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  1. #1
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    Upgrading standard a1200 to run OS3.9?

    Hi,

    I have a standard a1200 that I want to upgrade to run AmigaOS3.9 and do a tower conversion.

    I've only just got the Ami out of the cupboard after many years of storage so I'm a bit behind on things and just want to know what type/the best expansion board to get is.

    What board would be easiest to get? From what I've read the "Blizzard 603e+ Power Board" would be nice (but rare/expensive)?

    Also, what type of GFX card would I need to do 1024*768, is that resolution possible? And lastly, I don't know much about PCI expansion cards, can one of them be used as well as the cpu accelerator?

    Thanks for any help I get on my questions.

  2. #2
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Hi Westy and welcome to classicamiga.

    Before you do anything else you need to make sure your A1200 has kickstart 3.1 roms and not 3.0 roms. You will need the 3.1 roms for OS3.9 to work. If you don't have 3.1 roms you can buy a set for under 20 and install them easily.

    The only other actual requirement to run OS3.9 is a HD and at least 4MB of fast ram in the A1200. And obviously a CD drive so you can install it. But to get the most from the OS I would recommend an accelerator card. And yes you can install an accelerator card and a PCI expansion card at the same time in an A1200 tower conversion as the PCI expansion cards have a pass through port for this.

    For the tower conversion I recommend you have a look at the DBox 1200 which is an A1200 tower conversion kit. This directly supports the available A1200 PCI expansion boards so is a good solution.

    Dbox is sold here: http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...roducts_id=307

    Amiket sell this with a PC-Key 1200 keyboard interface so you can plug a standard PC keyboard in without needing anything else.

    For the PCI expansion card, at the moment I would recommend one of the Mediator PCI boards. The Mediator PCI 1200 SX is quite expensive but offers the greatest expansion and features. This is here. A smaller cheaper version with less PCI slots is the Mediator 1200LT4 which can be found here.

    Amigakit which I'm linking too for these products also list the compatible PCI cards you can use with this PCI expansion. For graphics cards you can use a Voodoo 3, 4 or 5 and they are directly supported to work at higher resolutions in Workbench so are the perfect solution.

    The list of currently compatible PCI cards you can use with the Mediator PCI 1200 expansions can be found here.

    Do be aware that there is also a board called the Dragon Coldfire 1200 in development at the moment. This is a combined Coldfire PPC CPU Accelerator card and PCI expansion in one, but it was due for launch last year and is still not released yet, so I'm not sure what has become of this project. Information about this can be found at http://www.elbox.com/news_04_12_17.html It has a great specification, and if it is ever released I will be getting one for sure.

    The only other things you will need, other than an accelerator card, are a buffered IDE interface so you can connect a CD-Rom drive and a HD to the Amiga at once and run both at faster speed. And a PCMCIA port adaptor if you are going to be using the port. This converts the port so it is accessible inside the case to plug cards in.

    For the buffered interface, I think the 4xEIDE'99 Buffered Interface is good enough for most needs. This can be found here.

    Finally accelerator cards. You are correct that many cards are now becoming rare and hard to find. But some can still be found new if you do some searching. For the greatest compatibility and reasonable speed in OS3.9 a 68030 based accelerator is easily good enough and the easiest to still find for sale. Obviously a faster CPU would be better to get the most speed and performance, but 68060 accelerators are now becoming very rare. They do pop up on ebay from time to time though.

    The ultimate card is the Blizzard combined PPC and 68060 accelerator card which gives you the best of both worlds, but this is very rare. If you spot on for sale grab it!

    Hope that all helps.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
    C64 addict Staff Moderator
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    @Harrison
    You should add such faq's to the main site, to avoid to repeat yourself all the time. As we're getting more members asking for some Amiga help lately.

  4. #4
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    Yes, good idea. I will do that very soon. In the mean time we can direct others asking the same questions to existing posts.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  5. #5
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    Hi Westy and welcome to the Classicamiga forum!

  6. #6
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    Thanks Harrison! That's more useful info than I found in a day googling Sorry if my questions were a bit repetitive.

    Hi P G and Others.

    I'll have to start keeping an watch on the auction sites over here (in NZL) for parts, from browsing completed listings it seems some nice rare boards do pop up occasionally.

    I may go with buying a case here and modifying it, the shipping for the DBox from Amiket may cost more than it would to get a case here and hack it up. Guess my only other question would be about the PSU. The DBox specs list a 350W ATX PSU, if I get a standard ATX PSU, does just the power connector to the mainboard need to be changed? (guessing the molex connectors for HDDs, CD-ROM and all universal)

  7. #7
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    Yes, it would only require the altering of the power connector going to the A1200 motherboard. Everything else is standard.

    Don't forget that the A1200 gets its power through the rear connector from the external PSU, so to use a PC PSU you normally need to alter one of the power lines into an Amiga power connector so you can thread out through the back of the case and into the A1200 motherboard connector. Cutting the existing cable from your existing A1200 PSU is what most people do, but the only down site of this is that once done you lose your original A1200 PSU.

    I'm not sure if they still do it like this on the current tower conversion kits, or if they have a different method these days. Anyone know?

    BTW, did you know that Amigakit also have stores in other areas of the world? You might be able to get the shipping cheaper using one of the other stores they have. Or alternatively there are also some other stores still selling Amiga hardware. Have a look on the main site in the Amiga/weblinks section as they are included in there.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  8. #8
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    I just bought an amiga power cable from a guy on ebay who was selling loads of them. I expect they came from dead PSUs.

  9. #9
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    Thanks. I'll try use the case PSU first, rather have it all inside.

    Something else I was thinking about, what is the maximum resolution of OS3.9?
    If I use a Voodoo PCI card I may be able to use 800x600 or 1024x768 with my CRT screen, but would WorkBench support that? And if it did, what would happpen if I start a game up, that is much small res? Would it play inside a window, or?

  10. #10
    Retro Addict Administrator
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    The maximum resolution will depend on the Voodoo graphics card and the drivers used for the PCI card in Workbench. Workbench itself can support any resolution if the graphics card drivers have it included.

    I've not had any personal experience of running a PCI graphics card on an Amiga (only Zorro based 24-bit card on an A4000) so others would be better to verify this, but as far as I know the PCI graphics card will work in the same way. So you could only use it within Workbench. When you start a game it will be hard coded to use the standard Amiga 15Hz TV modes so you wouldn't get an image from the PCI video card and would need to have a display connected to the standard Amiga RGB port or a TV connected to the RF or composite ports.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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