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Poll : What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Chipset
Software
Both
Pancakes
 
PosterThread
matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 8-Nov-2021 18:13:42
#61 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1487
From: Kansas

KimmoK Quote:

There's nothing that could have saved Amiga or CBM when Mehdi and Irwin were running the show.

They would have killed Amiga anyway, like they lobotomized A3000+ to become A4000.


Medhi was a business number cruncher who was intelligent. Yes, he did not understand the Amiga, the technology and therefore the products. He probably thought he could hire the right people but didn't understand enough to recognize the right people. This is likely why CBM ended up with Bill Sydnes making technology decisions who was awful. Medhi corrected the mistake by hiring Lew Eggebrecht who was very good so either he was learning or lucky. Medhi gets a lot of blame for the demise of CBM because he was the axe man but costs needed to be cut quickly to preserve capital and buy time to try to turn around the business. A good efficiency and turn around CEO would have cut top executive salaries including his own where he received a big raise as CEO while CBM was tanking. CBM had problems before he took over. R&D budgets had been cut too far, product development pipelines were too long (something Lew addressed but too late), there were too many disjointed but similar products in development, cost cutting was prioritized too much over performance to the point of reducing value and there was a general lack of organization, combined goals and overall vision for product development. There were uncontrollable market trends and technology changes which CBM had trouble adapting to like economies of scale advantages of x86 CPUs and chip process improvements with Moore's Law. Certainly Mehdi and Irving deserve a large portion of the blame for the fall of CBM though.

KimmoK Quote:

Actually ... modern Amiga might very well not be any better than it currently is, if Mehdi & co would have continued their task. Most likely they would have killed AmigaOS in favor of WinNT.



In my opinion, it is likely that CBM would have offered OS options, especially for the higher end computers. The Amiga 3000UX was an Amiga computer running AT&T SVR4 Unix. This was a good idea but after all the costly development CBM couldn't seal the deal with Sun Microsystems. I think AmigaOS would have been kept as an option for low end Amiga hardware and embedded systems which is where the Amiga should have been headed with cost reductions and more integration to be like the Raspberry Pi today but 10-20 years ago if they had survived.

KimmoK Quote:

Could Mike Battilana be the best Amiga CEO since 1984 ?
I would like to see, at least.


Do you refer to President Dave Morse at Amiga Corporation or CBM President Jack Tramiel as both left in 1984? Jack was very good or very bad (kind of like a George Patton or Donald Trump with a certain charisma but also lacking in diplomacy). I wouldn't rate Jack as a good CEO overall. I think Thomas Rattigan did an overall good job as CBM CEO. He may have even tried to reign in the power and financial abuses of Irving Gould which led to his downfall like Jack Tramiel earlier. That was the big problem for CBM. An ethical President/CEO would not have tolerated the corruption at the top by Irving who had basically seized control of the business and installed cronies who would ignore his abuses. There was some shady and unscrupulous business activity by Jack Tramiel at CBM as well. CBM did not have a good business reputation at the time CBM acquired the Amiga which negatively affected the introduction of the Amiga. Thomas Rattigan provided some professionalism and Irving promptly fired him and reinstated his cronyism. Medhi couldn't have made the necessary changes at the top even if he wanted and he proved to be a loyal crony of Irving collecting his high salary like others until the end.

Michele is/was the CEO of Cloanto. While I have every reason to believe he would be a good CEO of Amiga Corporation, I'm not sure how many businesses he can or wants to be CEO of at the same time.

Last edited by matthey on 08-Nov-2021 at 06:40 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 08-Nov-2021 at 06:23 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 08-Nov-2021 at 06:21 PM.

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 8-Nov-2021 19:02:37
#62 ]
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Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12190
From: Norway

@matthey

He can be CEO as many companies he can register, don’t need to lot people employed to have company, it does not need cost a lot, in fact owning a company comes with some tax benefits. Rent out your own apparent to yourself, put your car in companies name, in no time pay no tax.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 08-Nov-2021 at 07:06 PM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 08-Nov-2021 at 07:04 PM.

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matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 8-Nov-2021 22:03:27
#63 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1487
From: Kansas

NutsAboutAmiga Quote:

He can be CEO as many companies he can register, don’t need to lot people employed to have company, it does not need cost a lot, in fact owning a company comes with some tax benefits. Rent out your own apparent to yourself, put your car in companies name, in no time pay no tax.


Michele was likely President or CEO of Cloanto, C-A Acquisition and Amiga Corporation all at the same time spanning the world from Italy to the U.S. That's fine if he can manage it all but it may become a little more difficult if or when Amiga Corporation becomes more active. I believe he is trying to put as much of Amiga back together again as possible for a reason. Maybe we will have more clarity after the lawsuits.

The propaganda from socialists and anti-business liberals make it sound like starting a business is a cake walk with all the tax deductions necessary to never pay taxes again. I expect you have never tried to start a business before.

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JimIgou 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 8-Nov-2021 22:56:35
#64 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-May-2018
Posts: 114
From: Unknown

I'm not sure if I have a say in this. I own an A2000, but I use my MorphOS system a lot more. Of course, that isn't an Amiga but it feels like an extension of the legacy. 68K or PPC based systems both feel like Amigas to me, so for me it comes down to software.

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redfox 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 1:41:42
#65 ]
Super Member
Joined: 7-Mar-2003
Posts: 1945
From: Canada

@JimIgou

Thanks JimIgou. I think you have a say in this and IMHO your opinion matters. I agree with you.



redfox

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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 7:27:46
#66 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

Since 1992 most games on pc was 320x200 in 256 colors.
Most apps on pc/mac/atari 640x480 256 or hi-color.
Since 1992 developers on pc/mac/atari do not have to deal with bitplanes and something like HAM.
AGA was too little too late.
Making graphics for AGA takes too much work and time.
I have nothing against classic Amiga but it have to have graphics card better than AGA.

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 9:38:14
#67 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6393
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Your comments about AGA ring half true and the move to 3D didn't help. However, T-Zero and later Reshoot-R etc show there was a lot of untapped potential in the chips for 2D.

The situation for productivity apps was dire but 3rd party software like MagicTV with CrossDos allowed uni work to be possible on a TV at a great price point even in the late 90s (if you could find stocks of Amigas).

AGA was ok for Europe and the CD32 was sufficient to 'time extend' the company but the US had lost interest with corporate Daddies bringing IBM compatibles into the home and then the XOR patent dispute fully killed the US market and the CD32 lifeline!

Better hardware after Ranger was cancelled and then the A3000+ with DSP and AGA shelved was a pipe dream. Only the correct marketing of distinctive, niche but market comparable Amiga products could have built up C= for Hombre and the phasing out of the 'Amiga platform'. The 68000 based machines should have been phased out by 1991 with the proposed introduction of AGA and the A3000.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 12:18:39
#68 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

@BigD

AGA was not good enough in 1992.
Maybee if Commodore made only 8 bit chunky and 8 bit chunky HAM it will be barely ok.
Without chunky pixels at all AGA was too slow in 1992.
AGA was from the day one temporary solution.
Something to replace asap.



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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 12:31:42
#69 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6393
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Quote:
Without chunky pixels at all AGA was too slow in 1992.


030 CPU + AGA was fine for Wing Commander and Doom. CD32's 020 + Akiko chip was also a fine cheap solution for chunky to planar for the time.

The real problem was ECS, CDTV and the A600 tech prolonging the 68000 machines instead of forcing the introduction of AGA in 1991, maybe the CD32 in 1992 and AAA could have then been released in 1993. The AGA 'stop gap' instead of ECS would have been more than acceptable until 1993 especially in Europe.

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kolla 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 9-Nov-2021 20:03:52
#70 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2118
From: Trondheim, Norway

@ppcamiga1

Your memory seems to be skewed a few years, PCs back in 1992 - the year Windows 3.1 was released - were not great. Not at all.

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matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 0:49:49
#71 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1487
From: Kansas

BigD Quote:

030 CPU + AGA was fine for Wing Commander and Doom. CD32's 020 + Akiko chip was also a fine cheap solution for chunky to planar for the time.


A 68030@50MHz with fast ram and AGA may have provided a playable frame rate for Doom. The 68030 was only ~5% better performance than a 68020 at the same clock speed although higher clock rated chips were available. The 68030 was slightly better performance than a 80386 which was slightly better performance than a 68020 at the same clock speed.

Is Doom playable on a 386 DOS PC?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQEHHc1q06c

With a full size window and low quality detail, a 386@40MHz was getting 11 fps. It was necessary to shrink the screen size to about half to reach 15 fps which is starting to get playable. This would have been high end 386 hardware in 1992. A stock Amiga 1200 68EC030@14MHz would have had roughly 1/3 of this CPU performance. Even with the CD32 with Akiko removing the c2p overhead there is a shortage of CPU performance for Doom.

BigD Quote:

The real problem was ECS, CDTV and the A600 tech prolonging the 68000 machines instead of forcing the introduction of AGA in 1991, maybe the CD32 in 1992 and AAA could have then been released in 1993. The AGA 'stop gap' instead of ECS would have been more than acceptable until 1993 especially in Europe.


Up to the early '90s, CBM was still trying to cost reduce the 68000+ECS Amiga into a C64. A 68EC020+AGA didn't cost much more to produce and offered significantly more value so that is where the demand was. The 68EC020+AGA in 1991 would have competed nicely against the 386(SX) with VGA. AAA was still not practical and would not have been the next Amiga chipset which would have been AA+.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_AA+_Chipset

Lew Eggebrecht Quote:

>What sort of state was the Amiga in when you took over?

Well just over a year ago, AA was sort of languishing. The design was done but there was a lot of bugs. We were too conservative in trying to put it into a product and flush things out so we decided we wanted a AA product by Christmas '92 and we achieved that. We put together a little task force, did a final run of the chips and got everything right and the products came out. The engineers were happy to have a project to work on so that lack of direction really was overcome. We put more focus on doing things quicker and better. We have some very free thinking engineers in both hardware and software - very very creative, and if you don't give them specific goals they'll just continue to develop and develop. The process of converting a design to a product is something Commodore has always had difficulty with.

We're stopping all that. For instance we used to do 4 or 5 revisions of a chip but now it's 1 or 2 at the most. We like to get it right first time and we now have a lot of powerful in-house tools and simulations of chips to help us do that. We're also using a lot more industry-standard chips rather than unique things - if you leave engineers alone they'll re-invent the wheel every time and we can't afford to do that.

>Tell me about AAA - it's been worked on since 1989?

Yes, we worked on it from an architectural point of view for a long time but it's only been serious for about a year. It was obvious that AAA was not going to meet our cost targets for the mid to low end systems. We wanted to continue that development and we also had to have an enhancement quickly so, AA was the solution to that problem. It would have been nice to have AAA at the same time as AA but we just couldn't get there.

>What about this new AA+?

AA+ will be a more profitable version of AA with all the things we wished we'd got in but didn't have time. We have a list of all the problems we currently have at the low end. The serial port, we can't read high density floppies, there isn't enough band width to do 72 Hz screens plus there are no chunky pixel modes for rendering. We listed all those and said "OK let's go out and fix them as quickly as we can", so AA+ is an extension, not radically new architecture. We're doing the best that we can, taking advantage of advances in technology, significantly reducing the cost and that's the goal.

>Where does that leave people who have bought A1200s now?

It's going to be 1994 before you see any product. I don't believe there'll be any easy way to upgrade because of the packaging of the chips - they are surface mounted. The memory timing and interfaces are dramatically different as we're using a method called split cycling to do two cycles at once. To get the video out faster we're bursting out four 32-bit words in one memory cycle so you can't upgrade a 1200. It's the same all over though - you can upgrade a 286 to a 386 if you change the motherboard -that's progress. We'd love to ensure that no one was ever made obsolete but that's just not practical - you spend so much time being backwards compatible that it gets in the way of progress although compatibility is a major design target.

There is a limited amount of software available for the Amiga and you don't want to make that smaller. We want to ensure that if the developer does something legal, it will work on the next generation of the hardware. You may not be able to take advantage of new features, but you aren't obsolete. Unfortunately software is sometimes written to be timing critical or uses a feature that we didn't know existed and got designed out, so that leads to problems. We spend a lot of time and money on compatibility testing.


http://www.bambi-amiga.co.uk/amigahistory/leweggebrecht.html

As I said earlier, Lew Eggebrecht was very good. It's the lost years before him that were the problem. There was still a stiff headwind forming though. Doom was released in 1993 and x86 customers started buying more powerful CPUs than they needed for business. The 68EC020@14MHz with AGA was already at the low end of the market by 1992 and a 68EC030@28MHz with AA+ would likely have been even lower in CPU performance by 1994 (alright in 1993 if AGA had not been delayed). AA+ had 16 bit chunky which would have been good in 1994 but chunky needs CPU performance to move graphics data around unlike the days when the Amiga blitter did it. Maybe CBM could have switched to the 68040@28MHz as the Mac was still using enough 68040s for Motorola to have economies of scale in production. The 68040 ran too hot for most embedded uses so that hurt economies of scale. The 68060 was a great CPU with low enough power to sell well in the embedded market but Apple didn't buy any with the move to PPC so it was never clocked up as embedded markets didn't need it. The 68060 had good performance and a cost advantage of being able to use cheaper memory than the Pentium. It would have been fine for the Amiga initially but CBM would have had to license the 68k from Motorola to continue with the 68k which they had looked seriously at. Moving to PPC lost too much compatibility as we found out later and AAA was less compatible with the 68k with Amiga custom chips too. Today, both the 68k CPU and custom chips can be made with limitations and incompatibilities removed that were not even possible back then. After licensing the 68k, CBM would have been able to integrate the Amiga more which is what made the Amiga possible in the first place. One chip to rule them all with integration perfection. This is where Apple ended up with their SoCs after a bumpy ride to the top. How ironic that Steve Jobs wasn't interested in the Amiga because there was "too much hardware".

kolla Quote:

@ppcamiga1

Your memory seems to be skewed a few years, PCs back in 1992 - the year Windows 3.1 was released - were not great. Not at all.


That's what we keep telling him. In 1992, maybe 15% of PC clone sales were full 486 CPUs which had the needed power for Doom. The installed base of PC clones likely had as many 286s and 386SXs as full 386s, which were roughly the same performance as the 68030. After Doom launched in 1993, 486 sales likely jumped for "business" machines. This in turn fueled the Pentium with fast paced development that also sold well and the brute force "business" gaming market was born from the economies of scale.

Last edited by matthey on 10-Nov-2021 at 07:56 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 10-Nov-2021 at 01:07 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 10-Nov-2021 at 01:03 AM.

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kolla 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 6:00:01
#72 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2118
From: Trondheim, Norway

And Doom was released at the very end of 1993, as I recall it being the brand new thing when I bought the A1200 in January 1994. I’m sure Doom itself led many to upgrade their 386 systems… but that would be 1994 already, and not 1992.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 8:27:43
#73 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

@kolla

Amiga 1200 was released in October 1992.
After release of Wolf3D and Win 3.1.
Just month before release of Comanche and Ultima Underworld II.
In October 1992 rest of world use chunky pixels.
Developers on pc/mac/atari do not have to deal with bitplanes.
AGA should have chunky pixels.
AGA has not it means AGA was crap.





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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 8:29:13
#74 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

I have nothing against classic Amiga.
But graphics in it should be changed to something at least decent at end of 1992.

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kolla 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 10:52:34
#75 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2118
From: Trondheim, Norway

@ppcamiga1

Quote:

Developers on pc/mac/atari do not have to deal with bitplanes.


They did, Atari ST had up to 4 bitplanes, and mac at the time only had one bitplane - they were still monochrome in 1992 - Macintosh Color Classic came in 1993.

And PC? EGA, VGA were planar, SVGA was really where chunky became the norm.

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mbrantley 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 12:33:37
#76 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Jun-2010
Posts: 556
From: Mobile, Alabama, United States

@kolla

Macintosh II came in 1987. The used one I acquired much later (and cheaper) had an 8-bit color video card inside.

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kolla 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 14:35:48
#77 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2118
From: Trondheim, Norway

@mbrantley

Yeah, but then we can just as well compare with big box Amiga systems that had graphics cards, and not stock A1200.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 15:01:26
#78 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 437
From: Unknown

@kolla

By the end of 1992 there was Atari Falcon win 16 bit chunky colors.
Mac LC II with 16 bit chunky colors was released in March 1992.
Vesa 1.2 standard was released in October 1991.
By the end of 1992 SVGA with 16 bit color was affordable.

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matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 22:12:17
#79 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1487
From: Kansas

ppcamiga1 Quote:

By the end of 1992 there was Atari Falcon with 16 bit chunky colors.


The Falcon 16 bit chunky mode was slow due to limited memory bandwidth, the 68030 didn't have enough performance to push chunky pixels well, the data bus was a bottleneck at 16 bits and an 8 bit plane mode was added which saves memory and memory bandwidth over the 16 bit chunky mode.

"Faster Than Light: The Atari ST and the 16-Bit Revolution" page 234Quote:

Unfortunately, the Falcon landed gently in late 1992, a year after it was announced and at a time when full 32-bit systems had become the norm. And although the Falcon sported a 32-bit 68030 processor and a 32-bit video bus, the rest of the machine still only had a 16-bit data bus and 24-bit address bus, both of which hobbled real world performance enough to show up in reviews and comparison tests. That probably didn't affect the machine all that much in the marketplace, though, and the Falcon played games with rendered 3D animations much more quickly than the ST ever could. But in the UK, the Amiga 1200 cost £100 less and was still a better game machine. The fact of the matter was the Falcon should have come out in 1990, when Apple was already releasing 68030 machines IBM-compatibles were already 3 years into the 80386. In 1992, it was already time for the 486 and 68040. The Falcon didn't get the 68040 and wasn't competitive enough.


The Falcon was higher end and more expensive than the Amiga 1200 but was still not high enough performance to use the 16 bit chunky mode well.

Atari Falcon030 Doom (BadMooD): v6 upgrades (beta)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZEd3aGI1Fk

The Falcon probably averages about 10 fps with moderate screen size shrinkage. It's a pretty good result for a 68030@16MHz which likely has some help from the DSP and other hardware. The CPU performance limited by the graphics memory bandwidth is still the most important factor for Doom performance. A 68060 AGA Amiga using CPU c2p plays Doom just fine and better even than a Pentium with more than a few cheap VGA cards.

ppcamiga1 Quote:

Mac LC II with 16 bit chunky colors was released in March 1992.


The LC II was introduced in 1992 at $1699 which was a price reduction from the LC of $800. Macs were never cheap or low end. The Amiga started much cheaper with the Amiga 1000 introduced at $1285 in 1985 and the Amiga 1200 was introduced at $599 in 1992. You don't seem to understand the difference between high end and low end products. It is true that CBM used the same chipset for both high and low end Amigas which meant it was a compromise. Jay Miner likely suggested a higher end Ranger chipset with VRAM initially for the high end Amiga line but CBM balked at the cost. Neither did the high end Amiga 2000 come with a 68020 which had been out long enough for the price to drop to reasonable levels considering how much more powerful it was. The Amiga AGA chipset was good for a low end low priced Amiga 1200. It was the mid to high end Amiga 4000 where the AGA chipset did not compete well against high end VGA hardware. There was some advantage for having compatibility and standard hardware to use the same chipset but then it would have been better to have the high end Amiga hardware with newer processors and chipsets to start compatibility testing sooner. As it ended up, the slow transition from 68000+ECS to 68020+AGA was bumpy for compatibility.

ppcamiga1 Quote:

Vesa 1.2 standard was released in October 1991.
By the end of 1992 SVGA with 16 bit color was affordable.


Good graphics hardware was expensive back then, period. A 16 bit chunky mode also required a high performance CPU of at least a 68040 or 80486 for games like Doom (not even 3D and using hardware tricks with a 256 color mode) and extra expensive memory to take advantage of it back then. A good high end system for playing Doom cost upwards of $2000 in 1992 while the Amiga 1200 with AGA for $599 was a good low end system.

Last edited by matthey on 10-Nov-2021 at 10:37 PM.
Last edited by matthey on 10-Nov-2021 at 10:33 PM.

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Nov-2021 22:48:19
#80 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6393
From: UK

@matthey

Quote:
A 68060 AGA Amiga using CPU c2p plays Doom just fine and better even than a Pentium with more than a few cheap VGA cards.


A 68030 at 50Mhz AGA Amiga plays ADoom with Doom 1 & 2 WADs just fine with minor slowdown. The Final Doom WADs are more pleasant with an 060 & RTG but a Walker spec machine but with a full 030 50Mhz in early 1994 would have been ok as a Doom machine. Obviously C= would have had to have paid id Software to port it like they did with Origin and Wing Commander but it would have secured medium term survival and I think A500 owners WOULD have upgraded if that option had existed! Obviously, the US Amiga owners gave up far earlier

Last edited by BigD on 10-Nov-2021 at 10:49 PM.

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