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      /  What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
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Poll : What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Chipset
Software
Both
Pancakes
 
PosterThread
BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 30-Nov-2021 19:58:51
#161 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@DiscreetFX

Well let's agree that the Amiga was sadly not defined by the use of hard drives despite it being the best 'upgrade' I ever bought! Syndicate, Theme Park and The Settlers without disk swapping were sublime!

An 030 and extra memory were nice but not as massive a leap as a hard drive and yet C= did their best to dissuade their adoption and convince most A500 users that it was, "a PC thing!"

Last edited by BigD on 30-Nov-2021 at 08:01 PM.

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matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 30-Nov-2021 23:30:18
#162 ]
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Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1465
From: Kansas

billt Quote:

At the time, the chipset made it possible to have that software user experience. Today, we don't need super special hardware to have that same software user experience, pretty much any CPU, GPU etc. combination can be used to give us that experience now. I vote for software...


Today, standard chipset hardware SoCs include the Raspberry Pi, Apple SoCs and AMD HSA SoCs in consoles. Maybe this is not "super special hardware" like the Amiga chipset back in 1985 but it still makes these hardwares special and helps to make them successful. Without standard hardware chipset advantages, there is OS competition to develop optimized drivers and support the most commodity hardware possible. While the "software user experience" of an AmigaOS may be adequate, a software only Amiga will struggle to compete as it has less "special" than when using a standard hardware chipset. Without standardized Amiga hardware and the improved Amiga software compatibility it brings, AmigaOS features and deficiencies will be more important as the Amiga struggles to adapt to foreign hardware.

BigD Quote:

Well let's agree that the Amiga was sadly not defined by the use of hard drives despite it being the best 'upgrade' I ever bought! Syndicate, Theme Park and The Settlers without disk swapping were sublime!

An 030 and extra memory were nice but not as massive a leap as a hard drive and yet C= did their best to dissuade their adoption and convince most A500 users that it was, "a PC thing!"


The Amiga 880kiB floppy was a sizable amount of storage in 1985 when most games were designed for 8 and 16 bit computers with 64kiB to 640kiB of memory. IDE/PATA wasn't introduced until 1986 and hard drives were large with most requiring a 5.25" drive bay. It probably wasn't feasible to even add a hard drive to the Amiga 500 when it was launched in 1987. An IDE interface could have been added a few years later as the Amiga 500+ but CBM didn't get the Amiga 500+ with ECS and 1MiB out the door until late 1991 and still without an IDE interface. The Amiga 500 A590 hard drive add-on was introduced in 1989 but it was expensive and bulky. It wasn't until the Amiga 600 and Amiga 1200 in 1992 before hard drive interfaces became standard for Amigas and too many were sold without hard drives. By this time, most games were designed for 16 and 32 bit computers with 1MiB to 4MiB of memory. These games often required 2 to 10 880kiB floppies and some were using CD-ROMs with many times this storage. One of the biggest advantages of an integrated chipset is standard hardware which CBM wasted by failing to create, upgrade and support competitive standards.

Last edited by matthey on 01-Dec-2021 at 04:49 AM.
Last edited by matthey on 01-Dec-2021 at 12:06 AM.

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agami 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 1-Dec-2021 1:36:56
#163 ]
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Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 874
From: Melbourne, Australia

@DiscreetFX

Quote:
Maybe Ill need a 2nd Cube in time for the 22nd Century!

Yes, but you'll need a SCSI to PCPI (Phase-Controlled Plasma Interface) adapter.

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agami 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 1-Dec-2021 2:47:01
#164 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 874
From: Melbourne, Australia

@BigD

Quote:
...not defined by the use of hard drives despite it being the best 'upgrade' I ever bought!

I certainly agree.

I remember it like it was yesterday. During 1991, 1992, and the better part of 1993 I'd go at least once a month to my favourite Commodore Amiga retailer and authorised repair centre, Maxwell Computer Centre in Abbotsford. They also maintained an up-to-date library of general public domain software and Fred Fish disks. Just BYO floppy disks or buy in store. About half the store was Commodore, the other almost half was IBM compatibles.

As a poor, recently graduated young person, and recently returned to Australia from Yugoslavia, I was working low-pay odd jobs. The best I could afford in 1991, after selling my C64, was an A500 with 512kB expansion board. During 1992 I was saving up to buy the A590 20MB HDD add-on which would also add another 2MB of RAM.
NOTE: "Saving" is a thing regular people have to do if they want to buy things that are not essential expenses like food, clothing, rent, transport, etc. Money doesn't grow on trees, and most people are not made of money.

So there I was in the winter 1992 (it's opposite down here) telling Lee (sales manager at Maxwell) how I will soon be buying the A590. He tells me to save my money as the overall better value will be available in the then soon-to-be-released A1200 HD. Faster CPU, 2MB chip RAM, 40MB HDD, and the new AGA chipset. Made sense.

I got it the week it came out. It was one of the best purchases I ever made in my life. I felt it at the time, and to this very day.
The HDD was a life changer. So much so that in 1994 I spent $500 AUD on an upgrade to a 200MB 2.5" drive. Commodore must have used cheap 40MB drives, because the 200MB drive was faster, quieter, and even slimmer. Amiga with HDD = Productivity improved by 200% and gaming experience improved by 100%.

It reminds me of the time when SSDs (SATA) where starting to be available at decent enough sizes at reasonable prices, about $0.50/GB. Just replacing a spindle drive in a Mac, Windows PC, or Linux PC with a SSD drive would give a very noticeable, and much appreciated speed boost.

Last edited by agami on 01-Dec-2021 at 02:50 AM.

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kolla 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 2:38:39
#165 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Aug-2003
Posts: 2044
From: Trondheim, Norway

@matthey

Quote:

but if an audio CD-ROM drive was significantly cheaper, then it would have been compelling to use it.


Not really. Have you used CDTV and CD32 much? The CDTV is single speed - 150k/sec, the CD32 is double speed 300k/sec and already struggles, often has to re-read - notoriously flaky. Is 300k/sec (ideal conditions) enough for you?

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matthey 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 4:50:43
#166 ]
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Joined: 14-Mar-2007
Posts: 1465
From: Kansas

matthey Quote:

but if an audio CD-ROM drive was significantly cheaper, then it would have been compelling to use it.


kolla Quote:

Not really. Have you used CDTV and CD32 much? The CDTV is single speed - 150k/sec, the CD32 is double speed 300k/sec and already struggles, often has to re-read - notoriously flaky. Is 300k/sec (ideal conditions) enough for you?


I haven't had any problems with my CD32 CD-ROM drive but it has mostly been adult used. Price was very important for early CD-ROM based systems like the CDTV, 3DO, CDi, Sega (Mega-)CD, NEC PC Engine TurboDuo, Pioneer LaserActive and Tandy VIS which were all unsuccessful products. PC clones and the Playstation with CD-ROMs did eventually become successful when CD-ROM drive prices dropped. CBM had an opportunity in this market using the cheap audio CD-ROM drive but was too slow getting products out the door. Reducing the CD-ROM drive price from $400 to $15 is a game changer. If anything, the CD32 CD-ROM drive could have been easier to change as most people would be happy to swap out a bad drive or even two rather than pay 27 times the cost. As far as the slow double speed CD-ROM drive, the North American Neo Geo CD was launched in 1996 with only a single speed CD-ROM drive.

Jeff Porter Quote:

I got called to big guy's office in New York City. He said Jeff we need to cost reduce the CDTV. I said ok. They were paying $400 just for the CD-ROM drive in this thing. I was like holy crap that is a lot of money. So I went to Japan and I talked to Sony. I said, you guys invented the CD-ROM. I'm guessing you have a cheap one somewhere. And they said here's all the CD-ROMs we have. Blah, blah, blah. I want the motorized one where you push the button and the CD comes out. Oh, that's in the audio product line. I said ok, show me the audio product line. That one looks good, that's the one I want. Oh, that's not for data. Dude, it's a CD, there's data on it already. We can use that. Everybody gave me the uhh and I said watch me. Watch me. So I went to a factory in Japan that had built all our floppy drives and I said I need a little help. You guys speak Japanese and I don't. Work with Sony and suck their brains dry. You know, I'm going to make an IDE interface for a CD-ROM drive. No one had ever done that before. With an audio mechanism and a double speed CD-ROM drive with predictive track seeking and all this other kind of stuff. We had some pretty cool software and firmware to make the CD-ROM drive work. And uh...$15. It went from $400 to $15. Unfortunately, by the time the cost reduced CDTV got around, Commodore had kind of screwed up with the Christmas inventories building things.


https://youtu.be/9_dAZ5R6yNI?t=1385

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 9:58:12
#167 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@kolla

Yeah, the CD32 drive was fine and the same speed as the A1200 Squirrel interface that was so popular. 030 50Mhz with EDO fast ram and hard drives were the next step up (the SX32 Pro provided this upgrade) with A1200 CD/HD models to match in 1995/96 and not like the Walker would have provided a 25Mhz 030!

Last edited by BigD on 02-Dec-2021 at 09:59 AM.

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Srtest 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 13:18:23
#168 ]
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Joined: 15-Nov-2016
Posts: 258
From: Israel, Haderah

I don't get it why it's about the drive's speed where in the computing world you would transfer it to the HD drive. You can still find various dos installations on CD versions doing exactly that where the CD is at best a carrier of CD tracks. It's about the base of the model like in the CD32 doing and working from the CD but in designing the package around it. The commodity is the CD and from there you transfer it or divide it if necessary. The based thing is more about establishing it as a floppy replacement while also establishing a different relationship between the unit and the computer in the send the hard drive is the base of operations. The CD32 was like a game console which was the better overall structure but within said structure the model is a multimedia computer and not a console. The A1200 kinda emphasized a lower standard game computer while missing both the stage of computing being based on saving your work and operating from there while consoles were ditching its volumes and replacing them with newer ones. Relying on floppys was a problem which they didn't address.

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 15:01:24
#169 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@Srtest

The CD32 functionality should have been given to the A1200 at the same time as the CD32 launch. Having people hold off a CD-ROM purchase until the CD1200 was released was suicide! How they dropped the ball on launching what was just a CD32 sawn in half I'll never know! Did it even mix the Paula audio with the CD music? And it wasteful used the trapdoor expansion rather than PCMCIA slot! Epic fails all round! And C= forced C= UK to launch early with only repackaged AGA disk releases rather than something like Wing Commander from the get go!

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 15:04:56
#170 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@Thread

For goodness sake; Diggers and Oscar as launch games! A business suicide case study right there! And I like the CD32!

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 16:57:19
#171 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12103
From: Norway

@BigD

Commodore should have Open Source the hardware and given it to Atari.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 02-Dec-2021 at 04:57 PM.

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davidf215 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 2-Dec-2021 16:59:05
#172 ]
Member
Joined: 14-Feb-2010
Posts: 95
From: Texas

@bison Original post

I voted for both. Like agami mentioned way back in post #2, the combination of hardware and software enabled creativity of graphics and sound. For me it was high resolution graphics coupled with the hardware able to handle graphics more smoothly than the competition. I also thought the A1200 design of a computer in a wedge-shaped case was cool and conveniently small.

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Turrican3 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 10-Dec-2021 7:55:23
#173 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 20-Jun-2003
Posts: 362
From: Italy

@BigD

Don't quote me on this, but I'm fairly sure the CD1200 had to use the trapdoor due to Akiko.

Having said that, while I can agree not having this expansion available at the same time as the CD32, I don't believe it hurt Commodore *that* much, as the latter was clearly targeting a quite different market (and was apparently even doing fine despite the lack of a true killer application)

Of course there's no way it would NOT have been destroyed by the Playstation - heck I'm not sure even a Hombre-powered console would succeed against the Japanese giant, but perhaps it might have helped keeping Commodore afloat (and perhaps it could have been a nice upgrade path for the Amiga graphics too, assuming sooner or later a home computer version would come)

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agami 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 11-Dec-2021 3:20:21
#174 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Jun-2008
Posts: 874
From: Melbourne, Australia

@thread

If we zoom out past this narrowly defined poll, it becomes even more challenging to codify what defined the Amiga.

This is something that has been a frequent topic for my mind to mull over. While the Amiga as a platform had a strong theme throughout its 8 years of releases, it is still challenging to nail down what defined it, or how best to define it.

What the Amiga is, was different enough between the 80s and the 90s, with different use-cases, geographies, and demographics.
Beyond the hardware and the OS, the Amiga software library was extremely diverse. Looking back at non-games releases from 1985 through to 1994, and even including post Commodore years up to 1998, there is almost no software domain that didnt have applications for the Amiga.

From a hardware perspective, we all know how it enabled NewTek to become the premier video effects and video switching company. The hardware was very hackable so it was used outside the desktop computing arena, e.g. Train schedule display, irrigation control, hotel/motel in-room entertainment menu and video playback control, launch vehicle telemetry.

Just when I thought I saw it all, Id see something new, like the cable and software to backup data to a VHS tape, the Graffiti chunky graphics add-on, or PowerPC expansions.
And weve all seen the trend continue today with all sorts of hardware augmentations for the classic Amigas, like the Indivision flicker-fixer/scan-doublers, FPGA accelerators, ARM based RTG cards with USB and Ethernet, and lets not forget the Mediator PCI expansion system.

When the IBM-compatible PC was mostly a business PC, and when Apple was the kingpin in DTP, Amiga was indeed a computer for the masses. Young or old, professional or personal, creative or mundane, white collar or blue collar.
If only Commodore management understood what they had.

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spudmiga 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 1:28:01
#175 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 12-Dec-2002
Posts: 848
From: England, United Kingdom

@bison

Amiga was NEVER just an operating system which sadly (IMO) a lot of people like to think these days.

"let's get Amiga to run on x86... let's get Amiga to run on Pi..."
What.. along with the dozens of other OSes that run on this hardware that people ignore? Yawn.

In the Amigas heyday it was always a proprietary HARDWARE platform with its unique custom chipset running its own native Operating System! It offered something different to the 'off the shelf' parts used in the PC and to a lesser extent the Atari ST. It was its own man like the MAC but was much more affordable and offered superior features and performance...

Amiga did best as BOTH a HARDWARE and SOFTWARE platform!!! So THAT is my final answer

Spud

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 10:23:32
#176 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 12103
From: Norway

@spudmiga

I think you nailed it.

what people dont think about when asking for AmigaOS ported to x64, ARM, is where software is going to come from, a lot software we have from old days is not open source, and is not being updated, not having the source code of that game, or of that program, is a bigger problem than porting the OS to x,y,z.

I tried TvPaint the other day, think it be easy to do some stuff in it, I realized does not have simple things as coordinates, I was bit disappointed, this one of this programs that everyone say is so good, but even a bit newer program like that has big issues. Not because its not working, but is so horrible outdated. But more to the point it never be fixed.

I should buy sketchbook, I have not done that, because while technically can be 70% good artist, Im spending my time on coding, I did buy PPaint PPC, but not sure where it is. (bit useless for true color graphics.)

This might become my next project actually, making a picture viewer that is not useless.

Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 12-Dec-2021 at 11:11 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 12-Dec-2021 at 11:07 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 12-Dec-2021 at 11:03 AM.
Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 12-Dec-2021 at 11:02 AM.

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ppcamiga1 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 10:31:17
#177 ]
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Joined: 23-Aug-2015
Posts: 431
From: Unknown

@spudmiga

chipset was nice back in Amiga 500 days.
Amiga has better and faster graphics than rest of world.
But in Amiga 1200 days it was not enough.
sixteen color sprites, sixteen color playfields, unchanged since 1983 copper,
blitter as fast as in 1983, transfer to chip memory not changed since 1990.
All this was not enough for games and demos in Amiga 1200 days.
So I don't miss this. And don't need this in Amiga.

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 11:59:56
#178 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Yeah the hardware was ahead of the pack but the software was barely any better than the far cheaper Atari ST until 1990/1991 when it became the lead game platform target for developers. EA were one of the only differentiators because they stopped supporting the ST early on.

Since Team17, The Bitmap Brothers and Sensible Software represented the high point of Amiga game development in 1991-1996 you really needed an A1200 to appreciate that golden age! Otherwise for the 80s games and a cheap productivity home computer many were happy with an Atari ST.

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BigD 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 12-Dec-2021 12:43:19
#179 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 11-Aug-2005
Posts: 6195
From: UK

@ppcamiga1

Good luck telling the difference between the Amiga and Atari ST version of the major system seller Batman the Movie from 1989 other than the sound!

Also, which machine was known for its sound hardware (i.e. built in MIDI ports)? The Atari ST despite having a pathetic sound chip for software! No one knew the potential of the Amiga throughout the OCS years so it took the A1200 and the demo scene software developers moving to game production to show the world what the Amiga was capable of IMHO!

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bison 
Re: What defines Amiga: chipset or software?
Posted on 13-Dec-2021 1:34:16
#180 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 2043
From: N-Space

@spudmiga

Quote:
Amiga did best as BOTH a HARDWARE and SOFTWARE platform!!! So THAT is my final answer

Yes, I think it was both, back in the day.

For a while now it's mostly been software, since all new systems draw from the same pool of hardware components. The main difference between PCs and Macs is software and firmware (and aluminum). They both used the same CPUs and GPUs until recently, when Apple came out with its new processor.

Even if Commodore had been a better run company, I think it would have been hard to keep up with Nvidia on the hardware side past about 1998.

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