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Old 15 November 2013, 23:48   #1
Photon
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ACA500 tested

I wrote an article that should answer most questions about this A500 expansion for those planning to buy it soon.

If you have a question about something I haven't covered just ask. I finally have some spare time again, but I can't promise to respond instantly.
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Old 16 November 2013, 00:39   #2
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Neat!

Quote:
I have NOT tried my Apollo 060 in the A1200 accelerator slot yet (Mainly because it's been modded to be hardwired to 3.3V on an ATX connector...)
Unmod that thing quick, i want to read that article!
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Old 16 November 2013, 00:58   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Photon View Post
I wrote an article that should answer most questions about this A500 expansion for those planning to buy it soon.

If you have a question about something I haven't covered just ask. I finally have some spare time again, but I can't promise to respond instantly.
Its a nice card, just got around to updating to new firmware today.
Still rock solid, Menu is deffo improved over last one.

Decompression time is very quick now. I also like the boot straight to default settings. Hated the constant menu show up on every boot.

The card alone is pretty cool, changes CPU and gives fastram. Then slap an accelerator on to it and its like an A1200 without the AGA and Chip ram (unless you got 2MB Chip expansion).
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Old 16 November 2013, 01:41   #4
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So what it lacks is more fast ram and a case for it?
The fast can be solved with an ACA, and about the case I have the idea that someone like Kipper2k could make something about, just my idea, but those plastic cases made to fit have to be expensive.
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Old 16 November 2013, 06:07   #5
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is there any way a 180 degree (u-bend) adapter could be used to fit imside the 500 case?
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Old 16 November 2013, 10:44   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihcael View Post
is there any way a 180 degree (u-bend) adapter could be used to fit imside the 500 case?
Cant see why not. Ill have to check.
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Old 16 November 2013, 14:42   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihcael View Post
is there any way a 180 degree (u-bend) adapter could be used to fit imside the 500 case?
That's what I'll be waiting for
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Old 16 November 2013, 15:43   #8
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I want one!!!!. What's the expected price?. My 500 will be soooo happy...
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Old 16 November 2013, 16:59   #9
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Nice article, only one thing:

Quote:
(Heads-up: You do have to unplug ACA to check that the final code performs OK on stock A500s.)
there's a jumper on the board, that'll disable the card. I connected a switch to it, since you cannot set it without removing the card, at least on my model - dunno if Jens already changed it.
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Old 16 November 2013, 17:31   #10
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I must say that I m disappointed in all of this, only looks nice. Without any talk or discussion and within few days of work kipper2k created much better device. From serious company this is only drawback.
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Old 16 November 2013, 18:38   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrofan View Post
So what it lacks is more fast ram and a case for it?
The fast can be solved with an ACA, and about the case I have the idea that someone like Kipper2k could make something about, just my idea, but those plastic cases made to fit have to be expensive.

I read somewhere that someone was making a case for it, thats why i never give it much thought. A 3D printed case may not look polished but it would be relatively cheap unless someone orders a molded extruded case in mass. I couldn't bear the thought of having a unprotected expensive board sticking out the side for already stated reasons.

I haven't actually unpacked my 3D printer yet from its move (and i have promised to make some fittings for people which i haven't forgot about). Time at the moment for me is something that i don't appear to have a lot of. If someone wants to create a 3d model (STL) of a case that will work i'll be happy to help. I don't have the board so i don't know spacings, etc
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Old 16 November 2013, 20:04   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihcael View Post
Neat!



Unmod that thing quick, i want to read that article!
Hehehe. Oooh, the controversy... at least if the chinese whispers are correct.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FOL View Post
(Re: U-bend Zorro.) Cant see why not. Ill have to check.
The connectors must be hole mounted on a PCB which mirrors the traces, and it's a VERY tight fit - in order to not have to make a cutout in the case and have the thing sticking out a little bit... And the side expansion cover would probably hit the bottom of the lower connector, no matter what you do.


Quote:
Originally Posted by _ThEcRoW View Post
I want one!!!!. What's the expected price?. My 500 will be soooo happy...
I will leave this to be answered by retailers or Jens for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbob42 View Post
Nice article, only one thing:


there's a jumper on the board, that'll disable the card. I connected a switch to it, since you cannot set it without removing the card, at least on my model - dunno if Jens already changed it.
Yes. So for developing on the A500, you can have a fast compiler/assembler computer, but to check that time-critical code performs correctly on unexpanded A500 you must put it on a floppy and switch off the ACA500. It's only for checking game or demo framerate of course, but it's a bit of a drawback from my A500-040 where I can switch off the 68040 and reboot to harddisk and run it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by majsta View Post
I must say that I m disappointed in all of this, only looks nice. Without any talk or discussion and within few days of work kipper2k created much better device. From serious company this is only drawback.
kipper2k's card looks nice and will also "enable" many A500s to get harddisk and RAM for more usability. And it's internal, which is a plus, but you have to open your A500 to transfer files, but I think you will have to leave your A500 case without screws to use it for file transfer, really!

So in that way it's a litte less usable. But I think he had an add-on card to move the CF slot near the case edge, so you can make a cut-out in the case? Or did I dream it

And it's not very usable with WHDLoad, but I don't mind floppy games either. But I've ordered two of his too, so

ACA500 makes the A500 really fast and working with ClassicWB and WHDload for normal users, while having great compatibility and lots of goodies and options for advanced users.
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Old 16 November 2013, 20:27   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majsta View Post
Without any talk or discussion and within few days of work kipper2k created much better device..
I don't think so..
Don't get me wrong, kipper2k is awesome and his board is awesome and I think what a LOT of people want at a great price..
But, it is a memory card with IDE(CF).
The ACA is much more than just that..

I'm just glad that there is such a great range of development from people like you and kipper2k up to the AmigaKit and Jens products...

It's a great time to be an Amiga fan..
...
Of course, that's always true, but its very true now.. ;-)

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Old 16 November 2013, 21:22   #14
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This was the info I had, but I emailed Jens to make sure.

Quote:
Retail price is 79,90 EUR including German VAT of 19%, plus shipping.

ciao,
Jens
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Old 17 November 2013, 00:02   #15
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Will there be possibility to use Action Replay ROM like in Minimig?
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Old 17 November 2013, 12:17   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mihcael View Post
is there any way a 180 degree (u-bend) adapter could be used to fit imside the 500 case?
The ACA500 is *designed* to be external, and I would not recommend to put the card inside of the computer, because it's more than just "not practical" is the CF card slots are inside.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbob42 View Post
there's a jumper on the board, that'll disable the card. I connected a switch to it, since you cannot set it without removing the card, at least on my model - dunno if Jens already changed it.
The jumper is still on the bottom side of the card, and it only disables the startup-ROM, memory and IDE. It does NOT disable the CPU, so it still runs at 14MHz. However, with only chipmem and Kickstart (both running at 7MHz), the performance should be only a few percent above the stock A500. Note that the 68000 CPU does not have any caches, and only instructions with lots of execution cycles will run faster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amigoun View Post
Will there be possibility to use Action Replay ROM like in Minimig?
Nope, no Action Replay emulation in the hardware. However, there's hardware support for moving the VBR to fastmem, and that enables you to put the machine language monitor of your choice into memory and point the NMI vector to it. Since VBR is in a non-standard space (even outside the available memory space), no software can change these vectors. Just add an NMI button, and you are already very close to a freezer function.

The VBR-move feature is already supported in a special version of WHDload, so the quit key will always work. No reboot required if you want to load the next game!

Jens
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Old 18 November 2013, 01:52   #17
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I really love this expansion card and for the possibilities it opens to the A500 but I can't help but think it would be much better if the connector had been inverted in such a way allowing the unit to be housed directly inside the case, so what if this won't allow easy access to the CF card!
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Old 18 November 2013, 18:46   #18
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Damn this thread made me buy an A500! Well it was "the" Amiga I first had, so the circle kinda closes
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Old 20 November 2013, 09:17   #19
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Damn this thread made me buy an A500! Well it was "the" Amiga I first had, so the circle kinda closes
You're not the first to say this, and it makes me go "Yesss!"

Updated the article with some clips of performance and usage (mostly ClassicWB and WHDload). Sorry for the poor quality, my phone camera autofocus didn't like the reflections in the CRT glass, I guess.
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Old 20 November 2013, 10:45   #20
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Thanks Photon! The titties saved the day
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