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Old 09 July 2019, 16:25   #321
activist
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Originally Posted by Bruce Abbott View Post
Only if they removed everything from it that wasn't needed in a console - which is what they tried to do with with the CD32. The CD32 was released in July 1993. The Sony PlayStation was released in Europe in September 1995, over two years later. If by some miracle Commodore had managed to squeeze a 'PlayStation equivalent' AAA chipset into the CD32 without making it prohibitively expensive, then it would have been the PlayStation that was getting conversions from the CD32, not the other way around.

I'm skeptical though. The AAA chipset incorporated many previous Amiga chipset features, but no 3D functions. That means a lot of silicon was dedicated to stuff that wasn't necessary in a next generation console, while it was lacking in the most important area. To make up for that they would have needed to put in a much more powerful CPU, and the price would have been uncompetitive.
Sorry to sidetrack but AAA did bring massively increased memory bandwidth, choice of chunky or bitmap modes, processor independent bus, no bottlenecks..Not that they ever would have but if released in 1991 it would have been more than capable.

Wasn't the least bit disappointed with the 1200. It was obsolete and everything but that was no surprise given how desperate they were and all the mistakes that had been made up to then.
It was a new Amiga and was on the shelves..
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Old 09 July 2019, 17:41   #322
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Just watching some Sony Playstation videos, and seeing how many effort Sony made to advertise the console, and to get contracts with developers (How many games were ready even before Sony is released? ), so I think, that even more contributed to the Playstation fame and glory, then the great architecture it posses.

That leads me to conclusion: If Commodore had something like Playstation in 1992-3, they would fail, because of their crappy marketing, and the way how they look on the market.
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Old 09 July 2019, 18:08   #323
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Originally Posted by d4rk3lf View Post
Just watching some Sony Playstation videos, and seeing how many effort Sony made to advertise the console, and to get contracts with developers (How many games were ready even before Sony is released? ), so I think, that even more contributed to the Playstation fame and glory, then the great architecture it posses.

That leads me to conclusion: If Commodore had something like Playstation in 1992-3, they would fail, because of their crappy marketing, and the way how they look on the market.
Agreed.But Commodore might actually have been licensing Hombre chipsets by 1995.

But were you disappointed with the A1200 when you bought it back in 1992?
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Old 09 July 2019, 23:23   #324
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Originally Posted by activist View Post
But were you disappointed with the A1200 when you bought it back in 1992?
I was fairly late introduced to Amiga world (1993-94), so I am not an representative guy that can talk about it.
I was introduced with A500, and because I had C64, and more importantly, a friend with 386, I was very impressed with A500. Long waiting times, some people mention here, were (for me) a blessing, because, with C64 I had even longer waiting times, and many times, game failed to load.
I bought (my parents actually) my first Amiga (1200) at end of 1996. I was so happy.
95% of A500 games worked (no matter what Hewitson say), also, compared to my friend 386, even A500 games were awesome (no matter what Hewitson say).

Today, I think that it was a pretty cool machine, but as many guys quoted famous sentence "too little, to late", I can agree to that.
However, I think A1200 (and all Aga machines), had a great potential overall, and is very important part of Amiga history.

Last edited by d4rk3lf; 09 July 2019 at 23:34.
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Old 10 July 2019, 00:32   #325
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Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
Maybe you're right. I'm happy to be proven wrong. Maybe this is something that could be tested in PCem or similar emulator? Or does anyone have an old 386 laying around?

They did. That's why I'm starting to doubt myself now.
To be fair, after reading this response I started having doubts myself. So I went and Googled around for a bit. Sorry for the wall of text, but I do feel it's on topic because of the whole AGA vs SVGA thing that is a part of A1200 vs PC. Consider it aimed at everyone wanting to know this and not at you personally

What I found was the following:
  • There were two types of bus in common use at that time: ISA and VESA Local Bus. The latter was much, much faster than the former but was only available on some of the more expensive 486 machines.
  • There were three types of SVGA controllers common in 1992/1993
  • The three types of SVGA controllers were: dumb frame buffer, fixed function and fully fledged graphics processors
  • Dumb framebuffer SVGA cards using ISA were known to be (very) slow, requiring the CPU to do all the work and transfer the result to the SVGA card over a slow bus. According to Infoworld, these cards were essentially so slow that they were only really a good option for people mainly using non-graphics business software, or black and white DTP.
  • Fixed function cards were much faster and had things like line drawing and a Blitter built-in (sounds familiar ). They were very useful and nice and zippy in practice, though they did require special drivers and were only fast if the data fit in video RAM. They were also quite a bit more expensive. As far as I could find, these did accelerate DOS games as well, but only if the DOS game had a proper VESA driver included.
  • Graphics co-processor SVGA cards used chips like the TMS34010/34020 and were blazingly fast as long as all data needed fit in video memory. Otherwise they, like the fixed function cards, were no faster than standard frame buffer cards. They were also rather expensive. Again, they also accelerated DOS games - but again only if the DOS game had a compatible VESA driver included with it.
  • I also found some posts on a PC forum, where they quoted a PC magazine talking in early 1993 about a frame buffer SVGA card from Trident and apparently it said "we have to mention again, that this chip and also the cards that make use of it, are ancient and suitable only for upgrading 286 systems graphics cards, for our kids to play PacMan. The limitation of the 8bit DAC to only 256 color doesn't bother us so much, as even in that case you have to wait for a century for a window to move".
Note here that the user posting this did not provide a link to the magazine in question so I can't verify the veracity of this claim. The rest of the forum thread did concur that cheap Trident and OAK cards were pretty terrible and did a bad job at both Windows and DOS games.
  • That said, there were also some posts about Cirrus Logic SVGA cards that apparently were better and also found on occasion in those cheaper 386's, though this was in 1993 and not 1992.
  • ISA can theoretically do about 8MB/seconds, which is somewhat higher than the 7MB/sec AGA offers. However, on the flip side of that, AGA is fairly smart at how it shares the bus with the 68020 in the A1200 (if the Blitter isn't allowed to hog the bus and faster display fetching is used). AGA also allows the CPU to write four bytes in a cycle to chip memory, rather than one or two bytes at a time for ISA. Meaning that in practice AGA probably has more actual bandwidth available for the CPU & Blitter than a cheap ISA SVGA card gives a 386SX (which itself is limited to 16 bit memory accesses).
This fits with both the forum thread I found and Infoworlds description of what happens when the colour depth/resolution went up for the cheap SVGA cards on a slow 386.

On a personal note, I do actually agree that using a 7-8MB/sec bus for 800x600x256 graphics is going to suck. Let alone 1024x768. Even a 640x480x256 mode will be pretty slow with such a slow bus. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure I ran my A1200 in 64 colours DBLPAL and not 256.
Overall, I'd say that both of us were kind of right and kind of wrong. There clearly were cheap and terrible ISA SVGA cards on the market that, coupled with a 386SX, led to some pretty bad performance. On the flip side, there also were much faster SVGA cards available, even for ISA (though loading in new data for such accelerated cards would still be limited to 8MB/sec top end). Which you ended up getting in an over the counter PC seemingly was a matter of price and some luck.

A final note: Infoworld points out in the same article there were quite a few driver issues with newer cards that offered acceleration.

I attached a screen shot or two from the Infoworld article. It's a bit of an odd article, as it effectively both says "they're too slow for colour/graphics use" and "they have acceptable performance" about the un-accelerated SVGA cards. Perhaps this is because Infoworld was primarily aimed at the business side of things and as such didn't care about games or flashy graphics?
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Last edited by roondar; 10 July 2019 at 00:54. Reason: Clarified two small things.
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Old 10 July 2019, 00:33   #326
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A1200 with few fixes would have been a Great Machine, but Commodore was more into Destroying Amiga than doing it's best...
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Old 10 July 2019, 01:15   #327
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Yes. I got my first Amiga, an A500, in 1991 or so. It was already a bit long in the tooth. However, thanks mostly to killer apps such as Dungeon Master and Lemmings, it held its own as a prime entertainment machine.

In 1993 when I picked up my A1200, PCs had surged ahead in performance and down in price, and it was simply trampled completely into the dust.

Let's compare it to a typical VGA PC of the time:

- The IDE controller sucked
- The CPU sucked (horribly crippled by shipping with no fastram)
- The RAM sucked; see above
- The audio sucked
- The AGA graphics sucked

The AGA graphics were a particularly painful disappointment. They expanded the available colorspace and bitplanes but didn't accelerate the blit performance and memory bandwidth to match. As a result, running the AGA-enhanced modes could make it slower than an ECS Amiga. Games developers had to be careful with this, so AGA games were only minimally enhanced. There were no breathtaking killer app games in AGA as there were in the earlier OCS/ECS days.

By the time I bought the A1200, I was using my A500 for more than just games: Programming, homework, BBS systems, internet, and GEnie online services on a daily basis. In this regard, the A1200 provided two upgrades over the A500: IDE and doublescan video output. That last bit was important - If Commodore had tried to get me to buy another computer that would force me to squint at my desktop in interlace mode with a migraine in the 1990's, they would have failed.

The operating system on the other hand was quite good compared to the PC fare of the time. Internet access via SLIP/PPP worked very well and gave a great x-terminal-like experience. The community was intelligent and knowledgeable, and the public domain was filled with wondrous creations. Aminet!

The trap door provided much more powerful options than the A500 did - I added an M1230XA 50MHz accelerator which resolved the CPU and RAM concerns completely. I also managed to get two hard disks to (sometimes) play nice together through lots of experimentation with IDE signal termination. With these enhancements and with the decent OS, I was able to stick with the A1200 up to around 1998 or so, even past Windows 95 until Windows 98 when I finally built my first PC, a Celeron 300A @ 450MHz.

Do I think Commodore made mistakes specifically with the A1200? I don't think so. It was really a product of mistakes made long before it was developed. As Atari proved with the Falcon, having sufficient hardware would probably not have saved it - the brand was really already dead. And let's be honest, the price was right (I think I remember that I paid $399 WITH a 60MB hard disk, though that seems too low?)

Still, I feel the A1200 was Commodore's best overall machine when compared to the other Amiga models. I don't regret buying it, despite my disappointment with Commodore. The Amiga was my leg up into advanced home computing from the Commodore 64, and the things I experienced and learned from it I would never trade back.

Last edited by rmzalbar; 10 July 2019 at 01:31.
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Old 10 July 2019, 03:33   #328
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Originally Posted by rmzalbar View Post
Let's compare it to a typical VGA PC of the time:
Ok, let's compare it to a 386SX with cheap SVGA, which was a pretty typical budget PC around 1992/1993.

Quote:
- The IDE controller sucked
- The CPU sucked (horribly crippled by shipping with no fastram)
This is kind of true. But our example SVGA PC was not really any better: it also ran a PIO mode IDE drive and had a 386SX, which has horribly crippled access to RAM by design.
Quote:
- The RAM sucked; see above
- The audio sucked
- The AGA graphics sucked
The RAM could indeed have been better for the CPU. But again - our example PC didn't actually have all that much faster RAM, as it had a horrible bus to it.

As for the audio, this is just not true. A typical entry level PC in 1993 had either no sound at all, or at best an 8 bit Soundblaster. The 8 bit Soundblaster and Soundblaster Pro line are worse than Paula in just about every way. Now... Better sound hardware, such as the 16 bit Soundblaster or the Gravis Ultrasound did exist (both having been released in the 2nd half of 1992), but these cards were still rather expensive and certainly not part of the average PC. They also lacked in support for the first year or so.

AGA graphics were about on par with SVGA as found in cheaper PC's at the time. To be clear, there were SVGA cards available that were quite a bit better, but they were expensive and as such not very typical. Also note that it was definitely possible to make a PC that outperformed the A1200 in just about every regard (though smooth scrolling/properly V-synced games were somehow still very hard to get right on PC's). It's just that those were not low end 386 PC's. And personally, I don't think such a comparison is really fair by virtue of the price difference alone.
Quote:
The AGA graphics were a particularly painful disappointment. They expanded the available colorspace and bitplanes but didn't accelerate the blit performance and memory bandwidth to match. As a result, running the AGA-enhanced modes could make it slower than an ECS Amiga. Games developers had to be careful with this, so AGA games were only minimally enhanced.
This is simply not accurate.

While it is indeed true that the Blitter was not sped up, bitplane memory bandwidth for AGA was increased over ECS by a factor of 4 (AGA bitplanes can be fetched from memory at rates of up to 28MB/sec rather than the 7MB/sec that ECS is limited to). As a result, almost all of the 256 colour modes have more available bandwidth than ECS has for it's 4 to 6 bitplane screens*.

Short version: AGA modes made the Amiga faster, not slower than ECS modes.

The extra available bandwidth for AGA allowed both the CPU and the Blitter many more chip RAM cycles, meaning that the machine could almost always actually blit more pixels per frame than ECS could, while displaying more colours on screen. As a bonus, AGA also had much bigger sprites, which were heavily used in some AGA only games.

All this combined allowed for games and demos that would never have worked on an A500, even if they had been reduced to 32 (or even 16) colours.

Strangely, apart from some programmers, no one really noticed when the games got more colourful and the numbers and sizes of objects on screen rose significantly. Just an example: Reshoot-R (recently released) features as many as 100 objects on screen and runs at full frame rate, while showing two or more on screen layers and transparency effects. That is unheard of on the A500. Another example: Street Racer for the A1200 (while not a particularly good game) is way nicer looking than any A500 racer. It's also really smooth, and has nice sprite scaling. Then there's Rygar AGA, which is a lot better than the attempt for OCS was (and yes, despite McGeezer being brilliant, that is also in no small part due to AGA simply being better than ECS). Last example: Super Stardust not only has more on screen colours, it also shows more and bigger asteroids on screen. Lastly, it features bigger and better animated bosses and better tunnel sequences.


Now please understand me here: I don't mind people not liking the A1200. You're free to have any opinion you like! But I am genuinely puzzled by the many people in this thread that keep repeating/saying things that are objectively false. More so as some AGA only stuff has been coming out on EAB recently shows that AGA is clearly significantly above what OCS/ECS could do.

*) the one exception here being super hires, which is exactly as slow in 256 colours as ECS super hires was in 4 colours.

Last edited by roondar; 10 July 2019 at 03:40.
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Old 10 July 2019, 03:52   #329
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At the time I loved my Amiga 1200, but looking back it seems unfortunate that they would have put an 8-bit soundcard in it when it was going up against the SNES (released 1991) and the Playstation (released 1994). The IDE controller in it was woeful, to the point (from what I remember and I'm willing to stand corrected on this if my memory is failing me) where the workbench hard disk configuring tool thought it was a SCSI bus.

I found all this disappointing because both the C64 and the Amiga 500 were as advanced as any home computer on the market when they were released and far more advanced than anything at the same price. From what I understand Commodore had the support of loads of major software developers if the Amiga 1200 had been less of a let-down to them.
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Old 10 July 2019, 05:25   #330
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I think they got it pretty close for the time and price.

In hindsight a few obvious changes for the better:
  • Ditch the on-board CPU and empty FPU socket
  • Swap to a cheaper 3.5 HD
  • VGA output connector instead of the crappy old RF socket
  • Amber
  • Akiko (bonus points!)


Last edited by NovaCoder; 10 July 2019 at 07:14.
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Old 10 July 2019, 05:35   #331
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What about 3d game on Aga? I'm not talking about only wolf3d or wolf clone. How good is A1200 compared to avarege Pc?

And Again A1200 woth 030 50mhz and fast ram. how could be good compared with much powerfull Pc?
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Old 10 July 2019, 07:20   #332
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandruzzo View Post
What about 3d game on Aga? I'm not talking about only wolf3d or wolf clone. How good is A1200 compared to avarege Pc?
You mean, how good was a standard A1200 at doing a 3D game compared to a powerful PC in 1992? Answer.......it didn't compare!

The 486 DX2 66Mhz was out in 1992 which would have wiped the floor with the A1200 obviously

[ Show youtube player ]

A standard A1200 couldn't really compete with a 286 for doing 3D games back in 1992

You need to upgrade an A1200 with an 060 to get it close to a fast 486 for 3D games.

[ Show youtube player ]

Last edited by NovaCoder; 10 July 2019 at 07:28.
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Old 10 July 2019, 08:02   #333
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Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
You mean, how good was a standard A1200 at doing a 3D game compared to a powerful PC in 1992? Answer.......it didn't compare!

The 486 DX2 66Mhz was out in 1992 which would have wiped the floor with the A1200 obviously

[ Show youtube player ]

A standard A1200 couldn't really compete with a 286 for doing 3D games back in 1992

You need to upgrade an A1200 with an 060 to get it close to a fast 486 for 3D games.

[ Show youtube player ]
Amiga 060 seems to be faster...

What about 386sx/dx? What about the same price level of A1200, and A1200 +030 50mhz?
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Old 10 July 2019, 10:08   #334
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Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
I think they got it pretty close for the time and price.

In hindsight a few obvious changes for the better:
  • Ditch the on-board CPU and empty FPU socket
  • Swap to a cheaper 3.5 HD
  • VGA output connector instead of the crappy old RF socket
  • Amber
  • Akiko (bonus points!)

The crappy old RF socket is what the majority of users used at the time! Don’t forget the majority of Amigas were used in front of the TV as game machines, and tbh this was one of things Commodore got right (being built-in) with the A600/A1200 instead of the bulky dodgy external TV Modulator in the A500!

Scart capable TV’s was extremely low in 1992, most people still had a RF connectors until way into the mid 90s depending on country, but it certainly wasn’t widely adopted enough for Commodore to consider it.

Processor and RAM used was decent for the price, its the custom chip-set that let the whole system down and the ‘only thing’ that let the system down for the price they had to keep it down to.

Last edited by Amigajay; 10 July 2019 at 10:18.
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Old 10 July 2019, 10:29   #335
Bruce Abbott
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Originally Posted by Hewitson View Post
Booting the Workbench disk is much different to having a complete installation of the OS available.
It's not much different. If the system needs fonts: or locale: etc. it just asks for the disk.

The Amiga was always designed to be fully functional when running from floppy disks. That's why we have separate assigns for important system files, rather than just shoving everything into a single subdirectory like Windows does. It's also why we have named disks and auto disk insertion detection.

And it was designed to do it efficiently. People used to complain about how slow the Amiga was bringing up icons from floppy disk. But try the same thing on a modern PC (each file on the floppy having its own icon) and it's even slower. Windows is only faster because it caches all the icons in a database - which works great until the database gets corrupted and all your icons turn into some default image. Windows also caches device drivers, and keeps all its settings in a huge 'registry' database that gets bigger every time a change is made (and takes the whole system down if it gets corrupted).


Quote:
I'm sure Windows 1.0 would be capable of doing it.
So we are comparing AmigaOS3.0 to Windows 1.0 now?

Quote:
Microsoft first presented Windows to the public on November 10, 1983. Requiring two floppy disk drives and 192 KB of RAM, Microsoft described the software as a device driver for MS-DOS 2.0...

Microsoft had promised in November 1983 to ship Windows by April 1984, but subsequently denied that it had announced a release date, and predicted that Windows would ship by June 1985.
Quote:
Most business software had made the switch to Windows by then.
Not in New Zealand it hadn't. The first 'graphical' accounting software I saw was EasyLedgers. We sold the Amiga version and used it ourselves, which was a problem for my accountants because they were using an incompatible DOS package. Other DOS programs such as Lotus123 and Word Perfect were the mainstay of many businesses up until the mid nineties. And who can blame them? Windows sucked and productivity was much higher in DOS once you learned the keyboard commands. There was also a lot of proprietary software written for point of sale applications etc. that ran in DOS.

Quote:
No, but neither could the Commodore A520.
But the A1200 has much better composite output than the A520. Is it as sharp as RGB on a good VGA monitor? No, but it's quite usable.

Note: the photo below was taken with my 'vintage' Sony DSC-S70 with a resolution of only 1.3 megapixels. The actual image looks a bit better...
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Old 10 July 2019, 11:06   #336
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I seem to recall that 68060 and Pentium were very comparable at specint/specfp ratings at the same Mhz. The difference in favor of the Pentium was at about 5%, the biggest problem was really the clock difference. During their first year or so, Intel's chips could hit 120Mhz, while the 68060 was still struggling at 66MHz or about until rev6 would surface.
That's regarding the Doom performance discussion.
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Old 10 July 2019, 11:14   #337
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You guys look at it from a too technical point of view. Mom and dad would buy a budget Amiga to put into the kids' room but by the beginning of the 90s would buy a 486DX2 (spending a magnitude more money) to put into the living room because dad needed to learn dealing with that darn thing or otherwise it would start harming his career. Of course, the kids would use the PC in the hours between end of school and when dad came home and dad turned out to also like to play a bit. The moment computers became a hobby for grown men (on the outside...), computers for boys were doomed. Us, the home computer generation still lacked our own income to sustain our computer brands. And that was that...
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Old 10 July 2019, 11:20   #338
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These days it's kind of my favourite Amiga next to the A1000. Definitely the best keyboard Amiga.
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Old 10 July 2019, 11:49   #339
Bruce Abbott
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Originally Posted by NovaCoder View Post
You mean, how good was a standard A1200 at doing a 3D game compared to a powerful PC in 1992? Answer.......it didn't compare!

The 486 DX2 66Mhz was out in 1992 which would have wiped the floor with the A1200 obviously

[ Show youtube player ]
That video brings back a few memories. Struggling to get those VL bus cards working properly, overheating CPUs, incompatible RAM, hard drives that corrupted large files, and a constant stream of customers wanting to upgrade their systems because they weren't satisfied with what they had bought only a few months ago.

I opened a computer shop in 1991 after I got laid off from Telecoms. Of course I wanted to stock up on the latest stuff even though it would eat into my startup capital, so I bought a 'flagship' 486SX-25 with 8MB RAM. It took 3 years to sell that thing! Nobody thought they needed a machine that powerful. Whenever a new more powerful CPU came out it was expensive - we're talking more than the price of an entire Amiga system just for the CPU alone. I learned to never stock 'bleeding edge' stuff because we would end up having to sell it at a loss.

Yes, the 486DX2-66 was released in August 1992 - but how much did it cost? There's no point comparing the A1200 to a machine that was unaffordable to most prospective Amiga owners.

Quote:
A standard A1200 couldn't really compete with a 286 for doing 3D games back in 1992
You are right, the A1200 wiped the floor with a 286 for any kind of gaming.

Quote:
You need to upgrade an A1200 with an 060 to get it close to a fast 486 for 3D games.
Let's be clear here. By '3D games' you mean one game (Wolfenstein 3D), right? Because in 1992 that's all there was, one shareware game for DOS. And frankly, while running around corridors shooting Germans was fun for a few minutes, the game had no depth. And everything that followed it was the same. I got Quake for my A3000 because I had an 060 and RTG so why not? What a boring game! If that was the only reason I had spent thousands upgrading my Amiga I would have been pissed.

But I guess it depends what you want out of a game. PC gamers today seem to more concerned about frames per second than anything else. You would think that with the power of a modern PC today's games would be truly immersive, but no - despite all the super-detailed 3D graphics and ridiculously high frame rates it's still the same boring old game. But they spend thousands putting in the latest CPU, graphics card etc., overclocked to the max with a water cooling system to (hopefully) stop the whole mess from melting down - for no obvious reason. It's like the real game is seeing if you can push more polygons around faster than the next guy, and the game itself is just to show how much bigger your... better your system is.

And then there are those of us who just want a bit of relaxed fun and don't care what the other guy has - so long as the games we are playing work properly. Did Doom really make all other game genres obsolete? Did it make Lemmings or Cannon Fodder or Dune II or The Settlers any less enjoyable to play? Of course not. But it sure stirred up a lot of PC envy amongst Amiga owners.
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Old 10 July 2019, 12:00   #340
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Ultima Underworld came out in March 92. It ran well enough on my friend's 386. That was a technically great and totally immersive game.
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