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Old 14 February 2018, 11:29   #1
Marchie
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Challenging the A3000

Just fishing for some discussion on a subject I've never really understood - why do people talk up the A3000 so much?

Yes, I understand it's a very neat piece of engineering, I like the case, the fact it doesn't need a scan-doubler (and sure - I'd LOVE to own one). But in real terms what does it offer over an A2000 with a A2630?

My understanding at the time was that a lot of customers were still opting to buy expanded A2000's (A2500's) instead.

As I've said it's a beautiful piece of kit in many ways, but functionally it doesn't seem to worthy of being a new model. Change my mind.
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Old 14 February 2018, 11:41   #2
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ECS chipset
4 32bit Zorro 3 slots (graphic cards, audio cards, network cards, USB controllers)
2 MB ram
68030/25 Mhz.
display enhancer for use with a VGA monitor
DMA SCSI-II controller
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Old 14 February 2018, 12:57   #3
trixster
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Zorro 3 slots
Amber
SCSI
It looks miles better than the A2000.
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Old 14 February 2018, 13:12   #4
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Full 32-bit architecture with fast local and expansion bus with no address space or DMA limits - made to accept lots of memory and fast DMA expansions without unecessary constraints or limits.
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Old 14 February 2018, 13:22   #5
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Yep, Zorro-III is a big advantage over Zorro-II for cards that can use the extra speed, although many don't. It also has a much faster 32-bit bus between the CPU and the chip RAM, making it faster at many operations with native screenmodes than an A2000 with the same ECS chipset. And it's easily expandable to 2MB of chip RAM (the A2000 needs modification for this much chip RAM).

Downsides of the 3000 are that the case is pretty cramped, so heat can be an issue and some expansions will struggle to fit, and no 5.25" drive bays. The A2000 case is better suited for situations where this might be a factor. Of course the A3000T also gets around this and retains the 3000's advantages.
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Old 14 February 2018, 13:57   #6
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The A3000 was a good machine but had its issues. The A4000T was the ultimate Amiga ever produce. Although some may disagree?
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Old 14 February 2018, 14:21   #7
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The A3000 is the only ECS Amiga that can have 32bit access to ChipRAM, but of course only via CPU, ZorroIII or SuperDMAC and not the ECS Chips.

But this feature makes e.g. CPU-blit quite fast on the A3000.

And it looks damn good.
At least compared to A2000 and A4000 - what ugly boxes!!
Only the A1000 rivals as best looking Amiga.
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Old 14 February 2018, 14:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
Downsides of the 3000 are that the case is pretty cramped, so heat can be an issue and some expansions will struggle to fit, and no 5.25" drive bays. The A2000 case is better suited for situations where this might be a factor. Of course the A3000T also gets around this and retains the 3000's advantages.
The issue with limited drive bays of the A3000 is alleviated greatly by the fact that you can connect such devices externally via SCSI by default.
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Old 14 February 2018, 14:34   #9
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The issue with limited drive bays of the A3000 is alleviated greatly by the fact that you can connect such devices externally via SCSI by default.
I ended up having a 4-bay "SCSI-Minitower" next to my A3000 desktop.
And on top of this tower was my external ZIP-drive ....

And there was of course my external floppy drive I got left from my A500 days ....


My desk was quite cluttered back than

Now the computer I use has none of these slots/bays and not even a single mechanical drive...
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Old 14 February 2018, 15:22   #10
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Disagree about the A4000 being an "ugly box"! I think it looks fantastic, just not quite as cool as the 3000.
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Old 14 February 2018, 15:55   #11
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The A3000 looked good, had a 030/25, SCSI, Scandoubler.
The A2000 was just an A500 in extremely huge ugly case imo.
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Old 14 February 2018, 16:19   #12
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Originally Posted by trixster View Post
Disagree about the A4000 being an "ugly box"! I think it looks fantastic, just not quite as cool as the 3000.
Its a very standard PC-desktop-case with a slightly different front panel.

And someone designed that front panel with no drive bays at all in mind. Thus even the first floppy drive brakes the deco-lines - all in all there is no coherent design language on this case what so ever.....

The lock in the middle also looks terribly cheap...

It is reversed on the tower: the A3000T looks terrible, while the A4000T (Escom) looks great ...

Last edited by Gorf; 14 February 2018 at 17:23.
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Old 14 February 2018, 16:47   #13
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I remember seeing the A4000 for the first time in Amiga Format and thinking it looked absolutely incredible. I still think it looks great!
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Old 14 February 2018, 16:55   #14
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The A3000 case is expensive. Metal edges have been rounded. The metal is extra thick where it needs to be. The plastic is high quality and good thickness. It feels robust but flexible. You don't feel you could break the case with a large 21" CRT monitor on top. (Or even a person!)

The A4000 all the metal edges are sharp not rounded (you cut yourself pretty much every time) the metal is cheap and thin compared to A3000 case, the plastic is cheap and brittle, I never felt it was sturdy enough for the weight of my 21" CRT on top which had to sit next to it.
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Old 14 February 2018, 17:36   #15
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The best looking Amiga .... is no Amiga, but the C128D.
Here sitting below a A1000:



The undivided front-panel makes the difference.

Its keyboard bay is accessible for the side...
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Old 14 February 2018, 23:19   #16
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Is the 32-bit mem on the A3000 any faster than the 32-bit mem on my accellerator card?

What are some good Zorro III cards that benefit from the extra speed?

Suppose this is all academic anyway - the only way I think I'll own an A3000 is if one falls into my lap (not likely).

Gorf - are you next going to tell me the Commodore 900 looks better than the A2000?
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Old 15 February 2018, 00:18   #17
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The first Zorro III card that comes to mind for me for in an A3000 is the Cybervision 64. It works great with the 3000 because of the Amber.

The Zorro III also allows the addition of large amounts of Ram. You can buy a new ZorRam or BigRamPlus with 256MB for the same price as guys try to get for old used 8MB Zorro II expansions.
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Old 15 February 2018, 00:20   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marchie View Post
Is the 32-bit mem on the A3000 any faster than the 32-bit mem on my accellerator card?
That depends on your card. Later cards will usually provide faster FastRAM.
But your access to ChipRAM stays limited: the A3000 will be always faster here.

Quote:
What are some good Zorro III cards that benefit from the extra speed?
Cards that need bandwidth. So especially graphic cards like the Cybervision64, Cybervision3d or PicassoIV. Or Network like the x-surf 100...

Quote:
Suppose this is all academic anyway - the only way I think I'll own an A3000 is if one falls into my lap (not likely).

Gorf - are you next going to tell me the Commodore 900 looks better than the A2000?
Well: it actually did! And no: it is not the same case both are using, that is a myth.
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Old 15 February 2018, 00:26   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marchie View Post
Is the 32-bit mem on the A3000 any faster than the 32-bit mem on my accellerator card?
Depends what accelerator it is. And remember the A3000 has 32-bit ChipRAM too. Not got that on A2000 with any accelerator.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marchie View Post
What are some good Zorro III cards that benefit from the extra speed?
Deneb, A4091, Picasso IV, Cybervision64, Fastlane DKB3128, BigRAM, Mediator, Prometheus, etc.

It's not just the speed, but the address space, ZORRO II is is very limited, 8 MIB
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Old 15 February 2018, 12:48   #20
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Depends what accelerator it is. And remember the A3000 has 32-bit ChipRAM too. Not got that on A2000 with any accelerator.
Yes, but going from above entries it's only 32-bit speed when being accessed by the CPU, not the chipset, so not really different to dedicated 32-bit RAM on a separate card (although I suppose if you're short on 32-bit mem it ensures your CPU doesn't slow-down when it has to dig into the chip-mem).

Too bad we never saw the Ranger chipset with VRAM implemented - that would have been slick (and made the A3000 truly kick-ass)!
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