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Old 23 April 2002, 07:44   #1
Miggy2TheMax
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Lightbulb An Idea

Hi guys,

I was sitting on this idea for a while not knowing if its any good, or if its been done before. I'm interested on what you guys think about it, any commnet in general would be kewl!

I was thinking... would it be possible to replace the amiga floppy disk drive with a solid state device ? The solid state device would have same dimensions 880k and pretty much behave like a floopy drive, to the amiga there would be no difference. Therefore if you dump an adf on it reboot the amiga, the amiga would boot of it no problem but at _much_ faster speed.

Now having such a device, would it replace the need for whdload and jst for 1.3/68000 amigas ? So I was thinking that for amigas that are base spec with just a big harddrive to store the adf's could use this piece of hardware to dump the image on this solid state floppy and then you would be able reset your machine and load the game at quick speeds with out the need for jst/whdload etc.... I dunno what do you guys think?

I wonder if such a device exists out there, even if its for PC ( just convert it to amiga ), that would be awsome!!
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Old 23 April 2002, 08:00   #2
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I could only imagine it would be darn troublesome making. Remember that the disks could come in many different fileformats. Some loaders might be specifically geared towards using the disk drive in different ways, a thing which it's somewhat hard to make a solid state drive work with. Then there's the question of loading time, I know it's annoying and that I'm probably wrong, but wasn't there some sort of copy protection on some games which monitored how long time it took to read?
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Old 23 April 2002, 08:02   #3
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I may be wrong on this, but I thought some copy protection schemes relied on the transfer speed to protect the data. For example, Dungeon Master would not run on my a500. I phoned up the company (back in the day when they were in business) and they told me older floppy drives would have a problem loading it (I assume because of speed). I swapped the internal with a newer amiga external drive, and viola, it worked!

Fascinating idea, but I can't see how it could be more efficient than using a harddisk.
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Old 23 April 2002, 08:21   #4
Minuous
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Nah, not really worthwhile.
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Old 23 April 2002, 08:22   #5
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It would be more efficient if they could read at those speeds without alteration for a couple of reasons.
1. No need to worry about HD space
2. No need to have an installer written for it.
3. Low end machines could use it as well. 2 MB just doesn't cut it with most games on WHD.
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Old 23 April 2002, 09:02   #6
Miggy2TheMax
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Quote:
Originally posted by Drake1009
It would be more efficient if they could read at those speeds without alteration for a couple of reasons.
1. No need to worry about HD space
2. No need to have an installer written for it.
3. Low end machines could use it as well. 2 MB just doesn't cut it with most games on WHD.
Those are the very reasons why I had this thing in mind, no need for patches/installers and it will work on low spec amigas (68000, 1.3, 1mb ram)
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Old 23 April 2002, 09:31   #7
Minuous
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Hmmm yes but it is 2002, I would have thought everyone was using OS3.9 by now...or at least OS2.0! :-)
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Old 23 April 2002, 10:43   #8
Miggy2TheMax
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Quote:
Originally posted by Minuous
Hmmm yes but it is 2002, I would have thought everyone was using OS3.9 by now...or at least OS2.0! :-)
I see where you are heading, but I guess that means that "everyone" in the amiga community has the whdload/jst installer patch and a working original image of the game they wish to run from the hard disk. Or everyone has a good source of whdload/jst game downloads.... aaaaha .. I knew the amiga community was hiding a 10GIG+ whdload/jst repository of patched games.. ok cough it up .. where is it

Oh OS3.9 is not retro anyway, so who would want to run that here
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Old 23 April 2002, 11:51   #9
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Solid State Disk Drives

If you really want one, I'm afraid they only come as a storage device, based on a SCSI-2 interface. Here is a vendor that sells them:

https://www.buymemory.com/memory/ssdd.htm
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Old 23 April 2002, 13:04   #10
Minuous
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Yes, it would be excellent to find or create a vast repository of HD-installed games. I have a hundred or two games but only a 10Mb page so am unable to offer more than a few on the page. :-( Also there are still a considerable proportion of games which have not had slaves written for them yet.

Yes, I agree O3.9 is not retro, it is the most advanced high-performance multimedia OS.
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Old 23 April 2002, 16:01   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Miggy2TheMax


I see where you are heading, but I guess that means that "everyone" in the amiga community has the whdload/jst installer patch and a working original image of the game they wish to run from the hard disk. Or everyone has a good source of whdload/jst game downloads.... aaaaha .. I knew the amiga community was hiding a 10GIG+ whdload/jst repository of patched games.. ok cough it up .. where is it

Oh OS3.9 is not retro anyway, so who would want to run that here
Well I'm probably not part of the community anyway, I'm still running my A1200 with a 120 MB harddisk and 2 MB ram. And I can't find anything to upgrade with which I would know exactly how to use, and wouldn't have to get a credit card to be able to buy.
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Old 23 April 2002, 16:12   #12
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Quote:
may be wrong on this, but I thought some copy protection schemes relied on the transfer speed to protect the data
your right...
the Cyclone copy-cart, would match the internal speed of the original media (copied at the correct data speed), this why you had to have 2 drives, and if you wanted to copy a copy you still needed to use the Cyclone, on most disks only the first block had drive speed copy protection.
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Old 27 April 2002, 06:11   #13
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With solid-state, you mean something like a Smartmedia card?

What am I Supposed to do then, swap smartcards? wasting a 4MB card on one 1MB adf?

I dont think this would be nice, WHD works a treat! Anyway, if Commodore didnt fuckup Amiga's original plans, yoru miga would now have a cartridge slot, much like an MSX, and yo ucold have cartridge software. That would have been GREAT in my opinion.
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Old 27 April 2002, 06:43   #14
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@Akira, check ou the link I provided on Solid State Hard Drives, no they are not Smartmedia/Memory Sticks or any other kind of PCMCIA card. They are SCSI devices used mostly for high speed caching applications, say for web caching. But they can be used for just any kind of data storage as well. One day there maybe something like this to replace what we now know as hard drives, but the pricing has to come way down of course, but, the speed is the primary advantage for these devices
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Old 27 April 2002, 22:38   #15
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I didnt catch your link. Then if it works like an HD, WHDLoad would still be needed!
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Old 27 April 2002, 23:00   #16
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Th link is up a few posts, it's straight to the SSDD's. Yes it acts as a hard drive and since it's SCSI based, all your real Amiga needs is the proper SCSI-II/III host controller

I would think that WHDload would be required as well. Remember that these things are still very expensive and I really only recommend them for web or squid type servers.
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Old 28 April 2002, 03:30   #17
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Hi guys,

Akira, when I say solid state I just mean no moving parts, so the device would use any type of classical memory (30pin/72pin) I can get my mits on.

The device would plug into the floppy port of your amiga and translate I/O requests but instead of using a floppy disk as the source of the data, I'd have memory there. It would be something like below:

+--------------------+
| Amiga Flooppy Port |
+--------------------+
||||||||||||||||||
+--------------------+
| Translate I/O req |
+--------------------+
||||||||||||||||||
+--------------------+
| Memory Chips |
+--------------------+

I'd have to put an eject button on the device as in boot up time you may want to boot of the harddrive and stuff.

I don't have enough Comp Eng experience to build the hardware so I'd have to research the stuff. It will take a _lot_ of time for me, maybe someone out there could give me some pointers? In the end I feel that after dabling with a design for 1 - 2 years I'll probably have "timing" problems and whole thing wont work .

Anyhow, I feel this device will turn _all_ adfs into hard drive/cartridge load up speeds on a _real_ _low_ spec amiga which would be AWSOME!! So if you plug this device in a stock 500 1.3/68000 with a hard drive then there would be no need whdload/jst to have lightening loadup speeds... just saying that make me drool... geez I'm bad

Not many ppl excited about this project, oh well... I guess I'm too retro

Last edited by Miggy2TheMax; 28 April 2002 at 03:36.
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Old 29 April 2002, 02:17   #18
Akira
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hey I like the idea, but methinks it's impossible. I'd like to hear more knowledged opinions.

If I made a 4MB RAD drive, the effect might be similar. have you tried it?
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Old 29 April 2002, 04:12   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Akira
hey I like the idea, but methinks it's impossible. I'd like to hear more knowledged opinions.

If I made a 4MB RAD drive, the effect might be similar. have you tried it?
Not impossible, just highly unlikely to happen because of the resources involved in getting it made. If somebody has the neccessary time and money anything can be done

As for the RAD drive, yes this works great, I remember doing this a lot with my old A2000HD, since it had extra RAM installed I decided to make a bootable RAD drive. Works great until you get a guru or two. I think the one from ASDG worked better at being a sticky disk
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Old 29 April 2002, 08:40   #20
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@Miggy2TheMax

There's nothing wrong with your idea, but the hardware must be able to work with some badly written/designed software. The speed problem has already been mentioned but using cracked ADF's would fix most of them. Another problem is that many games come on more than 1 disk and the software is expecting a physical removal of the disk then reinserting. That would have to be done with a manual button press on the device unless you want to change the software.

On the plus side of things most of the floppy drive logic would already be known by the programmers of the Amiga emulators.

Maybe another solution would be to connect the Amigas floppy port to a PC which would be used as a slave device serving floppy requests? All that would be needed is an old 286 (or maybe even an old XT) with a hard drive which surely isn't worth much these days. The problem would be writing the software which is necessary for the memory card also. I think this technique (using PC as slave) has been used with Commodore 64's. The disadvantage is the space and extra power required for the PC. The advantage is that the hardware is available, reasonably cheap and there are many with the necessary programming skills for the job.

I guess the question is: Is there enough demand for this feature to warrant the effort?

* If you used a more modern PC you could also get it to play a selection of your favourite MP3s as backing tracks to the games
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