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Old 13 June 2019, 00:37   #1
studio460
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Best strategy to pimp my A1200? (DOM, IDE-CF, SATA-SSD?)

I just bought a used A1200 on eBay from the EU. Here's its specs:

• Commodore Amiga A1200 (rev. 2B motherboard).
• 3.0/3.1 ROMs included (3.1 currently installed).
• 8MB FastRAM expansion for A1200.
• Gotek USB-floppy emulator.
• ScanJuggler XAGA Lite scan-doubler.

So, here's what I'm getting:

• 44-pin AOTL 8GB DOM (disk-on-module) from amigaonthelake.com (ordered).
• Gotek USB-floppy emulator with Commodore Amiga logo (ordered).
• Indivision AGA 1200 (if I can ever find one).
• Indivision RapidRoad dual-USB adapter (if I can ever find one).
• Apollo A1200 case, black (pre-ordered).
• Kipper2K keyboard with black keycaps (pre-ordered).
• PCMCIA-to-CF type-II adapter (already own).
• 120V electroware PSU (ordered).

So, I gather the Gotek allows me to load software disk images like a floppy, and use a USB thumbdrive like local mass-storage as well as the boot-volume. But DOMs seem a popular route for internal SSD-like storage. Even if you already have a Gotek, the benefit of a DOM is that it's a LOT faster, right?

How do most strategize their internal mass-storage?

• Floppy-USB emulator (e.g., Gotek).
• DOM
• IDE-CF
• SATA-SSD

Also, does a compatible PCMCIA-to-USB card exist?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Last edited by studio460; 14 June 2019 at 09:59.
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Old 13 June 2019, 04:02   #2
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I equipped my A1200 with indivision aga, FastATA V, and an ACA1233n. The aca came without FPU, but adding one was easy.

If you are not a data hoarder like myself, getting a cf card with ata adapter is the most cost efficient way to go. Plus it doesn’t take up as much space as a 2.5” drive. Once you add usb and other stuff it will get tight.

The best way to use the pcmcia slot is to get a network card for it or/and a pcmcia to cf card.

I didn’t put a Gotek in. Sometimes I actually use floppies. If you are playing games install whdload. The max speed of the internal ATA controller is around 9MBytes/s I think. Regardless if you use cf cards or SSD. I use an ssd in my A500 mainly because of the space it offers. I’m using a SATA to 44 pin ATA adapter for it.

For my Mac mini with MorphOS i got myself an mSATA Card and stuck it into a 44 pin ata enclosure. Works well in MorphOS, should also work on the Amiga.

In the next few months we should see a vampire card for the 1200. I’m looking forward to that one :-)
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Old 13 June 2019, 04:58   #3
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Thanks for all the tips! Much appreciated!
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Old 13 June 2019, 07:36   #4
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So, what's the best method for internal mass-storage of the available I/O on an Amiga A1200? Any corrections welcomed!

Maximum data-transfer speeds:

• CF card media via 16-bit PCMCIA II = 133 MB/sec.
• IDE DOM, CF, SD via ATA PIO-0 interface = 3.3 MB/sec.
• Gotek floppy-emulator = 30 kbps (double-density controller maximum: 500 kbps).

Not sure if the above is all correct, but, PCMCIA memory is only able to be used as system RAM, and not mass-storage, correct?

Last edited by studio460; 13 June 2019 at 09:59.
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Old 13 June 2019, 18:16   #5
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PCMCIA can use compactflash.device to read from a compact flash card through the pcmcia port.

Max speeds are generally around 2mb a second, but this varies a lot depending on accelerator fitted, MY aca 1232/40 was the fastest at around 2mb, my Apollo 1240 does a little over 1mb and my old dkb cobra did around 900k/second.

So anything used for mass storage nowerdays will be faster then the ide port, even adding a fastata will only get around 7mb or so on a good day.
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Old 13 June 2019, 18:31   #6
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Thanks! So CF-card memory can be used as mass storage? And not just as system RAM? So, your real-world 2MB/s throughput from CF will still be faster than the IDE interface? If so, this makes the CD-PCMCIA route for primary storage the best and fastest option (i.e., faster, better than DOM/SSD via the IDE interface), if I understand you correctly.

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Originally Posted by sneeker View Post
PCMCIA can use compactflash.device to read from a compact flash card through the pcmcia port . . .
So it's not plug-and-play? I have to do some command-line stuff to recognize the volume?

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Originally Posted by sneeker View Post
So anything used for mass storage nowerdays will be faster then the ide port, even adding a fastata will only get around 7mb or so on a good day.
Not sure I understand you. You say 7MB/sec. via the IDE interface, but only 2MB/sec. via the CF-PCMCIA?

Last edited by studio460; 13 June 2019 at 18:39.
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Old 13 June 2019, 22:36   #7
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You confuse a bit. A1200 internal IDE port can access around 2 MB/sec. depending on used accelerator. PCMCIA port is slower then IDE port but I'm not sure. I think sneeker means using a CF card (as hard disk replacement) used with IDE Adapter. CF card connected to PCMCIA is just a storage for transfer data similar like PCMCIA ethernet/WLAN card. With 7 MB/sec. sneeker means the FastATA controller.
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Old 13 June 2019, 22:37   #8
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The speed of PCMCIA is not great I think. The other issue is that as far as I know you won't be able to boot from it.
Try a CF to IDE adapter. Something like this http://amigakit.amiga.store/product_...roducts_id=883

They just work. Plus you can prep the card easily in WinUAE and transfer all your big files, like a complete games collection. I also back my CF cards up on a Windows machine before I start doing crazy stuff :-D
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Old 14 June 2019, 08:49   #9
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Thanks a lot, daxb and madlax, for the help! So, I already bought the 8GB DOM from amigaonthelake since it was only $40 and seems a pretty straightforward plug-and-play primary storage solution (though, I assume I'll be stuck transferring files to it via the Gotek until I figure out how to mount the CF-PCMCIA onto Workbench, or will it just "appear?").

Here's what I'm thinking:

• Gotek USB floppy-emulator --> Load ADFs via USB (slow but convenient; bootable).
• 8GB DOM in IDE port --> Primary mass-sorage (bootable?).
• CF-PCMCIA slot --> Secondary mass-storage/primary removable media (non-bootable).

So, I can use the Gotek (since it's already in the machine) just to get things started, and use the DOM for primary mass-storage, and the CF-PCMCIA as secondary, and eventually, my primary removable media solution. Does this make sense?

Also, I imagine there's a bit of CLI'ing to get the CF card to mount on the Workbench? Also, file utilities (formatting, etc.) on that CF card gets performed where? On a WinUAE machine?

Quote:
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
. . . With 7 MB/sec. sneeker means the FastATA controller.
Do you mean this Elbox FastATA 1200 MK-V CF/SATA controller? Now we're talking! Didn't know about that. Seems great! But I wonder where people mount their attached media like an SSD drive (maybe most use CF cards with this?). So, with that in mind, I think the ultimate A1200 storage set-up would be:

• SSD + Elbox FastATA 1200 MK-V --> Primary storage.
• 8GB DOM in IDE port --> Secondary storage.
• CF-PCMCIA slot --> Primary removable media.
• Gotek USB floppy-emulator --> Secondary removable media/recovery boot-drive.

Elbox says its software supports >4GB drives. How large an SSD can it and the Amiga support? Up to 1TB? Not knowing/recalling anything about AmigaDOS file-management, I suppose I would prep my SSD in a WinUAE machine first? (I'd be dumping a TON of digital audio and media assets in there, plus all the application executables).

Just to be clear, I'm getting the Amiga primarily for graphics, multimedia, and productivity applications (e.g., Scala, AmigaVision, Superbase, etc.). I won't be installing any games in my new A1200 (never owned a single game for my A2000HD).

Last edited by studio460; 14 June 2019 at 18:28.
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Old 14 June 2019, 14:23   #10
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Maybe you should first describe what you have in mind and what is your goal. Then we can give you better suggestions. Until then I would recommend to start with your current setup and see how it works for you. Then you might see what is already good enough or you want to have something better. If I saw it right you are also interested in an OS4 system, WinUAE and Vampire too? So use cases can make some upgrade options obsolete. There is a risk in upgrading an A1200 to a Frankenstein system at the end you don't want/like.

My recommendation for the start is to try out the WinUAE way and your current A1200 setup and see how it feels/works for you. Don't buy stuff you don't really need.

FastATA controller (max four [2x2] devices on two cables) replaces the internal IDE port (max two devices on one cable) of the A1200. Both are bootable of course. FastATA speed is dependent on CPU speed and will use nearly 100% CPU time while accesses to it. Although disk accesses are very seldom compared to modern computer.

If your DOM is directly connected to the IDE Port it may block a secondary device. With a cable two should be possible (master + slave).

Harddrive (size) limits are dependent on device driver (e.g. scsi.device) and the used filesystem (FFS, SFS or PFS). A lot of information about this are here: http://www.thomas-rapp.homepage.t-online.de/ (FAQ and Workshops section). The old OS3.1 has a limit of 4GB (8GB with direct SCSI). With newer scsi.device and an up to date filesystem device limit is or could 2 TB. Partition limit is lower (104/128 GB or 1TB). Maximum single file size is 2 GB but you normally don't need such sizes. OS 3.1.4 should be up to date.

Just an example of sizes needed. A OS 3 boot partition needs only some MB. If you don't plan to copy many data to it you are save with 50 to 100 MB for the boot partition. Tools/Programs and Games only need some GB if you use very much. Only if you are a massive collector you will need hundreds of GB drive space. The whole Aminet is around 50 GB if I remember right.
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Old 14 June 2019, 14:46   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
Don't buy stuff you don't really need . . .
Yeah, but I'm really good at that!

Seriously, way awesome post, man! Thank you! Yeah, it doesn't look like the FastATA is worth it for me. The tax on CPU doesn't seem worth the trade-off, especially since I'm unaccelerated. I think I'll be just fine with the 8GB DOM.

This all started because I just wanted to start building my Magellan expert system again. The thing about Amiga is that it inspired software that allowed non-programmers to create. Had I known about WinUAE first, I definitely would've just started with that, especially since it'll probably be able to run Magellan.

But when I saw the jet-black A1200 Apollo case and keyboard, I just had to have it!! So, yeah, in addition to my A1200, I'll be building a WinUAE laptop so I can run Magellan on a portable system (lots of data-entry), and probably get a Vampire V4 stand-alone when it comes out, just because. Less interested in an Amiga 4.1 system now. Thanks again for your help!

Last edited by studio460; 14 June 2019 at 17:13.
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Old 14 June 2019, 14:49   #12
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For what it's worth, I've tried both the FastATA and the Rapid Road and I would not recommend either. You may of course have a different experience but neither worked well for me and both were removed.

Bottom line, if you are after something with fast disk access then an A1200 Amiga is not going to be it.
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Old 14 June 2019, 14:54   #13
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Quote:
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For what it's worth, I've tried both the FastATA and the Rapid Road and I would not recommend either. You may of course have a different experience but neither worked well for me and both were removed.
Thanks for the head's-up! I'll scratch both off the list.
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Old 14 June 2019, 17:20   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
Maybe you should first describe what you have in mind and what is your goal . . .
Sure. I have two primary use-cases, and actually no interest in games:

• Emerald Intelligence's Magellan 1.1 expert systems application:

Build natural-language expert systems. Run it on a Kickstart-1.3 booted WinUAE machine (it only runs on 1.3) so I can use it on a laptop for portability. It's basically a large textual database (the "rules" for the backward-inference engine), so there's a lot of data entry involved. Superbase and FinalCalc will be helpful here also to store/process/sort/generate large amounts of text-strings.

• Multimedia production: Scala, AmigaVision, Hyperbook:

Create type-only and simple graphics animations and interactive multimedia runtimes for what are basically art projects. Sort of like homemade electronic signage like flashing warning signs, animated space ship interior displays, unique kiosk apps and the like—all the things I used to like to do with my Amiga A2000HD 30 years ago.

And, since the AmigaVision runtimes can reference a lot of different media, I was interested in my storage options, since I have a TON of visual and audio assets created on other systems, and by real-world hardware synthesizers and other audio processing gear. Plus, I just bought a Waldorf Quantum—the king daddy of modern samplers.

Last edited by studio460; 14 June 2019 at 18:34.
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Old 14 June 2019, 20:18   #15
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I've no experiences with WinUAE but what I've read about it is that is what you want. Should run all your programs faster then all 68k systems.
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