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Old 30 May 2016, 19:08   #1
JohnnyWalker
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Amiga Today

I'm a longtime Amiga fan... but I've been out of the loop for many years now. I thought I'd come back to the community to see what's new, and it appears the answer is: Quite a lot!

There's been a Kickstarter to produce a new A1200 case that never yellows, with all kinds of new slots for DVI and the like. And there's also something called Raspberry Pi, which I don't fully understand. There's also something called a MiST FPGA Board, and something else called an A1200 Reloaded.

It's all a bit much to take in a first glance. Is there a guide somewhere which breaks down what a "modern" Amiga is about?

Where would an old Amiga fan go and what should they buy, if they wanted a bit of "real" nostalgia? (I must say those new cases look very slick, for example!)

Thanks!
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Old 31 May 2016, 00:33   #2
eXeler0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyWalker View Post
I'm a longtime Amiga fan... but I've been out of the loop for many years now. I thought I'd come back to the community to see what's new, and it appears the answer is: Quite a lot!

There's been a Kickstarter to produce a new A1200 case that never yellows, with all kinds of new slots for DVI and the like. And there's also something called Raspberry Pi, which I don't fully understand. There's also something called a MiST FPGA Board, and something else called an A1200 Reloaded.

It's all a bit much to take in a first glance. Is there a guide somewhere which breaks down what a "modern" Amiga is about?

Where would an old Amiga fan go and what should they buy, if they wanted a bit of "real" nostalgia? (I must say those new cases look very slick, for example!)

Thanks!
Howdy JohnnyWalker

I think a good addition to info about you would be your current Amiga gear, if any. ;-)

I also had a fairly long break after the year 2002 or so... but I kept most of my gear. If you're dusting off some old gear, you might be looking at some restoration work.. like replacing capacitors etc.. If you dont have any gear left, then you should still be able to find decent second hand Amigas, with A500s being the cheapest, then the A600 and the A1200s are fairly pricey. Big box amigas, even more so..
Memory expansions and some affordable accelerators exist too. On the software side, the biggest thing is probably "WHDLoad". A project which aims to fix all old amiga games so that they can be run from a HardDrive. Check it out, its neat. Also there's something called GoTek floppy emulator. Basically, you have a thing that looks like a floppy drive but really reads USB drives and you put amiga disk images (.adf) on the USB drive and run them like floppies ;-) Not as neat as WHDLoad, but certainly beats floppy juggling.

Currently the most exciting hardware stuff happening in the 68k Amiga community is probably the Vampire project. It started as a humble FPGA accelerator for the A600 (basically a 68020 implementation in FPGA ("Field Programmable Gate Array - which is a piece of hardware that can be "re-written".)
However, one thing lead to another and now we are at the dawn of the first serious transformation of 68k computing since... well, at least since the release of the 68060. The Vampire project has now grown into a team of ppl (magicians, really) that are producing new hardware in the €150 range that gives you: CPU way beyond any 68060 in speed, yet highly compatible, RTG graphics through HDMI out, internal Micro SD storage. Because its an FPGA, features are continuously being added. In the near future, the Apollo CPU as its called will get an FPU taking compatibility to the next level.
Apart from the current A600 version, there's an A500 version in the making and then there will be an A1200 version in half a year or so.

Speaking of FPGA, as you noticed, there are devices such as MIST but also the FPGA Arcade available. Both do decent Amiga "emulation" in FPGA.
http://www.fpgaarcade.com/

About the cases, yes, its true, there was a successful kickstarter and while its a slow process, if all goes well, we might be getting our shiny new cases in August or so...

Amiga Reloaded is Individual Computer's attempt at creating a brand new motherboard for the small box Amigas.. It mostly reminds of an A1200 mobo, but it really is only similar. The guy behind the Individual Comp, sourced pretty much all remaining Amiga chips to use them with the new mobo, however, some will be re-created in FPGA.
It was supposed to reach prototype status by the end of 1Q 2016, however, it seems it has been postponed and AFAIK not a lot of new info available.
It is not entirely clear to me what position Individual Comp intends to take towards the FPGA revolution we are seeing in the Vampire, but you should at least know that Indvidual Comp are making new accelerators using older Motorola parts (020 and 030) so there might be some competition between them, and it is yet unclear if this will in any way affect the design of the Amiga reloaded mobo.

About the RaspberryPi.. was that a joke? ;-)
It has little to do with Amiga, but is a very famous, very small and very affordable computing platform. As it becomes more powerful, ppl dont mind running say MAME on them and why not put them inside the Amiga case, right? Saves desktop space ;-)

I hope this helps a bit. Welcome back

Last edited by eXeler0; 31 May 2016 at 00:39.
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Old 31 May 2016, 10:50   #3
Mr.Flibble
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Newer Raspberry pi's can serve as cheap emulation platforms - the pi 2 can simulate an A500 pretty well, with the pi 3 just about handling a base A1200 (iirc)

The other things the pi has been used for is to either emulate an
Amiga drive, or to provide network access.
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Old 31 May 2016, 11:08   #4
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Originally Posted by JohnnyWalker View Post

Where would an old Amiga fan go and what should they buy, if they wanted a bit of "real" nostalgia? (I must say those new cases look very slick, for example!)

Thanks!
There is a nice summary above, but the first question you need to ask/answer is what do you want out of this? This then leads to further questions and answers.
Some people want only real retro hardware that they owned back in the day, some want to push their amigas as far as technically possible with new hardware, some want a combination, some want to just play games, some want HD resolution desktops.......This can get to be an addictive and expensive hobby.....
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Old 31 May 2016, 19:36   #5
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On a RPi 3, with Happiga you're closer to an Amiga 4000 than anything else. Pretty good for such a cheap computer.
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Old 10 July 2016, 07:02   #6
JohnnyWalker
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Howdy JohnnyWalker

I hope this helps a bit. Welcome back
Fantastic post. Thanks very much for helping see the landscape a bit more clearly. I'd quite like a super fast, but highly compatible, bit of kit. It sounds like the most exciting stuff is on the horizon.

The only piece of Amiga kit I have left is an A4000 external keyboard, sadly!

Thanks again
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Old 10 July 2016, 11:34   #7
Mr.Flibble
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Fantastic post. Thanks very much for helping see the landscape a bit more clearly. I'd quite like a super fast, but highly compatible, bit of kit. It sounds like the most exciting stuff is on the horizon.

The only piece of Amiga kit I have left is an A4000 external keyboard, sadly!

Thanks again
Keep that keyboard - the prices of those have gone crazy over the past year
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