December 1993 MAGazine Volume 9 Number 12

Table Of Contents

The November General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, December 11 from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis.

The newsletter is published monthly for distribution to the members of the Memphis Amiga Group. MAGazine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews, and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions are welcome and may be submitted in hardcopy or via disk in ascii format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - 3/12/24 - (901) 365-1583 or V.32bis hi speed ONLY! (901) 367-0744. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Bob Nunn

Club Goals

The New Member Packets appear to have been well received. We took 7 packets to the meeting and between new memberships and people purchasing them outright, we ran out. We will have more packets available at the December meeting. For those of you unaware of the packets concept, I had several goals in mind when I took the leadership of the club, one of which was to have a packet with programs and instructions available for people when they signed up with the club. I tried originally to make up a packet with programs that would work with 1.3 but finally realized that I would never finish. With the help of Kevin Browne and programs that I collected that Bill Bowers put in the library and some I had received via my bbs, we assembled this package. Since it's inception we have already upgraded several programs and will continue to update the packets for the time being.

The second main goal that I had was to purchase a new system for club use. Unfortunately we haven't been able to raise enough revenues to do this. The packet sales and the addition of new members perhaps will soon allow the club to afford the equipment. The old 500 we are presently using is very tired and is quickly becoming unreliable, not to mention that it doesn't allow us to show off any of the newer AGA stuff or 3.0

New Club Officials?

Cheryn and I have discussed retiring this year. We have both enjoyed serving this year and have learned a lot. There are limits to what people can bring to a club and our inexperience with the Amiga platform has limited us. Managing the club has been simple due much to the efforts of many of you; for that we thank you. Terry Cambell, Bill Bowers, Trevor Thrasher, Charles Williams and Scott Pitts have worked very hard this year and together we have accomplished more than a few things, and we all owe them our thanks. I would also like to thank Rich and Don of Computers-4-U and David Spence of Videospeak who have been very supportive loaning equipment and providing demo's for the club.

What this means is now we need your help in arranging for new leadership. If you have some ideas please give us a call at 795-0461.

Last Meeting

Again we tried to demo Pro Page and had difficulties. Fortunately Brian Akey had brought his system up for the demo and did an impromptu demo of Deluxe Music Construction v2. We also viewed the Amigamation Video which everyone seemed to enjoy. Bill reviewed the disk of the month. We had roughly 35 people in attendance! I am encouraged by the amount of participants!

The Next Meeting

We haven't lined up any demo's as of this press date. We hope to have something exciting planned for the next meeting. See your there!

Call my BBS - Operator Headgap - 367-0744 or 365-1583 (v.32bis).

Board Meeting Minutes

November 13, 1993

The board meeting was called to order at 11:30 am by Bob Nunn, President. Present were Cheryn Nunn, Terry Campbell, Bill Bowers, Charles Williams.

Report of the sales of the New Members Packet at the St. Louis Gateway Show was given. $131.00 was received for 13 packets. In addition, contact was made with numerous user groups who attended the show. Hopefully, increased newsletter exchange will result from these contacts. Hopefully, sales will continue good on the packets and additional funds raised for the purchase of a new computer for the club.

Elections for new officers will be held in January. Any member wishing to serve as an officer is urged to contact one of the current officers. If you have questions concerning what is entailed in serving in a specific capacity, you are urged to contact that current officer and ask questions. Further discussion regarding the elections will be held at the December board meeting. All members are welcome and urged to attend the board meeting prior to the December general meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 12:15pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Cheryn Nunn, Vice President

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second Saturday of each month in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be a board of directors lunch meeting at Gridley's in the formal dining room beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, December 11 (before the general meeting). For more information call Bob Nunn at 901-795-0461.

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disks are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003
OR see Bill at the next MAG general meeting.

Advertising Rates

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1993

Bob Nunn
(901) 795-0461 voice

Vice President
Cheryn Nunn
(901) 365-1583 data

Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editor
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864


The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

Club Sponsored BBS

Scott Pitts is now running the MAG BBS which is also called the Amiga Pitts. The BBS has many excellent features including a large file transfer area and the Fred Fish Collection CD-ROM online. The BBS needs your support, call today! 901-753-9992 (16.8 HST) and 901-753-9719 (v32.bis)

Portal Conference with Dave Haynie

This is an edited transcript of a special *live* chat conference, held on the *Portal System in the Amiga Zone chat area, on the evening of November 7, 1993. This transcript is Copyright 1993, The Amiga Zone, and may be freely distributed provided no further editing of any kind is performed on it. User Groups may reprint this transcript in their newsletters and it may be posted on Bulletin Boards, Usenet, and FTP sites.

Our special guest speaker was Mr. Dave "Hazy" Haynie, of Commodore West Chester. The conference took the form of a question & answer session with Dave.

This conference took almost exactly four hours in real time. Much superfluous yakking and hellos and g'byes have been edited out to make for a cleaner read. Thanks to Brian J. Cerveny for his yeoman's job of editing this capture of the conference. Thanks to Bill Seymour for maintaining the question queue during the evening. And thanks to all who participated. And special thanks to Dave Haynie for his vast storehouse of Amiga knowledge and willingness to give an entire evening to this endeavor.

ABOUT PORTAL: The Portal Online System offers unparalled Amiga support in its Amiga Zone SIG. Not only do we have huge file libraries with thousands of Amiga programs and files of all description, but we also maintain the entire Fred Fish disk library online (currently at 930 disks) for downloading. There are also a gazillion Amiga-specific message bases, nightly live chats, over twenty Amiga-specific Commercial Vendor areas (with their own file libraries), and more. Over 2.5 Gigabytes of Portal disk space is devoted exclusively to the Amiga Zone.

In addition, Portal offers all the familiar "Internet Services" including FTP, IRC, Telnet, and etc., wrapped into an easy-to-use menu system. There are NO limits on these services and no additional hourly costs to use them. Every Portal user also gets an unlimited Internet-connected Email box, as well as a full UNIX Shell account if desired. Portal has a "T1" connection to the Internet and runs on a large network of Sun workstations.

For more information about Portal, locate, download, and read the Portal ad in any recent issue of the "Amiga Report" online magazine. Or send email to "". Or phone 1-408-973-9111. Tell them "The Amiga Zone sent me."

Portal can be reached by direct dial (to Cupertino, CA), by SprintNet and Tymnet, or from anywhere in the world as "" via telnet. Portal does NOT surcharge hi-speed modem users.

Portal is a registered trademark of Portal Communications

The edited transcript begins here. The host was Harv Laser, head Moderator/Sysop of The Amiga Zone.

Harv: And now, it's my extreme pleasure to introduce a ten year veteran of commodore engineering a man whose name is etched upon the motherboards of your computer, Mister Dave Haynie. Dave, any intro material you'd care to start with, before questions start... by all means, fire away.

hazy: Cough! At home, drawing pictures, of mountaintops... Whoops, I thought I was Eddie Vedder for a sec, I'm OK now.

Kerry - Stratford: I have an accelerated 2000 and a Picasso II board on order.

I understand that with the new 3.1 ROMS I will be able to use many AGA programs in 256 colors with Picasso's Retargetable Graphics. How do I get this ROMS and can you confirm the above. Also will they allow me to finally upgrade my CDTV so I can run 2.0 programs and Operating System?

hazy: I don't know the exact status of 3.1. Last I heard, it was, like 2.04 before it, planned as an upgrade for all systems. This would be for A3000, A500/A2000, and probably the new ones, since it is a different ROM. I don't know if you necessarily want to upgrade a CDTV, since there are a number of programs that seem to be 1.3-specific. The CD32 has what's essentially a per-title patch library to handle CDTV titles,, I don't know if they plan this sort of upgrade for CDTV or not.

Kerry - Stratford: Sorry I use the CDTV for my kids as a computer and you can't with the CD-32.

hazy: Like I said, I don't know of the CDTV plans.

ScottJ: Dave, has CBM decided which RISC chip to use in future Amigas? If they havent which one would you prefer to see used, PowerPC, Alpha, MIPS, or HP/PA?

hazy: We have looked at all of the RISC chips. No decision has been publicly announced, however. Keep in mind that chances are, the chip we pick will need to be servicable at all levels of computing, from our high enough down through the games level. However, I don't imagine we would be going with a chip not on the list you have given, if that's enough of a clue for you (it's all you're gonna get).

ScottJ: I hope its not SPARC, that chip's a dog. Thanks, Dave.

hazy: The next generation high-end systems will use a CPU independent local bus, so the RISC decision isn't particularly critical at this point.

Timeus: Will there be a display enhancer for the A4000 similar to the A2000's? When?

hazy: The planned display enhancer for the A4000 has been tabled at present. That means that no one is currently working on it, not that they never will. I believe the design was offered to 3rd parties, though I don't know if any of them picked it up or not. I'm not certain it's much advantage over some of the existing 3rd party display cards.

soft-logik: Dave, do you have any guess as to who bought a lot of Commodore stock last Thursday?

hazy: Rumors abound. The rumor mill has been quite active lately, with talk of some financial improvements and some possible takeovers. However, I don't know what's going on.

soft-logik: Well, good luck to ya.

hazy: In fact, one of best sources for rumors couldn't make our Friday lunch this past week, so I'm at least a week behind on the best gossip.

Bjarian: Hazy, thanks for your inputs. My question is about UNIX. The amiga was first in V.4 and beat even SUN. It is the only viable pc platform. What is being done now for Amiga unix?

hazy: Currently, nothing is being done on UNIX. Sorry, I liked it too. It doesn't seem that Commodore management was willing to support it, though.

Bjarian: RUPUGHE!

hazy: That has nothing to do with the troubles of the past year, it was a much earlier decision, something nobody in Engineering was happy about. But that does happen some times.

mykes: Is there any truth to the rumor that Dave's currently busy designing the dream amiga?

hazy: Basically, yes. I'm currently working on several things, all of which involve the AAA chips to some extent. But of course, I don't design the Amiga chips, I design the system they go into.

After the A3000 went out, I started thinking about What Next, as you might imagine. A bit over two years ago, I formally started writing up a new system architecture. We are NOW starting to implement that architecture. If all goes well, that will be the first AAA machine.

DonM: I know you aren't/weren't marketing. Maybe you have a feel, though for how things are going. Ex: I just got a ToysRUs catalog. as they look to me? They GOTTA start marketing these things whatever fiduciary finagling goes on. ga

Harv: [note - commodore has SAID (at WOCA) they will be introducing CD32 to the USA as of Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in january]

hazy: The US market has grown so small relative to the rest of the world, I think they pretty much take any sales as good, as long as they don't cost anything.

I have, as Harv said, heard they plan to introduce CD32 in January here, but that they didn't have the quantities available to hit every market for Christmas '93. However, this is apparently not a repeat of last year, when we simply couldn't make enough systems due to supply problems. As far as I know, the factory in the Phillipines has been running CD32s at full force on 3 of the 4 production lines. That's full production for a Christmas rush.

Harv: Dave - quick Q from me... tell us about the Philippines plant, if you can. what's it making and how many?

hazy: I don't really know numbers. It's set up for surface mount, which is what everything is these days. They have four production lines. The fourth has been running A4000s and I suppose, anything else they needed, over the Christmas rush time (it's hard to get away from the low end at all this time of the year).

Aurelius: Hi Dave, Which of your current projects is the most exciting to work on? the one you can talk about anyways?

hazy: The next generation system project. Everyone's heard about AAA, of course, and I did build a AAA prototype machine, which we have running in the labs of course. However, while that's fun, it's not as cool as when I get to build My Own Thing. That will be the system that "houses" the AAA subsystem.

Aurelius: does AAA include PAULA upgrade/replacement?

hazy: The AAA system has a thing called "Mary", which is kinda-sorta Paula on steriods. And then some.

David-L: Was the A4091 turned over to a third party? If so, who?...

hazy: Yes, the A4091 has been turned over to a third party. Management has for some time been trying to get out of the peripherals biz, even while acknowledging that sometimes, we have to make them. I don't know if the third party involved has been officially announced, but having used some of their stuff and all over the years, I think they're a good company.

David-L: Do you know where I go for support?

hazy: I don't know how the support end is managed, though I don't suppose they're taking over the software anytime soon, so ultimately C= Engineering will still be dealing with problems at the technical level. I really don't know what happens at the user level.

David-L: What's Doin w/ DiskSalv - I sent my money - should I expect somethin?

hazy: As for DiskSalv, I spent all last week stuffing envelopes. Anyone who registered at any level should get something in the mail very soon. If you registered for updates and/or the commercial version, you'll get the V11.28 update disk too.

colins: Dave, it seems that the PCI bus has been embraced by much of the computer industry.What chance is there that CBM might incorporate the PCI bus in a future Amiga? Also,will AmigaOS survive the transition to a RISC based Amiga?

hazy: There is a very good chance Commodore will endorse the PCI bus sometime in the future. No official announcement has been made yet, of course. However, PCI is very much a solution to a problem I started working on over two years ago. It's very close, in fact, to my solution to this problem. And standard, as well. Draw your own conclusions :-)

fredness: Are there plans for an AGA Amiga with SCSI-II on the motherboard?

hazy: The A4000T (T=floorstanding) is an AGA machine with SCSI-2 on the motherboard. That's the same NC53C710 SCSI-2 you get on the A4091, only integrated into the motherboard. This machine isn't out yet, I don't know the status of it, but the samples seem fairly complete. This is a Greg Berlin project at present. No other AGA/SCSI-2 system has been discussed.

CarmenR: Hazy: Do the RISC chips [or DSP if you're gonna use them for that matter] handle multi-tasking as elegantly as the motorolla chips do?

hazy: RISC chips are generally as good at multitasking as the Motorola chips. Some have a slightly gerater task-switch overhead, but that's really no big deal if you're going that much faster to begin with. They vary in their abilities at other things. Some handle interrupts as well, others used a more primitive interrupt model. Same goes with exceptions, MMU table walks, etc.

CarmenR: Is IDE here to stay?

hazy: Industry-wise, IDE isn't going away anytime soon. Even though it presently doesn't go much beyond 4MB/s, there are mental patients out there building IDE controllers for VL-Bus and PCI. And the PC industry is planning an enhanced IDE that supports four channels, more addressing, and greater speeds. As for Commodore... I believe it'll always make sense for the low-end systems. I don't like it for high end systems, and I think we have taken some steps in the next generation architecture to bring the cost of SCSI down relative to IDE. But we'll see -- if it's free, and there's a low cost SCSI option, you shouldn't complain too loudly.

Harv: Dave - Any comment on Colins' "will amiga os survive transition to a RISC based CPU"?

hazy: Oh yeah. I believe it has to. The reasoning -- low end systems. You can argue in favor of WindowNT or UNIX for high-end systems. And in fact, I think both of those are good options, especially something like NT, which should essentially be shrink-wrapped for any CPU supported.

However, no one's going to see any sense in outfitting a $500 RISC low- end or CD machine with the $1200 worth of RAM, Hard Disk, etc. necessary just to boot one of those.

Also, there are rather dubious Multimedia characteristics in those OSs. Most of what people call "Multimedia" are a set of realtime problems. The industry still hasn't figured out that GUI is a realtime problem. I don't know how long it's going to take them to get the Multimedia thing figured out properly.

colins: That was my worry dave, something like Scala won't look too hot on WinNT. Thanks.

Pjotr: Let me describe a scenario: The new line of computers CBM will concentrate on. One main RISC architecture, Windows NT (f ex?), Multimedia libraries (incl video) as primary advantage over NT PCs etc, Interfaces for Video CD cable, PCI(?), Video conferencing standards etc.

Q: How will the next Amiga stand out without being propriery?

hazy: On the hardware side, you'll still have Amiga chips. There are things in AAA which will make a very impressive difference in many of the things we're doing with computers these days. But hardware is expensive, and time consuming to design. If we have to build every piece of the system from scratch, it's going to take longer and cost more than comparable "standard architecture" systems. Everyone has pretty much figured this out, except maybe Sun. DEC and Apple certainly have. I think you have to concentrate on the things that will make your system stand out.

On the software side, like I said, I think we'll still have AmigaOS around. CHeheck out the last BYTE for their preceived effect of NT or OS/2 on your hardware, relative to Windows.

From C='s point of view, supporting NT isn't a big deal if the shrinkwrap ped version is available for your processor, so why not? Yet I think the processors (RISC-based) need to run Amiga binaries to make the system an Amiga straight-off. Of course, keep in mind I'm not the management or the software group, but that's the way I see it.

Furr: I would like clarification on the Z3 BUSTER DMA mess; I've gotten conflicting stories from different people. I have an A3000, and I want to know if there is a new BUSTER available for this machine that fixes the Zorro 3 DMA problems. I am considering a Z3 board that this is apparently a consideration for (the GVP Spectrum/24).

hazy: The Buster chip in the A3000 (Rev G or -07) does not support Zorro III DMA. That feature was simply left out, to get the machine out on time. You can get the latest, Rev K or -11, which supports Zorro III DMA and also fixes a bug in the Zorro II DMA to Chip RAM on the A3000. I suppose in the USA, you would have to order this part through your dealer or one of the C= parts specialty places. I don't know who's in charge of replacement parts anymore, it might be SMG.

Furr: Also, when might the first machines based around the AAA chipset actually reach market, and will those first AAA machines still use 680x0 processors, or the as-yet undecided RISC chip?

hazy: The first AAA machines will ship with 680x0 processors, hopefully the 68040 and 68060 will both be options, assuming Motorola's silicon development keeps paces with ours. For RISC, you would simply plug in a RISC CPU module.

KyleW: Is it true that AAA will not work on AGA machines(my UG refuses to upgrade it's antique a500 because ofthat rumor) and 2)- will AAA be available for older machines (I have waytoo much money in my 2500 to upgrade any timesoon).

hazy: The AAA chip set is a radical departure from anything you have seen before. Everything in it was designed new, from the ground up. There is no way possible to retrofit it into any older system other than building a Zorro III card for A3000/A4000 class systems. That certainly could be done, it's up to management to order this or not. It's not practical to implement AAA on a 16-bit card (I won't say impossible, but it would be a great deal of trouble).

LadyHawke: Hi Dave, nice to see you again, we owe you at least a cement-mixer full of macadamia nuts by now ...

hazy: That's a rather curious image.

LadyHawke: My question is more of a dilemma than a question. I have an A3000. The A4000T at the show looked good, more slots, two hard drive controllers, AGA.

Harv: [and two video slots!]

LadyHawke: I am at a loss as to whether to conintue to upgrade my A3000, since every dollar spent on that is a dollar less to save for a new system, and now we have even further developments. I'm worried that there is less support for the 3000 than I expected, and then RISC machines on the way. What would you do if you were a high end consumer? (and computer artist)

hazy: Well, part of the question is, just what do you want for the A3000? Barring a DMA upgrade, Zorro is Zorro. AGA is a big improvement for some, maybe especially if you're into art.

I still have an A3000 here. It's got an '040 card, a 3rd party display card, ab18MB and about a gig of hard disk space. I'll admit the A4000T is a bit tempting, but I don't know (I didn't work on it, so I don't necessarily get a freebie or anything).

Harv: [a friend of mine has an 040 3000 with 84 meg of ram.. i hate him :-) ]

hazy: It's always going to come down to new stuff coming along. The very nature of this business is Faster, Bigger, More, ASAP.

I have a long-term goal to make systems far more modular than they have been, and we just might get that in the next generation. It hasn't been technically feasible before.

LadyHawke: Dave, how long before another system comes along?

hazy: Lew says AAA will hit sometime in '94. Don't expect it for another year, though, to be reasonable about it. I'll guarantee you someone buys an A4000 the day we announce the new machines. These things always happen.

Jim-Guy: My question is about using my Video Toaster on the A4000 with a 1960 monitor.. C= was supposed to build an adapter? Has this been built.. will I ever be able to use my 1960 on my A4000 so I get full AGA support?

hazy: I have seen these around the labs. Apparently the first batch came in from soemme cave in China marginally functional. They do exist. I think they're probably just in short supply at present.

Jim-Guy: What is the relationship or how is the relationship between CBM and NewTek?

hazy: We seem to get along fine with NewTek these days, at least from what I can tell. Personally, I have a blast every time I get together with those guys.

Teletran: Dave, What's the general feeling at C= in regards to how well the CD^32 has doneso far (acceptance, sales, etc.)?... ALso, any thoughts (personal and/or professional) regarding 3-DO?

hazy: For whatever reasons, we're often the last to know about sales. But the word on the street, or by the coffee machine, is that CD32 is doing well. I will admit to being a real skeptic during its development. But I think it was done very well on both the software are hardware levels. And they kept the proice pretty reasonable.

Also, MPEG is as cool as Jeff Porter originally claimed it would be. I think you have to give the coolness edge to 3DO, of course. CD32 is a big upgrade to existing games machines, but 3DO could be out of this world. Then again, what do expect me to say -- I have all the respect in the world for Dave and R.J., and every day more of my friends work for 3DO :( They're aren't a guaranteed success yet, though. Remember back when CDTV came out and everyone hard that zillions of companies would be making Phillips CD-I players. Seems I can still count CD-I players on one finger. 3DO will certainly do better than this, since it's going into lots of places other than "game machines".

The price point is a problem now, no other CD machine has been successful up there, at least in the volumes they were after. They'll need 3DO- specific games. They will have some, but they'll also have ports of PC games. They may have to count on stuff filtering down from embedded arcade machines before they really differentiate themselves. The SGI technology is very cool, at least on a $10,000+ workstation.

What you'll get in the home for $250 is another story. Nintendo may be able to play the old game of CPU power vs. cool display hardware to some extent. But if they wind up with an embedded R3000-derivative rather than a semi-decent R4x00, they won't be much beyond the 3DO's CPU.

lbperez: Greetings...just wondering when are we going to see the expansion box for the CD 32.

hazy: I haven't heard any release dates on it. It's real, though, a number of the low-end guys asked me about various bits and pieces for it. And I suppose you may have noticed, if you have been pricing CD-ROM drives, that the CD-32 is about the same price. I'm certain interface solutions will be quick in coming.

wms: Last time I heard you in conference here on Portal, was after some bloodletting at C= and ewhac asked "Is the light still shining, so to speak?" You replied that you were withholding judgement for the moment. How do you feel now? And how is morale in general?

hazy: Well, it's a tough call. There are good things happening, no doubts. AAA is progressing, management has made committments for new chip revisions on an actual schedule, etc. CD32 seems to be doing what A1200 was supposed to have done last Christmas -- make some money. And I am getting to work on the architecture I have been designing for the last two years. On the other hand, there has been lots of attrition in Engineering.

I expected this, having been through exactly this same kind of thing back in '85-'86, but it's never something to build morale. While it's impossible to say, I believe a great deal of this could have been prevented with some good management. As well as morale in general. Things may even be turning on these points, too, though perhaps it's too early to tell. We are getting some new hired in HW to replace a few who have left. I imagine SW is too, though they lost more key people than we did.

elc: Motorola driven AGA is slow...will Motorola driven AAA be faster? Say the Indy were to drop in price why should my next computer purchase be an Amiga? What is it really ofering that I can't get anywhere else...

Harv: [go price an Indy. if you want 24 bit and a hard drive i hope you have $10,000 handy]

hazy: AGA is, in general, slow. Slow, certainly, as compared to what you expect in modern 32-bit systems. There's a good reason for this -- it's based largely on the ECS architecture.

elc: The Amiga always seems to be just shy of what the Amiga community is looking for, will the next generation Amiga wait for "perfection"?

hazy: AAA is completely new. While I don't expect it to be the fastest system known to man for all things, it will be a substantial improvement. For instance, a demo in the lab is blitting around 24-bit images substantially faster than AA can move an 8-bit image. It has lots of good features, compressed-video modes to speed up animations, copper- programmed-blitter to help offload the CPU, etc.

The current system architecture plans call for additional system support to speed things like RAM to Chip RAM transfers. You can have either 8MB or 16MB of Chip RAM, depending on system configuration. A VRAM system consumes no chip bus bandwidth for video fetch. Lots of good stuff in there.

I don't know how you compare it to an Indy, they're different systems. An R4000 is faster than any 68040, and we don't know what the '060 will do just yet.

MarcR: Will there be a Laptop Amiga? Will there be more "specialized" Amigas like CD32 but for professional and other uses? Will AAA bout out too late?

hazy: They have no plans for a laptop Amiga at present. I want one too, I think it may take a 3rd party to actually get one (keep in mind most 3rd party video displays run on a VGA of some kind). There will definitely be more "specialty" Amigas. I don't work on them, but we do have a group focusing on that kind of thing. I suppose if they went high-end, I might even get involved. One big advantage of the next generation high-end architecture is that it's designed to implement amodular systems. Most previous architectures did one thing well, and got in your way when you tried to do something else with them.

I don't think AAA is coming out too late, though it's later than I (and all of you, of course) would have liked. There's still not a big move to 4MB floppies yet, everyone's still trying to work out just how to do multimedia, and I think AAA supports much of this in hardware, the right way.

MarcR: Would C= licence the Amiga chips for someone to make a laptop, etc.?

hazy: I know C= is much more interested in licensing, and does have plans for chipset deals, at least into the markets they're after. Jeff Porter might know more about this.

JWolf: What are all the details about the AAA chipset? Any other new custom chips? Details? Also, when is AmigaDOS 3.1 due out? What new features are in AmigaDOS 3.1 (both under the hood and over the hood)?

hazy: Well, I would need hours to discuss all of AAA, and I'd probably have to read the manuals.

hazy: I can tell you it consists of four custom chips: Andrea, Mary, Monica, and Linda. They are all full 32-bit chips, and actually, Linda and Monica have a 64- bit mode. The chips support 8 MB of Chip RAM in 32-bit mode, 16MB of Chip RAM in 64-bit mode. RAM can be DRAM or VRAM, and can actually be mixed in a system on 1MB/2MB boundaries.

Andrea is the Agnus/Alice replacement. It supports the old 16-bit registers, new 32-bit registers, enhanced Blitter and Copper, Burst mode to Chip RAM, and display rates up to 110MHz.

Mary is the Paula replacement. It has 8 16-bit audio channels, an enhanced flooppy interface that can handle 4MB floppies, 150KB/s CD-ROM, and probably even ST-506 hard disks if anyone cared to dust one off and interface it.

Linda is a smart Line Buffer chip. It takes data from Chip RAM, as directed by Andrea, and assembles it into a scan line. This allows bursts from Chip RAM to go long, and allows the chip bus rate to be decoupled from the pixel speed.

CD-ROM support was kind of a freebie. The Mary chip has a few data formats, as low-level data formats, one of which is the CD-ROM format. While we expect 4x CD-ROMs soon, and CD-ROM on SCSI as the standard way in a high- end machine, the CD-ROM format throught the floppy interface does illustrate how fast the floppy interface is now.

Monica is the Denise/Lisa replacement. This handles a variety of planar and chiunky display modes, HAM and some new compressed mode included. It can handle all kinds of resolutions, and with the variable pixel clock, they can be just about anything you want, assuming the system can provide that clock. The chip designers name the chips.

NES-Bill: Serial ports Dave?

hazy: Two buffered serial ports.

DeckApe: 1) Has the A4000T hit the stores yet? If not, when is it expected to? What is its list price....

hazy: Far as I know, the A4000T has not shipped. I don't know any details on price.

DeckApe: 2) Will the A4000T be outdated technology within 24 months of it's release?

hazy: Will it be outdated? Well, on some level, anything that ships is outdated, since work on its replacement is already underway. It certainly won't be useless. A machine remains what it was when you bought it. However, better stuff will always come along.

Harv: [lots of people still use Amiga 1000s. I bet some people here are using them right now]

DeckApe: [Won't bet - *I* am one of the 1000 users!]

hazy: My dad bought a C= PC-10 III system maybe 4-5 years ago. That's a 12MHz 8088 or some-such. At a computer faire today, I was a stack of 8088 machine going for $25 each. He paid around $500, C= discount at the time. You have to decide when it's right to upgrade and when it isn't, and I can't tell you what your needs are.

Aaron: With whatever Risc Chip that C= Chooses/chosen (PowerPC I hope) will they be doing the same as Apple with Emulation Q. This Would allow the software to run in 68k Mode but if it is Compliled for the PowerPc it can run in PowerPC Native mode Giving it a the full power of the very powerful Power PC chip.

hazy: Again, I'm not the software group, but I anticipate a 680x0 emulator would go into any RISC OS we ship. It's really not that difficult, in that only user-mode stuff has to be emulated. They can play tricks with the OS, using the emulator or native code as they see fit. And of course, the underlying hardware is the same, so you don't have to emulate it. That's perhaps the worst thing a PC Emulator has to do.

Aaron: second Question: How expensive is it to make the AGA chipset Compared to the Future AA+ and AAA. If the AA+ or the AAA is the same or just a bit more will C= put them in the CD32. Would this not bring the CD32 power up past the 3DO's??

hazy: As far as chip prices, AGA is chip. Real chip. Like, cheaper than ECS, as I understand it, since it yields much better.

AAA will cost more, though much less than we originally guessed, thanks to the downsizing of chips (AAA takes about a million transistors).

A AAA game machine is certainly possible, though I'm not sure if it's the right direction. AAA has a lot of features than make more sense in a computer than a game machine. I mean, 3DO certainly didn't waste any silicon making sure you could get 1280x1024 noninterlaced.

AmiGadget: Dave, it's obvious CBM is convinced, that there are plenty TOMORROWS for Risc Amigas, AAA chipsies 4000-T's, etc. This stuff is two years late, now. By the time you get it engineered, there'll be ZERO Amiga software developers with any capital to support it.

With all due respect for you personally and NO respect for C=, I see no sense of urgency, yours or CBM's, to DO something NOW. DO you ... think there's plenty of time? Or should we all just set our clocks for 2099, when that year's LAST year's technology will then match what we can buy on several other platforms now.?

Harv: [for you IRC people... AmiGadget publishes a magazine by the same name]

hazy: Well, I can't make things happen any faster than I'm making them happen. I wish they were moving faster, but we're doing what we can. I think you'll find this new system isn't lacking as a '94 machine. I can't get into too much detail, only to say that [a] I have been working on this architecture for two years, something that never happened at C= before (two weeks was more like it in the... old days), and [b] I'm doing things with system throughput no one else is doing, or at least talking about, now. No big surprise, really, though.

There's little incentive to get too fancy in "standard" architecture. Apple doesn't build clever hardware, and they seem to be wanting out of the hardware business anyway.

AmiGadget: ALSO... you keep saying "high end"- what kinda money? $12k, $4k?

hazy: C= "high-end" is $4k and below, generally. I think it should start at about $1.5K-$2K, less if possible. High end is the stuff that's not game oriented. "That which does not suck" one might say. I don't think we're going for $10K systems ever, there's no market there.

mykes: Has C= considered distributed computing? ...

hazy: We have done some distributed computing. Nothing real fancy, but useful nonetheless. It started out with a renderer and a custom CPU server that allowed one machine to request CPU time of anyone participating over the network. This wasn't formalized, but it's a good model, and could be formalized over Envoy without too much trouble. There has also been some work with a distributed database model, though I don't know much about that one.

mykes: Which 3rd party gfx board do you own, if any? ...

hazy: I have a thing called oMniBus, designed by a guy named Oliver Bausch in Germany and marketed through ArMax. This is a passive bridge card that puts Workbench up on the VGA card of your choice.

It's cool, it works, it's faster at many things than AGA, does 256 colors (true color with a special loader program), and works under 2.x and 3.x. This never made the US market, unfortunately, and probably scared off Bridge Card users. But it does me just fine, at up to 1280x1024.

mykes: ISA is faster than ECS...

hazy: Actually, the ISA/Zorro II CPU to RAM interface is 1/2 that of the CPU to AGA interface speed. But the VGA card never blocks CPU access.

mykes: Do you feel that C= will be able to crawl out of the niche market and into mainstream? ...

hazy: Well, at least we can pursue the niches. I would like to see us grow and hit the mainstream, at least some mainstream. But increasingly, the mainstream is defined by the the software you run, it has NOTHING to do with your hardware platform. Or, at least, it shouldn't, and won't if MicroSoft has their way. What can you do against that, I don't know. [a] SGI only sells in niche markets [b] SGI machines run Windows NT, a mainstream OS.

mykes: When's the new R.E.M. album coming out? And do you have it on your workbench along with your other prerelease stuff? :-)

hazy: Last summer, REM said the new album would be out this fall and they'd do a tour. Now they say the album will be out maybe in the winter and they might not tour before 2000.

mykes: most important question of all.

Furr: As far as the IDE/SCSI business goes, there are now some MS-DOS systems that use IDE for the primary hard drive, and have a chip socket and connector on the motherboard for SCSI, if the user wants it. I think this would be an excellent route to go, in that it gives you an inexpensive HD interface, and no-slot SCSI access for those who need it; what do you think?

hazy: Well, the high performance SCSI chip we use now is a 160 pin PQFP package, it doesn't exactly drop into a socket (well, anything like a production-worthy socket). I do agree with the spirit of this -- If you do go IDE, SCSI should be a simple addition, it should not require a full expansion card with all the inherent costs of such a card. My personal opinion, of course.

Furr: Now that we're getting one-chip Ethernet interfaces, how long do you think it will be before a 10baseT port is standard on the Amiga motherboard? Artisoft [maker of the LanTastic networking software for the MS-DOS world, for those who don't know] is already calling their ALICE chip "The Serial Port of the 90's."

hazy: Actually, most of the UNIX and all the networking magazines seem to be pushing 10-Base-T as a kind of serial port-ish solution. Which is appropriate, since you can't really use it directly to network anything.

However, given that 10-Base-T chips are getting motherboard-cheap, and trancrivers over to 10-Base-2 are also cheap (as low as $50), I would definitely support 10-Base-T as the most practical networking solution for motherboards.

Furr: Are there any new BridgeCards or other similar emulation items coming from Commodore, or will that market be left to 3rd parties?

hazy: There has been nothing beyond the '386SX BridgeCard, at least discussed in public.

Furr: What is your personal opinion of the Commodore Stockholder's Movement?

hazy: As a stockholder, of course I'm concerned about the relatively minor investment I have in C= stock. As a C= employee, I'm far more concerned about the long term viability of C=. Since it seems to me that the Commodore Stockholder's Movement has only the Amiga and, as a result, Commodore's best interests in mind, I couldn't rightly do anything but applaud the efforts.

RMills: I work at Warner bros. animation and see plenty of SGI and Macs come in for testing and wondered who or if Commodore would do this?...who should I get in contact with there? Getting my A4000 in my office was like pulling teeth.

hazy: Technically, that kind of request should go through Marketing. But I don't know who would be in charge of that.

RMills: Can you give me a name?

hazy: I would recommend talking to Jeff Porter at Commodore, in Engineering.

RMills: ok I really think stations set up at Warners could be a great plug for Commodore and they seem to miss this as a viable thing for them.

hazy: Jeff does a fair share of Evangelizing in addition to running what's basically the "multimedia" branch of engineering.

Harv: [Jeff P did a good job with his speeches at WOCA in pasadena]

hazy: Well, the US does have new Marketing Prez. If his hands aren't tied too much, maybe he's interested in doing something.

Timeus: Dave, How hard would it be for a developer to put external instruction cache on an a4000 accelerator card?

hazy: You could build a cache into the design of a CPU card -- the first C= '040 prototype had a 128K cache. However, it's probably not worthwhile. You can just about always get more performance by going faster than caching, at least until you run out of clock speed (eg, you can't get '040s beyond 40MHz). We got between 5% and 15% speedup in most code with the 128K cache. As for Apple, I assume they didn't sue Commodore because they had insufficient legal grounds for a suit.

Timeus: So you actually looked into it. Impressive. And why did't Apple sue Commodore over look and feel as it did to Microsoft and HP. The amiga has the better interface and the Mac is a poor copy of Amiga.

hazy: Keep in mind that MicroSoft licensed some stuff from Apple for Windows 1.0, and since HP's NewWave is built on top of Windows, anything that can be said for WInindows can probably be said for NewWave, at least legally. There were plenty of elements in the Amiga's GUI that didn't enter the Mac's until later. So it was also possible that C= would have had just as much on Apple as they could have dug up on C=.

Of course, C= probably could have done like NeXT and paid Xerox PARC for a GUI license, which should sufficiently stimie Apple's attempts at any suit.

KyleW: the window/icon interface was developed by U of AZ and is PD!

RedWine: Do you forsee any conflict between the interests of RTG and the apparent functionality of the AAA chipset? Or is it safe to assume that anything AAA will support will also be available to any other cards that come along from other parties?

hazy: No. In fact, some features of AAA, such as chunky pixel support, require at least a degree of RTG to built into the system. There's a good chance that most vanilla chunky display cards won't even need a full RTG driver as a result, since that mechanism will be built-in for AAA.

RedWine: With respect to the slow memory system of the 4000, why was the decision made to not include a more appropriately fast memory capability on the 68040 card itself?

hazy: The card that's in the A4000 was designed to be the lowest cost '040 card possible without going to custom logic. That necessitated some compromises, but it did help on cost. Welcome to the world of the desktop system. :-)

RedWine: What's the standing the CD-ROM drives for AGA machies, and is it technically feasible to include the advantage of chunky-> planar hardware from the CD32's Akiko chip?

Aaron: Is the Chunk->planar Feature included in AAA and AA+?

hazy: Well, I thought about buying a CD-ROM drive for my A3000 today. The CD FileSystem is built in to 3.1 and beyond. You don't need any special magic to get one. The chunky-to-planar conversion (what we call corner-turn memory) is in Akiko, it's not possible to add that as-is to any other system. I expect my version of corner turn memory (which predates Hedley's, though (he didn't know about it) will show up in the AAA systems.

RedWine: I'd really LOVE to get a 4000 keyboard hooked to my 1200. Is this a real tough task, or is it something a college senior in computer engineering like me could take on? :)

hazy: The A1200 is a tricky one, since the keyboard micro (normally in your keyboard0 ) sits on the A12000 motherboard. You can't easily get at the CIA serial port lines that connect between that micro and the CIA.

Also, like the A500, the A1200 gets its reset via a dedicated line from the keuyyboard, it doesn't understand the encoding used on "high-end" keyboards. So if you did hook it in, C-A-A wouldn't work.

LadyHawke: Re: CD32, Dave. When I first saw/heard about it $400 for a game machine felt a little consumer-pricey on thinking about it some more, the other way around, with it as a CD-ROM play with cache, memory, fast CPU, that is, a FREE computer atttached, it took on a different appeal. So how feasible is it to make it into a whiz-bang CD-ROM for multisession, multiplatform? (with a FREE computer attached).

hazy: A few developers have already expressed interest in providing the "multiplatform" solution.

LadyHawke: $365 for the most awesome CD-ROM player on the market takes on a whole different perspective

DeanF: Julie...not unless there's awesome software for it

LadyHawke: Dean, if it's multiplatform, there is software for it

Harv: julie - you talkin about playing ANY CD-ROM format in it? Mac? MPC? CD-I? 3DO? etc.? is that what you mean?

LadyHawke: Yup, Harv, I mean multiplatform capability/interfaces

hazy: Yeah, I mentioned earlier looking at CD-ROM drives today at the computer fair. $175 for a Teac 150kB/s, $350 or so for a Sony 300kB/s. I didn't buy one, but I am still in the market :-)

Harv: $150 for an NEC CDR25 from NES-Bill (see him outside :-)

Aaron: Heck $360 for double speed Multisession CD Rom drive alone isn't that bad.. with the CD^32 you get a game machine and computer with it....

CarmenR: Hazy: Fist of all, I'm assuming that when you refer to "Next Generation" and "Hi/Low End" and "A5000", you're talking about the same thing. How much of the A5000 will be 32-bit? How much 64- bit [zorro slots, etc]. Will there be any part of it higher than 64 bit? The CPU slot perhaps?

hazy: Basically. "Next Generation" defines the architecture. "A5000" would define one instance of that architecture. Most of the system will be 32-bit, though generally everything will have upward/downward paths to full 64-bit implementations.

AAA register-wise is all 32-bit (except where necessary for backward compatibility), though display fetching (the GD and VD buses, to get technical) are either 32 or 64-bit, depending on the configuration.

The system's Fast RAM will certainly be 64-bit (yes, even feeding a 32- bit processor), though we have looked into 128-bit versions, and may use this if it improves things even more.

No enhancements are planned to the Zorro III architecture, though certainly we'll have a much better implementation.

Data bus width isn't everything, throughput is what you really care about. There's perhaps an aggregate bandwith of 400-600MB/s in a basic next generation machine.

JimB: Will allowances be made for more than 5 slots???

hazy: We may have more slots, certainly I would expect more in a tower system.

CarmenR: And will the case be more attractive than the A4000 case [pretty please]? :)

hazy: I don't know what they'll plan for a case. It's virtually certain we'll be using more standard parts, like we did in the A4000 and even moreso in the A4000T case (which most maybe haven't seen yet).

Harv: the 4000T case is very pretty (there's a pic of it in the library here).. has a cool smoked plastic door in the front too.

CarmenR: Dave: I've seen the A4000T case.. It's decent.. I love the A3000 case.. The A4000 case bites it.

hazy: I like the A4000T case too. And keep in mind that uses more standard parts than the A4000. They'll always do a custom bezel of some kind. The A4000 case was a compromise -- it was supposed to be the "universal" case, for Amigas and PCs. Only, the PC guys got in there first, then we stopped making them.

Pjotr: Can you tell me the status and plans for the software side of AAA development? (OS support, multimedia support etc)

hazy: Some AAA stuff will get "built-in" like with the current chips, some may only be available via RTG drivers, and I suspect some will get really hot under specialfx.library.

Pjotr: Workbench is TM CBM? I have seen Workbench used for other software, why not sue?

hazy: I believe they have a TM on Workbench, but who knows. AT&T has a "writers workbench" a zillion years ago. My great grandfather had a workbench in his wood shop. It may he hard to defend.

Pjotr: How's your kid doing? Old enough for a CD32 now? :)

hazy: Sean is in his two's. He's old enough to demolish a CD32 in short order, though I suppose I will be setting up something for him before long. Brat #2 is due in March. She's the last one.

NES-Bill: Dave, last time you were we were chatting here you mentioned some work you were doing on the side with a hack for the 4000 that would allow for more motherboard memory. Something similar to the old 'piggyback memory' hack for the 1000. What, if anything, has come of that? Needless to say, I think that a lot of people would be interested in the potential for 64M on their motherboards. :-)

hazy: Yeah, uh, umm, well, er... Seriously, though, it's still alive and well and fermenting in my mind. No real trick, though, other than tracking down someone who'll lend me some 8MB or 16MB SIMMs to play with. I have been really busy with DiskSalv stuff, that's my only excuse.

Harv: That's it! dave we can't thank you enough for spending nearly four hours in here answering all these questions.

Microbotics 1230XA Accelerator for Amiga 1200

By Brian King


Microbotics M1230XA-50 68030 accelerator for Amiga 1200


A 50MHz 68030 accelerator card for the A1200 with full Memory Management Unit (MMU), 68881/68882 socket, RAM SIMM socket, clock/calendar and EEPROM configuration scheme.


Name: Microbotics, Inc.
Address: 1251 American Parkway, Richardson, TX 75081 USA
Telephone: (214) 437-5330


List price unknown. I paid $399 (US) for the 50MHz 68030 version with no floating point unit (FPU) and no RAM SIMM.

The unit is also available in 33MHz and 40MHz-EC versions, with and without RAM and FPUs. EC denotes the absence of an MMU.



Amiga 1200 personal computer, with available LocalBus belly slot. A hard drive is recommended but not required.


OS 3.0, 3.1 compatible. Excellent compatibility.


None. The configuration and test software is hard-drive installable.


Amiga 1200 with 2 Meg Chip RAM, no Fast RAM. Kickstart Version 39.106, Workbench Version 39.29.

Additional 4 Meg (70ns) Fast RAM added via SIMM socket on M1230XA.

50MHz 68882 FPU added (no oscillator necessary).


So you want to add speed to your new A1200? 40MHz isn't fast enough? You REALLY need that MMU... SCSI/SCSI-II isn't a priority?

THIS is the accelerator for you! I've primarily been using my 1200 as a console and terminal, since the two Meg Chip RAM is not sufficient for many tasks any more. Yes, gone are the days when your Amiga could run quickly and multi-task efficiently with only two Megs of RAM. Count on 3-8 Megs for most serious applications.

I had the need for 32-bit RAM expansion, knowing that this would instantly double the speed of my A1200, and also would allow the addition of a math coprocessor. My initial leanings were towards the Microbotics MBX1200Z, which came complete with clock/calendar, SIMM socket, and FPU socket.

When I learned of a new Microbotics product which includes all these features, PLUS 50MHz acceleration with a TRUE 68030, I knew I had to have one. Not only has this board dramatically increased the overall speed of my machine, but also it has allowed me finally to run some of the Amiga's more sophisticated software (VistaPro, Art Department Pro, Lightwave, SAS/C 6.3, Deluxe Paint IV, etc.) which until now was out of my reach.

Overall speed improvement estimates are:

Item Speed Increase
Hard drive 40-50 %
Graphics 70-100 %
Serial port performance 10-15 %

AIBB 6.0 results are as follows:

Integer Graphics Floating Machine
11.70 4.72 19.16 A600, 2 MB Chip RAM
4.99 2.05 9.07 A1200, 2 MB Chip RAM
1.99 1.93 2.00 A3000/25 + Fast RAM
1.30 0.66 0.60 A4000/040 + Fast RAM
1.10 1.05 1.11 A1200 - See below...

Thus, as indicated, the A1200 with M1230XA is 11.7 times faster at integer math operations than the A600 (no surprise here!).

The last entry needs some explanation. The M1230XA comes with excellent configuration software (SetXA), which allows setting of many board parameters including RAM wait-states. When you configure the board for 50MHz, and 70ns RAM SIMMs, SetXA sets the wait-states to 4, which turns out to be rather conservative. Instead, I set the wait-states to 3, which not only runs reliably, but also runs faster as indicated by AIBB.

The machine was 1.10 times faster with 3 wait states than with 4. However, doing this IS a risk, although I've had no problems with this so far.

AIBB also revealed the HUGE difference between the RAM access of the A4000 and the M1230XA. The A4000 simply cannot keep up to the 68030- equipped A1200 in sheer RAM access speed.


The included SetXA utility is excellent, eliminating the need for many jumper blocks from the board and providing easy configuration. However, the software is rather conservative in its settings for wait-states, as outlined above.

Another problem with the software is its need. Once the board is configured, you should not have to run the SetXA utility again. Unfortunately, the M1230XA does NOT AutoConfig its RAM on startup, and the SetXA software must be placed early in your startup-sequence in order to add the Fast RAM to the system. By this time, however, your drive buffers and graphics/Intuition libraries are already in Chip RAM. The operating system will run more quickly with this data in Fast RAM.

While this is a problem, it is a minor one. It would be interesting to see how having graphics/Intuition in Fast RAM would affect the above speed comparisons. Also, games that need extra memory and don't behave will not be able to access this memory. I hope that most newer games will allow hard drive installation, or not need more than 2 Megs of RAM.

Kickstart/AmigaDOS 3.1 is supposed to allow full AutoConfig ability. It seems that the present PCMCIA address space is right in the middle of the AutoConfig space. This doesn't stop the GVP accelerator from AutoConfiguring, however! Seems a small slip by Microbotics.

The other included software is the TestRAM program, which does cyclic testing of RAM and is great for finding that bad RAM chip or area. I used it extensively when experimenting with the RAM wait-state settings, since I was worried about changing the SetXA defaults, but no errors occurred.


As noted above, this thing really FLIES! Also, the clock/calendar module is fully AmigaDOS compatible, allowing you to use the existing system's Time and Date commands.

The full 68030 is a boon to programmers using tools like Enforcer, as well as allowing the Kickstart ROMs to be mapped into Fast RAM. Even though this gobbles up 512K of your system RAM, it is recommended for full speed processing. If memory is really tight, you can always disable the FastROM option with the AmigaDOS CPU program.

The SIMM socket is excellent quality, featuring the metal-latch type connection, rather than the typical plastic catches on most SIMM sockets.

The FPU socket is a typical PGA socket, and takes a fair amount of force to insert your own 68881 or 68882. This is typical, however, and good contact is made.


The included documentation consists of two double-sided 8.5" x 11" pages, the User's Guide, and a registration card. Although the production quality is low (no booklet, colour, etc.), the content is very clear and concise.

The User's Guide is laid out nicely, including a detailed diagram of the M1230XA circuit card. The Guide progresses through the following sections:

  1. General Description
  2. Basic Installation
  3. SIMM Memory Installation
  4. Math Coprocessor (FPU) Information
  5. Realtime Clock Information
  6. SetXA Configuration Software Guide
  7. Troubleshooting

The only concern about any of these sections lies in the Basic Installation section, Part 3: "..firmly press it completely onto the card edge. Because the connector is so wide, it may require some strength to press the card onto the Amiga's bus."

Wow! SOME STRENGTH??? I had to reef on the sucker with a screw-driver as a lever, along with my hands stuck in there to keep things aligned. Getting it in was extremely difficult and frustrating, and getting it out will be damned impossible. It took about 5 minutes of aggravation until a solution was ironed out.

In all fairness to Microbotics, I don't believe the problem lies at their end; and once the board is fitted, it makes great contact. Commodore's L- shaped bus slot makes insertion and removal very difficult, and NOT for the faint of heart.






There are a number of other accelerator products out there, including GVPs, ICDs, CSAs and soon more. However, if you don't need SCSI-II capabilities, then this board exceeds the GVP A1230+ board in specs, and costs only slightly more. Here is a comparison chart:

Board Speed RAM? RAM Amount Clock/Cal Full 68030 (MMU)
M1230XA 50MHz YES up to 128MB YES YES
A1230+ 40MHz YES up to 128MB NO NO

The clock/calendar option is worth $30 US anyway, and the MMU is necessary for the serious programmer and for virtual memory support, as well as UNIX/Linux/Mach support.


None found.


No experiences yet.


One year, complete.


If your need is for speed, then this board is simply the fastest right now! The RAM speed excels over that of the A4000/40, and drive speed nearly doubles due to the processor speed and FAST RAM.

Until a 68040 accelerator appears for the A1200, this card will provide king-of-the-hill performance. Microbotics is said to be working on a 68040 version of this product, but cost will be prohibitive to most mere mortals.

King Rating = 96%

Copyright 1993 Brian D. King. All Rights Reserved.

Battle of the Game Consoles


So, basically, I've been searching for the ultimate games machine, and what will give me the best for my hard earned money.

JAGUAR: I would have opted for the Jaguar, but these reasons block me: cartridges are quite limited in size; the optional CD module which would make this machine truly amazing is not out, and NOT AS STANDARD. From experience, I know it will take some time before it is supported... ; the lack of software support: you might have the most advanced machine in the world, but if support is lacking...

The CD32: cheap & cheerful; but there is also a lack of support (both in software although not as harsh as Jaguar's, and in marketing); the machine is not fast enough to handle 640x480 HAM8 mode (pseudo 256 000 colors mode), which holds restrictions, so basically you will have 256 colors games with some static HAM8 pictures, in 320x200 (256 Europe).

Technically it doesn't have much astounding coprocessors for texture mapping, and the 68020 at 14mhz is fairly weak to handle such a job at a high frame rate; the 3DO in its first games handles around 24 frames per second in high resolution 24bit mode due to graphic coprocessors and a powerful RISC CPU. And remember that the games are written in C language! The first batch of CD32 games are rated average (and, programmers KNOW the machine, they've been programming Amiga ECS machines for 9 years and AGA for 2 years!), compared to the 3DO which is a brand new system, and already the games are diabolical...

SEGA's Saturn: From what I had read in a comparison of the CD systems soon to be on the market, the new Sega system is still not a match to the 3DO CD-Rom system, which they found was a shame. It is just a small notch above their current 16-bit Genesis with CD-Rom.

Sega does possess the technology to do better (if you look at what they produce in arcades), so this one is a definite disappointment.

NINTENDO Project Reality: Well, it WILL be awesome; from what I could read, it will basically be a Silicon Graphics Indy graphics chip set modified, and a powerful RISC CPU. But, the big downer is: consumer availability in 1995 (read 1996 or more...), and still the use of cartridge.

3DO: The 3DO system, for me, is the clear winner, but the price is astounding, so I will wait until it is lowered (which WILL be happening quite soon); I will be taking Sanyo's 3DO as I believe it should be cheaper (just as Sanyo stereos are cheaper than Panasonic, but this time, the technology is the same...), and I will buy mail-order to still lower the cost. It should be down to around $550. That is still quite expensive, but you get a CD player and a Photo-CD player at the same time...

So, $550 compared to a $400 CD32, and a $500 Jaguar CD system, and it holds up quite nicely. Especially that software support is tremendous, and the marketing power is remarkable. One thing with 3DO that is clear is that it's not just a games machine, and the diversity of its upcoming titles clearly shows this. From encyclopedias to children interactive singalongs to sports coaching software to FMV thrill experiences (like a simulation of deep sea diving), as well as its upcoming 3DO Entertainment Channel, it will be something big. It started as a vision, and it will change our lives. There is no doubt in my mind, just by looking at the marketing powers behind it. But please! Just lower the price!!!

References: most video game magazines, CD-Rom magazines, and news on the Internet.

Hired Guns

New Adventure Game Review


Hired Guns


An "adventure" game for 1-4 players, where each player controls one or more of the computer characters.


Name: DMA Design (distributed by Psygnosis)
Address: 29 Saint Mary's Court, Brookline, MA 02146 USA


I paid $44.95 (US) at a "full service" Amiga store. I don't know the list price.



At least 1 Meg of memory. If you have a 2 meg Agnus chip, the program will use extra sound effects. It works on my 68020-based Amiga, so I would imagine that other processors are supported. Supports up to 4 floppy drives. A special parallel adapter can be bought, or made, that allows 2 additional joysticks to be used. The game also allows you to use a modified Sega "Joypad" in place of a joystick.




Look up a word in the manual. The disks are copyable, and the game is hard disk installable. The "look up a word...." scheme isn't too bad as the game doesn't always ask you! I would rate the copy protection as acceptable.


Amiga 2500; 68020 processor board with 2 meg Fast RAM and 2091 SCSI controller with 2 meg Fast RAM (total of 5 meg memory, of which one meg is Chip RAM), AmigaDos 2.1


The program either runs off of floppies, or off of your hard drive. The hard disk version of the game does not take over the system. You can pause the game and switch to the Workbench. The game returns to the Workbench when you exit. The floppy version takes over the system, and you have to reboot when you are finished with the game.

Floppys do not require any installation, other than the judicial practice of copying the originals and playing from the copies.

To install the game on a hard drive, drag the Install icon into the drawer you wish to contain the HiredGuns directory. Then double-click the Install icon. 5 languages are supported.

You have the choice of installing the complete game, including the extra music, or just a minimal configuration.

The disk comes on 5 floppies, and takes about 1.5 meg of hard drive space.


NOTE: I have had the game for 24 hours now, so this is really a first impression. If my opinion changes, or if I have the facts wrong, I will send in an update.

Hired Guns is somewhat like an RPG, or "adventure" game, where you have a party of "adventurers", and you go on a quest of some sort, solving puzzles and fighting bad guys along the way. You usually have a "window" that shows what the party sees.

Hired Guns is like that, plus a whole lot more. Up to 4 players control 4 computer characters at the same time. The players can use up to two mice, the keyboard, or joysticks to control the computer players. Each input device can control one or more computer players. The program supports a parallel port joystick adapter. Other games, such as Gauntlet, use this same device.

When there are only one or two players, they have to use a mouse. That means that for a two player game, you need two mice. Three or 4 players have the option to select the input device.

Each computer character can also be told to "follow the leader", so you can move up to 4 characters at once. This "Auto Leader" mode will cause the computer characters that have the mode enabled to follow the currently moving character.

Each computer character has its own view window, so each can be in a different place at the same time. If player 1 is standing in front of player 2, then player 2 sees player 1 in front of him.

You have your choice of 12 different computer characters. You cannot edit their "stats" nor add your own characters. However, you CAN edit the graphics for each character using any Amiga paint program. Each character has an ILBM IFF file containing the different views of that character. You can edit the pictures, perhaps replacing them with your own picture, and use that in the game.

The view windows are in "3D" style, so you get the illusion of depth. The graphics are relatively detailed, but they do not blow you away.

The purpose of the game is for the players to eradicate the area of the various mutants that happen to be there. You are provided various weapons, and more are found that allow you to do this.

You move your computer characters around the a landscape consisting of grass, trees, multi-level buildings, tunnels, and rocks. There are also water channels, sometimes multi-leveled, that you can (or have) to wander around in. There are devices available (you hope) that will allow humans to breathe, and keep robots sealed for a few minutes.

There are stairs and elevators that move you up and down. There are big blocks that you push and pull around to allow you or another computer character to get across a chasm or water channel. There are force fields, teleport fields, and doors that need to be removed, accessed, or opened. Many of the puzzles require cooperation between computer characters to complete.

And, of course, there are the "Bad Guys." There are many different ones, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to figure out the best defense and the appropriate weapons that are necessary to deal with each creature.

Each character has an inventory of items, called a "store". Items can be picked up, dropped, and equipped, using each computer character's store window.

If a computer player has the appropriate device, a map of where he or she has been is automatically kept, and is displayable.

The game has several modes. There are "Training" missions, "Short Campaign" games, and the "Full Campaign" game. The training missions start out easy and get progressively harder. The "short campaign" games can usually be completed in one sitting. When there are more that one "human" playing the game, they can compete with each other to see which one completes the level first. The "Full Campaign" has about 20 different sites you have to visit, each with different puzzles and varying degrees of difficulty. Fortunately, you can save your "Full Campaign" game between playings on floppy, Hard Drive, or in RAM.


The program comes with 4 different manuals. However, I am not impressed with the contents. Much of the information you need is either spread out between the manuals, or not there at all.

The manuals are: "Amiga Instructions", which tells you how to install and operate the game; "Game Manual", which describes the various games, and some of the objects in the game; and "The Luyten System, a Background" which describes the bad guys and weapons. It also describes and the local planetary system, which is for "color" only and not necessary to play the game. Finally, the "Countdown To Graveyard" manual gives a history to what is happening, and also describes the Good Guys.

All of the apostrophes (') are missing in the manuals!

None of the manuals describe any sort of strategy that might be of help.


I really like having 4 independent characters to control. You have each character's view in front of you at all times.

I also like the balance between fighting and problem solving. The problems are just as important as the fighting. They are also logical problems, such as "how the heck can I get down 4 stories without killing myself," as opposed to being randomly teleported somewhere for no apparent reason.

I like the hard drive installability, and the relatively non-intrusive copy protection.

I like the ability to play with 3 other players (which I haven't tried, yet).


There was a demo of this program released earlier this year. The play is basically the same, but items such as "group mode" work much better.


None found, yet.


This is a much waited-for game, and it was well worth the wait!

Copyright 1993 Starbound Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Daniel Barrett, Moderator,

COMPARISON: ADPro vs. ImageFX vs. ImageMaster

by Edward Cole


Art Department Professional version 2.3.0 ("ADPro"), ImageFX version 1.50, and ImageMaster version 9.51


The Commodore Amiga has at this point three major packages for image processing. Each program has its good and bad points. This is an attempt to describe those points in order to guide a more informed purchase for Amiga owners.


Art Department Professional

Name: ASDG
Address: 925 Stewart Street, Madison, WI 53713, USA
Telephone: (608) 273-6585


Name: Great Valley Products
Address: 657 Clark Avenue, King Of Prussia, PA 19406, USA
Telephone: (215) 354-9495


Name: Black Belt Systems
Address: 298 Johnson Rd., Glasgow, MT 59230, USA
Telephone: (406) 367-5509


ADPro: $240 (US). Street price approximately $139. ImageFX: $399 (US). Street price approximately $219. ImageMaster: $249.95 (US). Street price approximately $145.


All three programs run on any Amiga within the limitations of memory and speed. I won't go into detail here as this issue will be discussed later.


ADPro is serialized (a serial number is embedded in the program). The other programs have no copy protection.



If I were a programmer (and I certainly am not) I would have combined elements of all three programs: ADPro's speed and certain results, ImageFX's printing features, and ImageMaster's ability to work on any area in an image. Here's a list of features I think are important to keep in mind when choosing which of these programs to buy.


If I were to judge these programs just on use of memory, ADPro would be the clear winner. In the program icon's tooltypes, you can set how much and what kind of memory the program should use.

ImageFX offers the use of virtual memory which is very nice; however, without it the programs chokes on large images. I tend to work with scanned HAM or 24-bit images that range in size from 250K to 10MB. ADPro has never refused to load or display the image as long as the memory is available. ImageFX will not display the same size file without the use of virtual memory. Also, ImageFX also allows you to set the amount of real memory in its memory preferences; but even using all the memory available, it runs out before ADPro.

ImageMaster handles memory just fine without the use of virtual memory and tooltype control. However, it too runs out of memory faster than ADPro, but not as quickly as ImageFX does.


If ImageMaster can print, I'd like someone to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I've tried three printers with this program: (1) color Postscript, (1) color Preferences printer, and (1) black-and-white Postscript. I got nothing from any of them with ImageMaster.

My choice for printing is ImageFX. Its easy to use, the output is excellent, and it recovers from a print job in no time at all. It is not very sophisticated, but it's clean and reasonably fast. I've never used the Preference printer output of ImageFX as I only have a Postscript printer at this time.

The ADPro Postscript driver is multifeatured, but overkill for a simple print job. It has several layers of preferences and is professional, but I rarely have a need for that much control. ADPro does offer a good Preference-printer interface as well.


If ASDG can do it, why can't the others? I don't know. All three programs support my scanners, an Epson ES-800C and a Sharp JX-100. But except for private masochistic reasons, I would never use any scanner drivers that were not from ASDG for use with ADPro.

The runner-up is ImageMaster. The ADPro drivers cost extra money and must be bought separately. If the extra money bothers you, go with ImageMaster.

ImageFX is a very pitiful third. The ImageFX scanner driver is slow and very hard to figure out even with the documentation.

ADPro's scanner drivers tell you how much memory it takes to scan the image you've selected at the DPI you've selected. As you adjust the DPI the memory counter changes to let you know the new memory amounts. If you have selected a DPI that is too high, the counter turns a red color and the driver will abort if you attempt to scan. Neither of the other two programs has a similar feature. If you're using ImageFX's virtual memory and scan the image at 800 DPI, you could produce a 150 megabyte file without knowing it! Also keep in mind that the parallel port scanners use special cables, and all three programs support different cables. ASDG makes a cable that all three support. If you use any two of these programs, you have to use the ASDG cable.


All three programs can handle a wide array of image file formats. Most of them I don't use. ILBM, GIF, and JPEG are the most common formats for me and are directly supported by all three programs.

ImageMaster makes loading certain formats more difficult by having the loader as a macro. These macros are not easy to get at.

Unless you have a need for a an obscure format, I don't think it matters which program you use. ImageMaster can save a VistaPro binary file which I find useful, and ImageFX can write an icon file. These are the only two unique features that I use in any of the program's save features.


The heart of the matter. :-)

Of the three programs, sadly, ADPro has the least number of image processing tools. While ADPro does everything well, it lacks some of the nicer features of the other two programs. For example, both ImageFX and ImageMaster offer limited paint programs and the ability to render complicated gradient fills.

ADPro also has a very limited undo buffer which I find very annoying. ImageFX offers a selectable number of undo levels. ImageMaster uses only a single undo, but it's on all the time unless you select otherwise. With ADPro you must save the image you're working on with a "TEMP" saver and the use "Temp" loader to get it back.

Each program uses "WYSIWYG" but ADPro's is only grayscale.

One of the best features in ImageMaster is ability to work on any area of an image with the processing tools. You can select boxes, circles, ellipses, and non linear areas for applying an effect. Nice.

All three programs have excellent palette control, and I like ImageFX's the best. It has many levels of control. ImageMaster's palette control is very difficult to use and figure out, even with the excellent documentation. ADPro's is somewhere between the other two. This is a feature that I don't use much in any of them.

One serious defect in ImageMaster is its support of AGA screen modes. I simply cannot get a display in Super72 (my favorite mode). Also, ImageMaster requires serious dithering to get a decent WYSIWYG render. ADPro has the best rendering.

One of the nicer features of both ImageMaster and ImageFX is that morphing software is included. ImageMaster has morphing built in, while ImageFX comes coupled with CineMorph. ASDG sells its morphing software separately at yet another extravagant price (and its not substantially different from ADPro). All three programs offer compositing. Of the three, ImageMaster's is the most sophisticated and has the greatest number of variations. On the other hand, ADPro's is the easiest to use. ImageFX's is very nice and, coupled with the better display, is on par with ImageMaster's.

All three programs have weak user interfaces. None of them follow Commodore's Style Guide. ADPro's is notoriously ugly. ImageMaster has row after row of buttons. No pull down menus in these babies.

All three programs, have extensive ARexx support, so it's possible to customize them a lot. At any rate, I'm sure there are things I'm leaving out, but this is a mini-review not a song and dance number. :-)


ADPro is the fastest. ImageMaster is the slowest. On the unaccelerated A2000, some of the effects took as long as 45 minutes. ImageFX's speed is closer to ADPro's and reasonable. I would not use ImageMaster on a slower Amiga unless I *had* to.


ADPro: looseleaf style notebook. Nearly 400 pages.

ImageFX: looseleaf style notebook. Original docs about 400 pages and the 1.5 upgrade about 125 more pages.

ImageMaster: wirebound, 200 pages, and extra documentation on disk.

I have no complaints about any of the documentation.


No program bugs (other than the ones mentioned). Each has some annoying features but they were intended.

ImageMaster failed to install properly on my A2000 with only 7 megs RAM. When I went to 15 megs the installation went smoothing. Not a very clever install routing. If you have only a little memory you may have to do the install manually.


ASDG and GVP both include phone numbers with the docs and are easy to reach. What about BlackBelt? Well, good luck. :-)


Not applicable.


After all is said and done, I find I use Art Department Professional the most often. Its fast and easy to use. After that I use ImageFX, and ImageMaster very rarely.

Copyright 1993 Edward Cole. All rights reserved.

December Meeting Door Prize!

Steve Echols has donated a brand new game called GEAR WORKS that will be given away at the December general meeting! GEAR WORKS is the most unique puzzle game to hit the market in years. In GEAR WORKS you will connect various pieces in order to transform Twelve Wonders of the Ancient and Modern World into time pieces. You build the inner mechanisms by linking together gears while racing against time and fighting friction. Watch out for Poffins, two gremlin-like creatures, that will frustrate your progress.

You have to be a member and at the meeting to win! The drawing will be held at meetings end.

Financial Report of the Memphis Amiga Group September/October, 1993

DISK SALES $ 22.00
Mag ADD $ 11.00
Dues $ 40.00
Rentals $ 10.00
New Members $ 50.00
Cash ON Hand $
New Memb. Pack $ 180.00
Months Receipts $ 313.00
Tax $ .00
Postage $ 29.00
Mag Printing $ 28.15
Mis Expenses $
New Disks $
Fish Disk $
On-Line Charges $ 20.00
Months Debits $ 77.15
Bank Balance
Deposits $ 456.00*
Checks Out $
New Ballance $ 479.00*
Total Assets $ 935.00*

* - Nov. Bank Statement not received before printing, and balance is approximate.

Welcome To The Gang!!

Chris Dobbins
Bill L. Knight

These are our newest members.
So let's all make them welcome!

You could own this BOX

If you have an old computer, old car, old lady, er. No! No! -- anything you need to get rid of. You can get this box, or one like it, for your very own. All you have to do is give me a call and tell me what you would like to advertise here.

Call Terry 393-4864


If your name is underlined check your renewal date.

If you have a change of address or phone, please notify; Terry Campbell (601) 393-4864

1. Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38107 OCT 94
→ 2. Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 94
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