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Old 11 June 2019, 09:51   #1
Aburamushi
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Amiga 4000 repairs / upgrades advices

Hello,



I bought an Amiga 4000D. The beast works, but it needs some minor repairs / upgrades.

I would like to use it as a main machine (I have a 1200 with a Blizzard 1230@50 and 128 MB. I would probably sell it later).



It's originally a 4000/40, but it's equipped with:

CPU card 3630@25 instead of 3640.

2mo chip and 16mo fast

GVP A2000-HC scsi card (http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/impact2000hc)

A Yamaha scsi cd/cdrw that works.

A K.O. floppy disk drive.

The original battery has been replaced by a button battery.

An IDE - CF adapter (with AmigaOS 3.9).

A kickstart 3.1 (40.068)

Not being a fan of AmigaOS 3.9, I installed ClassicWB 3.1 last night -> I just cloned the installation of my A1200, and changed the scsi.device with the 4000 one via winuae, I'm proud of myself, because I'm still a beginner, and it works ?

I tried to install the SCSI card driver by plugging in my HxC, but during the installation script asked me for the NEWCON floppy disk... I don't know what it is... so I will try again later.



So I have some questions:

What is the advantage of keeping the scsi card, since I can put an IDE CD/DVD drive? And that one do not have fastram... Besides, I have an unused Buddha IDE card, maybe I can use that one instead?

The plastic bar that turns on the power supply is a little damaged, you know where I can get some?

Do you have any accelerator cards to recommend? They seem to be very expensive on this machine.

The other alternative would be to change the CPU card to a 3660 or 3640, but I think they don't have an integrated ram. Are BigRAMPlus / ZoRAM memory cards interesting? (I've read that they could slow down the machine because of the Zorro III port).

I also planned a capkit , but I feel like I'm embarking on an expensive project....



Thanks!
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Old 11 June 2019, 13:19   #2
Daedalus
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Yep, that's going to be an expensive project Now, to have a look at your questions:

- NEWCON: is a Shell handler, but was only a part of OS 1.x, where it was used to distinguish between the new console ("NEWCON:")and the old console ("CON:"). In later versions there is only the newer console, which is handled by CON:. Fixing this depends on the installer - you might be able to modify it in a text editor and replace NEWCON: with CON:, though the installation likely doesn't do much more than copy the driver to SYS:Expansion anyway, and maybe copy over a couple of utilities. You should be able to do it by hand anyway. By the way, if the card has a boot ROM on it, you probably don't need to install anything at all - it's plug & play if it does.

- The advantage of a SCSI card is that it will use less CPU power to carry out transfers. The IDE port is purely CPU driven, whereas the SCSI card has at least a partial DMA function to help things along. This is probably less important for a CD-ROM drive, but can still help with things like CD burning etc. The Buddha is a nice card, but is similarly CPU driven as the internal IDE port.

- The power switch bars are commonly damaged in the 4000. You can get 3D printed replacements, or bodge/construct your own fix.

- Cyberstorm accelerators are generally held as the cream of the crop, with nice, fast RAM access, fast DMA SCSI, and even options for PPC versions. But yes, accelerators are seriously expensive for the 3000 and 4000, especially the high end 060 and PPC ones.

- Yep, the ZorRAM is an option, but as you suspect, it is slow. Not terribly slow like Zorro RAM cards on an A2000, but probably noticeable. The Amiga OS will generally use RAM in order of speed as follows:

Accelerator mounted -> motherboard -> Zorro-III -> Zorro-II -> Chip RAM

So the ideal situation is to have all your RAM on the accelerator. Failing that, it will use the 16MB on the motherboard before it uses the ZorRAM card. So for lots of tasks where you're using less than 16MB of RAM, the slow speed of the ZorRAM won't be an issue as the motherboard RAM gets priority. But everything would be faster still with CPU-local RAM.

- If you can fit the capacitors yourself, then great - go for it. If you've not done that sort of work before, get someone else to do it. But either way, the capacitors should be replaced as a preventative measure, as so many Amigas have leaking capacitors at this stage, slowly causing damage...
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Old 11 June 2019, 16:45   #3
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I recently bought an Amiga 4000 and have been doing it up. I got it with an A3640 (which I'm selling on Amibay atm) and replaced it with an A3660. It does make a difference, but it's not as big a jump as from an 030 on an A1200 to the 040 on the A4000. Personally I'd go with the A3660 if PPC isn't that much of an issue for you.

I have a dedicated Raspberry Pi to act as an FTP server, PPP server, TCPSer and a bunch of other stuff. If any heavy lifting is needed for batch file conversion, that can do the job and hand it back to the Amiga afterwards.

I'd considered a PPC, but I've read that they don't do so well in desktop models due to the poor airflow and heat output. If I had a 4000T I'd consider it, but I'm not convinced the PPC is worth the price (£1k+ for a 604). There's also a question of at what point does an Amiga stop being a Commodore Amiga, and the answer is different to everyone.

I'm getting ZZ9000 which comes with a ton of RAM but as Daedalus said, it's Z3 bound. There are RAM mods you can do to get 112mb of RAM on the main board, but I'm not comfortable doing that yet.

For storage I have a 256Gb CF card, and a FastATA's just arrived. I don't have SCSI, but if I did I'd probably keep it if it was fairly quick. I'll have one spare Zorro slot after the FastATA's installed and won't need to do anything else once the ZZ9000's in. IDE's CPU-bound but if you have an 060, is that really a problem for most use cases?
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Old 11 June 2019, 17:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelord View Post
IDE's CPU-bound but if you have an 060, is that really a problem for most use cases?
It's still an issue because of how it works, yes. The IDE I/O has to traverse the custom chip bus, meaning there's a limit to how many transfers can be carried out in a given time. The CPU will have to wait until the bus is ready, do the transfer at the bus speed, then wait again until the transfer is complete. It also needs to check if the drive's response is ready to be received, which involves a similar transaction. All of this means that the '060 will waste more cycles waiting than a slower CPU, so the actual transfer speed isn't much improved over an '030, even though CPU usage will be higher. (In fact, the '060 can even be slower for IDE than some '030s due to spending extra bus cycles waiting for synchronisation.
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Old 12 June 2019, 02:37   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelord View Post
I recently bought an Amiga 4000 and have been doing it up. I got it with an A3640 (which I'm selling on Amibay atm) and replaced it with an A3660. It does make a difference, but it's not as big a jump as from an 030 on an A1200 to the 040 on the A4000. Personally I'd go with the A3660 if PPC isn't that much of an issue for you.

I'd considered a PPC, but I've read that they don't do so well in desktop models due to the poor airflow and heat output. If I had a 4000T I'd consider it, but I'm not convinced the PPC is worth the price (£1k+ for a 604). There's also a question of at what point does an Amiga stop being a Commodore Amiga, and the answer is different to everyone.

Something to consider if you want to go crazy with your A4000 is an Elbox Mediator which adds PCI slots to your A4000. Though if you're already buying a ZZ9000, some of the cheaper PCI cards would be of little use to you like a NIC, Sound, etc.



Then you can use a PPC PCI card-again if you want to go crazy with it, that is far faster than the Cyberstorm PPC. There is a megathread here about the project or you can take a look at the git to get an idea what you're in for.


https://github.com/Sakura-IT/SonnetAmiga/


My A4000 Desktop has an 800MHz PPC 750FX with 384MB of RAM along with a Warpengine 060/66MHz, and a pile of other stuff.
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Old 12 June 2019, 02:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grelbfarlk View Post
Then you can use a PPC PCI card-again if you want to go crazy with it, that is far faster than the Cyberstorm PPC. There is a megathread here about the project or you can take a look at the git to get an idea what you're in for.


https://github.com/Sakura-IT/SonnetAmiga/


My A4000 Desktop has an 800MHz PPC 750FX with 384MB of RAM along with a Warpengine 060/66MHz, and a pile of other stuff.

How does it handle heat compared to a regular 4000 desktop? Also, could you still keep your zorro slots?
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Old 12 June 2019, 03:51   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelord View Post
How does it handle heat compared to a regular 4000 desktop? Also, could you still keep your zorro slots?

Sure the Mediator has zorro slots too, but generally speaking you have to make sure the PCI card is not physically in the way of the Zorro card.



A4000 can tolerate a lot of heat. Quite a few A4000s in the USA were ran as Video Toasters with every usable Zorro or ISA slot filled. Assuming it is generally working maybe adding an extra fan might be necessary in some circumstances depending on what all is in the system. If you're thinking of using some kind of solid state storage you're already better off than the hot and loud mechanical drives that used to be in them.



The A3640 with an XC040 might bear the distinction of being the slowest accelerator for the A4000 and also the hottest. I measured 154F on a couple of the PALs on one, the non-cpu logic on the card puts out quite a lot of heat. Most 060s can run without even a heatsink, but you should probably put one on anyway depending on what all is in the system. I would guess the modern A3660s people are building run much cooler than the original ones. But again a lot of those A3640s ran just fine that way in loaded systems.



This thread might be interesting to you for the pics and discussion to get an idea what it's all about.


http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=87646
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Old 12 June 2019, 12:12   #8
Aburamushi
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Wow, thank you so much!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
Yep, that's going to be an expensive project Now, to have a look at your questions:

- NEWCON: is a Shell handler, but was only a part of OS 1.x, where it was used to distinguish between the new console ("NEWCON:")and the old console ("CON:"). In later versions there is only the newer console, which is handled by CON:. Fixing this depends on the installer - you might be able to modify it in a text editor and replace NEWCON: with CON:, though the installation likely doesn't do much more than copy the driver to SYS:Expansion anyway, and maybe copy over a couple of utilities. You should be able to do it by hand anyway. By the way, if the card has a boot ROM on it, you probably don't need to install anything at all - it's plug & play if it does.


- The advantage of a SCSI card is that it will use less CPU power to carry out transfers. The IDE port is purely CPU driven, whereas the SCSI card has at least a partial DMA function to help things along. This is probably less important for a CD-ROM drive, but can still help with things like CD burning etc. The Buddha is a nice card, but is similarly CPU driven as the internal IDE port.

Ok, I will try to edit the install, never done that before. But yes my GVP scsci card does have a bootrom option, I disabled it, since it add 30 seconds to the boot.
I don't have a scsi HDD, but I will buy a cheap SCSI2SD and test


Quote:
- The power switch bars are commonly damaged in the 4000. You can get 3D printed replacements, or bodge/construct your own fix.
Ok, thanks, will check for 3D printed, or will build one with some scrap I'll find.

Quote:
- Cyberstorm accelerators are generally held as the cream of the crop, with nice, fast RAM access, fast DMA SCSI, and even options for PPC versions. But yes, accelerators are seriously expensive for the 3000 and 4000, especially the high end 060 and PPC ones.
I don't really need PPC upgrade, I already have a Mac Mini with Morphos, and I barely use it. I only play and watch demos. And I want to enjoy the 060 demos on the real hardware

Quote:
- Yep, the ZorRAM is an option, but as you suspect, it is slow. Not terribly slow like Zorro RAM cards on an A2000, but probably noticeable. The Amiga OS will generally use RAM in order of speed as follows:

Accelerator mounted -> motherboard -> Zorro-III -> Zorro-II -> Chip RAM

So the ideal situation is to have all your RAM on the accelerator. Failing that, it will use the 16MB on the motherboard before it uses the ZorRAM card. So for lots of tasks where you're using less than 16MB of RAM, the slow speed of the ZorRAM won't be an issue as the motherboard RAM gets priority. But everything would be faster still with CPU-local RAM.
Wow, thanks so much, it's crystal clear now in my mind. But I will probably buy a A3660 CPU board, and will buy a ZorRAM or BigRAMPlus. I checked the price of the Cyberstorm accelerators, it's way too high for me.

Quote:
- If you can fit the capacitors yourself, then great - go for it. If you've not done that sort of work before, get someone else to do it. But either way, the capacitors should be replaced as a preventative measure, as so many Amigas have leaking capacitors at this stage, slowly causing damage...
I know a french tech, he saved my A1200, and will do it for my A4000.

I see that a lot of people changed the superbuster(?) chip, I don't know what version I have. But it's mandatory to change / update it?

Thanks again!
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Old 12 June 2019, 12:19   #9
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Oh my goodness that's a beautiful A4000 in that thread.
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Old 12 June 2019, 12:29   #10
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Thanks
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Old 12 June 2019, 15:56   #11
Aburamushi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelord View Post
I recently bought an Amiga 4000 and have been doing it up. I got it with an A3640 (which I'm selling on Amibay atm) and replaced it with an A3660. It does make a difference, but it's not as big a jump as from an 030 on an A1200 to the 040 on the A4000. Personally I'd go with the A3660 if PPC isn't that much of an issue for you.
Thanks, I'm thinking to buy a a3660 board. I don't need a PPC

Quote:
I have a dedicated Raspberry Pi to act as an FTP server, PPP server, TCPSer and a bunch of other stuff. If any heavy lifting is needed for batch file conversion, that can do the job and hand it back to the Amiga afterwards.
Impressive, is there any post that show what can be done with a RPI?

Quote:
I'd considered a PPC, but I've read that they don't do so well in desktop models due to the poor airflow and heat output. If I had a 4000T I'd consider it, but I'm not convinced the PPC is worth the price (£1k+ for a 604). There's also a question of at what point does an Amiga stop being a Commodore Amiga, and the answer is different to everyone.
I have a mac mini with Morphos, I never use it, just sometimes for some minor updates, but that's all.

Quote:
I'm getting ZZ9000 which comes with a ton of RAM but as Daedalus said, it's Z3 bound. There are RAM mods you can do to get 112mb of RAM on the main board, but I'm not comfortable doing that yet.
That card look impressive, but I wonder if we can still use 15khz resolutions with a crt monitor?
I'm interested with the RAM on it and the ethernet port


Quote:
For storage I have a 256Gb CF card, and a FastATA's just arrived. I don't have SCSI, but if I did I'd probably keep it if it was fairly quick. I'll have one spare Zorro slot after the FastATA's installed and won't need to do anything else once the ZZ9000's in. IDE's CPU-bound but if you have an 060, is that really a problem for most use cases?
I will probably keep my GVP scsi card then, since it's not CPU bound. But I need to buy a SCSI2SD

Thanks again!
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Old 12 June 2019, 18:27   #12
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Originally Posted by Aburamushi View Post
That card look impressive, but I wonder if we can still use 15khz resolutions with a crt monitor?
Yes, when an RTG screen is not displayed, you are free to view custom chip modes via the Amiga's RGB port on a 15kHz monitor.
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Old 12 June 2019, 19:37   #13
stevelord
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Quote:
Impressive, is there any post that show what can be done with a RPI?
I've been meaning to write one up.

Currently the Pi:

* Mounts my modern NAS via SMB (using /etc/fstab) into a home folder
* Makes that folder accessible via FTP using proftpd (just apt-get install proftpd) for AmiTradeCenter
* Provides SMB v1.0 access to the home folders, but I don't have this set up Amiga side yet.
* FFMpeg is installed locally along with various archiving and de-archiving tools
* ps2pdf for converting pagestream PS output to PDF files - I'll replace this with CUPS-LPD once I have ethernet.

I also want to see if I can set up a FIFO on the Pi, convert an mp3 to 16-bit PCM and dump it to the FIFO then use something like Play16 to stream to the Amiga via the ZZ9000 and SMBFS. If that works I'll see about converting mp4 to cdxl, but I doubt the pi has the chops for it.
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Old 15 June 2019, 16:56   #14
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My GVP also adds about 30 seconds to the boot. The A2000 takes forever to start up. I'm not willing to disable the rom and boot from floppy for obvious reasons. Is there anything that can be done about this, or are GVP SCSI controllers just poorly designed?
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Old 15 June 2019, 20:44   #15
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Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
My GVP also adds about 30 seconds to the boot. The A2000 takes forever to start up. I'm not willing to disable the rom and boot from floppy for obvious reasons. Is there anything that can be done about this, or are GVP SCSI controllers just poorly designed?
That is not normal for a GVP controller. I have three different ones and I have only experienced a long delay when it is missing drives completely.

It scans from SCSI ID 0 and up. Your drives should be jumpered from ID 0 and increasing to decrease scan time. The last* flags needs also needs to be set in the RDB on the last drive to stop it from scanning all IDs on boot.

This happens automatically when you "Save Changes to Drive" in HDToolBox.

You can also verify that this is the case with your drive with highest ID with the excellent ChangeRDBFlags.

Example from an A3000, where I check the first drive, which is the only one:
Code:
10.Ram Disk:> ChangeRDBFlags scsi.device 0
LAST     = on
LASTLUN  = on
LASTTID  = on
RESELECT = on
SYNCH    = off
For a GVP controller, you should normally be using gvpscsi.device. If it is equipped with a Guru ROM, you should use omniscsi.device.

Last edited by patrik; 15 June 2019 at 21:07.
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