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Old 15 September 2010, 07:53   #1
Awol
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Question A1200 + CF cards?

My A1200 is completely stock.



1) Will this PCMCIA adapter work in both my Amiga and my laptop running Windows XP?: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.23791

2) Will this IDE adapter work in my Amiga?: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.10310

3) I only buy SanDisk cards because they seem to be the most reliable brand. What speed/size card do you recommend?
I have read that 4GB with 2GB partitions is the max for an HD replacement. Is that true? Is it the same for PCMCIA?

4) I already have an internal HD in my 1200. Is replacing it with a CF card really worth it?

5) Anything else I need to buy? Anything else I need to know?



Thanks in advance!



P.S. I am completely new to the Amiga and to this forum! I've had an Atari 1040STE and a C64C for a while now, but recently got this PAL A1200. I plan to use it mainly for tracking, and as a MOD jukebox. Also maybe some game-playing and demo-watching. Planning to set up ClassicWB and WHDLoad.
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Old 15 September 2010, 08:24   #2
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1) Yep. But as with anything cheap from DX, buy two in case one is broken on arrival!
2) Yep. But it's possible your HDD LED won't respond anymore.
3) 4-8GB will be enough for internal storage. Depending on the filesystem and Workbench revision you have, you may be limited to 2GB partitions. If you're prepared to go to a slight amount of effort to set up the drives with the PFS3 or SFS filesystems instead of the standard FFS, you'll be able to use any size card and partitions you want internally. As for the PCMCIA CFs, they won't need to be formatted at all, you keep them using the FAT filesystem so that they're readable on both the Amiga and the PC, and you just need to install the FAT95 filesystem and PCMCIA card driver.
4) It's definitely worth replacing with a CF card. There's much lower risk of overloading your PSU, it's silent and boots faster.
5) What are you using for a display? If you have an LCD TV/monitor with S-Video inputs, you may want to get yourself a cheap S-Video adapter for a sharp, flicker-free display. You can get these and plenty of other cheap, useful hardware bits from http://amigamaniac.com

Good luck with everything. If you end up getting some extra RAM in there (either from a RAM/FPU card or a CPU accelerator) you'll have endless fun to discover for years to come!

And welcome to the Amiga community!
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Old 15 September 2010, 10:03   #3
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Hi Awol!

Cammy has covered pretty much everything for you

Regarding the CF-IDE adapter, I have bought quite a few of these now:

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...=STRK:MEWNX:IT

They plug straight in with no cable and the HDD LED works still on both my A1200/s A600

Becuase they are from Hong Kong they can take a couple of weeks to arrive but I've not had any problem with them.

Have fun!

Steve.
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Old 15 September 2010, 14:14   #4
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One important fact to consider is the limited amount of RAM on a stock A1200.

Each piece of third-party system software needs a certain amount of RAM. Each partition needs a certain amount of RAM for buffers. And each low-level action on a partition (like format or validate) needs a lot of RAM, the bigger the partition, the more RAM is needed.

IMHO you should stay within the limits of WB 3.1, i.e. <4GB disk with <2GB partitions. Everything else will cost you so much RAM that some software products, especially games, might refuse to run.
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Old 15 September 2010, 18:02   #5
Awol
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Thanks for the replies everyone!

But scratch all that CF card stuff! Some people on another forum reminded me about the possibility of SD cards, which I'd much rather use. Someone said they are using this PCMCIA SD reader. Is it possible to use an SD card for the hard drive as well, maybe with something like this? Are there any disadvantages to using SD rather than CF?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
As for the PCMCIA CFs, they won't need to be formatted at all, you keep them using the FAT filesystem so that they're readable on both the Amiga and the PC, and you just need to install the FAT95 filesystem and PCMCIA card driver.
So... can a normal Amiga read FAT partitions larger than 2GB or cards larger than 4GB through PCMCIA? Is that FAT16 or FAT32?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
5) What are you using for a display? If you have an LCD TV/monitor with S-Video inputs, you may want to get yourself a cheap S-Video adapter for a sharp, flicker-free display. You can get these and plenty of other cheap, useful hardware bits from http://amigamaniac.com
Well, I am in America, but my Amiga is actually PAL. I plugged it into an LCD TV via composite but got a messed up picture, and I plugged it into an old PC monitor via RGB/VGA, but couldn't get any picture at all. So at the moment, I'm using a low-quality USB composite video capture device on my laptop. It'll work for tracking or MOD listening I suppose, but it'll probably be too laggy for demos or games. I do have another LCD TV I can try (have to fix it first) and it takes composite, s-video and VGA too, but I doubt it'll work. Will the S-video or VGA adapter on this page let me use a PAL Amiga on an American TV? Would a 520 modulator do that?

Quote:
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Good luck with everything. If you end up getting some extra RAM in there (either from a RAM/FPU card or a CPU accelerator) you'll have endless fun to discover for years to come!
Upgrading Amigas is an expensive downward spiral of death! I promised myself I wouldn't attempt it. XD
Is there anything I can do that won't be too expensive? How much does an 8MB fast RAM card typically cost?
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Old 15 September 2010, 23:08   #6
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Those PCMCIA Multi-Card/SD adapters work fine, I have the exact same ones here but they can only access 2GB SD cards or smaller. Any SD card over 2GB is "SDHC" which is incompatible. I haven't tried the IDE-SD adapters yet, but it's very possible they will work with 4-8GB cards. Since AmigaManiac also sells them, you could maybe ask him if he has tested them out with SDHC cards in an Amiga. Personally I prefer to stick with CF cards internally and use 2GB SD cards for all my data-swapping needs because my A1600 netbook has a SD slot on the front.

With Fat95 installed, you will be able to read and write to FAT16 and FAT32 drives with no problems. It doesn't matter how large the SD or CF card is when it's formatted as FAT32 it should work.

The S-Video and VGA Adapter combination from AmigaManiac is probably the cheapest Amiga-to-VGA solution available, and should definitely work with your LCD screen with both PAL and NTSC screenmodes. You can't use it to display a PAL image on an NTSC screen, but it will work on a VGA screen. The A520 only outputs composite and RF (just like your A1200's internal modulator already does) so it's not much use unless you want to modify it to output S-Video, then just get a VGA adapter. If you're not the hardware-hacking type, it's probably just better to get a cheap S-Video adapter from AmigaManiac.

It can indeed get expensive and take over your life if you get too interested in your Amiga, but a 2MB A1200 is very limited still. Your best bet would be to join AmiBay.com and post a Wanted ad asking for a 4-8MB RAM card for your A1200. You could search on eBay but may not get many results, and they're often overpriced or have too many bidders fighting for them there anyway. It could cost you from $40-100 depending on the brand and the seller. I have seen some people claim to get them much cheaper too, so it's just a matter of luck and chance.
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Old 16 September 2010, 02:23   #7
Awol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
With Fat95 installed, you will be able to read and write to FAT16 and FAT32 drives with no problems. It doesn't matter how large the SD or CF card is when it's formatted as FAT32 it should work.
You just said SDHC won't work though. So if I want more than 2GB over PCMCIA, I need CF? I think 2GB will be more than enough though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
The S-Video and VGA Adapter combination from AmigaManiac is probably the cheapest Amiga-to-VGA solution available, and should definitely work with your LCD screen with both PAL and NTSC screenmodes. You can't use it to display a PAL image on an NTSC screen, but it will work on a VGA screen.
I'm a bit unclear here. So does NTSC/PAL not matter when using a VGA monitor? I've got a RGB/VGA adapter (not converter, just adapter) that came with my Amiga, but I couldn't get any picture at all when I plugged an old PC monitor into it. I'm sure my LCD TV is NTSC... but it also has a VGA port. It's not a computer monitor though, just a TV with VGA input. Does that make it a "VGA screen"? Isn't any screen in America (that wasn't imported) NTSC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
A520 only outputs composite and RF (just like your A1200's internal modulator already does) so it's not much use unless you want to modify it to output S-Video, then just get a VGA adapter. If you're not the hardware-hacking type, it's probably just better to get a cheap S-Video adapter from AmigaManiac.
Are there NTSC or PAL versions of the 520? Or are they all the same? I thought I might be able to use an American one to convert the RGB on my PAL Amiga to NTSC composite or RF externally. I guess not? If I hacked a 520 for s-video, would that be NTSC compatible? I am the hardware hacking type. If I pulled chroma/luma out of a 520 would it work with my C64 monitor?
Argh this is so confusing!

Sorry for all the stupid questions.
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Old 16 September 2010, 02:24   #8
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I picked up my 4mb expansion from Amibay for 47 including postage. It's the Blizzard 1220/4 Turbo and it was mint.
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Old 21 September 2010, 12:55   #9
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SDHC cards don't work in those PCMCIA adapters because the hardware doesn't support them, the 2GB limit isn't to do with FAT32 or the Fat95 filesystem. PCMCIA CF adapters and multi-card readers can generally read much larger cards, I can't say for sure what the largest CF card you can read is because anything over 8GB is waaay too expensive for me to try.

All LCD TVs that have VGA inputs can be used as computer monitors, that's the great thing about LCD TVs as opposed to plain LCD monitors, they're the same thing but with heaps more inputs (and tinny speakers).

Using your RGB-VGA adapter, you may be able to display some dedicated VGA modes in Workbench. To do this, plug your Amiga into the LCD TV via the RGB-VGA adapter, as well as your PC through Composite (for now). Boot up into Workbench, now move the VGAOnly and Multiscan drivers from the Storage/Monitors drawer to the Devs/Monitors drawer. Double-click each one to activate them, then go to the ScreenMode preferences and select one of the new modes to test, click Use and see if it re-opens Workbench in a compatible display with your LCD TV. If it does, then you can definitely keep using your LCD through VGA for Workbench and other applications, but you will still need something that accepts a PAL input to play games and things.

The S-Video-VGA Converter from AmigaManiac has a built-in scan-doubler and flicker-fixer, so it should be able to upscale any PAL and NTSC screens to VGA, compatible with your LCD TV or any other PC monitor.

The A520 is just a TV modulator. It converts RGB to Composite and RF, just as AmigaManiac's adapter converts RGB to Composite and S-Video, but they can't convert a PAL signal to NTSC. If you hack an A520 for S-Video output you could buy a cheap S-Video-VGA Converter, saving a few dollars on the extra RGB-S-Video converter. If your C64 monitor can accept PAL signals and you can output the right signals to it, there's a good chance it will be an acceptable display.
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Old 30 September 2010, 20:18   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awol View Post


Upgrading Amigas is an expensive downward spiral of death! I promised myself I wouldn't attempt it. XD
Is there anything I can do that won't be too expensive? How much does an 8MB fast RAM card typically cost?

Jens Schoenfeld at Individual computers is creating some new accelerators:

  • A1200: 56 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, about 199 Euro
  • A1200: 28 Mhz, 64 MB RAM, about 99 Euro
  • A600: 25 Mhz, 32 MB RAM
thread here: http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=55059

I have an 30/50 in My A1200, and have watched some great scene demo's on it. They don't have FPU's. I don't know if many demos require one.

Although I do hope he goes further up the processor food chain
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Old 01 October 2010, 05:37   #11
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I hope Jens makes a CD32 version of that 56Mhz beast with a Clockport on it.
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Old 01 October 2010, 05:55   #12
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Although I do hope he goes further up the processor food chain
Nobody will bring out a faster 68k card than that unfortunatly as 060's are too $$$ to come by (at least the decent ones are).

What somebody may eventually do though is come out with an FPGA based card using either a 020/030 softcore and there's already an 020 softcore in the works for the FPGA Arcade (MiniMig V2). Such an FPGA card using fast memory should be as fast as a real 060.
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Old 01 October 2010, 13:06   #13
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Exciting times! Yeah iv'e checked out freescales prices, they are huge. the jump from 040 to 060 is massive. The cheapo 060's they stock have neither FPU or MMU. I'm not so fussed on the missing FPU (don't do much 3D work on my Amiga anymore, anyway, but I think the MMU is still handy.
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