge knowledge on here, A1k, Amiga.org and AmiBay to name a few communities - and to be honest the DKB Cobra is not that obscure - the Macrobotics 1200XA on the other hand

Now in regards to helping with some of your 1200XA problems, I would like to send you a Compact Card Setup (known working on various accelerators and systems) its a 4GB SanDisk Extreme III - just hit me up on PM and I will post out next week for you to test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba
I bought the DKB Cobra, the deal was too good to pass up. The difference is 100 euro and that is money I both currently do not have and when I do can be spent on a Indivision which basically has few if any competitor for the price. The firmware is the latest, thanks Zetr0 for the heads-up.

Also thanks, Akira for your input, but the 1221 is simply too weak. It could of course be upgraded, but then it gets almost as expensive as the DKB.

Anyhow, I went with the DKB and it's supposed to work just fine, have a battery backed-up clock, a SCSI interface and can sport a maximum of 128MB, so I can preload my Beneath a Steel Sky CD32 disk I have no use for into WHDLoad
This is the option I would of taken -

The Cobra + 030 + FPU + 128MB + Fast SCSI II (Via the Ferret FASTSCSI II module) - its a delight - mainly because it uses a lot less CPU TIME as it is DMA transfers to the FAST RAM - I would humbly suggest a cheap SCSI solution (HardDisk / SCSI->SD)as this is boot-able and a lot faster than native IDE (about 3MB with a 50MHz 030) only 1.67MB of the native IDE with most of the CPU cycles taken up.

Good luck with your purchase, I would love to see some hi-res pictures of the SCSI Ferret PCB board if you would have the chance
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Old 16 March 2017, 22:20   #12
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I also had a MBX1230 and it wasnt very good for Whdload, atleast not compared to a B1230IV. You could get most games working on the mbx though by using tooltypes like noautovec etc but the b1230IV worked without any special tooltypes.
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Old 17 March 2017, 01:47   #13
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Is a ACA-1233n worth the money?

Zetr0 I don't want to derail this thread any more. I will find my thread next week and send it to you via PM. Most of what you asked I already tried, and as I said, the only way the problems went away was when the accelerator was removed. Everything else always yielded issues. As fryguy says, it's not that it never works, but there are a lot of issues (usually while in-game, with whdload bombing out, which is the worse, because it's been times i played a game for an hour only for whdload to fuck off and ruin my progress)

I don't really care much about this issue anymore anyway: I use my CD32 for games, it's a flawless and much better gaming experience.

Imappreciate your stubborness in trying to help me haha. Some times in this hobby is best not to stress and let go! I think this one is a stinker and that's it.
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Old 17 March 2017, 05:33   #14
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There have been some threads in the past regarding the Microbotics, something about generating interrupts which crash games (setting the "NoAutoVec" tooltype is reported to help, to what extend I have no idea).

One thing I've found testing a bunch of '030 cards over the years, some have a rather poor/slow interface to the Amiga chipset, and this might show up as some minor slowdown in games. For example, having a bunch of enemies onscreen in Kid Chaos or Zombie Apocolypse, the difference between cards is noticeable. The Apollo MK2, Blizzard 1230-IV, and ACA cards are all great in this department. My DKB Mongoose was one of the slow ones. The GVP-1230 II performs differently depending on whether or not the board has timing fixes (about 1.5 MB/s difference in writes to chipram according to bustest, believe it or not). While not quite as fast as some others, the GVP was rock-solid here and is outstanding for WHDLoad.
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Old 17 March 2017, 17:22   #15
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Quote:
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One thing I've found testing a bunch of '030 cards over the years, some have a rather poor/slow interface to the Amiga chipset, and this might show up as some minor slowdown in games. For example, having a bunch of enemies onscreen in Kid Chaos or Zombie Apocolypse, the difference between cards is noticeable. The Apollo MK2, Blizzard 1230-IV, and ACA cards are all great in this department. My DKB Mongoose was one of the slow ones. The GVP-1230 II performs differently depending on whether or not the board has timing fixes (about 1.5 MB/s difference in writes to chipram according to bustest, believe it or not). While not quite as fast as some others, the GVP was rock-solid here and is outstanding for WHDLoad.
Thanks, that was my point entirely. It's not all just about CPU type and speed.
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