Amiga

As mentioned in the “About me” section, I am a former Amiga owner.  I started computing on a Commodore 64 as a teenager and was mostly in to gaming though I did try a little assembly programming.  I had read an article about the Commodore Amiga and when a local user group was hosting a presentation I made the effort to attend the event and see it in person.  I was blown away.  I’d played with the Ti 99/4a, Atari 400/800, IBM pc and of course my C64, but this Amiga 1000 was unbelievable.  The Boing Ball demo was impressive but what really got me was when the demonstrator had the lines demo running and then pulled down the screen to show workbench running behind it.  Amazing.  Sold.  Had to have it.   I bought an A1000, 256K ram expansion, monitor and external floppy drive.  A bit later I added an A2000 with Video Toaster, 2 DPS-IV TBCs and an ethernet card.  The A1000 was sold to purchase an A3000 which was then sold to purchase the A4000 which received a Video Toaster 4000, Emplant Mac emulator, EGS24 RTG card, WarpEngine4040 with 32 MB or ram onboard and another ethernet card.   Eventually all this turned in to “rent” which I regret to this day.   Commodore was bankrupt, my dreams of video editing* weren’t going anywhere and I was selling/working with PCs (DOS and Win3.1).   Having an Amiga didn’t make sense at the time.   This was probably around 1995-96.

*I was offered a job video editing with Video Toaster systems but it would have required a move and actually doing something I “hobbied” into something I “worked” so turned it down.  Probably another mistake of the past.

I would reminisce about the Amiga with other former owners whenever the subject came up of “remember when computers…..” which happened more than you’d expect 🙂  I always hoped to pick up another A4000/Toaster combo but this time add a Video Flyer and finally do some editing.

So here we are in 2015.  I think it was the news reports of the “Amiga 30th Anniversary” on the internet that sparked my interest.  I had played with C64 emulators on some of my older PC systems with so-so results but now I had some decent computing hardware at home…are there any Amiga emulators?   Web searching found WinUAE (http://www.winuae.net/) and some more found a site English Amiga Board (http://eab.abime.net/) which had the current WinUAE dev posting updates and replying to users!  Wait…someone is still actively working on an Amiga emulator??   I had to check it out.   Downloaded, found some “roms” and “os” images (I have purchased Cloanto’s Amiga Forever 2016 package and AmigaOS 4.1 FE for classics……so there) and realized I remembered very little about using an Amiga.  Some forum reading and web searching and I found some pre-fabbed installation setups….but none were as I had used mine.   I joined EAB in August of 2015 so I could be more involved.   Oh..by the way….WinUAE is awesome.  It is an amazing emulator of the Amiga (whatever model) as long as you have the correct kickstart Roms and Workbench disk.  You can configure your system to be exactly like or as a powerhouse of upgraded components (JIT enabled, lots of ram, fastest possible, RTG modes).  I played around with this for quite some time, all the while looking at tweaks and improvements others were doing to their “Amigas”.    I was amazed that my nice i7 Intel system running WinUAE was getting results significantly faster than my old A4000 ran (SysInfo, dhrystone results).  WinUAE is awesome!

Wanting even more performance I started searching and learned of a software package called Amithlon.  It was an attempt to run AmigaOS on native x86 hardware.  This was out after I was out of the Amiga scene so I had to do some research.   Reading….the biggest standout I encountered was that it was “blazingly fast”, “wickedly fast”, “fastest Amiga you’ll ever experience” and so on…..  Hmm…this sounds like something I want to try for myself.  No Amiga chipset support, requires specific older x86 components (old AGP or PCI graphic cards), tricky to install and…….was abandoned/discontinued because of poor communication and handling of licensing of AmigaOS roms.   It might be difficult to acquire, and not even remotely possible to acquire legally as the original released and sold media were apparently not legal.

To be continued…..(Amithlon)