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Review: Blizzard PPC

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  • Review: Blizzard PPC

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    Im new to the PPC amiga scene , they are and always were expensive. in fact i had left the Amiga by the time the PPC arrived , so i never had any first hand knowledge of them at all really.

    So why spend hundreds of pounds on one?

    Well to be honest you will have pain and it's going to be considerable and you will have problems unlike any you have had in the 68K days. Lets look at the good points first.

    The Blizzard / phase 5 PPC is a fantastic peice of engineering. its a twin CPU , graphic ported , SCSI breathing monster of a card that was to be a step in the Amiga PowerPC evolution and with OS4 support it even had its own OS to run. users of 3.1 had to use software patches to use it but more of that later.

    So lets look at the card,

    Blizzard PPC

    160, 200, 240 mhz & 256 MB ram , SCSI

    This accelerator board was designed for Amiga 1200 and plugged into the trapdoor slot. It used a low cost, low end processor designed for portable and embedded use.
    • PowerPC 603e at 160, 200 or 240 MHz
    • 68040 at 25 MHz or 68060at 50 MHz
    • Two 72 pin SIMM sockets accepting 256 MB RAM, 32 bit wide
    • Ultra Wide SCSI controller
    • Expansion slot for the BlizzardVision PPC


    In 1995 Amiga Technologies announced they were going to port AOS to PowerPC. As part of their Power Amiga plan, Amiga Technologies was going to launch new Power Amiga models using the PowerPC 604e CPU and in co-operation with Amiga Technologies Phase5 would release AmigaOS 4-compatible PowerPC accelerator boards for old models.However, in 1996 Amiga Technologies' parent company ESCOM entered into deep financial problems and could not support Amiga development. Due to a lack of resources, the PowerPC project at Amiga Technologies stalled and Phase5 had to launch accelerators without a PowerPC-native AmigaOS. As a stopgap solution, a new PowerUP kernel was created allowing new PPC-native software run parallel with 68k Amiga OS. (wiki)

    So what can it do ?

    Well to be blunt , the PPC card will turbocharge your Amiga in to Pentium PC speeds like youve never seen before. To get the best form the card you will need a SCSI Hdd or a fast IDE setup as the slow IDE amiga cannot keep up and it will be a severe bottleneck. How about 256 mb ram ? not a problem but be choosy about which ram fits the sockets.

    With OS3.1 the OS is still 68k so it will boot and run via the 68000 cpu and not the PPC , only OS4 does this but OS4 is a big OS and its too big for classic systems really.


    Phase5 developed a PowerPC kernel called PowerUP which ran alongside the 68k based AmigaOS. Effectively, a programmer could then utilize the PowerPC CPU as acoprocessor. German company Haage & Partner developed a competing multi-tasking kernel called WarpOS for the phase5 PowerPC boards which operated in a similar manner but was not code-compatible with PowerUP. This lead to two different version of PPC software on the PPC amigas.

    But what can it do ?

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    So is it worth getting one?

    Well you really need the following ....

    Bvision Graphics / Voodoo PCI
    ATX PSU or AT PSU - the PPC and Bvison will consume an Amiga PSU and leave it dead.
    Tower system or conversion case for cooling , the PPC gets really hot, really really hot.

    and lots of time and money


    The Amiga classic PPC was a wasted or at least not fully used avenue that the Amiga could of dominated in the 90s. The 68k is slow , it wont get any faster and the PPC is many times faster, if the OS had been better patched or Commodore had not gone under ....well who knows.... so if you want the best of the Amiga, the you can have it all in the PPC and 68k processor cards but you must have a big wallet and endless time on your hands.

    links / help and the Samaritans.

  • #2
    Nice review.
    Amiga 500, Amiga 600, Amiga 1200,
    Amiga 1200PPC, Amiga 4000PPC,
    Amiga CDTV, Amiga CD32,
    Peg2, Peg1, Efika, MacMini


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