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AuthorTopic: Amiga 1200 tune up  (Read 1302 times)

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  • Guest
Amiga 1200 tune up
« on: November 04, 2002, 05:49:05 PM »
Hi all!

I'm new here, I'm not in the Amiga scene since 7 years! I've got an old Amiga 1200 and I would like to pick it up from the shell, I would like to tune it up (install an hard drive, a video card etc...) is anybody willing to help me because I don't know what's new in the Amiga world (I see somebody here talks about OS 3.9 and so on, I'm still stuck on workbench 3.1 :))

Thanks to anybody who will help me

Silver
 

Offline Tomas

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2002, 06:06:35 PM »
I would go for the brand new AmigaONE with os4.0, the AmigaONE can be ordered now, while os4 is out in the beginning of next year.
 

Offline Kay

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2002, 06:14:43 PM »
Welcome back! You sure picked a good time to return. There has just been released a new PPC Amiga, the AmigaOne. Currently, this computer doesn't run AmigaOS, as OS4 (the first os version for PPC only) is not quite finished yet. A slight disadvantage with this new computer is that old software will need to be emulated, as the custom chips are no longer available. This is of course inevitable.

If you are not interested in this new Amiga, your timing is still very good, as the second hand market should soon be crowded with those of us who will be selling our until recently top-specced hardware in favour of the new beast. The A1200 can be upgraded quite a lot.

First of all, you need a tower case. I can recommend the Power Tower made by Elbox Computer. This is quite spacious, solid made, and comes with what you need to move an A1200 to a tower case without too much hassle.

Then you'll need an accellerator with some memory. A1200 accellerators come in two flavours: 68k (up to 68060@50MHz and 68K/PPC(up to 603e@240MHz). They take old-fashioned SIMMs of the old and EDO kind.

If you buy AmigaOS3.9 (which will work fine provided you have the 3.1 chips), you should be able to use any regular IDE harddrive.

After that you need a graphics card. If you have a BlizzardPPC accellerator, you can get an 8Mb BVision graphics card. However, you will get more power at approximately the same cost if you go for a MediatorPCI busboard. This board has 4 PCI slots, and has drivers for S4 Virge, as well as Voodoo3-5 graphics cards. Of these, I think the Voodoo3 is the best choice, as it is the only one with 3d drivers written specifically for it.

A Mediator PCI board will also allow you install some other stuff, like Soundblaster cards, TV-cards and network cards.

Okay, hope that's of some help. Welcome back!

Kay
 

  • Guest
Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2002, 12:26:53 PM »
Thanks a lot for your answer, you were very clear and now I'm not confused anymore,
just some questions:

1 - I forgot to mention that I've got the 3.0 Kickstart, if I install AmigaOS 3.9 am I still able to use an IDE HardDrive? I've got a 2GB IDE hard drive is it good for it? How do I connect the IDE Hard Drive to the Amiga?

2 - the accelerator is for upgrading the CPU and adding more RAM? How do I install it?

3 - How do I install the PCI board?

4 - Which network card do I have to use? Are there special models or a generic one is good?

5 - I've got an old Pentium 100 case no longer used, can I use this one? How do I connect the power cable? Do I have to use the original Amiga 1200 adaptator?

6 - The origina floppy drive is broken, do I have to use an Amiga floppy? (I should buy it second hand) Or can I use a standard floppy drive?

7 - (This one may sound very stupid) which keyboard do I have to use? (I assume the PS/2 is not compatible) and how do I connect it?

Sorry if I bothered you with all these stupid questions but I'm a bit outdated on the question, for me the Amiga was just the good old one with just a keyboard, a floppy disk and a mouse :))

Thanks for your patience

Silver
 

Offline Kay

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2002, 01:26:37 PM »
> 1 - I forgot to mention that I've got the 3.0 Kickstart, if I install AmigaOS
> 3.9 am I still able to use an IDE HardDrive? I've got a 2GB IDE hard drive is
> it good for it? How do I connect the IDE Hard Drive to the Amiga?

In order to install os3.9 you will need the 3.1 roms. Fortunately, the A1200 ROM chips can be changed fairly easily (but be careful not to bend the pins!). As for the harddrive, yes, you can use IDE hardrives on any A1200 model, even without 3.1 roms and OS3.9. However, you would then be restricted to 4Gb and smaller drives. Installation is simple once you have a tower case. You install the harddrive in the tower, connect a power connector from the PSU to it, and use an IDE cable to connect the harddrive to the A1200 motherboard IDE connector. Note that the A1200 IDE connector is of the small (2,5") kind, though, so make sure you get an IDE cable that fits. If you want both a harddrive and a CD-ROM, get a 2,5"->2x3,5" IDE cable. It shouldn't be hard to find.

> 2 - the accelerator is for upgrading the CPU and adding more RAM? How do I
> install it?

To the first question: yes. Additionally, some BlizzardPPCs come with a SCSI interface. However, unless you get it really cheap, I'd opt for a 68k only accellerator. A 68k accellerator is usually far cheaper, and the BlizzardPPC is prone to become redundant soon. If you get a Mediator busboard, you might get the option to upgrade to a far neater, cheaper, and vastly more powerful PPC solution later, the SharkPPC(+). To the second question: You connect it to the trapdoor connector, which is currently accessed from the bottom of your A1200, but will be pointing upwards when you move the motherboard to a tower.

> 3 - How do I install the PCI board?

This one is also connected to the trapdoor connector, once it is in a tower. Don't worry, you get a new connector from the Mediator. The Mediator comes with instructions on how to install it, so I won't go into detail. If you get a Power Tower, everything should align properly, and the PCI slots will be on level with the openings in the back of the tower.

> 4 - Which network card do I have to use? Are there special models or a generic one is good?

Standard network cards supporting the RTL8139 chipset, IIRC. A list can be found on the Elbox website:
http://www.elbox.com/mediator_driver_guide.html

> 5 - I've got an old Pentium 100 case no longer used, can I use this one? How do I connect the power
> cable? Do I have to use the original Amiga 1200 adaptator?

I suppose you could use, if it is large enough, but it would take some adaption, and you'd probably need extra gadgets, like a keyboard adaptor, and an adaptor for the power cable. Someone else should be able to give you more help if you want to use the old tower case. I'd still recommend a Power Tower, though.

> 6 - The origina floppy drive is broken, do I have to use an Amiga floppy? (I should buy it second
> hand) Or can I use a standard floppy drive?

I think there are some gadgets that allows you to use standard PC diskdrives, but I don't really have much knowledge or experience with this. I think Amiga diskdrives are somehow different, though (which is why PCs can't read Amiga formatted disks).

> 7 - (This one may sound very stupid) which keyboard do I have to use? (I assume the PS/2 is not
> compatible) and how do I connect it?

With a tower solution, you should get a keyboard adapter that allows the use of PS/2 keyboards. Note that most, if not all, keyboard adaptors gives you the old-fahioned large port, though. This should not be a problem, however, as many keyboards supports both types (like my Logitech Internet Keyboard).

> Sorry if I bothered you with all these stupid questions but I'm a bit outdated on the question,
> for me the Amiga was just the good old one with just a keyboard, a floppy disk and a mouse :))
>
> Thanks for your patience

No problem at all! :-) Glad to be of help, and glad to have you back!

Kay
 

  • Guest
Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2002, 02:08:47 PM »
I really thank you a lot for your help, now I got one last question for you:

1 - Do I need special drivers to use Hard Drives and/or CD-ROMs? And what about the Network card's drivers? Where can I find them?

2 - I've got an old keyboard with the big connector you mentioned above, in my Amiga 1200 there's no connector for the keyboard, how do I connect it? Do I have to use some special adaptator to connect it right in the motherboard where there was the old keyboard?

That's all thanks a lot for your patience!!!!!

Silver
 

Offline Tomas

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2002, 02:35:40 PM »
you are aware of what this all will cost??

If i was you, i would go for the brand new AmigaONE XE with a g4 800mhz ppc cpu.. All in all i bet it would be cheaper than upgrading the a1200.
 

Offline Kay

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2002, 02:43:58 PM »
> 1 - Do I need special drivers to use Hard Drives and/or CD-ROMs? And what about the Network
> card's drivers? Where can I find them?

The drivers for hardrives and cdroms are standard and comes with AmigaOS. The network card drivers are made by Elbox, who made the PCI busboard. These drivers are free for 10MBit cards. They will be supplied on a disk along with the busboard, and updates will be sent to you by email when you register your Mediator with Elbox. The drivers for 100MBit cards can be gotten from the Mediator Multimedia CD. This CD also contains the drivers for TV-cards and SoundBlaster cards, as well as enhanced gfx card drivers.

> 2 - I've got an old keyboard with the big connector you mentioned above, in my Amiga 1200 there's no
> connector for the keyboard, how do I connect it? Do I have to use some special adaptator to connect
> it right in the motherboard where there was the old keyboard?

This is where the keyboard adaptor comes in. I don't know how other adaptors are designed, but the one that comes with the Power Tower has one part which is plugged into the A1200 keyboard connector, one part which is mounted on the back of the case and contains the connection for the keyboard plug, and a cable between them. I suspect other adaptors use the same approach.

> That's all thanks a lot for your patience!!!!!

Now sweat. I just finished a small university programming project (a simulator for a round-robin task scheduler), so I actually have some free time on my hands today. Feel free to ask if you need to know anything else. :-)

Oh, BTW, you might want to know: There is also a possiblity to use USB units if you buy the Spider USB card for the Mediator. Note that you will need to register the shareware Poseidon USB stack to use this. More information can be found on
http://www.elbox.com/products/spider_usb_20_pci.html
Also keep in mind that since there are only 4 PCI slots on the Mediator. If you have a graphics card, a network card, a soundcard, and a tv-card, there will not be room for the USB card.

Another thing you may want to keep in mind, is that there will be a lot of old software which insists on using the old AGA graphics chips. These programs will not be displayed through your graphics card. Some of them can be forced to open their displays on the graphics cards through mode promotion (several programs for this purpose can be found on the Aminet, I use ModePro), but some will break when promoted in this fashion. If you need to use these programs you have two options:
1. Have a TV or similar display device nearby.
2. Get a TV-card, and connect the A1200 composite video output to it. (this is the solution I use)

Kay
 

Offline Kay

Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2002, 02:51:22 PM »
> you are aware of what this all will cost??
>
> If i was you, i would go for the brand new AmigaONE XE with a g4 800mhz ppc cpu.. All in all i bet it would be cheaper than upgrading the a1200.

So would I, but there may be other reasons to have a good classic system, such as compatibility with older software and games, and the charm of having a classic Amiga. As for cost, it depends. A lot of this can probably be found second hand, especially now that the AmigaOne is released. Even if he does buy it new, I doubt it would reach the cost of an AmigaOne-XE system.

It depends on what he wants.

Kay
 

  • Guest
Re: Amiga 1200 tune up
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2002, 04:28:35 PM »
I just asked to know what are the possibilities, like Kay said I just want a working classic Amiga to play my old games I used to play when I was a kid :) (got a bunch of diskettes hanging on the shelf...)

I thnik my choises will be to buy a tower, an harddisk (a 4 gb is enough for me), a CD-ROM and a floppy or catweasel (depends if I find the floppy second hand...)

But first I have to find the money because I've just bought a new laptop which I need for my university studies and I spent all I had left, will have to wait a bit to buy this stuff...and maybe in the future I'll upgrate it a bit with several other stuff...for now I just want a *working* Amiga :))

Thanks a lot for your help

Silver