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Thread: Upgrade

  1. #1
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    Upgrade

    Hi

    All,

    I may have cheated, but posting all my queries under a new topic, thans looking around for existing topics, many apologies.

    I am going to take out my amiga 500+ this summer for my younger so to play with.

    All is standard with it -

    OS- where can i get this, how do I install this, will it also play the old original miga games?
    Hard drive -mine has 1mb, can I expand and store some games on this?
    graphics card - can i add this, where do i get it from ?
    processor - faster processor - can this be done?, which one and where from?

    Internet- can this achived?
    Windows replica? - can have a windows like look to the amiga, ie start menu etc...

    Many thanks guys, I live in essex - if there is anyone near me, it would be great to learb a bit more?

    Many thanks

    Manni

  2. #2
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    Taking your questions in turn:

    1, OS- where can i get this, how do I install this, will it also play the old original miga games?

    The Amiga's OS is called Workbench, and as you have an Amiga A500 Plus you should have version 2.04.

    The Amiga OS is split into 2 parts. Most of it is stored on a Rom chip inside the computer, called the Kickstart rom. When you first switch on the Amiga you should see a startup Kickstart screen. With older A500's it was the Kickstart 1.3 screen, which was white with a hand holding a blue disk. This was an iconic screen for Amiga fans. For later Amiga Kickstart versions the screen is purple with an animated disk going into a drive, and the version number of the Kickstart rom version shown. Your A500 Plus will have this later purple screen with animated disk.

    Games and many other programs all came on self booting disks, so no OS is needed to be installed on the Amiga itself as the Kickstart roms contain all they need.

    2, Hard drive -mine has 1mb, can I expand and store some games on this?

    Your A500+ doesn't actually have a Harddrive. The 1MB is the amount of ram the Amiga has installed.

    As standard Amiga games are loaded from floppy disk and the system doesn't need a harddrive to run them. Games boot directly from starting up the system because all that is required is already in the Amiga's kickstart roms. So like a games console, for gaming you just put the disk in the drive and switch the Amiga on.

    For the A500 model, to add a HDD there is a side expansion on the left of the system. Many makers made external harddrives that connected to this port. A harddrive is not needed to use an Amiga, and most Amiga users back in the day never owned one. And for gaming it isn't required. But for more serious use a harddrive is useful as you can setup a copy of Workbench to boot from the HD and load games and applications to run faster from the HDD, much like a PC.

    You can also add more ram to the A500. A trapdoor slot under the A500+ allows a 1MB ram upgrade to be fitted, giving 2MB chip ram. And more ram can be added to side expansions, up to 8MB fast ram. Many side expansions were combined ram and HDD units, so a single expansion could add more ram and a HDD at the same time.

    3, graphics card - can i add this, where do i get it from ?

    You cannot add a graphics card to the A500. It has a built in custom chip set inside the Amiga, and these chips are used to create the Amiga's graphics. To connect the Amiga to a display, the RGB port on the back is used. To connect to a TV, the A520 that originally came with the Amiga allows connecting to the ariel socket on a TV. The image quality won't be that good though. A better option is to buy an Amiga to scart cable to connect it to a TV with a scart input. This will give a very good picture for playing games. The company http://www.amigakit.com sell these. But if they are out of stock I know a few other places that might have them if you are interested. Expect to pay around 15 for one of these.

    4, processor - faster processor - can this be done?, which one and where from?


    The only way to upgrade the processor to a faster one in the A500 is again with a side expansion. Some side expansions included a processor upgrade (called an accelerator), as well as extra ram and a harddrive, all in the same unit. The GVP A530 was the best of this kind. You can see some information about this by going to http://www.amiga-hardware.com/showha....cgi?HARDID=68

    A500 expansions are becoming rare though so are not easy to find, and can be expensive to buy from sellers if they do come up. Harddrive and ram only expansions do sometimes appear and are more affordable.

    5, Internet- can this achived?

    Not realistically on the A500 as it is too slow and limited with ram. The later A1200 is much more expandable and it is easily possible with that model. Equally if you are interested in expanding and getting the most from the Amiga I would highly recommend you consider buying an Amiga A1200 and a Blizzard 1230 MKIV accelerator for it, as that will give you everything you are considering. Cost if a decent second hand A1200 would be about 30-40, and the Blizzard accelerator about 100-140. The A1200 also has the big advantage of a standard IDE HDD port built in so added a HDD is easy, or as many are now doing, using a 4GB CF memory card instead of a real HDD. Also the A1200 has a laptop PCMCIA card slot, allowing laptop network cards to be used, to easily network the A1200 and connect it to the internet.

    6, Windows replica? - can have a windows like look to the amiga, ie start menu etc...

    Amiga's use Workbench, later versions now known as AmigaOS. And it is still in development for newer systems running PPC processors (same as the older Apple Macs). Current release is Amiga OS 4.1. However that isn't possible on the A500. Your A500 will use Workbench 2.04 or 2.1. You can customise it and there are loads of utilities to do this. Some exist to add a windows like start button and task bar if you wished. Take a look at http://www.aminet.net to see what is available.

    If you did manage to expand the A500 with some more ram and a HDD, then a preconfigured Workbench package called ClassicWB is available free, that contains a load of utilities and features already setup and ready to use.

    The other advantage of a HDD in an Amiga is a utility called WHDLoad. This allows the installing of nearly all Amiga games from floppy disk to a Harddrive. Most Amiga games were not designed to run from HDD and instead needed to be booted from floppy disk. The WHDLoad utility gets over this problem and does allow them all to be installed and run directly from the HDD. Speeds up boot times from minutes, to seconds, and works perfectly. Again though, an A1200 with a blizzard accelerator is the better and preferred option for this.

    I hope that answered all your questions, and probably gave you many more.

    At the end of the day... if all you plan to do is play some Amiga games and relive the Amiga, then keep your A500 as it currently is. Buy a scart lead for it to get the best picture quality for gaming on your TV, and boot the games from floppy disk (there are also ways to download games and write them back to floppy disk, which is good for such an Amiga setup).

    If on the other hand you wanted much more, with HDDs, more ram, faster processor, ability to install games to HDD and load them etc.. then I wouldn't bother trying to upgrade the A500, but instead buy an A1200 and Blizzard accelerator.

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


  3. #3
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    Hi

    Harrison,

    Many many thanks for your reply, yes it has given me alot to think about, as rightly said if just playing games then I should stick with the 500+.

    My plan is to aquaint myself with the 500+, i wont spend money on it,

    I will purchase the amiga to scart kit.

    If I buy the extra 1mb ram- will that improve improve games loading up?

    If i do load utilities and customise, will this not go away when i turn the amiga off ?,

    where can i download games and write them back to floppy disc?

    I have downloaded WinUAE for my pc, but it is asking for kick start/ how do i get round this, is there instruction for this?

    Also what is the most powerful amiga out, is it 1200 or something else.

    Many thanks Harrrison.
    What have you done your to your amiga?
    Manpreet

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