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AuthorTopic: Pull the A1200 to a limit?  (Read 1873 times)

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  • Guest
Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« on: May 21, 2003, 05:19:33 PM »
What is needed / possible to throw at a 1200?

I want to keep it in the original casing, and the onlything in it now, that was not in it when i got it.. is a 1Gb IBM drive... no ide cable, going downtown later today or to morrow to get that.

I got NO idea about what Amiga is all about, i just dug up my old amiga from the storage room as a retro thing, i have found my self pretty well attatched to it...

im guessing i need a memory/cpu upgrade, wich one do i want? performence/price is not as much an issue now as it was 10 years ago so give me a few good alternatives, and i'll go hunt, see what i can find...

Anything else i need? i'll be looking around for an external floppy, as im going to try and put my slimline cd in the place of the original floppy... yes, i saw that on here, but i had actually been thinking about it b4.

Happy for all hints and tips.
as far as i know im 100% original a1200 nothing modified, and not even sure if there is any reasonable mods to do.

gimme all your best, i'll try and use it. im fairly handy with a soldering iron, and i aint scared of hardware... i been a PC fan for years, and you all know how you got to replace stuff in there to have a shot at following the scene...

Happily waiting

(As you might guessed im not english speaking nativly, im Swedish, sorry about the poor linguistic skills)

Offline PMC

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2003, 05:52:20 PM »
I love these posts!

First off, you'll need a new PSU.  Either try www.powerc.com (in the UK) or you could possibly build your own PSU from a AT type PC power unit.  Wiring instructions are available on the Aminet but come with no guarantees  :-D

The stock PSU is pretty weedy and goes pop if asked to supply too much juice.  There's no point in getting accelerators etc is the PSU won't run them!

Next you'll need an accelerator board.  The best bet is a 68060 board with a single simm socket as this won't need extra cooling and will still fit in the case.  Make sure it comes with a MMU and FPU.  Try also to get hold of one that supports a 64 Meg SIMM - i.e. Blizzard.  I think Power Computing also do a Viper accelerator that supports a 64 Meg SIMM.

You can fit PPC accelerators that go up to 240Mhz, but these require special cooling that the stock A1200's case cannot accomodate.   Some users complain of reliability issues with certain PPC cards.....  If you want to lost the case and remount into a tower then you've got access to PCI and drivers for the 3DFX Voodoo range, 10/100 Ethernet, Soundblaster 128 and TV cards.  

Next up is the IDE buffer or Power Flyer which you'll need to support more than one IDE drive.  If you go for the Power Flyer then take the opportunity of sourcing 3.1 ROMS if not already fitted (kickstart 40.xx)  as the PowerFlyer sits on your ROM headers.

Still want more?  There's a huge range of things out there, from soundcards to SCSI all waiting for someone with money and patience!
Cecilia for President

Offline mikeymike

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 05:55:53 PM »

What is needed / possible to throw at a 1200?

All kinds of things, presuming you don't want it anymore... bricks, pianos, large boulders, small children...

Offline alx

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2003, 05:59:58 PM »
Don't worry, I understand the english - though at first I though you wanted to know what would be good to throw at it :-o  :-)

Are you sure that the slimline CD will fit in the floppy drive space?  IIRC the photo you might be thinking about had the A1200 housed inside an A500 case.  And if you do decide to do that, you'll need more IDE equipment to hook it up.

You can easily upgrade the processor/RAM with the "trapdoor" under the case.  You can upgrade it to a 68060 @ 60/70 Mhz or so and shove some more RAM into the accelerator card.

There are other upgrades as well such as soundcards, but do remember that the A1200 was never intended to be heavily upgraded - if you want the latest and the greatest you'd need to put it in a tower.  Also, watch out for the power if you are adding loads; the original A1200 PSU is puny - it's worse than the A500 PSU.

Offline AmiDelf

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2003, 07:45:03 PM »
What do you really want to do with your A1200 my new friend? :) Tell us..

Because I've got a Amiga 1200 yesterday and I use it for games, for Deluxe Paint and other nice AGA programs. So I dont really need any big horsepower for that one. My Amiga 4000 does that job ennough for me.

You should get a A500 PSU or anything else, if you are stuck with A1200 PSU. Thats the best thing you could do first...

I love and respect people which care! And not those with
a heart made of stone.

Offline Hardboy

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2003, 08:17:02 PM »
A buffered IDE-controller is very very handy. Makes it possible to install lots of drives to the amiga. Installibg more than one drive, would probably need a case modification, as the original a1200 doesn´t have much space for upgrading...

  • Guest
Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2003, 08:40:44 PM »
I'll mod a at/atx powersupply, thats no problem, so power should be no problem, any thoughts as to ho much power the darn thing consumes?

i guess it seams more and more as i will have to rip the thing out off the original casing and put it in a PC case :- (

Oh well, im gona look around some more...

as we are talking, what are the names and models of a few decent upgrade boards?

please add a comment to the names as for if they need a new case, or will fit in the original "slot"

Thanks for all your understanding and support.

Offline PMC

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2003, 08:57:26 PM »
If you go for a used Power Tower from the Amibench as I did, then they come with a special adaptor to rewire the AT PSU to the A1200's power socket.  Unless you're handy with a hacksaw and sheet metal I'd spend a little extra and go for a proper A1200 tower as hacking your own can be a real ordeal - the A1200's motherboard is substantially longer than an AT/ATX units so clearing the PSU can be a problem.  Plus there is the issue of correctly aligning the backplane ports should you ever go PCI/Zorro in the future.....  

I ripped a PSU from a dead Compaq AT desktop and it happily runs my A1200, complete with 2x 3.5" hard drives, 2x CD-ROMs, Mediator, Soundblaster 128, 10/100 Network Card and lastly my trusty Appolo 040 accelerator and two 32Mb SIMMs.

If you're wanting accelerators then most 68030/68060 units will fit in the desktop case (the trapdoor slot underneath).  Certain Blizzard 68040's aren't recommended due to the size of the cooling fan, and any accelerator with more than one SIMM socket isn't going to fit.  You'll need a tower.

The best 68k accelerators are the blizzard units, as they can accept up to 128Mb of RAM with two SIMM bays.  Blizzards are well designed and reliable (so I'm told).  Next is the good old Apollo cards (which I have), and these are cheaper than blizzard units.  Again, you can get 68030/40/60 processors.  The 68060 is the one to have as it is by far the fastest.  The 68040 runs hot and consumes a fair bit of juice while the 68030 is really far too slow these days.  These cards can be retained if you fit a Mediator eventually as it connects to both the accelerator and the A1200.

Good luck!
Cecilia for President

Offline Damion

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2003, 09:12:13 PM »
The "Blizzard 1260" is an excellent product. If
you ever plan on using "SCSI", this is a great
board becasue is has an add - on SCSI board
that can be connected (about 80 - 100 euro for
the add - on board).

If you don't plan on using the SCSI, I would
get the "Viper 1260" card from Vesalia. It's
cheaper than the Blizzard, but lacks the
SCSI option. (www.vesalia.de)

I would suggest also an internal scandoubler/
flicker fixer, which allows the use of PC
monitors (very handy). Like the Blizzard,
it's made in Germany by DCE....I've had very
good experiences with their products.

The previously mentioned "buffered" IDE
interface is necessary to safely add additional
drives. Individual Computers probably makes
the best of the cheaper interfaces, it's about
30 or so euro and more than doubles the speed
of the IDE chain.

OK...I have been running a similar setup for
months now...all reliably on a well ventilated
A500 PSU.

The only stinker about the original case is that
it's very impractical to add a gfx board.
Personally, I like the A1200 case, so I will
wait for a nice 2000 or 4000 to upgrade further. :)

Offline Matt_H

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2003, 09:39:31 PM »
@ -D-

I've actually heard it's possible to stuff a BlizzPPC and BVision into the desktop case. Can't confirm it though.

@ Mr_B

If money is no object, and the above is true, that's probably what you should go for. Put a network card in the PCMCIA slot, and you've got a powerhouse luggable machine. You should probably leave the trapdoor off and keep a desk fan aimed at the machine...

As for power, I ran a 1200 w/ 060, SCSI, external floppy, and 3.5" HD on an A500 supply before I towered it up.

Offline unclewilli-amigalover

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2003, 01:14:25 AM »
its like others have already stated, to expand you must have a more powerful power supply first. then maybe a eide express, connect more ide devices. a 68040 processor with about 32 meg fast ram. say that viper 68040/40 sounds good a softhut. now the second thing you need to do is build a pretty wood case around your a1200 so it uses the natural design of the 1200 for cooling and put all your add ons in the case, and a scan doubler flicker fixer and vga monitor and os3.9. that should do it.give a email address and i will send you a picture, for case ideal. if interested.

Offline cgutjahr

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2003, 02:27:20 AM »
The A1200 has three expansion ports that you can use without putting it into a new case:

1. The PCMCIA port at the left side of the case

You can put a standard PCMCIA-NIC in there. The drivers are available here, check the documentation for a list of supported cards.

Another option would be to use this port to read CompactFlash cards (using a suitable adaptor). Drivers and more information can be found here

Third option: An external CDROM-drive connected to the PCMCIA port. The most famous one would be the "Squirrel". A review is available here. Please note that a CDROM-drive connected this way will be slow and you may encounter problems when using certain accellerator cards.

2. The internal Clockport

Intended to be used for a real-time clock, but all accellerator boards and memory expansions come with a RTC on board, so it was never used for its original purpose.

You can connect a Highspeed-serial device to this port ("SilverSurfer", a brilliant device), or a soundcard ("Melody 1200", there's another one, but I can't remember the name).

3. The "Trapdoor"

Use this to mount either a RAM expansion or an accellerator (which always includes a RAM expansion). Recommended accellerators are the "Blizzard" range from Phase5, either get a 1230 (there are four different revisions, Blizzard 1230 - 1230 IV) or a Blizzard 1260. Blizzard accellerators carry one SIMM slot which can take up to 64 MB RAM, they can be equipped with a (pretty good) SCSI Add-On which has another SIMM slot (for additional 64MB RAM). Adding SCSI-hardware requires a bigger case (i.e. a Tower case), but many people simply used small SCSI-towers for their SCSI-hardware and didn't remove the A1200 from its original case.

Theoretically you could fit a BlizzardPPC accellerator (these have both a 68040 or 68060 CPU and a PPC CPU), but I don't know if the original case will be able to cope with the heat generated by these cards - and it will be a tight fit anyway.

That's about it, if you don't want to remove the computer from its original case. There's no way to add a graphics card to the system (again, you could theoretically add a BlizzardPPC accelerator and a BlizzardVision gfx card (which plugs into the BlizzardPPC) into the trapdoor, but this will be a very tight fit and such a combination will run very hot.

If you think about building a tower setup, get a PowerTower/Elbox Tower (they are the same), they're pretty good. Stay clear of Micronik Infinitiv towers - they look cool but they are crap - the Micronik "Classic" tower is pretty good, but pretty rare aswell. Or build your own tower, there's a myriad of ways this can be done. It can be a pretty easy job if the tower case is large enough (the larger, the better).

Using a tower case, you can use more harddrives, CDROM/CD-RW drives, a PPC accellerator (and a BlizzardVision if you're fancy). And there are PCI expansion boards that will give you access to standard PCI Hardware (USB stacks, gfx cards, sound cards, NICs).

Always keep in mind that a somewhat decent setup (PCI, PPC accelerator, even if you just want to have a 68060 CPU) is extremely expensive.

A very good source for more information about available hardware is The Big Book of Amiga Hardware.

Offline Desolator

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2003, 08:45:47 AM »
Mr_B, since your swedish, surf over to www.ggsdata.se and have a look at their line of products. They got all you need to upgrade your Amiga to your hearts contents. You can even mail the storeowner and ask what you need and he usually mail back some good advice on what to get and why you want to get it. :)

It must certainly be the best Amiga store in sweden with the greatest support and staff..  :-D
// Amiga - The computer for the creative mind.
// Ph.D in Amiga future optimism.

Offline Jiffy

Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2003, 08:56:07 AM »
cgutjahr has it pretty much covered.

Like he said: if you want to put your A1200 to the limit, you're gonna need serious bucks. The 'heaviest' upgrades will need you to put the A1200 in a tower. It gives you the most powerfull Amiga you can get, but in most cases it will not be worth the money.

I am more a 'middle-of-the-road' kind of guy on this: I like to have an expanded A1200, but there are limits to the amount of money I am willing to invest. Also, I prefer to keep my A1200 in its original housing.

So, upgrading your A1200 is quite simple:
1) Buy a turboboard with at least 16 MB ram.  Blizzards are good units, but rather expensive.  A 68030/50 card will give you a big boost in performance, but 68060 cards are _much_ faster. They are hideously expensive, though.... Imo, you should stay away from 68040 based cards if you keep your A1200 in its standard housing. They run very hot, while not giving you the performance of a 68060.
2) Internal scandoubler/flickerfixer. Enables you to use a standard (S)VGA-tube and gives you a much improved quality: interlaced modes are usable!
3) SCSI-card. The Blizzard SCSI-kit is very good and it gives you the chance of using a complete SCSI-tower with all kinds of devices. This setup is easy to maintain, fast & reliable.
4) A reasonably sized 2.5" harddisk. If you use SCSI, you won't need a new (buffered) IDE-interface. The standard IDE-interface of the A1200 is relatively slow, but will do for most stuff. I get around 2 MB/s with a 4 GB drive. Suits me fine.
5) Use the PCMCIA-slot for a networkcard and hook it up to your LAN or your broadband-internetconnection.
6) A standard A500 powersupply, which is more powerfull compared to the A1200 one, will fit the bill very nice for all of the above.

Upgrading to OS3.9 will give you a much improved userinterface without the hassle of having to install all kinds of utils at once.

With this, you will have a much improved A1200. It will cost you serious money though, even if you don't go all the way... Most software running on a standard A1200 will run on the above system without many problems.  Most of it will even run better, because of the improved performance.

I am at least very happy with my current config: reliable, reasonably fast and easy to maintain.
Life sucks. Then you die. Then they throw mud in your face. Then you get eaten by worms. Be happy it happens in that order... My Amiga 1200

  • Guest
Re: Pull the A1200 to a limit?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2003, 07:56:41 AM »
So, if i get it right, Get Kickroms for 3.1 get a cpu/memory upgrade, install OS3.9.. thats about it.. goody, im hunting...

lets see what i can dig up :- )