Some adviced for upgrading my beloved A500+

zinamo

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Hello Everyone,

I'm quite new to the amiga world and by now I only own an A500+ with no improvements but since I'm really enjoying it, I decided to take a few steps to make it even better. Since I have collected only PCs untill a few months ago, the main characteristic of my A500+ is that it has a Vortex AtOnce board ( http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/atonce ) with a 286 CPU that allows my A500+ to be a wonderful cross-plattform machine; well now I would like to improve the A500+ adding a mass storage system, a little fast ram and maybe a little CPU speedup..

For this reason I'm asking your advice on wich hardware to get next.. I have searched a lot for expansion cards and so far I have decided that:

-I want an internal storage solution (no A590 or other external drives)
-I want to keep the AtOnce BUT the 68000 CPU soldered onto it (so has to be "on top")
-I do not need a super fast accellerating board, a little speedup is enought for me..
-The ACA500 is nice but I'm looking for something internal..

My options till now are:

1) Get a kipper2k fast-ram + CF adapter and forget the CPU speedup

2) Get some other accellerator + the Ide68k expansion BUT they have to be compatible and that's not easy as far as I know..

3) Get an M-Tec 68030 + the M-Tec IDE Controller BUT I don't know much about this card and I couldn't find the manual so I'm little scared it is not the good card for me..

My question is: do you have any advice on the above solutions or is there anything else you can suggest me? I know it is not the correct section of the forum but I am looking for some hardware as described above, so if you think you have something for me, just PM me..
 
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watsonfmly

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Putting something internal with the ATonce won't be possible (if I remember correctly, I owned one in the early 90s).

I know it is not internal, but I really must point you to the ACA500. I have one and it is amazing. Not only do you get a little speed bump, and memory, but you have 2 compact flash card slots AND the ability to use an A1200 accelerator to boot. You can also choose which Kickstart you want (1.3 or 3.1).

It really is a good choice.
 

zinamo

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Thanks for the advice! when you say it is not possible to use an AtOnce with an internal expansion is because it won't phisically fit or because it is incompatible? The AtOnce manual talks about the presence of other expansions and how to deal with them if they have a socket for the Gary chip.. but I don't know much more.. Anyway what has discouraged me with the ACA500 till now is that looks a little fragile hanged on the side expansion, it would be so nice with a 3D printed case to make it look more or less like an external hdd..
 

zinamo

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yes! your work is awesome! I saw the thread some time ago (I was not even registered on Amibay at the time) and I would like to do something very similar to what you have done, with the 1mb trapdoor expansion to reach a full 2mb + the little speedup and storage! But I'm lacking the Viper board (I think they are quite rare and a bit too expensive for me at the moment) so I'm looking for an alternative.. Anyway, The idea of installing the CF card to be accessible from the trapdoor is fantastic :cool:
 

demolition

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I am not sure your AtOnce board would work with any accelerators unless they mention it in the manual.

Expansions with Gary adapters are usually ranger memory expansions which sits in the trapdoor connector and can be up to 1.8MB, however I think they can only be used in 500s, not 500+. I have one 1.8MB expansion and I could not get it to work in any way in the 500+.
I think it might work together with the Kipper2k board (if it works with 8MB in a sidecar expansion which is very similar in its function), so that is maybe your best bet.

A (very) slight speed boost could be gotten by replacing the 68000 with a 68010, but that is probably not a desired option. :)
 

zinamo

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@ demolition

I think you are right, the AtOnce manual says expansions compatibility is not ensured and that you should ask the now defunct manufacturer (Vortex) for more informations :-( Anyway it explicitely says that it is compatible with the A590 so the kipper's expansion may be ok! Thanks for the info on the trapdoor expansions that make use of a gary adapter, since I have an A500+ I will stay away from those cards ;-)
replacing the 68000 with a 68010 it is not worth the task because the 68000 is soldered on the AtOnce so there is an high risk of ruining the card for a negligible improvement.. Unless I am able to find someone with AtOnce confirming it works with some kind of CPU expansion, probably I will go for the kipper's expansion and give up with the speed bump :)
 

demolition

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Another kind of speed boost could be found by upgrading from KS2.04 to 3.1 if you haven't already. WB feels a lot faster for me in 3.1, and there are no real advantages of 2.0 over 3.1 anyway. 2.04 is also not able to boot from the CF card.
 
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Xanxi

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Ditch the Atonce and look for a Viper520CD just like in my sig.
This very fast internal accelerator gives 32 bit 3.0 ROM on 2 chips, 8 MB of fast ram, room to fit a 2,5 HD on the card, 44 and 40 pins IDE port, and a 68EC020@33 Mhz which gives more than 5000 dhrystones.
If you want a PC DOS card, get the KCS powerPC and a compatible hard drive controller.
 

zinamo

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Another thing does anyone knows if even in 68000 fallback mode the AtOnce is incompatible with CPU expansions?

@ demolition
Yes, I have already planned a kickstart upgrade :) didn't know it could bring a speedup too, but that's a good news!

@Xanxi
what you are suggesting is a nice idea but I think KCS PowerPC boards compatible with A500+ are pretty rare (if I am not wrong Amiga hardware database says the original board is A500+ incompatible).. The same for the Viper board, they are fantastic cards but are hard to find and (I think) a little expensive considering they give very high performances that I don't really need.. Anyway, I think you have a very nice setup combining those cards ;-) one stupid question, have you ever tried PcTask? Does it run faster than the KCS board with the viper board installed?
 

motrucker

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IIRC, the AtOnce is extremely picky about working with other cards. You may have to give it up, and find another PC option. The aca 500 could be put in a case, if you can find on old GVP, or Supra, or ???? case to use - I am sure you could modify the case to work with the newer card.
But, there are some excellent internal options with out the AtOnce in there.

- - - Updated - - -

IIRC, the AtOnce is extremely picky about working with other cards. You may have to give it up, and find another PC option. The aca 500 could be put in a case, if you can find on old GVP, or Supra, or ???? case to use - I am sure you could modify the case to work with the newer card.
But, there are some excellent internal options with out the AtOnce in there.
 

zinamo

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Thanks for the advice! Modding an existing case is a possible option.. preferably I would go for something internal but that's a nice idea!
 
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