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Old 04 January 2013, 15:38   #1
edd_jedi
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Amiga Processor Upgrade Questions

I'm a long time Amiga user, but pretty new to upgrading and modding. One thing that has me puzzled about the A4000 is the CPU.

Firstly, can anybody explain why you can't just replace the actual CPU chip like you can in a PC? For example, Motorola 68040 CPUs are plentiful on eBay for small amounts of money:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Motorola-X...item2ec42b9629

Yet people seem to charge absolute fortunes (hundreds of pounds) for Zorro card upgrade boards. I'm sure there is a reason why this is the case, but I would appreciate it if somebody could explain. It seems mad that it costs so much to buy an old CPU. Even modern Apple Mac quad core processors are cheaper! And also that you can't just replace as CPU itself, it doesn't appear to be soldered in.
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Old 04 January 2013, 16:39   #2
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what cpu card do you have?
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Old 04 January 2013, 16:41   #3
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I have an A4000 with 68EC030 CPU on the external board.
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Old 04 January 2013, 16:44   #4
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then it wont work, sorry.

the two cpus are not pin compatible and it would also require extra logic not present on the card itself.
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Old 04 January 2013, 16:47   #5
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Thanks for the reply. That was just an example, I'm struggling to see why people didn't (or don't still) just make replacement processor boards with upgraded CPUs on them, rather than making Zorro cards.

Also, what's the explanation for the expense of processor upgrades? most technology falls in price as it gets old! I can't comprehend how a 10+ year old processor can be worth £500.

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Old 04 January 2013, 16:53   #6
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maybe they keep there value because there rare.or just simply supply and demand.

alot of time and engineering goes into making the card itself,which in turn makes them expensive.

and its manufacture costs for such a project.

lots of reasons really.
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Old 04 January 2013, 16:54   #7
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There is no CPU on the A4000 (unless you have the rare RevD), otherwise they all require a CPU board added to the 100 pin connector, these boards have the actual CPU plus some have Fast Ram, FPU, SCSI, etc.

The cheapest option, about £60 would be an A3640, this will roughly double the speed of your A3630 (040@25mhz instead of you 030@25mhz)

They are slightly less compatible with WHDLoad Games so bare that in mind however workbench & 3D games will get a mighty boost. These boards do not have any Fast Ram though so you are still limited to the 16mb on the Motherboard or Zorro Fast Ram like ZorRam or DKB3128, these are still slower then CPU Fast Ram so if you were thinking of an A3640 + 128mb ZorRam (£140 ish) you might be better off saving up the extra for a real A4000 Accelerator.

These come in a few flavors...

The WarpEngine & Apollo 040's are a good option, they have 40mhz 040's (another 40% speed gain on the A3640) and have their own SCSI & FastRam (up to 128mb with 4 matching 32mb Simms)

The WarpEngine has the better SCSI but the Apollo can be upgraded to 060 (if you have mach131 chips) the WarpEngine cannot. These cards will cost you approx £150-£200

There is also a CyberStorm MkI & MkII 040, these can be upgraded to 060 as well, the SCSI Kits are however separate. Expect to pay £200-£250 for one of these.

Then we have the 060's, Apollo 4060 and CyberStorm MkII/III and PPC

These will cost upwards £300 (megabucks for the MkIII & PPC) these two cards have UW SCSI which is 4-5x faster than the SCSI you get on the SCSI-2 on the other cards. They also have 64bit Ram which gives you another speed boost.

Zorro cards, that's another story and indeed they're pretty expensive too. RTG Graphics Cards will set you back £100+, same for LAN cards and Sound Cards. The price is dictated by the rarity, Picasso IV's for example which are arguably the best Graphics option due to it's built in flicker fixer/scan doubler will cost you about £300!

USB, lol unless you're rich, forget it

If you want more info on these cards let me know.

Prices again are dictated by rarity, you may find them cheaper outside the EU but you may pay a lot if import tax. Keep an eye on eBay.de as a lot of CyberStorms & other Phase 5 kit comes up on there

Good luck with your project!

Steve.
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:13   #8
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Thanks for all the info Steve, very helpful. I had seen various expansion boards up for sale, but didn't really understand what any of them did. Also the prices for the above that I've seen so far have been far more expensive over on Amibay, nothing under £300 and over £1000 for a PPC card! I guess it's old fashioned supply and demand. I have quite a lot of 'rare' old things, being rare and old doesn't automatically justify a huge price tag though IMO. It's kind of hard to swallow paying £300 for a 60mhz processor when I'm running a quad core 2.8ghz processor in my 'proper' computer that is probably worth less than that
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:21   #9
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A PCs CPU upgrade capability is generally limited to socket compatible versions of the CPU so it doesn't provide full backwards compatibility with all earlier CPU versions.

The Motorola chips have significant hardware and electrical differences from 68000 to 68060. So you can upgrade a 68000 to 68010 easily and a 68020 to 68030 (with minimal hardware changes) and a 68040 to 68060 (again with minimal hardware changes). But it would be costly and impractical to add the logic to support all family members on a single PCB and it would not be optimized for all family members.

Cost is always influenced by supply vs. demand but the CPU slot connectors C= used are either obsolete or non-standard. Add in the cost and limited availability of the various 68K family members and you can see manufacturing accelerator cards is a fairly expensive undertaking.
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:26   #10
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Thanks for the info. I didn't realise that the Amiga processors were bespoke. As said I'm new to modding Amiga's but have been upgrading PCs/Macs for years. I'm aware that only certain CPUs are compatible with certain sockets, for example certain generic Intel CPUs work fine in Mac Pros. But it seems there are no other processors compatible with my A4000 other than the one already in there. Shame!
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:38   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edd_jedi View Post
Thanks for all the info Steve, very helpful. I had seen various expansion boards up for sale, but didn't really understand what any of them did. Also the prices for the above that I've seen so far have been far more expensive over on Amibay, nothing under £300 and over £1000 for a PPC card! I guess it's old fashioned supply and demand. I have quite a lot of 'rare' old things, being rare and old doesn't automatically justify a huge price tag though IMO. It's kind of hard to swallow paying £300 for a 60mhz processor when I'm running a quad core 2.8ghz processor in my 'proper' computer that is probably worth less than that
Indeed, unless you're seriously into modding Amiga's or just plain crazy there's no need to spend that sort of money, it's really just for serious collectors. (You can setup your dream Amiga in WinUAE and it will blow real hardware away!)

The item condition also really adds to the value, but you know that anyway, original box, etc.

You have to search hard to turn up Amiga bargains
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:41   #12
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hi edd.

the cpu's arnt bespoke(motorolla/freescale),its just the connectors used on the boards where tooling specific on the motherboards.(by that i mean NOT the cpu sockets)


the cpu sockets themselves(PLCC and PGA)are common.
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:53   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edd_jedi View Post
For example, Motorola 68040 CPUs are plentiful on eBay for small amounts of money:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Motorola-X...item2ec42b9629
This is not cheap for unknown shape and used CPU - alternative source for 68040 are for me Macintosh (i don't like Mac's - no mercy for them) computers (mostly Quadra and Centris line) - still available for low price or as a junk in a computer junkyard...
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Old 04 January 2013, 18:56   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pandy71 View Post
This is not cheap for unknown shape and used CPU - alternative source for 68040 are for me Macintosh (i don't like Mac's - no mercy for them) computers (mostly Quadra and Centris line) - still available for low price or as a junk in a computer junkyard...
Yes that's exactly my line of thinking, I didn't think 15 year old mass produced processors would be worth anything at all, I've thrown them away in the past. I was just pointing out that £35 for a CPU that would slot right in makes much more sense than paying £300 for an accelerator card - if it worked of course.

I understand what Steve says about collectability of certain cards, I'm just surprised there aren't more 'budget' options.
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