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Old 10 August 2021, 11:04   #1281
Gryfon
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In a word - no. I owned an A500 for 2 years before upgrading to the A1200. Even before I had a hard drive, Blizzard 1230 IV, SCSI kit and CD-ROM it only enhanced the Amiga experience for me. It ran Shapeshifter at a usable speed, it was my first experience connecting to the internet from home via Freeserve. It saw me through college and university alongside my Panasonic printer. All the time being backward compatible with everything I bought for the A500 except the RAM expansion and Action Reply module.

For me it was a worthy upgrade.

Would I have bought an A3000 if I'd had the cash? Of course.

I could live without Doom or Photoshop. Eventually bought a PC in 2002 because my job required it.

I admit I envied PC owners when X-Wing came out though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilbert View Post
Was anyone else disappointed with the A1200?

Most Amiga users and magazines seemed to be very happy with the A1200 when it came out. I wasn't at all, and a look at the first games pretty much ended my association with Amiga gaming. I just saw the same games with more colours and a bit smoother. There was no wow factor. After that I stuck with the Amiga 500 (with half meg memory expansion) and my Super Famicom (Jap SNES).

Here's what Commodore got wrong in my opinion

1. Too much focus on creating higher-res screen modes with more colours (and also making the blitter work in these different screen modes) and not enough on enhancing gaming(8 or maybe 16 sprites when the comparitively old Megadrive and SNES could manage 64 and 128 respectively). It's a bit like the original Amiga - yes it can display 4096 colours on screen, but the majority of the games for the system were 16 colours (Albeit some had added some Copper magic) and most didn't even run at 50/60 fps. That was fine back in 1985 but 7 years(!) later you expect a significant upgrade.

2. There was a mild improvement to dual playfield mode. Great!... when the SNES had 5(?) playfields and could scale and rotate whole screens. Commodore seemed to have no sense they were competing here....

2. Sound chip needed 6 channels to get a decent track playing with sound effects. Again SNES and Megadrive have 6 channels each. Using the same sound chip from 1985 was ridiculous!

3. Like the original Amiga, if you wanted to get a good number of objects on screen with a lot of colours and scrolling, you had to spend ages using hardware tricks or specific techniques. Time = money and developers aren't going to want to spend 2 years making an arcade quality game on the A1200 when simpler systems exist....

I do have a CD32 now, but it's not very impressive from a technical point of view, even the mighty Banshee is bettered on both the SNES and Megadrive. The reason I like it is because it offers something a bit different and it's an Amiga It's fairly obvious it had no hope of competing long term. I just find it hard to see what Commodore was thinking with the AGA architecture??
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Old 11 August 2021, 06:32   #1282
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Absolutely YES.


AAA was promised before the AGA Amigas and on paper, it was spectacular at the time. Faster I/O and DSP OMG so drule.
I think EVERYONE was dripping over getting one of these only to be told later that an interim AGA chipset Amiga was going to be offered in its place and AAA would be coming later.


Well, that was a lie and big boo to them for ever cancelling it!
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Old 11 August 2021, 13:45   #1283
gimbal
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Quote:
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I admit I envied PC owners when X-Wing came out though...
Same. I was over at a mate's playing X-Wing, Sam & Max and Dune 2 all the time at that point and it just made me wish I had a PC. I had Dune 2 on the Amiga of course, but... it just wasn't the same.
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Old 16 August 2021, 09:09   #1284
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I went straight for a PC (386DX40) in 1993 because of Aces of the Pacific and X-Wing. Took me until this year to get an A1200. So far I'm only disappointed about Lotus I being less smooth than on the A500 (or having gfx glitches if you disable the WHDLoad blitter wait patch).
Guess Cinemaware games run too fast on the A1200.

Is there a tool to (temporarily) halve its cpu speed or simulate that (I have a non-accelerated A1200)?

Last edited by john4p; 16 August 2021 at 10:15.
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Old 16 August 2021, 19:20   #1285
Lord Aga
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I had Dune 2 on the Amiga of course, but... it just wasn't the same.
What were the deal-breaking differences?

More colours on PC, voiced intro, more voice samples ingame, CHOAM prices logic. Nothing major and game-breaking. Unless I missed something big
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Old 17 August 2021, 10:16   #1286
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Jumped ship to pc after my a500. Especially for the games at that time (like said the point&click and xwing). But still have fond memories of wings from cinemaware.

In my opinion the demo scene made the a500 great for me (I still love the demos, and hence I bought back a a500 + a a1200 which I never had (with vampire for the 060 demos).
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Old 28 September 2021, 03:21   #1287
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I am amazed people bought amiga 1200’s to simply play games on them. I was not in the amiga scene at the time (I was an ST and PC guy by then) but to me they were obviously more of a developer/bbs/phreaking/productivity machine at that point than they were a “console” replacement. By that time consoles had broken away from the what atari, commodore, TI, tandy had tried by bundling them together.. That shit didnt work anymore… Hasn’t since!
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Old 28 September 2021, 18:55   #1288
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I think had it been a bit faster then I wouldn't have been disappointed. I was mostly into sims so I did see an increase of course but really it should have been more I feel.

Commodore perhaps should have released a more substantial machine a little later than they did. One that had a more future proofed sizable upgrade enough in all areas that made it feel like a new generation. Easy said of course and I guess the only model that would have worked at that point was to simply be a pc. Mind you I probably would have gone the Amiga pc route had it been where they were taking things.

As it was I enjoyed the A1200 for what it did allow at least which truthfully was just a slight speed upgrade to existing 3d games and some AGA enhancments. Thing is as it stands today I still regularly play the Amiga to care anyway evn if it is just Amibian on the pi
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Old 29 September 2021, 11:23   #1289
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The lack of fast RAM was a big deal, hobbling the already sluggish performance. I added a Blizzard 1220, it was pretty cheap and increased the machines speed by about 5x, making Wing Commander and Frontier a joy.

I suppose the point I'm making was that 28mhz 020s were very cheep at this point. If you could have added a couple of sticks of fast RAM too, it would have made a huge difference.

People were willing to pay £1400+ for a new PC that could play the latest and greatest, so I'm not sure the 1200 price point and it's hardware tradeoffs made sense.
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Old 29 September 2021, 11:36   #1290
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Originally Posted by Silverstreak View Post
If you could have added a couple of sticks of fast RAM too, it would have made a huge difference.

People were willing to pay £1400+ for a new PC that could play the latest and greatest, so I'm not sure the 1200 price point and it's hardware tradeoffs made sense.
So making it even more expensive by adding fast RAM and a faster CPU would have somehow made it more competitive?
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Old 30 September 2021, 02:00   #1291
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The lack of fast RAM was a big deal, hobbling the already sluggish performance. I added a Blizzard 1220, it was pretty cheap and increased the machines speed by about 5x, making Wing Commander and Frontier a joy.

I suppose the point I'm making was that 28mhz 020s were very cheep at this point. If you could have added a couple of sticks of fast RAM too, it would have made a huge difference.

People were willing to pay £1400+ for a new PC that could play the latest and greatest, so I'm not sure the 1200 price point and it's hardware tradeoffs made sense.
They had to be pretty aggressive and realistic, If you were going to be paying PC prices I think people would have chosen the PC as it had more software available.

But yeah an ec020FG25, I don't know if they would have been able to safely clock that at 28mhz or reduced it to a multiple of 7.xmhz (21.x) or maybe a multiple of 3.5mhz (which might have been 24mhz). But yeah if they left blank FAST RAM slots on the mother board for the $C00000 space like they left the spot for the 68882 fpu might have helped.
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Old 30 September 2021, 07:49   #1292
Bruce Abbott
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redblade View Post
But yeah an ec020FG25, I don't know if they would have been able to safely clock that at 28mhz or reduced it to a multiple of 7.xmhz (21.x) or maybe a multiple of 3.5mhz (which might have been 24mhz). But yeah if they left blank FAST RAM slots on the mother board for the $C00000 space like they left the spot for the 68882 fpu might have helped.
They did the obvious thing - make it as cheap as possible and leave it up to the user to decide what level of performance they wanted.

The downsides of a faster CPU and FastRAM on the motherboard were many:-

1. Increased price. Amiga owners were already known for their stinginess when it came to paying for higher performance.

2. Reduced compatibility. The A1200 could not have survived if the majority of A500 titles wouldn't work on it - since it would take too long for the needed A1200 specific software to be developed and the market for it was too small.

3. Waste. Soon people would want an even faster CPU and more RAM, then the slower onboard RAM and CPU would be redundant. Slots for FastRAM would need a large amount of PCB real estate and a sophisticated controller that would also be redundant. For anyone who didn't need it, or who intended to install a more powerful accelerator board, this would all be a waste of money.

4. Lack of configuration flexibility. As designed, the A1200 could be marketed as a slightly more advanced replacement for the A500 with a similar price, but with open-ended expansion capabilities. Vendors could sell many different configurations at different prices to suit the customer's needs.

5. Wrong Target. Having eg. a 25MHz CPU and SIMM slots would make it closer to the A4000 in specs as well as price, but without the 'big box' advantages. With those specs it would make more sense to produce a 'slimline' cased version with separate keyboard and internal slots. But this would be a different target market to what the A1200 was designed for.

I for one am glad they didn't do what you suggest. The 14MHz EC020 gave a nice performance boost without compromising compatibility too much. The SIMM slots on the A4000 and many PC motherboards were awful to use, with poor contact reliability, clips that broke off far too easily, and SIMM compatibility issues. A trapdoor RAM board was easier to install and could use later SIMMs that weren't available when the A1200 was designed, and was also an 'accelerator' board of sorts because it doubled the CPU speed when running code in RAM. The form factor of the A1200 was just right, which might not have been possible if it needed a larger motherboard. Finally, the price was right. The more expensive it was the less justification there was for buying one instead of (or as well as) a PC.
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Old 30 September 2021, 08:17   #1293
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It would have made more sense to release it as an A500+ and make it an A600 motherboard in an A1200 case.

The AGA chipset was largely ignored by the software houses and even by Commodore themselves

Only real drawbacks of the A600 design (apart from the stupid small case!) was opting for an expensive 2.5 inch HD, a 3.5 inch would have fitted in the A1200 case.

So an A600 MB, with 3.5 inch HD support, an A1200 style accelerator card slot and an Amber chip sitting in an A1200 case would have been pretty cool circa 1990

Last edited by NovaCoder; 30 September 2021 at 10:36.
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Old 30 September 2021, 10:30   #1294
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But yeah an ec020FG25, I don't know if they would have been able to safely clock that at 28mhz or reduced it to a multiple of 7.xmhz (21.x) or maybe a multiple of 3.5mhz (which might have been 24mhz). But yeah if they left blank FAST RAM slots on the mother board for the $C00000 space like they left the spot for the 68882 fpu might have helped.
I stated this multiple times in this thread: they should have added 1$ in cost and used a CPU connector as used on all those accelerator cards and moved the CPU off the mainboard. Then they could have offered different CPU, FPU and fastmem options and people who immediately upgraded wouldn't have had to pay a useless 020.
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Old 01 October 2021, 03:18   #1295
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I stated this multiple times in this thread: they should have added 1$ in cost and used a CPU connector as used on all those accelerator cards and moved the CPU off the mainboard. Then they could have offered different CPU, FPU and fastmem options and people who immediately upgraded wouldn't have had to pay a useless 020.
But they did include a CPU connector - the expansion bus edge connector - and the cheapest possible CPU 'card' (the main board). I bet they got those EC020's for next to nothing too. IOW, it was cheaper to just put the 020 on the motherboard, and since the vast majority of buyers would be happy with it...

What would I have not liked? If they had used the same connector they did on the A3000 and A4000. Delicate, unreliable, hard to obtain and very difficult to replace when it broke. No thanks - give me a cheap, reliable, robust edge connector!

They could have dropped the useless FPU space and extra ChipRAM connectors, and expanded the clock port to 16 or 32 bits instead. But these are minor quibbles. We can be thankful that they didn't majorly stuff up the design in some way.
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