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Old 18 November 2018, 14:37   #1
davide78
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Buying my first Amiga in 2018: what to do?

Hi Everybody,
I always wanted an Amiga, but never have the opportunity to get one at the time. Now, after messing around with FS-UAE for some time, I would like to try the real hardware, and I am in search for help on how to proceed. The main use is to play games with WHDLoad, but I would also like to explore more "serious stuff" with Workbench and other software.

The first question is which model to buy: the A500 is probably the most common to find, but it does not allow to install and HD o CF without expansions. So I am inclined to get either an A600 or A1200. Is a stock A600 + CF enough for whdload? If I have to buy an accelerator for it, then it will cost more or less as a stock A1200, so it my be better to go with the latter.

I have a Cisco Aironet 350 PCMCIA Wifi card: can I use it to connect the amiga with my LAN and transfer files? Which software and drivers do I need? And finally, is there some minimum CPU or RAM requirements to do it?

I apologize for the trivial questions, but as the title says, this would be my first real Amiga. Every help would be greatly appreciated

Davide
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Old 18 November 2018, 15:22   #2
kolla
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Buying my first Amiga in 2018: what to do?

The A1200 is the better all-around system I would say, and also probably the most common among current users. The A500 is for me just too big, while the A600 though brilliant size, requires more tinkering (and depending on what you use it for, lacks keyboard keys that might be crucial). So, I would go for A1200 to begin with, and a RAM expansion.
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Old 18 November 2018, 15:26   #3
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Sounds to me like you need to look for an A1200 with some accelerator, maybe some 030 depending on what you mean with 'serious stuff'.

Stock A600+CF is not very useful for WHDLoad and the choice of accelerators/fastmem for the A600 is quite limited, so you'd probably want to go straight for the 1200 as you also mention.

I am not sure your PCMCIA card is supported by prism.device. I found this related thread that contains some info:
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php...A1200-Wireless
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Old 18 November 2018, 15:51   #4
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A wired pcmcia ethernet card is cheap and easy with less cpu overhead than a wireless one

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Old 18 November 2018, 16:32   #5
davide78
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Thanks to everybody

So the consensus seems to go for an A1200.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kolla View Post
while the A600 though brilliant size, requires more tinkering (and depending on what you use it for, lacks keyboard keys that might be crucial). So, I would go for A1200 to begin with, and a RAM expansion.
Could you please elaborate more on the missing keys on the A600? I cannot see how this could be crucial...
Any recommendation on the ram expansion for the a1200?

Quote:
Originally Posted by demolition View Post
I am not sure your PCMCIA card is supported by prism.device. I found this related thread that contains some info:
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php...A1200-Wireless
It seems that my card has a custom variant of a prism chipset. I was not able to find a definite answer on whether it is supported or not. It may worth a try in any case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyc View Post
A wired pcmcia ethernet card is cheap and easy with less cpu overhead than a wireless one
I already have the card: I bought it for an old laptop some 10+ years ago, so it is the cheapest option for me
Thanks anyway for your comment: If it turns out that the card is incompatible, I would go for a wired one.
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Old 18 November 2018, 16:50   #6
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amiga 500 with aca 500 and a floppy emulator is the cheapest and best way.
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Old 18 November 2018, 16:55   #7
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I still believe best option for amiga is to go with Raspberry Pi.

Again, that is just me.
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Old 18 November 2018, 17:09   #8
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You really need to decide what you want to achieve with it and what your budget is.
A basic a1200 with extra ram will do you for most normal games, an ideal gaming rig replaces the ram with a blizzard 1230 mk4. That will run wb3.9 and give you some.oomph.
If you want to dabble in more than that and run some of novacoders stuff then you are talking about a blizzard 1260 accelerator or equivalent Apollo. Believe me that pushes your budget well up.
Have a think because lots of us started out with the first option and then traded in the ram within weeks for an accelerator.
If you are going to keep the a1200 more than a little while and it has not been recapped, think about getting it done.


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Old 18 November 2018, 17:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnie View Post
amiga 500 with aca 500 and a floppy emulator is the cheapest and best way.
A500 with ACA500plus is good for your basic WB stuff and WHDLoad (except for AGA games), however it probably comes up short if you want to do more 'serious stuff' - whatever that implies.


I would say that with an ACA500plus you do not really need the floppy emulator. I for sure wouldn't know what to use it for since WHDLoad would take care of running all the games and I would transfer files from the PC using the aux CF card in the ACA.


Another thing to consider is what kind of display/monitor to use. Original CRT monitor or some LCD solution?
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Old 18 November 2018, 18:07   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyc View Post
A wired pcmcia ethernet card is cheap and easy with less cpu overhead than a wireless one

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And you can link it directly to your PC/MAC
and used them as your Bridge/Gateway.
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Old 18 November 2018, 18:23   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide78 View Post
Could you please elaborate more on the missing keys on the A600? I cannot see how this could be crucial...
Some of the games are using numerical keyboard (for example: F/18 Interceptor), and probably some other flight sims, and some other games.
Maybe even some apps.
Maybe kolla, or someone else, could explain in more depth.

On topic:
Even I have A500 with ACA500+, and I am really happy with it, I'd say A1200 is the best way to start the journey
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Old 18 November 2018, 18:43   #12
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Yeah some games and also programs use the numeric keyboard. How crucial that is, depends on whether you play those games or use those programs much.
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Old 19 November 2018, 12:53   #13
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By "serious stuff" I mean that I want to do more than playing games. The objective is to replicate how it would have been to use an amiga as everyday computer in the early 90s.
So I would keep things period correct, except for a few exception like a CF instead of an HDD, LCD instead of a CRT and a more practical way to transfer files than floppies.
Anything requiring more than a basic accelerator card is out of the question, at least for now.

The initial budget is limited: a machine able to run a basic WHDload setup will be enough. I may buy an accelerator in the future, but I prefer not to do it now.

The amiga will be connected to a Dell U2412 LCD: it is supposed to be compatible with 15Khz screen modes, so I would only need a DB23 to VGA adapter, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Some of the games are using numerical keyboard (for example: F/18 Interceptor), and probably some other flight sims, and some other games.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kolla View Post
Yeah some games and also programs use the numeric keyboard. How crucial that is, depends on whether you play those games or use those programs much.
Thank you, now the issue is clear. Out of curiosity: are external numpads dor the A600 available?
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Old 19 November 2018, 13:16   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davide78 View Post
Thank you, now the issue is clear. Out of curiosity: are external numpads dor the A600 available?
Not from my (poor) knowledge.
Maybe some games and apps can be prefigurated/hacked to use other keys.
Check out these threads:
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php...ypad-solutions
http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=59221

But from what I've read for you, a plain A1200 with Cf card should be a perfect start for you. Maybe add additional fast ram (shouldn't be too expensive), and A1200 with additional RAM, even back in the day, was pretty often (so, it should match realistically, your replica of using Amiga every day)
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Old 19 November 2018, 13:20   #15
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Well, you can buy a SUM600 (iirc) USB adapter that snaps over one of the CIA chips, and plug in a USB num pad I suppose, or use a full USB keyboard.
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Old 19 November 2018, 19:12   #16
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With limited knowledge of todays market, but having owned A500, B2000 and A3000 back in the days and having looked a tiny bit at second hand market recently...

If I was a bit serious and wanted to play some games and also do some serious stuff, just enjoy the system as a hobby, I would go for a B2000. It can run games like the A500, and you can expand it like nothing else and it is built like a tank. They seem not seriously overpriced and are a bit forgotten. It is really something you can get without paying crazy money and something to grow with as you see fit. Yes, they come with a slow 68000, but that is what we had back in the days.

On the downside(?), you get the original chip set, and bus is limited to Zorro 2. An A3000 or A4000 is probably better, but I think you might have a better chance of getting a B2000 for a reasonable price.

It is built in an era just before the caps that need replacement and surface mounting had not made it into the machines.

Did I say it was built like a tank? It looks like one and behaves like one. It is solid, takes load, keeps working and just comes back and asks for more.
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Old 19 November 2018, 19:30   #17
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I have often been tempted by an amigs 2000 I have to say, but if it was as a sole machine I would want the option of AGA games so would still go with an a1200. One day I would love a big box amiga though.....(sighs wistfully)

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Old 19 November 2018, 21:42   #18
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The A600 is a JOKE: it has several enhancements over the A500, but honestly, Commodore shot themselves in the foot by removing part of the A500 keyboard. It was like two steps forward and two steps back in that regard.

The A1200 is the best all-round system as you have the various enhancements over the A500, it is physically smaller but has more room for expansion, including hard disk support, and it has the most up-to-date graphics capabilities that Commodore ever engineered, namely AGA.

Any issues with games that were around with the launch of the A1200 and how it couldn't initially run some A500/600 games, has been eliminated with WHDLoad patches, but of course, you need a hard disk for that, and the Amiga is best used with a hard disk over floppies these days, anyway.
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Old 20 November 2018, 04:18   #19
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I'd go with a 1200, but then I would say that. I've got 30 of em... The 600 just falls over with the lack of expansion space. There is a room for tables, chairs and dining furniture in the 1200. It is by any stretch of the imagination one of the best computers manufactured by Commodore. The 600 is like a bedsit in comparison. I have quite a few 600s but never taken them seriously.

Personally I would get a 500 and then work up from there. Just having any Amiga could spur you on to better things. I love the 500. I strap on 590s and GVPs and have XTs as drives. Works fine. Lets you play proper games on them oldfangled disks. If you could pick up one cheap. They are pretty bulletproof and if you get the 500 and not the plus then no issues with batteries.... 500s are nearly all socketed so doing handy work yourself doesn't involve hot work.

Save your pennies then and get a real Amiga like the 1200 or 4000 and start having some real fun. They really are a joy to behold. I have mine on every single day. They sit and pur behind me here. The one here has a ribbon out the back and the hard drive actually sitting on the desk behind. The 1200 is so versatile. Easy to fit an accelerator and very useful with the PCMCIA.

Not all 600s support the hard drive by the way. I have one that just refused to work with a hard drive. I only use internal proper drives which I get from China for a fiver. I do have a machine with a CF card and that WHLoad thing but its crap, so I never use it. Slower than a slow thing with a very good reason for being slow.

If you like games get a CD32 and maybe you could drop lucky as I did and get an SX32 and make it into a 1200. I even have an A1500 converted with a 1200 inside. You only need the motherboard and a mouse by the way to make the 1200 work. Loads of options. Great fun though. Not sure about games though.. never really interested me that much........ believe that and you will believe anything.

I'm scuzz by the way. I'm the nutter with over 100 Amigas.. and they all work.

PS There is also more than one way to skin a cat. So maybe stop thinking uptodate modern methods and go Commando and be a Ghost Buster and go retro. That way you can find lots of old junk on Ebay and get oodles more fun out of banging it together to achieve the same thing as folk try to do with that new nonsense. It may not look pretty sometimes but it works. I have a cardboard Amiga... well an A1200 in a cardboard box and she works. Seriously. One word.. or maybe four letters SCSI. Still loads about. Terminated.... Cracking game that. Get it on the C64. Magic !!

Bye.

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Old 20 November 2018, 04:42   #20
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A1200, with either ACA1221EC or ACA1233n accelerator, Indivision AGA MK2cr for LCD monitor, and heavy-duty power supply. Add CF hard drive, CF-to-PCMCIA for easy PC/Mac-to-Amiga file transfer, and you have the perfect system...
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