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  1. #1
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    HELP! AMIGA experts! Better to get PAL OR NTSC model?

    First, let me be clear, I have owned both the Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200 machines in the past. Being in Canada of course what was available to me (I was not into importing in those days) of course I ended up with NTSC models as that is the Canadian standard as it is in the good ol' U.S.A. Though I never got as far as getting higher models or using a Video Toaster etc, I did have simple fun making Titles for my home movies using just Deluxe Paint and recording to video tape. I am also knowledgeable enough that I made bootable disks and I knew to hold down the two mouse buttons to access the Early Startup Screen on my 1200 for certain games which was fine on my 1084's Monitor.

    Here is the thing, currently I own NO Amiga hardware. I DID just recently acquire one of those 4 GB Compact Flash Cards with IDE adapter from the UK containing a bootable WB 3.1 with TONS of games/demos/applications all set to go. To test I even booted it using UAE on my PC, worked very well actually. I noticed when I booted emulating an NTSC Amiga and tried the game Super Skid Marks )an overhead racing game) the game had graphical glitches. So of course I then tried it again this time emulating a PAL Amiga and when I tried it again the game loaded with perfect graphics but it seemed much slower gameplay wise. Ok so to drone on I will just ask, though I live here in NTSC land when I am ready to buy another AMIGA might I be better served getting an PAL unit? Are they more compatible with the majority of titles? I don't really plan recording the output to make titles like I did back in the day considering the PC editing software I use now lol! The majority of the use would be for playing games, a recordable signal would be nice but I am sure I could at least display it using an add on device or something. Would I be correct in assuming I could obtain a PAL Amiga but use an American/Canadian power supply? I would think the output to the PC would be the same it just needs to be the proper unit to plug into our outlet? OK that's it, that is the capacity of my knowledge. What I would humbly request is: Please give me your advice, suggestions, opinions, comments and tell me what you think would be my best option and why? I would greatly appreciate any and all feedback! THANK SO MUCH IN ADVANCE!!!!
    AMIGA - Some people will never "get" it........

  2. #2
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    Burger Time Champion, Sonic Champion Harrison's Avatar
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    To understand PAL vs NTSC, you need to know a bit about the 2 TV formats. NTSC is an older TV standard and is not that great. It has hue issues, which is what made many dub NTSC as meaning Not The Same Color twice. It is basically not good at colour reproduction. PAL in contract is much better at colour reproduction. Apart from the colour differences. NTSC is a lower resolution than PAL. PAL contains 625 lines of usable resolution, whereas NTSC only 525 lines. So PAL has the advantage of 100 extra vertical lines of resolution. However NTSC has a faster refresh rate than PAL. The reason for this is the power supply used in the 2 regions. In the US they use electrical power at 60 herta, so for technical reasons the NTSC signal was sent out at 60 fields per second (or 60Hz). In contrast, in PAL regions the electrical supply uses 50 hertz, so the PAL broadcast signals were sent out at 50 fields per second (or 50Hz).

    So:
    NTSC = 525 lines at 30 frames per second (60Hz interlaced)
    PAL = 625 lines at 25 frames per second (50Hz interlaced)

    This all means that PAL Amigas have a higher TV screen resolution but run at 25 FPS and NTSC Amigas have a lower TV screen solution but run at 30FPS.

    This explains the reason why games will run faster on an NTSC Amiga than they will on a PAL Amiga. The NTSC Amiga is running them 5FPS faster, which is great for something like Beat 'em ups or shooting games.

    In answer to compatibility, a PAL Amiga is more compatible than an NTSC one, purely because a lot of games were developed in the UK for the PAL market. When a PAL Amiga runs a game originally developed for the US NTSC market it will run the game in the upper part of the screen with a black 100 pixel high blank area at the bottom of the screen. Quite a few commercial games in Europe ran like this on the Amiga because they were directly imported from the US versions and being lasy the developers never bothered to stretch the screen to fit. They will obviously be running slower on a PAL Amiga than they would on an NTSC Amiga because of the slower screen refresh rate and therefore FPS. You can switch a PAL A1200 into NTSC mode to pull an NTSC game or other program down into an NTSC screen, so that is a work around, and this will speed up the refresh rate to NTSC speeds. But you need a compatible TV or monitor for this to work.

    And as you have found, NTSC Amigas are not as compatible. Trying to run PAL software on an NTSC Amiga will cause issues because it hasn't got the vertical screen resolution so will chop off the bottom of the screen, or the software just wont like it and cause glitches or crash.

    Personally I would go with a PAL A1200, but I'm bias being in the UK. I'm not sure what US Amiga users would prefer to own but it would be interesting to know.

    I hope that helps.

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


  3. #3
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    but why does the game runs faster?
    it could have a better refresh rate, but it should run the same speed...(?)

    imagine 2 PCs with different video cards with the same game, 1 do 20/25 frames a second and the other 50/55 frames, the refresh is better, but after
    10 seconds of game the 2 pcs should be in the same position in the game...(?) if it is a car game, the car should be in the same position and the same time passed for both systems...
    or am i not getting something here ?
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  4. #4
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    A lot of the Amiga hardware timing is directly linked into the electricity supply and refresh rate of the TV. Things like the blitter perform their updates using these timings, and even the clock speed of the CPU and the custom chipset is derived from this. Games developers also utilised this time/frame refresh rate for sprite animation and visual changes within the games. This meant that the fastest developers could normally make games run was 50 FPS for PAL and 60 FPS for NTSC, but often due to the complexity of games they were more likely to be running at half that speed, so 25FPS for PAL and 30FPS for NTSC.

    And because of this, if you run a game designed on NTSC Amigas on a PAL Amiga it will seem to be running slowly as it will only be running at 25FPS instead of 30FPS, and unlike 3D games, with sprite based games, the actual gameplay and sprite movement would be slowed down and the game would be running slower. Equally if you ran a game developed on a PAL Amiga on an NTSC Amiga it would be running faster as it would go from 25FPS to 30FPS.

    Does that make sense?

    The Amiga was designed with TV output as a central focus so everything was designed around that outputs speed.

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


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