Buying an Amiga



  • I have a few quid spare and I am looking at some retro computing.

    I been looking at either an Atari or an Amiga.

    I've been looking at a Amiga 1200, they pretty much supply them from Amigakit. I dunno if the thing will die after I buy it because it is a 20+ year old computer and unlike older computers like the BBC Micro, they are complicated enough to worry about it.

    Any Amiga owners here?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @lucas1 said in Buying an Amiga:

    I dunno if the thing will die after I buy it because it is a 20+ year old computer and unlike older computers like the BBC Micro, they are complicated enough to worry about it.

    IIRC technology from that era is fairly stable, with the only moving parts being the connectors (by technicality) it won't really wear down nearly as much as (for example) hard drives and whatever.

    So, as long as you don't do stupid things like dump metal shavings into it or push incorrect voltages into it (i.e. with the wrong power adapter), it should be fine for years, pending things like capacitors drying out (probably the worst you would need to worry about apart from oxidation of connectors).



  • @lucas1 Amiga came during a pretty inconvenient time in computing, when the needs for storage space had far outpaced the technology available. You better arm yourself with patience, as you'll be looking at a LOT of loading screens while you're swapping floppy disks.

    Also, Amiga coders were IMO way too impressed with its graphics support, so you'll find a lot of unskippable cutscenes and annoying mouse-only interfaces in games.

    For all these reasons, I find Amiga the most unsatisfactory retro computer to mess with in emulators. It just didn't age as well as SNES or DOS.

    But I guess to each their own. Maybe your experience with actual hardware will be better.



  • @cartman82 There Is SD Card adapters on ebay everywhere, so I don't think I will be swapping floppies.

    I remember that crap from this computer



  • @cartman82 I put a hard drive in mine (120 MB!), but I remember it was not simple getting many games to use it.



  • @lucas1 Why physical? Is AmigaForever no good?



  • @coldandtired It is kinda like a vm it kinda like using it but it isn't really. Also I can emulate anything on my current PC but I rather use something just like it.



  • @coldandtired said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 I put a hard drive in mine (120 MB!), but I remember it was not simple getting many games to use it.

    That was a hidden advantage of PC-s. All the hardware was shit, except they always insisted on having a HDD.

    This also makes it a breeze to run DOS in emulators.



  • Having the retro hardware is cool, and frankly way better than emulation, especially once you have stuff like SD cards in place of spinny disks - as has been said, keep an eye on the caps and everything else should be OK as long as you treat it like a 20+ year old machine.

    Personally, I'd go for a retro console (vectrex, nuon, something like that) rather than an Amiga, though. Or, if it had to be a computer, hold out for something that's really interesting, something interesting to program, but who has the space for a connection machine these days? Other stuff to own would be a NeXT cube or a symbolics machine.

    Still, if you have a yearning for an Amiga, I'd say go for it. Be careful, though, Amiga ownership gets religious real fast, you could become that fat beardy smelly guy who won't stop going on about the great new AmigaOS coming soon...



  • @tufty said in Buying an Amiga:

    you could become that fat beardy smelly guy who won't stop going on about the great new AmigaOS coming soon...

    Oh right, they were holding a torch for that well into the 2000-s...



  • @cartman82 They still are. They still are.



  • @tufty said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 They still are. They still are.

    Exhibits A, B, and C.


  • :belt_onion:

    @ScholRLEA said in Buying an Amiga:

    @tufty said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 They still are. They still are.

    Exhibits A, B, and C.

    They should have spent all that time on a binfmt_misc

    I also found this interesting:



  • @lucas1 said in Buying an Amiga:

    I dunno if the thing will die after I buy it because it is a 20+ year old computer and unlike older computers like the BBC Micro, they are complicated enough to worry about it.

    I have two Amiga 500s and they both work just fine. Same for my 48K Spectrum, Macintosh Plus, Commodore 64 (well, one of the two — the other turned out to be already broken when I was given it), and even my Psion Series 5. The only piece of kit from all of these I have that doesn’t work well is the external drive for the Amiga, which says all disks are “bad” even when they work just fine in the internal drive.

    Basically, if you get it in working order, then I’d say it’s very unlikely to break any time soon. Provided you don’t do anything stupid with it, of course.





  • @coldandtired said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 I put a hard drive in mine (120 MB!), but I remember it was not simple getting many games to use it.

    I also had a HD (50 MB, but I was never able to fill it up) but there were at least some games (the more notorious ones, too!) which supported using a HD. Most important of those was Monkey Island 2 (12 discs).

    One of my other games (which probably few of you will know, it's an RPG from a small German software shop) even had an installer that let you play Pong while it was copying and decompressing all the stuff from the discs to the HD. Genius!



  • @Rhywden I remember the single-disk games being mostly okay, and the first disk of larger games. Many games didn't like to check the HDD when they needed a new disk.



  • @anonymous234 If ever there was a reason to run screaming...



  • @Rhywden said in Buying an Amiga:

    One of my other games (which probably few of you will know, it's an RPG from a small German software shop) even had an installer that let you play Pong while it was copying and decompressing all the stuff from the discs to the HD. Genius!

    Wasn't there like a patent for showing a mini game during loading screens, which is why no one is doing that anymore?



  • @anonymous234 said in Buying an Amiga:

    @ScholRLEA

    Huh, hadn't seen that before. Is that by Eric Schwartz (the author of Sabrina Online and the designer Amy the Squirrel, the unofficial Amiga mascot)? I doubt it, given the style, but I was curious.

    0_1474217654176_CoolDuo.jpg


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @cartman82 said in Buying an Amiga:

    Wasn't there like a patent for showing a mini game during loading screens, which is why no one is doing that anymore?

    Maybe, but the fact that modern hardware makes loading so much faster might have something to do with it too. Also, I suspect that most people just go online on their phones while things are installing. In short, a boring loading screen is really a non-issue now, so why put the effort in?



  • Making loading screens shorter would be feasible, but modern hardware is so much faster, why put the effort in?


  • area_deu

    @ScholRLEA The Amiga has cultural significance in the furry scene?



  • @dkf And on the other hand you have those games that force you to stare at the loading bar, and completely stop if you focus something else. YOU MAY ONLY PAY ATTENTION TO US! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO USE OTHER APPLICATIONS!



  • @Gurth said in Buying an Amiga:

    The only piece of kit from all of these I have that doesn’t work well is the external drive for the Amiga, which says all disks are “bad” even when they work just fine in the internal drive.

    I built my own external dual floppy drive for my Amiga 1000, based on a pair of 300rpm 80 track double sided half-height 5.25" drives. This was the same speed and track format used by the standard 3.5" Amiga drives, meaning that I could run my Amiga life using media about a quarter of the price of the 3.5" disks of the day.

    The Amiga used a 23 pin D connector for the external drives, and those were hard to source, so I used a DB25 with the two end pins pulled out and the ends of the shell dented a bit to fit.

    I added a disk-inserted sensor microswitch to each drive, plus a little circuit board with a couple of 74LS74 chips to latch the state of the sensor on every seek pulse and stop those pulses going through to the drives when no disk was inserted; that got rid of the characteristic tick... tick... tick... that AmigaOS triggered from empty drives as it interrogated their disk-inserted status.

    Last time I checked, this stuff all still worked.



  • @Gurth said in Buying an Amiga:

    The only piece of kit from all of these I have that doesn’t work well is the external drive for the Amiga, which says all disks are “bad” even when they work just fine in the internal drive.

    Dunno if it's the same as with the Amstrad CPC, but the disk drive was usually also the first one to fail in those (I don't know if the internal one in the 6128 was any better than the external one for the 464).

    And apparently, many people have been able to fix it by simply changing one elastic belt (even with a simple rubber band!) inside it, so while it requires a bit of DIY, that doesn't seem too complicated.



  • @remi said in Buying an Amiga:

    Dunno if it's the same as with the Amstrad CPC, but the disk drive was usually also the first one to fail in those

    I’ve been meaning to test it by opening up the external drive and one of my 500s, then plugging the drive from the 500 into the external housing. They both use IDE connectors on ribbon cables, so there should be no problem just swapping them over, probably without even having to unscrew the drives themselves.

    And apparently, many people have been able to fix it by simply changing one elastic belt (even with a simple rubber band!) inside it, so while it requires a bit of DIY, that doesn't seem too complicated.

    Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind in case it turns out the electronics in the external drive aren’t at fault. And if they are, I suspect I’ll have a drive to attach to my Kryoflux.



  • AmigaKit has an A1200 that should be in good nick for £180 ish.

    But you gotta buy some extras (i.e. adaptors to have it run with modern monitors).



  • @lucas1 I’ve got a Commodore 2080 monitor for mine, that naturally works just fine, but to be honest I suspect the output may not look that great if you use an adapter to hook an Amiga up to an LCD screen, because of resolution mismatches. (Not that I’ve ever tried, as I don’t own an adapter to try it with, so I may be way off base.) Still, if you want to get a more authentic experience you'd really need to use a 4:3 CRT monitor instead of a modern flatscreen.



  • @Gurth On that amigakit website you can get a VGA / DVI kit for a A1200, it doesn't look difficult to fit. I don't fancy buying an old CRT, I do have a monitor / TV which I will probably use.



  • @lucas1 All I can find on a quick search is an RGB to VGA adapter, no DVI, but yeah, this just plugs into the computer display port. Unless you’re talking about the scandoubler which would double the price of your A1200.

    Have you read this?



  • @lucas1 Not sure if you eventually got yourself sorted, but I stumbled upon an A600 today. No idea if it works, it has a french keyboard, no PSU and no mouse, but it's yours for a tenner and shipping if you want it.



  • @aliceif said in Buying an Amiga:

    @ScholRLEA The Amiga has cultural significance in the furry scene?

    To my knowledge, the Schwartz was so pesterous to some cartoonists (of something, I don't remember) that they quit working on their show

    It might have been slightly different, but I do remember some man driving creators of a show to stop working on it entirely


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @dkf said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 said in Buying an Amiga:

    Wasn't there like a patent for showing a mini game during loading screens, which is why no one is doing that anymore?

    Maybe, but the fact that modern hardware makes loading so much faster might have something to do with it too. Also, I suspect that most people just go online on their phones while things are installing. In short, a boring loading screen is really a non-issue now, so why put the effort in?

    @dkf said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 said in Buying an Amiga:

    Wasn't there like a patent for showing a mini game during loading screens, which is why no one is doing that anymore?

    Maybe, but the fact that modern hardware makes loading so much faster might have something to do with it too. Also, I suspect that most people just go online on their phones while things are installing. In short, a boring loading screen is really a non-issue now, so why put the effort in?

    @dkf said in Buying an Amiga:

    @cartman82 said in Buying an Amiga:

    Wasn't there like a patent for showing a mini game during loading screens, which is why no one is doing that anymore?

    Maybe, but the fact that modern hardware makes loading so much faster might have something to do with it too. Also, I suspect that most people just go online on their phones while things are installing. In short, a boring loading screen is really a non-issue now, so why put the effort in?

    Did you know that the XP installer played music? Most have never heard it because very few machines has sound devices that would work in the installation environment.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @Polygeekery The Win 98 installer played (shitty elevator) music too, I think it's been a Microsoft "thing" for a while.



  • @blek I'm rather fond of the Windows 98SE OOBE music. It sounds like a porn soundtrack. Good length for a completely tragic ringtone as well (goes well with my Linux Bigot T shirt).

    Windows 98 OOBE (Out of Box Experience) – 02:15
    — Danct12

    The XP OOBE music is classier but much more beige.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2EeSqncj-o



  • @cartman82 said in Buying an Amiga:

    That was a hidden advantage of PC-s. All the hardware was shit, except they always insisted on having a HDD.

    Looks like you are not old enough to have lived through the PC-XT age.

    I remember the first HD I've bought, 10MB, about 50% of the price of the PC itself.
    Most people just bought 2 floppys and lived with that.



  • @TimeBandit said in Buying an Amiga:

    not old enough to have lived through the PC-XT age

    ...including the PCjr period, the result of years of intensive research on the best way to make an 8088 run even slower.



  • @flabdablet said in Buying an Amiga:

    ...including the PCjr period, the result of years of intensive research on the best way to make an 8088 run even slower.

    And the wireless keyboard that used an infra-red transmitter :wtf:



  • @TimeBandit which never worked properly unless it was close enough to the system box that a cable would have been at least as convenient.


  • BINNED

    @flabdablet a friend of mine has a USB rechargable wireless mouse. He always leaves it plugged in because there's exactly 0 point in wireless keyboards and mice on a desktop that never moves



  • @Jaloopa said in Buying an Amiga:

    there's exactly 0 point in wireless keyboards and mice on a desktop that never moves

    I've been trying to convince our school bursar of that for years. She still prefers her wireless ones, even though I've seen flat batteries cause her grief several times; doesn't like "messy" wires "draped all over" her desk.

    She also prefers Outlook to any other email client.

    Apart from those two things, she's completely sane AFAICT.





  • @flabdablet

    @flabdablet said in Buying an Amiga:

    @blek I'm rather fond of the Windows 98SE OOBE music. It sounds like a porn soundtrack.

    "If you want to explore an option, just click it"!



  • @Jaloopa said in Buying an Amiga:

    @flabdablet a friend of mine has a USB rechargable wireless mouse. He always leaves it plugged in because there's exactly 0 point in wireless keyboards and mice on a desktop that never moves

    Mine runs on batteries. I would much prefer one with a cord because the mouse never goes more than about 20 cm from the nearest USB port (in the keyboard), but then I’d have to do without all the swipe gestures I don’t want to give up. I’ve occasionally thought of rigging up some kind of thing to go inside it to fit between the battery contact points, but with a USB cable on it so I can plug the mouse in and not have to bother changing and recharging batteries.



  • Got hold of a working A600 for ~£50 from ebay with pro sniping technique (5 seconds left :D). I have a monitor/tv that does Scart / RF, I so I should be able to use as it.

    Part of the auction is a mouse and joystick and it looks in good nick (only yellowing on keyboard which is really good).

    Might post a vid on me trying and failing to use it.

    EDIT:

    Going to find one of those IDE > CF adaptors and a ram expansion packs. The IDE thing is dirt cheap so I might just do a buy it now from ebay.



  • Cool. Enjoy it.

    It's got a proper mechanical keyboard, too (although the keyswitches are linear if the one I have is anything to go by, no tactile "bump"). "Gamer's keyboard"



  • @tufty Thanks.

    Going to do a few vids with me probably being a spastic while using it. So hopefully there should be a few lulz for proper amiga users.

    I had a Tatung Einstein and a BBC Micro hand me downs when I was a kid and they worked very different to the amiga.



  • Ordered a IDE > CF adapter and a 4gb CF card.

    Should be 3 or 4 days until the vintage machine shows up. Quite excited.



  • @lucas1 Amiga 600 not here yet but no got the CF card stuff and looking to buy a ram expansion and a VAMPIRE 2 accelerator.


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