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Old 26 April 2021, 21:38   #1
Fuzzball
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The different Amiga experience options?

Having recently realised my A500 went walkabout at some point over the years, I've been looking into the options for a "replacement". e.g. a secondhand real Amiga, software emulation and, only discovered today, hardware emulation via FPGA? (that I don't fully understand to be honest).

It got me wondering what other options are out there. I would rather have as close to a real Amiga experience as possible (i.e. not just loading games via Retroarch etc).

I'm leaning away from a real Amiga because I always wanted an A1200 when I was young so would probably go down that route but they are too expensive now and I'd be concerned spending that much when you have no guarantee how long it will last and how easily parts would be available in the future.

My brief experience of software emulation has not been great with WinUAE as I get graphical and audio glitches and too much time wasted messing with the settings.

Mister FPGA sounds interesting but not cheap and some of the parts are hard to find in stock anywhwere.

Are there any other options?

Edit: Aplogies, after writing all that, I've seen there is a similar thread already. I should try searching. Sorry I'm getting old. (although that thread just confuses me as it seems to be talking more about accelerator boards)

https://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=105432

Last edited by Fuzzball; 26 April 2021 at 21:50.
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Old 26 April 2021, 22:01   #2
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If 1200 is too expensive for you then Amiga 500 with a gotek is the best cheap option. Gotek is a floppy drive emulator so you can put thousands of disks on a usb stick and use with your Amiga. Less than 150.
Amiga 600 is the next least expensive.
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Old 26 April 2021, 22:08   #3
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Originally Posted by Fuzzball View Post
Mister FPGA sounds interesting but not cheap and some of the parts are hard to find in stock anywhwere.
MiSTer setup which runs 99% of stuff costs ~200E. There's no need to buy the expensive parts. For that you get the board and 32SDRAM, and these should be available, at worst with short waiting time.

There are some other FPGA boards which also run Amiga core (Minimig). The original MiST, SiDi: https://manuferhi.com/p/sidi and maybe some others, I can never remember which one does which anymore. SiDi is cheaper than MiSTer but also less powerful and has no HDMI.
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Old 26 April 2021, 22:17   #4
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If 1200 is too expensive for you then Amiga 500 with a gotek is the best cheap option. Gotek is a floppy drive emulator so you can put thousands of disks on a usb stick and use with your Amiga. Less than 150.
Amiga 600 is the next least expensive.
Thanks. I think I would rather emulate (one way or another) an Amiga 1200 though and see what I missed out on all those years ago. But I certainly won't dismiss those options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreadnought View Post
MiSTer setup which runs 99% of stuff costs ~200E. There's no need to buy the expensive parts. For that you get the board and 32SDRAM, and these should be available, at worst with short waiting time.

There are some other FPGA boards which also run Amiga core (Minimig). The original MiST, SiDi: https://manuferhi.com/p/sidi and maybe some others, I can never remember which one does which anymore. SiDi is cheaper than MiSTer but also less powerful and has no HDMI.
Thanks. The whole Mister thing confuses me a bit. I thought I would need a DE10-Nano, Mister IO board, 7 port USB board, USB bridge, 128Mb SDRAM (might as well have the option of simulating other devices too). I think I calculated that at about £290 not even including a case. Plus everything seemed to be on backorder at various places. I'll keep an eye out for updated stock info.


I'm also tempted by the Raspberry Pi 400 but then that relies on software emulation which I'm not having a great time with at the moment. Maybe emulation on Pi is better than Windows.

Last edited by Fuzzball; 26 April 2021 at 22:22.
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Old 26 April 2021, 22:52   #5
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Thanks. The whole Mister thing confuses me a bit. I thought I would need a DE10-Nano, Mister IO board, 7 port USB board, USB bridge, 128Mb SDRAM (might as well have the option of simulating other devices too). I think I calculated that at about £290 not even including a case.
Sigh...yes, unfortunately many people mindlessly promote this extended setup as the one you "need". All you really need is here though :https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main...rt-with-MiSTer

Plus SDRAM, but 128MB is only required for NeoGeo atm.

I just had a look and its all available, but the price of the board seems to have gone up...used to be 130USD for ages. Now they're asking 124 GBP excluding VAT? Hmmm...covid prices?
https://www.digikey.co.uk/product-de...496-ND/6817231
https://www.mouser.co.uk/ProductDeta...lZ1mz6Hfo58%3D

The parts are still the same prices: https://misterfpga.co.uk/

Still, you should be able to squeeze it under 200GBP, depending on what you already have at home (mouse, pad, KB, USB hub etc).
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Old 26 April 2021, 22:59   #6
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Thanks. Much appreciated. I'm a bit confused as to what the Mister FPGA board even does now as every internet article includes it. I think the bottom line is that I'd be a bit out of my depth with this option. I'm starting to think a real Amiga is my only realistic option.
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Old 27 April 2021, 00:06   #7
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I had a MiSTer with all the trimmings but it was not for me. The Raspberry Pi 400 is a great bit of hardware for emulating Amiga and quite a bit cheaper. It's also useful for other things when you're not doing Amiga emulation. Should be available worldwide in localized keyboard.

Of course as soon as you buy one they will release a new one with double the RAM or higher clock speed or something, but that's progress.

easy: [ Show youtube player ]

He talks about PiMiga when it was an earlier version. It now works fine on Pi400 and you don't need to go through another Pi first. I went for the whole 30GB download and am pretty happy with it!

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Old 27 April 2021, 00:13   #8
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Although FPGA isn't strictly emulation, it's driven by it - most of the undocumented chipset features in the Amiga were discovered and implemented in emulators, and that information is what the FPGA is generally based on. It means that you get an accurate reproduction, nice hardware bonus features (such as proper scrolling etc) but if there are holes or bugs in the emulators then that carries through to the FPGA.

The Pi400 is an excellent choice for emulation of the Amiga, and getting better all the time. The MiSTer is nice, but you don't get as much raw speed and you're not likely to, either.
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Old 27 April 2021, 10:44   #9
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Originally Posted by aeberbach View Post
I had a MiSTer with all the trimmings but it was not for me. The Raspberry Pi 400 is a great bit of hardware for emulating Amiga and quite a bit cheaper. It's also useful for other things when you're not doing Amiga emulation. Should be available worldwide in localized keyboard.

Of course as soon as you buy one they will release a new one with double the RAM or higher clock speed or something, but that's progress.

easy: [ Show youtube player ]

He talks about PiMiga when it was an earlier version. It now works fine on Pi400 and you don't need to go through another Pi first. I went for the whole 30GB download and am pretty happy with it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
Although FPGA isn't strictly emulation, it's driven by it - most of the undocumented chipset features in the Amiga were discovered and implemented in emulators, and that information is what the FPGA is generally based on. It means that you get an accurate reproduction, nice hardware bonus features (such as proper scrolling etc) but if there are holes or bugs in the emulators then that carries through to the FPGA.

The Pi400 is an excellent choice for emulation of the Amiga, and getting better all the time. The MiSTer is nice, but you don't get as much raw speed and you're not likely to, either.


Do either of you get audio glitches with the pi 400? Running WinUAE and there is really bad audio (and a few video glitches) for me especially when running above "normal" speed. The problem is running WinUAE with exact cycles is painfully slow and also won't run the pimiga image very well. So I'm reluctant to go with another software emulation solution.
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Old 27 April 2021, 11:01   #10
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That does not sound right Fuzzball. Maybe there are some settings that are causing issues. I run WinUAE alongside my real Amigas and don't find a huge difference. Can you give an example? We can then compare on our sides.

Is the pimiga meant to be run at stock speeds? I think it was designed for as mucd processor speed you can throw at it.
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Old 27 April 2021, 11:08   #11
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It happens with anything with audio. the demos in the iDemo, games, midi file playback, mp3 playback, etc.

There is less crackling if running at stock speed but still far from perfect. It is really bad when running WinUAE at fastest speed which pimiga requires. Perhaps I should try building my own hardrive image with workbench. I don't particularly like Pimiga anyway as it's too flashy for someone who only remembers the A500 with WB1.3 I only tried the Pimiga image for a quick and dirty test.
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Old 27 April 2021, 11:33   #12
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Originally Posted by dreadnought View Post
There are some other FPGA boards which also run Amiga core (Minimig). The original MiST, SiDi: https://manuferhi.com/p/sidi and maybe some others, I can never remember which one does which anymore. SiDi is cheaper than MiSTer but also less powerful and has no HDMI.
Speaking as a MiST (not Mister) user, I'd say that the MiST probably offers the closest to a re-implementation of a real Amiga (and indeed many other 8 and 16 bit machines), in that you have the option to use your original joysticks, the video output is analogue and compatible with TV's that have SCART inputs. It does also support many USB controllers, and will work on screens with VGA inputs, though the screen must be able to sync to a 50Hz vertical refresh if you're using PAL software.

The Mister is a more modern take on that - the primary video output is via HDMI, so is generally plug-and-play with modern screens. It also, by default, uses USB joysticks or control pads. There are additional boards that can provide DE-9 joystick ports or analogue video output if that's what you still want to use.

As I've had a MiST for many years, I've never felt any need to purchase a Mister, however if you're coming into this from scratch and only have modern displays, the Mister would be a great option. It doesn't look great (IMO) by default (it is, after all, a development board that potentially has other boards hanging off it), but I'm pretty certain there are some pretty good cases also available nowadays.
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Old 27 April 2021, 11:35   #13
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The Pi400 is an excellent choice for emulation of the Amiga, and getting better all the time. The MiSTer is nice, but you don't get as much raw speed and you're not likely to, either.
Super speeds are only important for folks who like the "modern" Amiga. Besides, there is now WIP project using ARM for Minimig core, giving it a very substantial boost. On the flipside, there is barely any lag on FPGA.

I've used Amiga on an RPi for quite some time before jumping to MiSTer, it works well and is a great achievement overall, but when you're looking for that original "feel' (as OP says), the FPGA is a clear winner for me.
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Old 27 April 2021, 13:50   #14
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It happens with anything with audio. the demos in the iDemo, games, midi file playback, mp3 playback, etc.

There is less crackling if running at stock speed but still far from perfect. It is really bad when running WinUAE at fastest speed which pimiga requires. Perhaps I should try building my own hardrive image with workbench. I don't particularly like Pimiga anyway as it's too flashy for someone who only remembers the A500 with WB1.3 I only tried the Pimiga image for a quick and dirty test.

Ok, definitely. You should run a simple A500, WB1.3 through WinUAE with the same games and demos you tested. I also think Chris has configured Pimiga to run on the RaspberryPi, so there might be some config settings that are causing the issue.



I also prefer creating my own hard drive images. Clean and simple. Also give FSUAE a go. Even if it is just for a point of comparison.
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Old 27 April 2021, 17:36   #15
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I would choose an A1200 over any other type of Amiga, as it has AGA, and to be honest, no Amiga is complete without AGA.
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Old 27 April 2021, 18:29   #16
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It's a pity nobody told me (and a few million other users) back then that my A500 is incomplete. I'd demand a refund or something
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Old 27 April 2021, 19:21   #17
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It's a pity nobody told me (and a few million other users) back then that my A500 is incomplete. I'd demand a refund or something
Before the A1200 existed, then the A500 meant a complete Amiga, but that changed, of course. I mean, why would you NOT want an A1200? You'd enjoy the full library of A500 AND A1200 AGA games, with 100% compatibility, meaning the best of both worlds!
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Old 28 April 2021, 03:20   #18
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You'd enjoy the full library of A500 AND A1200 AGA games, with 100% compatibility, meaning the best of both worlds!
100% compatibility ? Sure about that ? I knew of quite a few older games that didn't work on 2.0+ at all

But yeah, if I had the choice these days, A1200 without a doubt. (or 4000)
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Old 28 April 2021, 09:44   #19
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100% compatibility ? Sure about that ? I knew of quite a few older games that didn't work on 2.0+ at all
You'd be correct if you're referring to original game floppies, but I'm sure that WHDLoad has fully corrected such incompatibilities.

And yes, I am saying that an HDD is MANDATORY for an A1200, nothing less will do.
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Old 29 April 2021, 20:48   #20
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Now I have WinUAE working reasonably well on my PC, I'm not so sure I made the right choice ordering the Mister FPGA parts. I may just return them. I can't imagine after getting WinUAE running that I would be that bothered about hardware emulation that runs at exact cycles. Sounds interesting but WinUAE seems good enough to me. People say there is input lag in software emulation. I'm sure that's true but I can't notice it.

As it turns out Digi-key messed up my order for the DE-10 so that didn't go through. It's just the USB hub and ram that I would need to return. The Mister FPGA just seems like a lot of money when WinUAE seems to satisfy my needs especially when I would still want to buy other parts - case, heatsink, 4A power supply, digital io board and keyboard (I don't have a spare). It all starts to add up. But I will be honest and say there is still a part of me that just wants to see it running to compare.
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