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Old 04 March 2020, 19:15   #1
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Advise buying an Amiga

I was thinking a 500 because it was the biggest seller and therefor would seeming the easiest to find now, I’ve also seen a few CPU accelerator cards for it (68000-68030). I mentioned the 500 in my last post and got some advice in favor of a 1200, but other than a faster CPU, wasn’t too clear why. The only things to look for so far is a `trapdoor` expansion that fits in underneath the machine, and as much ram as possible. I probably will buy a separate CPU accelerator card solves both processor speed and more ram. What do you think the price range of a 500 should be?
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Old 04 March 2020, 19:40   #2
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A1200 have not only faster processor (68EC020@14.28MHz) but also 2MB Chip RAM, where A500 have only 0,5MB or 1MB. A1200 also have IDE controller, PCMCIA slot and special clock port. And A1200 have AGA graphic chipset. With 68000 or 60EC020 you can add up to 11,5-12MB, but usually it's 8MB. With better processor (on accelerator card) it might be up to 256MB.

Last edited by Solo Kazuki; 04 March 2020 at 19:53.
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Old 04 March 2020, 19:42   #3
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Even though I am a happy A500 owner, if I had to buy a (classic) Amiga, I would definitely go for the A1200. It has AGA, easy IDE support, a better processor and RAM and it is quite expandable.
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Old 04 March 2020, 19:44   #4
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1200. The most versatile Amiga ever.
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Old 04 March 2020, 20:35   #5
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I agree with the others here. With A1200 you can have everything in Amigaworld. There are lot's of demos that only run with AGA and there are many games too. Many times there where 2 versions of games. One for old gfx chipset and one for newer that is in A1200 and A4000. I have A500, A600 and A1200.
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Old 04 March 2020, 20:54   #6
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I guess it depends on your budget. A1200 can cost 3-4 times as much as A500 (that may differ according to your geolocation -and luck - too). Plus, the hardware being old as the hills, there's the breakdown risk factor too.

I was recently pondering which one to get and went with A500, then got ACA500+, the amazing swiss knife-like expansion. I'm interested strictly in games. Have decided that the additional cost/risk is not worth it for the AGA versions of some games and few exclusives.

But if budget is not an issue then I guess A1200 is the better option...I know you're into coding so perhaps it's a bit more fun regarding this angle too.
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Old 04 March 2020, 21:49   #7
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If you were to go for an A500+ you can easily upgrade to 2mg Chip Ram, I have a Vampire V2 in my A500+, there's an experimental AGA core for the vampire however I use the 2.9 Core as it has full FPU support and I prefer to use it with games that support RTG Graphics, there are very few AGA games that I miss and anyway I'm lucky to have other AGA Amigas.

If you do go for an A500+ be sure to ask and check regarding battery leakage as the A500+ was fitted with a rechargeable barrel battery and many have been seriously and often terminally by battery damage.

A1200 is probably the best all rounder but it can be fun to go against the grain.
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Old 04 March 2020, 22:04   #8
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I'd have to agree with what Hewitson said in your other thread Curbie:

Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
I'd also recommend using a cross assembler such as vasm. You'd have to be mad to code on an actual Amiga these days. It sounds like an emulator (WinUAE) may be more suitable for your needs.
Since you are absolutely new to everything Amiga, it seems a little crazy to purchase real hardware at this current moment.

To me the best opinion would be to use WinUAE for the time being (it's close to 99% accurate); and play around for a few months to get a feel for things... and it's absolutely free.

Once you dig your feet in; and also know the advantages / limitations of each Amiga model / OS... then purchase a real Amiga if you must.
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Old 04 March 2020, 22:04   #9
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I think so too (A500 opinions). An A1200 is very nice and of course more capable if you find one, but an A500 (f.e. expanded with an ACA500+ which gives you CF Slots and Fastmem and a faster CPU) can be fun too (and it's cheaper and maybe easier to find).
Of course it's OCS and not AGA and thus not all games and demos will run, but a good share of it - the machine can be a lot of fun nevertheless.
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Old 04 March 2020, 22:05   #10
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If you bide your time, you can pick up a 1200 for a fairly reasonable price. That would be in the £100-£200 range. But you have to be patient. I see the split as my 500 as a games machine and my 1200 as a productivity machine. You could also do the latter in emulation and the former in real life. A cheaper proposition for sure. The IDE interface on the 1200 does make move data between it and my PC a lot easier.
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Old 04 March 2020, 22:06   #11
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Originally Posted by DamienD View Post
I'd have to agree with what Hewitson said in your other thread Curbie:

Since you are absolutely new to everything Amiga, it seems a little crazy to purchase real hardware at this current moment.

To me the best opinion would be to use WinUAE for the time being (it's close to 99% accurate).

Once you dig your feet in; and also know the advantages / limitations of each Amiga model / OS... then purchase a real Amiga.

Have to agree with that. The emulation is pretty much awesome.
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Old 05 March 2020, 04:53   #12
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Bear with me as I try to work my way though this thought on emulation. Although I am to the age where I don’t spend all my time looking forward (don’t have to), or backward (not feeble yet). Does a 2017 Camaro really mimic 1967 Camaro driving experience? I know the 2016 is a better car, no question, but what is the experience of actually driving the 1967, in the day worth? {analogy}

The second consideration has to do with running WinUAE on WinXP(my most current ver of Win, running on VirtualBox, running on Linux (my current and backup systems), running at 5ghz with multiple cores, I think WinXP will only use 3. The point being, beside a potential nightmare isolating problems within three layers of emulation, does the assembler and debugger actually work?
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Old 05 March 2020, 07:49   #13
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I do all my stuff on WinUAE, simply because it's more convenient. Having the tools there, and laptop in my living room. For the real Amiga I would have to go downstairs.
On the other hand, nothing beats the feeling of working on the real hardware.
AFAIK WinUAE is close to perfect, but the feeling to work with an emulator is more like working with yet another a PC software.
If you just want to write some software for the Amiga, then you wouldn't even need to purchase one, as you can perfectly do this on WinUAE. But I must also say, I use the assembler and editor on the PC and do the debugging on the Amiga/Emulator with MonAm. AFAIK you can also debug directly from the PC, but I never tried that.
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Old 05 March 2020, 21:02   #14
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Seems to me that If I ask for advise, I’m conscience bound to consider it, or why did I ask? So I read WinUAE’s web-site, absent of VirtualBox install instructions, I guess I’ll treat the VirtualBox XP as a actual XP machine and go with 4.2.1 32 bit, and also bought AmigaForever 8.

Can any recommend a good on-line (XP preferable) WinUAE installation tutorial?

Last edited by Curbie; 05 March 2020 at 21:06. Reason: added WinUAE to installation tutorial for clarity
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Old 05 March 2020, 21:14   #15
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You could also try running it with Wine instead, could be less hassle with not as many layers involved. Not something I've done myself though so perhaps others can also share their experiences.
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Old 05 March 2020, 21:17   #16
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WinUAE runs perfectly fine in WINE, a much better solution then inside of a VM.
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Old 06 March 2020, 14:46   #17
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You already have some good advice in the posts above, but IMO the A1200 is the perfect hardware to own if you had to pick just one (obviously I have like 9 Amigas :-) its expensive BUT... a recapped A1200 in good condition can be considered an *investment* with a good chance the resale value will be higher than the purchase price. (although this varies over time and region).
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Old 06 March 2020, 16:31   #18
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If you use emulation (just as good as the real thing IMHO) then all you have to pay for is the Kickstart ROMs and Workbench disks.

I choose emulation because then I can, for example, run ANY Amiga demos, from plain A500 to top-end 68060. As far as I know, there is simply no way that any single hardware Amiga machine can do that and guarantee that the demo will run on it all. When I've tried, for example, to run A500 demos on my unexpanded A1200 back in the day, there were timing issues and all manner of other things. Nope, to me, emulation is the way to go, especially as the real hardware dies out as the years tick by.
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Old 06 March 2020, 20:15   #19
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I actually get a kick out of running the games on original hardware. The fact it is 25 years old or whatever just amazes me . Yes I could play the same game under emulation but that's not my sole source of enjoyment.
But that's just me.
My vote for the ideal allrounder is an a1200 with blizzard 1230mk 4 and a cf hard drive. But that is getting more expensive each year.
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Old 06 March 2020, 20:40   #20
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Cheap A500 with gotek and WinUAE for A1200. I could live with WinUAE only as i have a 50hz monitor, shaders and a joystick.
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