Amiga 1200 with 8GB CF Whdload - need memory/accelleration card

Deano59

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Hi guys - I am an Amiga noob - I recently became the proud owner of a Commodore badged 1200 with 3.0 rom. I only intend to use it for playing games. I bought the 8gbCF drive seperately - it contains AGA, CD32 and ADF files. I think that because it is an 8GB CF drive it will require more memory - I haven't installed it yet as I am waiting for a scart connection to arrive.

A few people on facebook recommended a blizzard but they are anywhere from 260 euro to 460 euro - too expensive at the moment so I need a cheaper alternative to run all these games but I don't want to have to adjust timings - as I don't have a clue what that involves.

Basically I need a cheap solution that will let me play all the AGA, CD32 and ADF files from my CF drive.

Any help greatly appreciated.
 

CrazyC

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https://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?16681-A1200-accelerator-cards-A-buyer-s-guide is a good place to start.

We cant really discuss prices on here as it would be price driving and a mod would slap me, but keep in mind that the prices you are seeing are currently higher than historically. Prices are set by availability and what people are willing to pay, so go up and down. I think maybe you are also talking about a range of blizzard cards there (although there are always one or two prices on ebay that can simply be ignored as ridiculous). There will be a big price differential between a blizzard 1230 and a 1260. You will NOT need a 1260 for what you are talking about.

I think you are looking for a ram card or a 1220 variant - just check as you may need timing fixes for ACA cards. But have a read of Andy's thread on this stuff.

I know its hard but its worth thinking about what you want and being a little patient. (Trust me - I learnt the hard way). When I started I was in the same boat and rushed in a got a 8mb ram card (paid over the odds a little as I wanted it straight away) but within 2 weeks or so wanted more so went for a B1230 MKIV. Maybe post up a wanted thread in the hardware wanted forum?
There are some tricks to eek the most memory out by booting to a command prompt (I think) so you will be able to play quite a few games anyway whilst you wait.
 

dimfil

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Your best way to go for gaming is WHDLoad. This is the reason your will need some more fast ram. The cf card alone, does not require anything.
For WHDLoad gaming, an accelerator is not necessary. Just adding fast ram is enough.

Try in the forum. I think I saw a fast ram expansion been listed for sale. Or else, raise a "wanted" thread and for sure you will find something.
If you can give a little more extra money, I propose you should go for a Blizzard 1220 4mb. You can find it in reasonable prices and it really worths its money for a start...
 

Deano59

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If I add fast ram - what speed and how much? Will adding ram cause timing issues - sorry noob question. Also will a Blizzard 1220 4mb add timing issues.
 

CrazyC

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Ram - either 4mb or 8mb - no timing issues as far as I know. Never seen timing issues on Blizzards either, but I have never had any timing issues myself as never had an ACA card (or Apollo actually).
I have had a amitek Hawk 8mb ram card, and a variety of Blizzard 1230 MKIVs and my current 1260, with no issues. If you have a motherboard shield in place, just dont let it touch the card connector. (Either bend it back or remove the shield).
I am sure some more experienced people will be along shortly to provide further advice!
Good luck, and watch out - this can be highly addictive......
 

dimfil

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If I add fast ram - what speed and how much? Will adding ram cause timing issues - sorry noob question. Also will a Blizzard 1220 4mb add timing issues.

You don't have to worry about speed. Any trapdoor RAM expansion will do.
No timing issues for either RAM expansion or Blizzard 1220. Just plug and go...
AFAIK, timing fixes are needed only for ACA and some Apollo cards...

Edit: Sorry CrazyC... Eventually, we were writing at the same time and probably we were thinking of (more or less) the same answer!

- - - Updated - - -

One more advice, if I may...

For every piece of hardware you may find, take a look at Amiga Hardware Database to find out what exactly it is. It will save you a lot of time and troubles...
 
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Deano59

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Where is the best place to get ram expansion and how big - 4 or 6 or more? Thanks
 

dimfil

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Where is the best place to get ram expansion and how big - 4 or 6 or more? Thanks

What do you mean by "best place"?
If you mean where to buy one, then.. you are in the best place! Search in Hardware for Sale and if you can't find anything then ask in the Wanted Hardware.
Else, there are other "bays" to search also...

If you mean where to add it, my opinion is to the trapdoor. They are cheaper and easier to find.
PCMCIA RAM expansions are hard to find anymore, but not impossible. Expect to pay more money for one of these though...

4Mb should be fine to add and enough for most of the games.
8Mb in trapdoor would be better for WHDLoad preload, but the extra 4mb may conflict with the PCMCIA port. Most ram expansions have a jumper to disable the extra 4mb if needed to access a PCMCIA device.
 
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CrazyC

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Yeah for your purposes don't go near the PCMCIA RAM expansions unless you are really desperate (they are a poor substitute), and ram will come in sizes of basically 4 or 8. I would probably take whichever comes up first being honest but obviously the more the better.
For gaming, don't forget an auto mouse/joystick switcher is quite handy.
Or save up and wait for a reasonably priced B1230 MKIV. But who knows how long you could wait....
On here remember you need to be quick as its order of declared interest, NOT an auction where you will get gazumped at last minute like elsewhere.
 

CrazyC

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Need to keep your eye on the for sale forum as other things that would do also come up. Its always a gamble to wait for exactly what you want. As long as you dont overpay you can usually trade back in without losing much if anything.
 

Snoozy

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I've never had any timing issues with my ACA card, I have both blizzard and ACA - i prefer ACA as the technology is only a few years old rather than 20 years - its enough to have the main 1200 as 20 years old !

If you really want to play it safe go for a ram card - 4mb if you still want to use your pcmci slot (via cf to transfer files from pc) or 8mb for optimal whdload compatability but likely loss of pcmcia slot function. good luck

Personally, I would pay a bit extra than a ram card and go for an aca accelerator - see amigakit uk.
 

Deano59

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Firstly guys thank you all so much fory your advice - as a noob I am sure I look pretty foolish with the questions I am asking but I have been stunned by how helpful everyone is on here - it is great to be on a forum with real enthusiasts.

Hi Snoozy - I like the idea of an ACA card from Amiga kit - I only discounted it because I have heard about timing issues. This is the only one I could find on Amiga kit - http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1207 - will this suit my 1200 with 8GB WHDload?

I would rather get it right than rush into it - if you think I should wait for a Blizzard then I will wait - I have waited long enough to get a mint 1200 a little longer isn't going to kill em. I have a 500 on the way and I ordered a gotek so I should be okay for a while;

Thanks again guys
 
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CrazyC

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If you are intending to keep your a1200 for a while, consider getting it recapped if it has not been done. These machines are beyond expected life now and issues could arise at any point. If you get that done, then get the timing fixes done if needed at the same time. Loads of people have and use the ACA cards and they are new tech as was said earlier and apparently very good. I just have a preference for Blizzards.

This is a great place with lots of advice, and I started with most of the same questions myself a couple of years ago.....Keep on asking!

Yes that ACA would do you, its on a similar par to a B1230 MKIV. (I would personally chose the Blizzard, but that depends on availability and price at a given point)
 
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Deano59

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I would love a Blizzard is the price increase of the Blizzards a recent development? They are over twice the price of the ACA above.

Another quick question - is my Amiga hampered by the fact it is 3.0 and not 3.1 rom? Again I will only ever use this machine for the 8GB WHDload ADF and AGA and CD32 games.
 
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CrazyC

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I don't think the roms will be a problem at all. If you get an accelerator with a maprom feature you can always softkick 3.1 roms.
Maprom basically copies your Roms into fast memory, making it quicker to access. This makes it possible to load an alternative Rom image not just your actual roms.
 

Snoozy

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The aca card you have linked to has a higher mips than a blizzard iv and most likely more memory - i would go for it in a heartbeat over a blizzard. Have a look at azheri thread on here about what can go wrong with 20 yr old blizzards! I did warn him a few years back. He uses aca now i think! (Saying that my blizzard still goes ok, but my aca is my main 1200)

Timing issues are so often discussed and yet so rarely encountered in reality. This technology was specifically designed to be compatibile with the 1200 in all its iterations. Re: 3.1 roms, this is a worth while upgrade as the accelertors in general communicate better with a 1200 on 3.1 (you can softkick to 3.1 but i just prefer to be on 3.1 properly and be done with it)
 

dimfil

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Blizzard 1230 mkIV is (to my humble opinion) the best 68030 accelerator out there for the A1200. Well designed, rock solid stable, memory upgradable by 72 pin simms, maprom by jumper, easy disabling, optional scsi kit. I could add the optional 68882 FPU but this is not of a much use, although cheap to add.
The best part is that it just works, you don't have to worry about anything after installing it in the trapdoor. These are more or less the reasons that it keeps it's prices high even after these years.

I proposed the cheap alternative, the Blizzard 1220. Fair price for nowadays, brings your A1200 to around 4.5-5.0 MIPS and you get the 4mb fast. Practically, the vast majority of WHDLoad games will be OK with this configuration. I noticed one is for sale right now in the forum.

If you don't want to give much money, the only alternative in it's range is the aca 1220. In fact, you can consider the aca 1220 as a memory expansion as the boost of the 68020 speed is not much. You could try to overclock them though (there is an easy way to do that) so you could get something extra of speed. You can't find an aca1220 in amigakit anymore, but there are other european stores too and some of them have them still in stock.

Finally, from time to time you can find for sale some older 68030 ACAs (1230-1231-1232) in good prices, and you may consider getting one when it is available instead of a stocked 1220.

As a conclusion, I would advise you to start with a low cost accelerator as long as you need it only for gaming by the way you described. The blizzard 1220 to my opinion is your best choise and will be completely adequate for that. Save your extra money, try to find some more money over time and at some point you will for sure find a good offer for a 68030 accelerator. You just need to be patient.
 

Deano59

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Thanks for the advice - very helpful - bit worried about the 3.0 rpm now - I am not tech Davy enough to
upgrade if to 3.1 rom - has anyone had theirs upgraded from 3.0 to 3.1?
 

Snoozy

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You can do it yourself, its just a case of opening up the 1200 and locating the roms - they are in sockets. If you're really worried you can get a special rom removal tool for a few ££ off ebay (essentially a chip grabbing remover, looks a bit like tweezers with a lip on to grab at chip), or alternatively you can gently pry them out with short flat head screw driver - you must be careful though - the screw driver cannot come into contact with the 1200 motherboard as you risk damaging a trace.
 
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