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Old 01 August 2019, 18:49   #1
reno
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WHDLoad on A500 : ACA500+ vs HC533 ?

Hi,


I have a stock A500 with 512KB expansion + Gotek at my parents (in addition to my main 1200+CD32 at home).
It's a bit fiddly right now because I've removed the internal drive and I leave the FDD cable hanging out of the slot to plug the Gotek in (not permanently because it's shared with an Amstrad).
A better solution of course would be an external FDD port adapter + DF0/DF1 switch, and that may be all I need for occasional gaming tbh...

But of course I want WHDLoad anyway
I jumped at the opportunity to get an HC533 a few weeks ago and haven't tried it yet, but it looks like I hadn't completely done my homework and an ACA500+ might be better, what do you think ?

The ACA500+ provides :
- Built-in KS selector / Maprom, no need for a new physical KS ROM + KS switcher.
- An additional CF slot for transfers since the 500 doesn't have PCMCIA.
- DF0/DF1 switch built-in for using my Gotek externally, if I can't use WHDLoad for something.
- Converts 512KB expansion into chip RAM
- No need to bend capacitors to install internally (as someone on Youtube had to do with the HC533)
- Overclockable to similar speeds as the HC533 AND allows using faster 1200 accelerators.
- Built-in 3.1 Workbench installer !
- Action Replay built-in !
- It is slightly cheaper than the HC533 currently (except you really want to buy an extra plastic case)

The HC533 :
- Pros : internal and doesn't stick out like an eye sore
- Cons : lacks everything else mentioned above.
- It has a jumper allowing it to appear as SCSI (not IDE) device which allows even KS 1.3 to boot it, so no KS upgrade strictly required but then : can you even use WB 3.1 and WHDLoad with KS 1.3 ?
- Apparently WHDLoad requires 1-2MB chip RAM and a 512KB expansion doesn't help as it's slow RAM, so you need to get a larger expansion as well for things to become usable ?
- You need a 40 Pin IDE-CF adapter for it, and these have a floppy power connector : do you need an extra Y cable to steal power from the FDD, or is a CF able to be powered from the data cable alone ?

Am I missing something or is the ACA500+ the clear winner, unless you care strongly about keeping everything internal ?

PS : I didn't mention the Wicher 500 because I feel it will similarly lack all of the extra functionality of the ACA500+. Not sure about the HC508.
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Old 02 August 2019, 18:39   #2
CasVegas
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Hi, which one did you go for in the end?

I bought a Wicher card for my A500 2 months ago and cannot get it to reliably work.

At the point of sending it back, that's if they will even accept it back.

Looking for alternatives.
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Old 02 August 2019, 21:43   #3
E-Penguin
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I have an ACA500plus and it's brilliant, although annoying having it stuck out the side
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Old 02 August 2019, 23:41   #4
gdunlapsd
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I got the HC533 when it came out; seemed the cheapest and easiest way for me to get the extra RAM and storage for WHDLoad, and it's worked fine.

My only real complaint is that too much stuff is compiled for 68020+ only, and so won't work on even an accelerated 68000.

I'd say just set up the HC533 that you already have and see how it works for you.

BTW, how did you find out what that jumper does? There's no documentation for this thing that I could find (that makes two complaints then )
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Old 02 August 2019, 23:58   #5
reno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
I got the HC533 when it came out; seemed the cheapest and easiest way for me to get the extra RAM and storage for WHDLoad, and it's worked fine.

No issues with the lack of chip RAM for some WHDLoad games ? I've been told I'd always run into problems for this purpose unless I bought a 2MB chip RAM expansion.
That's why I liked the sound of the ACA500plus turning my 512KB slow RAM expansion into chip RAM for 1MB total.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
My only real complaint is that too much stuff is compiled for 68020+ only, and so won't work on even an accelerated 68000.

Apps or WB tools you mean ? Certainly not games !
It's something the ACA500plus can't directly help with, but at least you can add a 1200 accelerator to it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
I'd say just set up the HC533 that you already have and see how it works for you.

I'll set them up both on the same day as that A500 is at my parents place, and I've ordered the ACA500plus in the end, didn't want to risk it getting out of stock again !
I'll need to get an IDE-CF 40 pin adapter for the HC533 as well. I wonder if I also need to get a Y cable to steal power from the floppy drive or if the data cable alone is able to power a CF card.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
BTW, how did you find out what that jumper does? There's no documentation for this thing that I could find (that makes two complaints then )

Yeah I know ! I've read this somewhere on a thread here I think.

IIRC with the jumper on it uses the ROM of an IDE device (so requires 2.0+ for booting), with the jumper of it presents itself as a SCSI device and apparently 1.3 can handle that.
Very, very scarce on details indeed !
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Old 03 August 2019, 05:32   #6
gdunlapsd
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No problem for me running WHDLoad with 1 meg of Chip RAM on my A500. I don't remember hearing about a 2MB Chip RAM recommendation; I believe some amount of FAST RAM is required, which the HC533 takes care of.

The A500 was by far the most popular Amiga, so most games ought to run on it!

As for 68000 compatibility, yeah I was referring to apps and utilities which I've encountered that were built for 68020 or higher unnecessarily.
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Old 03 August 2019, 07:25   #7
reno
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gdunlapsd View Post
No problem for me running WHDLoad with 1 meg of Chip RAM on my A500. I don't remember hearing about a 2MB Chip RAM recommendation; I believe some amount of FAST RAM is required, which the HC533 takes care of.
Do you mean you just have a 512K trapdoor expansion and everything runs fine ? Because AFAIK that’s slow ram not chip RAM, and this is one of the things the ACA500plus takes care of : turning it into chip RAM.
If you’re saying that’s not a problem in practice, that’s good news and makes the HC533 more viable.
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Old 05 August 2019, 10:37   #8
gdunlapsd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reno View Post
Do you mean you just have a 512K trapdoor expansion and everything runs fine ? Because AFAIK that’s slow ram not chip RAM, and this is one of the things the ACA500plus takes care of : turning it into chip RAM.
If you’re saying that’s not a problem in practice, that’s good news and makes the HC533 more viable.
I did the mod that makes the trapdoor RAM available as Chip RAM, so I have a total of 1MB of Chip RAM. Don't know how WHDLoad does with 512K of chip; it seems to do fine with 1MB though. You certainly don't need 2MB for the vast majority of games.

The difficulty of the mod depends upon which motherboard revision you have. Mine's a 6A so it was an easy mod.
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Old 06 August 2019, 10:35   #9
Sir_Lucas
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Quote:
- You need a 40 Pin IDE-CF adapter for it, and these have a floppy power connector : do you need an extra Y cable to steal power from the FDD, or is a CF able to be powered from the data cable alone ?
No, you don't need any additional power splitter. HC533 takes care of that.

There's only one jumper on board of HC533. It is resposible for using diferent HDD drivers - Octapussy or Oktagon.

That is true - you can use HC533 with AmigaOS 1.3
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