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Old 22 February 2016, 22:51   #1
DisposableHero
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Should the A1200 have used a 28Mhz 68000 processor instead?

A thread elsewhere on here mentions an upgrade I'd forgotten about - the same processor type as the A500, but 4 times the speed (compared to the 14Mhz 68020 in the A1200 being about 2-3 times faster). I'm wondering - if this has been used in the A1200, perhaps with a slowdown switch, might resolve both the machines biggest faults - the compatibility issues and the lack of real power compared to PCs of the time. I assume it wouldn't be able to access as much memory as the 020, but are there any other limitations
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Old 22 February 2016, 23:04   #2
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What does it matter nowadays?
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Old 22 February 2016, 23:08   #3
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I suppose it doesn't, but it still frustrates me that the Amiga brand died out so quickly, it deserved at least to occupy a similar global niche to the Mac. And I just wonder if this is one decision that could have been different.
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Old 22 February 2016, 23:28   #4
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CBM released the A1200 at 14MHZ because they got cheaper pricing on those 68020 chips. A 28mhz would have been more expensive.

Instead of going to 28MHz it would have made more sense to add 4MB of fast ram to it. With that enhancement alone, The A1200 would have doubled its speed an enabled the use of more "serious" applications.
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Old 23 February 2016, 01:15   #5
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Wouldn't had made a difference imo.

But then again, A1200 came out way too late to change the course of history, so additional fast ram, 030 and AAA chipset with roughly the same price point probably wouldn't have made a difference either.
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Old 23 February 2016, 08:49   #6
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CBM was in financial trouble for a long time at that point. The 1200 should've come out in the 500 plus time slot, doubled up with the 4000 for the Pro market. Even then, AGA was too little too late and no fast ram was a mistake.
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Old 23 February 2016, 10:58   #7
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Originally Posted by DisposableHero View Post
A thread elsewhere on here mentions an upgrade I'd forgotten about - the same processor type as the A500, but 4 times the speed (compared to the 14Mhz 68020 in the A1200 being about 2-3 times faster). I'm wondering - if this has been used in the A1200, perhaps with a slowdown switch, might resolve both the machines biggest faults - the compatibility issues and the lack of real power compared to PCs of the time. I assume it wouldn't be able to access as much memory as the 020, but are there any other limitations
the 68000 at 28mhz is not 4 times faster than a 68020,surely idem speed of a 68020 running at 14mhz

fact is a 14mhz 68020 reports 2.4 mips in sysinfo
the 68020 at 28mhz reports 5 mips
the 020 is 2x faster per clock
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Old 23 February 2016, 11:26   #8
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Instead of going to 28MHz it would have made more sense to add 4MB of fast ram to it. With that enhancement alone, The A1200 would have doubled its speed an enabled the use of more "serious" applications.
4mb of fast ram was too much money to include in a budget range of computers back in 1992.
In hindsight it would be perfect to say add all this stuff, the trouble was the off the shelf components were too much money and a reason why PC's were expensive, the only hope Commodore had was to get the custom chips out on time, which of course they didn't and we ended up with the AA end of...budget computers were fine in the 2D era, but as soon as 3D was hitting the difference was more noticeable with the public buying.
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Old 23 February 2016, 12:04   #9
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4mb of fast ram was too much money to include in a budget range of computers back in 1992.
In hindsight it would be perfect to say add all this stuff, the trouble was the off the shelf components were too much money and a reason why PC's were expensive, the only hope Commodore had was to get the custom chips out on time, which of course they didn't and we ended up with the AA end of...budget computers were fine in the 2D era, but as soon as 3D was hitting the difference was more noticeable with the public buying.
Yes, 4MB was a lot of money back then.

And what about a modified AGA with some standard chunky modes (PC like VGA modes, nothing too fancy) + 16 bit audio on paula?
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Old 23 February 2016, 14:14   #10
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Originally Posted by DisposableHero View Post
A thread elsewhere on here mentions an upgrade I'd forgotten about - the same processor type as the A500, but 4 times the speed (compared to the 14Mhz 68020 in the A1200 being about 2-3 times faster). I'm wondering - if this has been used in the A1200, perhaps with a slowdown switch, might resolve both the machines biggest faults - the compatibility issues and the lack of real power compared to PCs of the time. I assume it wouldn't be able to access as much memory as the 020, but are there any other limitations
Sadly the biggest obstacle would be graphically as the 68000 even at 28Mhz would struggle slower than a HAM image when trying to do AGA.

Since AGA is 24bit on a 32bit data path the 68k, while can address 32bits, it can only effect 16bits at a time.

In regards to the memory, (without clever banking) the 68000 and the 68EC20 can only address 16MB directly, about 8MB is used / reserved by the resources for the motherboard.

The A1200 was released in 1992, and IBM began shipping 386SX (16Mhz) based PC's with Windows 2.1 later in the year - Now processing speed should be mentioned here alongside a caveat for the humble moto - in a nutshell because the CPU has unified architecture with the CHIP SET memory - this slows the processing speeds down, to half, or even less than its actual manufacture stated output.

A 68020@16Mhz = 2 MIPS *[1]
A 386SX@16Mhz = 2.5 MIPS *[1]

Price (US 1992) CBMA1200 = $599 (1992)
Price (US 1992) IBM386SX = $2199 - $10,499 *Pending configuration

Top End IBM/PS2 Spec 1992 PS2/2121
  • CPU: 386SX 20MHz
  • RAM: 2MB - 16MB
  • Storage: 112MB Hard Disk (Can Have 2 drives)
  • OS: DOS 3.2 / OS2

Could they (Commodore) made the A1200 better, I would say yes, but the real question is : could they of made it better with the current market prices?

Sadly Commodore (like any business) is not altruistic with its customers so with set profit and sales margins - sadly I don't think it could.


---- Citations

[1]http://www.roylongbottom.org.uk/mips.htm#anchorIntel1
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Old 23 February 2016, 16:21   #11
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Yes, 4MB was a lot of money back then.
True. But 2MB would also be great. Heck, even 1MB of fast RAM would make the machine more than two times faster. 512KB ? My final offer !
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Old 23 February 2016, 18:43   #12
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I recon the A1200 being sold in modular form, (desktop/tower config) with the emphasis on expansion.. Hard Drive as standard, all software requiring installation...That would have been a start in the right direction, but alas...
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Old 23 February 2016, 19:28   #13
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Fast ram, a HD diskdrive and a faster copper to generate a chunky display. Would that have done it?

The A1200....the worst Amiga, and my favourite Amiga at the same time!
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Old 23 February 2016, 19:33   #14
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True. But 2MB would also be great. Heck, even 1MB of fast RAM would make the machine more than two times faster. 512KB ? My final offer !
I read an article at some point where Commodore allegedly asked devs to choose between 1MB RAM and High density floppy drive or 2MB RAM and the old low density drive. Devs then chose 2MB chip...
If this is true, we were not even close to getting additional FastRAM beyond the chip ram we got.
But yes, by now we all know there's a lot to regret.
TBH back then I was more impressed with the Atari Falcon. Apart from the crappy OS I thought they got a bunch of things right.. 030 CPU, Chunky graphics mode, DSP for sound, easily upgradable memory etc.. Yes the actual implementation was not as good as it sounded on paper.. Anyhow, it was sold at £100 more than the A1200.
Not sure if those £100 made all the difference. The Falcon never took off so to speak... But surely, if Atari could sell that hardware at that price the Commodore could have pimped up the A1200 and still be cheaper...

Edit: It's not entirely easy to find Falcon launch price, but some seem to suggest it was actually £599 meaning it was £200 more than an A1200. If so, Commodore definitely had some "headroom" there.. OTOH, you don't make big design choices that late..

Last edited by eXeler0; 23 February 2016 at 20:44. Reason: Updated info
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Old 23 February 2016, 20:54   #15
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With the A600 at £300 I'd've considered aiming the A1200 at £600 for the symmetry. That'd allow a 68000 (or clone of) for compatibility, 2Mb fast memory and a 60Mb hard drive - anyone looking at upgrading to a PC around that time will have been tempted.
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Old 23 February 2016, 21:09   #16
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True. But 2MB would also be great. Heck, even 1MB of fast RAM would make the machine more than two times faster. 512KB ? My final offer !
Going once, going twice - SOOOO late.
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Old 23 February 2016, 21:36   #17
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I read an article at some point where Commodore allegedly asked devs to choose between 1MB RAM and High density floppy drive or 2MB RAM and the old low density drive. Devs then chose 2MB chip...
If this is true, we were not even close to getting additional FastRAM beyond the chip ram we got.
But yes, by now we all know there's a lot to regret.
TBH back then I was more impressed with the Atari Falcon. Apart from the crappy OS I thought they got a bunch of things right.. 030 CPU, Chunky graphics mode, DSP for sound, easily upgradable memory etc.. Yes the actual implementation was not as good as it sounded on paper.. Anyhow, it was sold at £100 more than the A1200.
Not sure if those £100 made all the difference. The Falcon never took off so to speak... But surely, if Atari could sell that hardware at that price the Commodore could have pimped up the A1200 and still be cheaper...

Edit: It's not entirely easy to find Falcon launch price, but some seem to suggest it was actually £599 meaning it was £200 more than an A1200. If so, Commodore definitely had some "headroom" there.. OTOH, you don't make big design choices that late..
The Falcon was doomed to failure because it was made by Atari! Lets put a 32bit cpu on a 16bit st data bus and recycle st cases, yes it was £599, so out of the budget spec, Commodore could have easily done that but their main sales were from budget computers, they couldnt just add a 030 and 2mb fast ram as everyone says they should have, it is what is was, that is also why i hate when people compare pcs to amigas, they werent in the same price range, of course pcs could push more data around, you paid extra for it, doesnt mean ive ever enjoyed using one!
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Old 23 February 2016, 21:48   #18
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One reason why none of these sensible suggestions would never work. Mehdi Ali.
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Old 23 February 2016, 22:39   #19
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One reason why none of these sensible suggestions would never work. Mehdi Ali.
Welll.. you know.. it's never too late to write an e-mail and remind him to go f-himself ;-)

http://stoneridgepartners.biz/contact.htm

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Old 23 February 2016, 22:47   #20
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Clicking on the link fillls me with a sense of dread and foreboding.
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