Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: Buying advice : A500 (1.3) or others : mainly for games.
Glyn 09:30 24th October 2011
hi all, i am after buying advice, mainly for old games, looking and reading i think an A500 with KS1.3 and 1/2 meg upgrade is the best, with the RGB cable (does the A500 have composite out?) to give the best compatibility with older games.

the a600/1200 is a no-go as the KS is apparently not compatible with older games, and the A500+ likewise as it is a higher revision.

So can the gurus here help me decide.

i used to have an A500 with 1/2 meg expansion, external floppy and KS1.3 around 89/90, so that is the era i am looking at replicating.

Also i did post a big intro, but for some reason it didnt post correctly, and i need to do work so cant type it out again until later!

cheers all
Harrison 12:30 24th October 2011
To answer you questions directly. The A500 does have a composite out, but it is only black and white. To get colour on the A500 you have to use the RGB monitor port. You can use the A520 modulator that plugs into this and came with every A500 when new, but this is RF so again not good quality. The newer A600 and A1200 have a proper colour composite. However, using an RGB scart is a much better solution as you will get the best image you can get.

However, for gaming I wouldn't recommend the A500 any more. Thanks to some software called WHDLoad times have changed. This software allows all games to be installed to HDD. It does this by making images from the original Amiga disks and turning them into data files with executable launchers that you just double click from Workbench. No need to load from floppy disk and instead of minutes to load a game, they load in seconds. WHDLoad also fixes the problem with running older games on the A1200 (and A600) as it emulates the A500/KS1.3 setup when needed to sort this out. You can also get kickstart rom switchers for the A600 and stick a 1.3 rom in, to switch between the 2 if you really wanted A500 compatibility with the A600.

And therefore due to this the best gaming Amiga is definitely the A1200, or if you are not worried about AGA games than the A600. Although to get the most out of it as a gaming system you would need to spend a bit more on it. The best setup is an A1200 with a 68030 accelerator like the Blizzard 1230, or the new ACA030 from Indivision.

You can also setup a harddrive easily in both the A600 and A1200 thanks to its standard 2.5" ICE interface. And these days most people are no longer using a real HDD, but instead a 4GB CF memory card, and a CF to IDE interface. Doing this you basically have a very cheap solidstate HDD in the Amiga. And loading all the WHDLoad installed games onto it you have the ultimate gaming Amiga that is just like a gaming jukebox with all the games ready and waiting, and no need for disks of each game.

Also worth looking at is the ClassicWB project, which provides preconfigured Workbench setups to load onto the A600 or A1200 HDD, and has everyone setup including WHDLoad ready to run.

If you were not bothered about AGA games than an A600 is also possible to use, and will work with WHDLoad and ClassicWB too. You would need to expand the memory to 2MB chip ram and at least 2MB fast ram to make it usable though. Luckily Indivision have released loads of expansions for the A600 recently including 030 accelerators cards, ram expansions, and even a scan doubler/flicker fixer allowing it to be plugged directly into a PC monitor or LCD.

If you were interested in an A1200 I might be able to sort you out with one. I have a couple of spare ones that I'm currently configuring. One of these with have an 8MB fast ram expansion, plus a 4GB internal CF card HDD drive loaded with ClassicWB and WHDload ready to go. If you were interested in this PM me and we can discuss it some more.
Glyn 13:39 24th October 2011
the 1200 does sound ideal, but i fear it will be above my budget have sent you a pm anyhow.
Stephen Coates 14:20 24th October 2011
Personally, I like the A500/+ for stuff that doesn't require AGA.

But I have found with the A1200, that some old games will work fine if you change the chipset from AGA to OCS in the early startup menu and then boot the ReLoKick 1.3 disk.

A1200/600 is probably best if you want a hard drive though as then you can use a regular IDE drive, or as harrison mentioned, a CF card. I've recently put a CF card in my A1200 and it is working nicely.
Glyn 16:58 24th October 2011
what would be needed then is a 600 or a 1200 was purchased then for it to be suitable for the hard drive type setup to play games?

bear in mind cost is a big concern, so apart from a generic CF adapter for the hard drive and a CF card (i do have some old laptop drives, would these work, think they are 40Gb) how much generally do the memory upgrades go for for the 600 and anything special needed?

and looking at the accelarators, i dont think this will be an option, especially as they are , i wouldnt really want more than to buy the unit and then put in a hard drive and play...

Harrison : i have sent you a pm earlier.
Stephen Coates 17:08 24th October 2011
You should be fine with an old laptop drive. Bear in mind though that the Amiga will only support partitions of up to 4GB, unless you use some other file system. I can't really comment more on that as I have only ever used small hard drives.

Accelerators do tend to cost quite a lot these days. If you do want to get one, I can recommend the Blizzard 1230 MkIV which has a 50MHz 68030, but I'm not sure whether this would offer any improvement for games. Personally, I'd just stick with the original processor for games.

I paid around 75 for my Blizzard a few years ago, but I think they tend to be more like 100 or more now.
Harrison 13:37 25th October 2011
A basic 4MB or 8MB ram expansion (if you can find them for sale) would be about 25-40.
A Blizzard 1230-MKIV 50MHz 68030 Accelerator with some ram (32MB is recommended) would cost about 130 at the moment.
A less powerful 030 accelerator like a Hawk would probably be about 80-100
These is also a new accelerator for the A1200, made by Individual Computers, and available for sale from or, and these cost from I think 89 upwards, depending on the model and spec. I think they might be sold out at the moment, but the developer is working on a mark 2 version I think for release soon.

To get the most from gaming the Blizzard accelerator is the best option as there is a big different in speed and performance compared to a standard A1200 with its 14MHz 020 CPU, but for general gaming, as long as you didn't try to run some of the later larger AGA games, a standard A1200 with a fast ram expansion is perfectly fine. You would always have the option of upgrading to an accelerator at a later date if you decided to. I ran an A1200 with just a ram expansion for a long time back in the early 90's with no problem for games, and for productivity software and workbench.
Glyn 14:16 25th October 2011
thanks, i am just watching ebay and amibay for any good deals on a 600 or a 1200, as the CF drive can be added on for not much more in the future.
Harrison 15:47 25th October 2011
be very careful of ebay sales of Amigas because a lot still selling retro hardware on there are hiding issues with the hardware. Always ask the seller if it has been tested and is fully working. If they reply clearly stating they have tested it and it is working, then you have some evidence if it turns out to be broken when it arrives and can get your money back from Paypal. Also always pay using Paypal with fees. Never pay using Paypal gift payments as it removed the buyer protection and you wouldn't be able to claim back if you have a problem.
Glyn 16:20 25th October 2011
A lot say they have been tested (and most at seem to be amiga 'dealers', with lots of related items), and the ones that dont seem to think by adding 'retro' to the subject they can sell a yellow dirty amiga with nothing more than a mouse, power and the computer for silly numbers!

the biggest hurdle is finding one that is cheap, tested and local for pickup!
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