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fitzsteve
11th November 2014, 11:43
Hi All,

Today I'm reviewing the new RapidRoad USB which is the a USB Module for Classic Amiga's by Individual Computers.

https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/product/rapidroad-usb.html

These are available now for €129 for Clockport Amiga's and just €99 if you plan to use it with the X-Surf100 Network Adapter, this reduced cost version comes without the cables and plastic cover and simply activates the two USB ports that are already present on the rear of your X-Surf100.

I bought the Clockport version even though I intend to use it in my A4000 I like having the flexibility to use it with other Amiga's although already I'm considering just buying another one, yes it's that good!

So what do you get in the box?

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080355.JPG

The clockport version is supplied with:

• The USB Module of course
• Insulated perpex cover (pre-fitted)
• Earth cable (pre connected)
• Screw and washer (for connecting the earth)
• Pass through Power Cable
• Clockport data cable
• Short Manual (bilingual)
• USB Cables-Backplate

Note to use the Clockport version with an X-Surf100 you must remove the perspex cover, it's simply just a case of removing the small plastic nuts and bolts.

As stated the cut price version is just the module it's self and you get a short manual which is akin to a quick setup guide, however I recommend reading the Icomp Wiki as it has lots of extra info and besides you need to go there anyway to download the drivers as there is no media included.

http://wiki.icomp.de/wiki/USB_module

The USB stack comes in two forms a cut-down version on ADF you can transfer to Floppy Disk or an archive which contains some extra's such as Icons that you can transfer to your Amiga another way.

Why would I want USB on an Amiga anyway?

There are a few good reasons for USB on an Amiga, the most relevant is easy file transfers. Of course on an A600/A1200 you already have the PCMCIA port but the A4000 you need to burn CD's or find some other form of removable storage making USB very useful.

The Poseiden USB stack which is Licensed for use with the RapidRoad is a very versatile piece of software, it recognises most USB devices automatically such as USB Pen Drives, External HDD's, Mice, Keyboards, Network Adapters(wired), CDROM's, Sound Cards, etc and where these are storage devices it (usually) mounts an Icon right on your Workbench assuming you have the correct CD or FAT file system installed.

I've tested my Rapid Road in both my A1200 via Clockport and A4000D connected to an X-Surf100 and it operated flawlessly on both machines.

Here are photographs of the RapidRoad installed on an A1200 Clockport:

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080356.JPG

When connecting your RapidRoad USB please double and triple check that all connections match the pictures on the individual Wiki and as described in the manual, you can damage your hardware if connected incorrectly.

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080357.JPG

The LED should illuminate within 1 second, if it does not switch off your Amiga immediately!

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080359.JPG

Software installation requires that you have a method to transfer the ADF or archive to your Amiga, in my case I used a PCMCIA transfer kit. If you have no other way speak to your reseller and see if they can supply the ADF on floppy for you.

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080360.JPG

The software has a standard installer which will guide you through the installation options. As mentioned the archive contains extra's such as updated Icons that you can use:

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080386.JPG

I found that the throughput in my A1200 which is powered by a Blizzard 1230MkIV @50mhz to be about 700k/sec which is quite reasonable for transferring small files or USB device like Mice/Keyboards and even CDROM's. There might not be enough throughput for Sound Cards, I don't have one to test sadly. Networking is possible via USB however you might get better results on PCMCIA if you use with an A1200. You also have the option to use WiFi Cards with PCMCIA.

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080393.JPG

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080396.JPG

You can also install the RapidRoad on other devices with a clockport, there's further information and examples of how to connect them on the Individual Computers Wiki:

http://wiki.icomp.de/wiki/USB_module#installation_pictures

The RapidRoad comes into full force when connected to the ZorroIII bus on an A3000/A4000, but of course is also compatible with Zorro II such as A2000. Sadly I don't have an A2000 or any third party bus boards here to test this combo on, but I welcome other people reports on this and will include them in my review.

Here is the X-Surf100 with RapidRoad USB installed in my A4000: (As stated before if you have the Clockport version then you need to remove the perspex cover)

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080409.JPG

Again the LED shows correct operation, if this does not light up within 1 second switch your Amiga off immediately!

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080410.JPG

Installation was straight forward, the RapiRoad just is inserted into the socket on the X-Surf100, you can only fit it one way round due to the Zorro slots. I recommend fitting this on a flat surface before inserting the X-Surf into your A4000 as the board can flex quite a bit, however if you're careful and support the bottom if the X-Surf100 I'm sure you will be fine.

The Manual recommends installing the hardware first then the software, in my case I already had Poseieden installed from my previous Deneb USB, I used the installer to upgrade my 4.4 version to 4.5 which is the version supplied by Individual Computers and contains the device driver for the RapidRoad.

After running Trident, the front end for Poseiden I was able to add the hardware and activate the USB.

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080413.JPG

I'm in LOVE too <3

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080412.JPG

Transfer speeds are much quicker with Zorro III, as you can see below some 6mb+/sec:

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080415.JPG

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080414.JPG

As I have a front mounted USB card reader with USB port I have used the the internal header (*Note if you use the internal header you cannot use the external ports on the XS100*)

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080417.JPG

Both USB port and card reader worked right away. This reader has the 9pin connector (like motherboard USB header) which is the one you need so check if you're buying a reader for this setup.

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080425.JPG

Although this isn't a review for the X-Surf100, it was my first time using the card. This was also very easy to install, just a case of copying the device driver to Devs/Networks and using a TCP/IP stack (in my case MiamiDX) to go online:

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080423.JPG

I finalised my install by routing the USB cable neatly:

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080428.JPG

And reassembled my A4000 :)

http://www.fitzstevesamigaworld.co.uk/gallery/albums/userpics/10001/P1080429.JPG

The Verdict

Having used other USB solutions in the past I knew what to expect with USB, it's a luxury for Amiga that you don't need but it does bring your Amiga into the 21st century by adding compatibility with modern USB devices and storage.

It's particularly useful in an A4000 which has no PCMCIA port so no simple way to transfer files quickly. Many users are forced to mount CF cards at the rear of their machines or burn CD's to transfer data.

With the prices if Deneb's and Subway's having gone up over the recent months it's certainly a welcome addition to the Amiga market as an affordable USB solution.

How does the RapidRoad compare to the other USB options?

I have previously owned Subway's, Deneb's and also a Highway USB so I'm in a reasonable position to give an opinion here.

For the A4000 I am very impressed with the speed of the RapidRoad, the Deneb is slightly faster in it's DMA mode but it's pretty close, the Deneb however has the advantage of 4mb Kickflash which is very useful for adding rommable modules for your own custom boot Rom. For example it's very easy to start with bootable USB devices on the Deneb or remove the need for the OS3.9 reboot.

A benefit of the RR over the Deneb is that with Networking you only use one Zorro slot, very useful when you only have 4 Zorro slots. It's worth noting though that you can use USB sound and network adapters should you not have any free slots.

I would highly recommend the RR over the Subway as I always found my Subway's a little unreliable with data transfers and devices dropping out. No such trouble with the RR yet, the only benefit I can see for the Subway is that is has 4 instead of 2 internal headers.

Whilst I don't have a recent benchmark to share from a Subway I believe the RapidRoad is much faster on the clockport.

I hope that you found my review useful, of course I welcome your comments so that I can develop my review further.

Thanks for reading,

Fitzsteve

fitzsteve
11th November 2014, 12:50
Review is taking shape now, If there are any mistakes please let me know!

RichyV
11th November 2014, 13:21
Nice review, Steve.
Based on that, it's a definite buy for me, but I'll be getting the native X-Surf-100 version, as I do not own any Amigas other than my A4000 now...
Cheers!

manic23
11th November 2014, 13:31
Great read Steve, I may need a bit of help installed everything once I get my A4k back so expect a PM lol. I am not as experienced in the use of Amiga's as you.

fitzsteve
11th November 2014, 13:35
Nice review, Steve.
Based on that, it's a definite buy for me, but I'll be getting the native X-Surf-100 version, as I do not own any Amigas other than my A4000 now...
Cheers!

Sorry for causing you to spend more money lol, I often get told of for that... I'm not on commission - honest!

You wont be disappointed though, it's a great addition to an A4000.


Great read Steve, I may need a bit of help installed everything once I get my A4k back so expect a PM lol. I am not as experienced in the use of Amiga's as you.

Always a pleasure to help mate :)

RichyV
11th November 2014, 13:40
Steve, can I ask how you find the X-Surf? I haven't installed mine yet as I was awaiting the USB solution to appear - think I've had it almost a year! :oops:

Oh, and have you tested the RR with a USB hub at all..?

fitzsteve
11th November 2014, 13:53
Steve, can I ask how you find the X-Surf? I haven't installed mine yet as I was awaiting the USB solution to appear - think I've had it almost a year! :oops:

I've only used it for a few moments to test it out, but it was very easy to setup and worked first time.

Interestingly the first attempt to register with DNS drew a blank, but second try worked. Not sure why, maybe a Miami thing, but of course you can manually enter all your information.

Just open a Command Prompt on a PC that's on the network and type 'ipconfig' this will give you everything you need. You can find the IP address logging into your router, or in my case I just used one that I knew would be free. (Actually this might be why DNS failed the first time!)

It was pretty quick downloading the web pages, as you probably know Style Sheets aren't supported by IBrowse so modern sites stop loading (due to java script which can be disabled) or don't look right.

You can use various useful programs, I like WookieChat which is an IRC client and AmiFTP to grab files from my FTP server. You can even use Email clients, etc.

I'll do a little post on the X-Surf100 with some pics and usage at some point :)

Aparantly for the best speeds you should use RoadShow, this is a paid TCP/IP stack although there is a Demo version limited to 15mins if you want to try it first. It has no GUI so needs a user who isn't afraid to use the Shell. I just used MiamDXi as I'm familiar with it and there is a Wizard for new connections.

If you got yours from Amigakit you should have EasyNet. I've never used Easynet though.

fitzsteve
11th November 2014, 16:22
@RickyV,

Having read again the Wiki Page it looks like Roadshow isn't the fastest TCP/IP Stack with the X-Surf100, in fact AmiTCP/Genesis is.

@Thread,

I'd be interested to know if anyone has tested the X-Surf100 and RapidUSB Combo in a Zorro II setup such as an A2000 or even an A1200 with Z2 Busboard and how speed compares to ZII USB options such as Highway/Thylacine.

z3spacial
12th November 2014, 08:01
Great review Steve, but a couple of 'newbie' questions if I may....

1. This will work in a bog standard A1200 ? (I have an ACA1230).....

2. To work in an A4000, I need to get the XSurf as well ? It won't work on it's own in an A4K ?


Sorry for the newbness (!)

Z3

Bastich
12th November 2014, 08:55
That's a very interesting and informative review :thumbsup:

fitzsteve
12th November 2014, 09:23
Great review Steve, but a couple of 'newbie' questions if I may....

1. This will work in a bog standard A1200 ? (I have an ACA1230).....

2. To work in an A4000, I need to get the XSurf as well ? It won't work on it's own in an A4K ?


Sorry for the newbness (!)
Z3

No need to be sorry!

1)

Yes it will work just fine on your A1200 and you should get similar results to me with my Blizzard 1230. You need MUI installed to use the GUI front end, Trident. If you have Classic Workbench MUI is already installed.

You need a way to get the USB stack onto your Amiga, i.e PCMCIA transfer kit. Placing the USB ports is a potential issue that needs some creativity ;)

2)

You need a Clockport for the Clockport version or an X-Surf100 for the non clockport version. I recommend if you want to use in an A4000 you get the X-Surf100 and fit it that way.

Otherwise like shown on the Individual Computers Wiki you can connect the clockport version to other Zorro cards that have a clock port:

http://wiki.icomp.de/wiki/USB_module...ation_pictures (http://wiki.icomp.de/wiki/USB_module#installation_pictures)




That's a very interesting and informative review :thumbsup:

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. :)

portarinos
12th November 2014, 09:31
As far as i'm concerned the answer to the first question is affirmative.

- - - Updated - - -

Oops,seems that Steve was quicker :D

corigon
17th November 2014, 17:33
Hi!

I would like connect HP1010 laserprinter to the RapidRoad. Exist driver to it?
When not which one printer can i connect to the RR?

Greetings.

fitzsteve
17th November 2014, 18:41
Hi!

I would like connect HP1010 laserprinter to the RapidRoad. Exist driver to it?
When not which one printer can i connect to the RR?

Greetings.

I'm not sure about printers, I need to find a list of supported devices since the author of the USB stack took down his website.

corigon
18th November 2014, 16:57
Yet a question! I would like to play the Shogo game. A game I have. Have you install code for Shogo? Thanks!

fitzsteve
18th November 2014, 17:48
Yet a question! I would like to play the Shogo game. A game I have. Have you install code for Shogo? Thanks!

Shogo is a commercial Game you will need to buy a copy, sorry we can't share codes on Amibay.

k0x
18th November 2014, 18:31
Check this out - USB tethering for Amiga on 1k (http://www.a1k.org/forum/showthread.php?t=46944) forum.

You can go online with your Android phone connected to Amiga.

fitzsteve
28th November 2014, 16:22
I read on A.org an interesting review:

http://www.amiga.org/forums/showthread.php?t=68444

It seems the RR is quite nippy also connected to an A2000 :D

(Approx 2mb/sec transfers)

fitzsteve
30th November 2014, 22:39
Hey guys, I tested a Creative USB Sound Card which I picked up cheap on the other Bay, I'm pleased to say it works with the RapidRoad! Plugged in and immediately it was picked up by Trident and the lights came on...

Went to AHI Prefs and as expected right at the bottom of the list USB Audio 16bit Stereo++ :D

First test was to try an MP3, sadly my 040 @40mhz wasn't man enough to decode the MP3 and drive the USB Audio, it worked but the audio was very choppy and the system was unusable while the track played. Even with 128kb MP3 @ 11025khz. I think a fast 060 or PPC would be able to do it just fine since AmigaAMP works on PPC too this would be ample speed.

However some good news for 040 owners, as long as you're not running something that obliterates the CPU it works perfectly, I was able to test ASP which is a spectrum emulator which has AHI and the sound was crystal clear. I imagine Amiga CD Games that work on 020/030 with AHI support will be fine too, I need to do some more tests. I tried Quake but as above there was too much CPU load to do clear sound, it was breaking up just like the MP3's

Overall a successful test and yet again the RapidRoad just works!

Edit:

MP3 playback on the USB Sound Card is fine from RamDisk instead of USB, it stutters at first then clears up.

An 060 would have no trouble at all :)

fitzsteve
6th December 2014, 15:27
Hey Guys, I got a second RapidRoad USB so moved the clockport version back to my A1200, somewhat as expected the 030 isn't able to drive USB Audio but it does work in as much as the device is picked up and playback is attempted. There are occasional beeps to suggest it's trying to play!

A fast 060 might be able to push it, assuming the clockport has enough bandwidth. Shame I got rid of my 060 lol.

Xanxi
6th December 2014, 19:38
Hey Guys, I got a second RapidRoad USB so moved the clockport version back to my A1200, somewhat as expected the 030 isn't able to drive USB Audio but it does work in as much as the device is picked up and playback is attempted. There are occasional beeps to suggest it's trying to play!

A fast 060 might be able to push it, assuming the clockport has enough bandwidth. Shame I got rid of my 060 lol.

Hi.
How does it compare with the Subway on this setup?