CPU upgrades were offered by both Commodore and third-party manufacturers. Most Amiga models can be upgraded either by direct CPU replacement or through expansion boards. Such boards often featured faster and higher capacity memory interfaces and hard disk controllers.
Despite this, third-party manufacturers designed upgrades featuring a combination of series and PowerPC processors along with a PowerPC native microkernel and software. The custom chipset at the core of the Amiga design appeared in three distinct generations, with a large degree of backward-compatibility.
Each chipset consists of several coprocessors that handle graphics acceleration , digital audio, direct memory access and communication between various peripherals e. In addition, some models featured auxiliary custom chips that performed tasks such as SCSI control and display de-interlacing. When combined with setting transparency, this allows an Amiga to overlay an external video source with graphics.
This ability made the Amiga popular for many applications, and provides the ability to do character generation and CGI effects far more cheaply than earlier systems. This ability has been frequently utilized by wedding videographers, TV stations and their weather forecasting divisions for weather graphics and radar , advertising channels, music video production, and desktop videographers.
The software libraries may include software tools to adjust resolution , screen colors, pointers and screenmodes. The standard Intuition interface is limited to display depths of 8 bits , while RTG makes it possible to handle higher depths like bits.
The sound chip, named Paula, supports four PCM -sample-based sound channels two for the left speaker and two for the right with 8-bit resolution for each channel and a 6-bit volume control per channel. The analog output is connected to a low-pass filter, which filters out high-frequency aliases when the Amiga is using a lower sampling rate see Nyquist frequency. The brightness of the Amiga's power LED is used to indicate the status of the Amiga's low-pass filter.
The filter is active when the LED is at normal brightness, and deactivated when dimmed or off on older A Amigas. On Amiga and first Amiga and Amiga model , the power LED had no relation to the filter's status, and a wire needed to be manually soldered between pins on the sound chip to disable the filter. Although the hardware is limited to four separate sound channels, software such as OctaMED uses software mixing to allow eight or more virtual channels, and it was possible for software to mix two hardware channels to achieve a single bit resolution channel by playing with the volumes of the channels in such a way that one of the source channels contributes the most significant bits and the other the least.
The quality of the Amiga's sound output, and the fact that the hardware is ubiquitous [ specify ] and easily addressed by software, were standout features of Amiga hardware unavailable on PC platforms for years [ vague ]. Third-party sound cards exist that provide DSP functions [ citation needed ] , multi-track direct-to-disk recording [ citation needed ] , multiple hardware sound channels and bit and beyond resolutions.
Kickstart is the firmware upon which AmigaOS is bootstrapped. Its purpose is to initialize the Amiga hardware and core components of AmigaOS and then attempt to boot from a bootable volume , such as a floppy disk or hard disk drive.
The keyboard on Amiga computers is similar to that found on a mids IBM PC: Ten function keys, a numeric keypad, and four separate directional arrow keys. Caps Lock and Control share space to the left of A. The left is used to manipulate the operating system moving screens and the like and the right delivers commands to the application.
The absence of Num lock frees space for more mathematical symbols around the numeric pad. Like IBM-compatible computers, the mouse has two buttons, but in AmigaOS, pressing and holding the right button replaces the system status line at the top of the screen with a Maclike menu bar. Menu items that have a boolean toggle state can be left clicked whilst the menu is kept open with the right button, which allows the user — for example — to set some selected text to bold, underline and italics in one visit to the menus.
The mouse plugs into one of two Atari joystick ports used for joysticks , game paddles , and graphics tablets. Although compatible with analog joysticks , Atari-style digital joysticks became standard. The Amiga was one of the first computers for which inexpensive sound sampling and video digitization accessories were available.
As a result of this and the Amiga's audio and video capabilities, the Amiga became a popular system for editing and producing both music and video. Many expansion boards were produced for Amiga computers to improve the performance and capability of the hardware, such as memory expansions, SCSI controllers, CPU boards, and graphics boards. Other upgrades include genlocks , network cards for Ethernet , modems , sound cards and samplers, video digitizers , extra serial ports , and IDE controllers.
Additions after the demise of Commodore company are USB cards. These were sometimes combined into one device. Later designs feature the Motorola or Motorola Graphics cards were designed primarily for 2D artwork production, workstation use, and later, gaming. Video cards are designed for inputting and outputting video signals, and processing and manipulating video. In the North American market, the NewTek Video Toaster was a video effects board that turned the Amiga into an affordable video processing computer that found its way into many professional video environments.
One well-known use was to create the special effects in early series of Babylon 5. In those countries, the OpalVision card was popular, although less featured and supported than the Video Toaster. Low-cost time base correctors TBC specifically designed to work with the Toaster quickly came to market, most of which were designed as standard Amiga bus cards. Other manufacturers produced hybrid boards that contained an Intel x86 series chip, allowing the Amiga to emulate a PC. Expansion boards were made by Richmond Sound Design that allow their show control and sound design software to communicate with their custom hardware frames either by ribbon cable or fiber optic cable for long distances, allowing the Amiga to control up to eight million digitally controlled external audio, lighting, automation, relay and voltage control channels spread around a large theme park, for example.
See Amiga software for more information on these applications. The original Amiga models were produced from to Several companies and private persons have also released Amiga clones and still do so today. The first Amiga model, the Amiga , was launched in In , PC World rated the Amiga as the seventh greatest PC of all time, stating "Years ahead of its time, the Amiga was the world's first multimedia, multitasking personal computer".
Commodore updated the desktop line of Amiga computers with the Amiga in , the Amiga in , and the Amiga in , each offering improved capabilities and expansion options. The best selling models were the budget models, however, particularly the highly successful Amiga and the Amiga The system never achieved any real success.
Although discontinued after Commodore's demise it met with moderate commercial success in Europe. Following purchase of Commodore's assets by Escom in , the A and AT continued to be sold in small quantities until , though the ground lost since the initial launch and the prohibitive expense of these units meant that the Amiga line never regained any real popularity.
Several Amiga models contained references to songs by the rock band The B's. It is mainly based on AmigaOS 3. AmigaOS 4. Long-time Amiga developer MacroSystem entered the Amiga-clone market with their DraCo non-linear video editing system. The technology was later used in the Casablanca system, a set-top-box also designed for non-linear video editing. The company was renamed to Met box in until it folded. The NatAmi short for Native Amiga hardware project began in with the aim of designing and building an Amiga clone motherboard that is enhanced with modern features.
It is compatible with the original Amiga chipset, which has been inscribed on a programmable FPGA Altera chip on the board. From a commercial point of view, Natami's circuitry and design are currently closed source. As such, NatAmi is not intended to become another evolutionary heir to classic Amigas, such as with AmigaOne or Pegasos computers. This "purist" philosophy essentially limits the resulting processor speed but puts the focus on bandwidth and low latencies. Later, the developers decided to create from scratch a new software-form processor chip, codenamed "N" that resides in the physical Altera FPGA programmable chip.
The first, the Minimig , is a personal project of Dutch engineer Dennis van Weeren. Referred to as "new Amiga hardware",  the original model was built on a Xilinx Spartan-3 development board, but soon a dedicated board was developed. A third party upgrade replaces the PIC microcontroller with a more powerful ARM processor, providing more functionality such as write access and support for hard disk images.
The Replay board is designed to implement many older computers and classic arcade machines. The second is the Clone-A system announced by Individual Computers. As of mid it has been shown in its development form, with FPGA-based boards replacing the Amiga chipset and mounted on an Amiga motherboard.
AmigaOS is a single-user multitasking operating system. It was one of the first commercially available consumer operating systems for personal computers to implement preemptive multitasking. It was developed first by Commodore International and initially introduced in with the Amiga John C.
Dvorak wrote in PC Magazine in The biggest difference is that the AmigaOS could operate fully and multitask in as little as K of address space. AmigaOS combines a command-line interface and graphical user interface. AmigaDOS is the disk operating system and command line portion of the OS and Workbench the native graphical windowing, graphical environment for file management and launching applications. AmigaDOS allows long filenames up to characters with whitespace and does not require filename extensions.
The windowing system and user interface engine that handles all input events is called Intuition. The multi-tasking kernel is called Exec. It acts as a scheduler for tasks running on the system, providing pre-emptive multitasking with prioritised round-robin scheduling.
It enabled true pre-emptive multitasking in as little as KB of free memory. AmigaOS does not implement memory protection ; the CPU does not include a memory management unit. The problem was somewhat exacerbated by Commodore's initial decision to release documentation relating not only to the OS's underlying software routines, [ citation needed ] but also to the hardware itself, enabling intrepid programmers who had developed their skills on the Commodore 64 to POKE the hardware directly, as was done on the older platform.
While the decision to release the documentation was a popular one and allowed the creation of fast, sophisticated sound and graphics routines in games and demos, it also contributed to system instability [ citation needed ] as some programmers lacked the expertise to program at this level. For this reason, when the new AGA chipset was released, Commodore declined to release low-level documentation in an attempt to force developers into using the approved software routines. AmigaOS directly or indirectly inspired the development of various operating systems.
Among other unusual features of Amix is a hardware-accelerated windowing system that can scroll windows without copying data. Amix is not supported on the later Amiga systems based on or processors. There is an official, older version of OpenBSD. The last Amiga release is 3. MINIX 1. It was released by Commodore in and promoted as a way to run business software on the Amiga In the late s and early s the platform became particularly popular for gaming, demoscene activities and creative software uses.
During this time commercial developers marketed a wide range of games and creative software, often developing titles simultaneously for the Atari ST due to the similar hardware architecture. Popular creative software included 3D rendering ray-tracing packages, bitmap graphics editors , desktop video software, software development packages and " tracker " music editors. Until the late s the Amiga remained a popular platform for non-commercial software, often developed by enthusiasts, and much of which was freely redistributable.
An on-line archive, Aminet , was created in and until around was the largest public archive of software, art and documents for any platform. The name Amiga was chosen by the developers from the Spanish word for a female friend, because they knew Spanish,  and because it occurred before Apple and Atari alphabetically.
It also conveyed the message that the Amiga computer line was "user friendly" as a pun or play on words. The first official Amiga logo was a rainbow-colored double check mark. In later marketing material Commodore largely dropped the checkmark and used logos styled with various typefaces. Although it was never adopted as a trademark by Commodore, the "Boing Ball" has been synonymous with Amiga since its launch.
It became an unofficial and enduring theme after a visually impressive animated demonstration at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in January showing a checkered ball bouncing and rotating. Following Escom's purchase of Commodore in , the Boing Ball theme was incorporated into a new logo. Early Commodore advertisements attempted to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, though the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer.
Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line:. Amiga Format , continued until , some six years after Commodore filed for bankruptcy. Amiga Active , was launched in and was published until Several magazines are in publication today: Amiga Future ,  which is available in both English and German; Bitplane. Print magazine Amiga Addict started publication in The Amiga series of computers found a place in early computer graphic design and television presentation.
Below are some examples of notable uses and users:. In addition, many other celebrities and notable individuals have made use of the Amiga: . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Family of personal computers sold by Commodore. This article is about the family of personal computers. For other uses, see Amiga disambiguation.
The Amiga was the best-selling model. Main article: History of the Amiga. Main article: ReTargetable Graphics. Main article: Kickstart Amiga. Main article: Amiga models and variants. Main article: AmigaOS 4. Main article: AmigaOS. Main article: Emulation on the Amiga. Main article: Amiga software. Amiga portal. It originated as a project code-named "Lorraine", therefore the female was used instead of the male and general version Amigo.
Amiga history guide. Archived from the original on Retrieved Ars Technica. Archived from the original on April 21, Retrieved April 21, Jeremy Reimer Jeremy Reimer. Archived from the original on 4 July Retrieved 14 June Amiga History Guide.
Archived from the original on February 20, Accessed on 3 February Amiga Forever. Amiga Format. Next Generation. Imagine Media. March Amiga Hardware Reference Manual. Amiga Technical Reference Series 3rd ed. ISBN Archived from the original on July 12, Retrieved July 17, Archived from the original on May 12, Retrieved May 23, Gareth Knight. Archived from the original on July 3, Retrieved January 31, The initial schedule of 18 months was for the Hombre game machine hardware.
There's no real OS here, just a library of routines, including a 3D package, which would probably be licensed. It probably works for a while if only because the average voltage will be below the absolute max of 4. The address lines are unlikely to reach 5V level.
The keword is stock. Could run into problems with accelerators e. The data bus side is a bit more complicated. That and noisy bus overshoots. Personally I would not take short cuts like this. Buffers can be used and the SRAM is pretty darn fast so there are no speed penalities. I would not use the experience of cheap Chinese knock-off products as a basis for proper product engineering.
This is why I come to HaD. Thanks for sharing, Dave! Are you really the real Dave Haynie? If you are, thanks again for the great computers back in the day. Retired Space Force Officer is a thing already? Must have transfered at the very end of his career, gutsy move! I bet this peripheral is far from being the most interesting story he has to tell if he is allowed to talk about any of them. They got an Army guy heading it up at the moment?
This is an amazing device that caught my attention fully when I first read of it the other day. I ordered immediately and have apparently the fourth unit made on the way to me in the mail right now. That heft implied value, as well as durability. The knobs felt sturdy; the switches had a solid click to them. Only K too. I was kind of excited when I bought the thing, in a box of random Amiga bits, thinking it was AT LEAST an accelerator Looks big enough but bummed out when I got it home and looked up the model number.
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Learn more. Report comment. Me too. I saw the pcb after posting this. Probably it works the way you describe in the other answer.
Showcased to the world in a grand unveiling by Commodore in , The Commodore Amiga as it was known at the time was truly a ground breaking machine. It had full colour graphics, capable of displaying colours at once using the Amigas HAM display mode , when the Apple Macintosh that had been released the year before was still black and white.
It had stereo sound, when most other machines had, at best, mono sound output. It had a multi-tasking operating system, while other machines could only do one thing at a time. It is difficult to explain to people just how revolutionary this machine was when it was released to the world, and indeed, Commodore struggled to know how to advertise this machine.
This being the first model, the custom chips that were the beating heart of the machine became known as the OCS Original Chip Set. Because of the rush to get the new Amiga out to the public, the core of the Amigas operating system — Kickstart — was included on a 3. It would then load the Kickstart into a special area of memory, disable writing to that memory location, and then restart itself.
At this point it was ready to load software, such as the Amiga Workbench , a game, or whatever other software you wished to use. There were and still are ways of combining the Kickstart and Workbench disk contents, so that no disk swapping was required in order to load Workbench, as Kickstart took up KB thus leaving KB free on an Amiga KB double density floppy disk , and early revisions of Workbench 1 were relatively small too, meaning both Kickstart and Workbench could comfortably fit on the same disk.
Very early production models of the Amiga came with an early revision of the DENISE display chip , which was unable to display the Amigas special 64 colour EHB mode, which had 32 colours that could be chosen from the colour palette, but then had copies of those 32 colours that were half as bright. Not only could it output in true stereo, using 2 standard RCA sound outputs, but it also had several outputs for connecting various display devices such as a TV, composite monitor or RGB monitor.
Amiga keyboard cursor keys. As with most machines of the time, it also offered the standard parallel and serial ports for connecting printers, modems and various other devices. However unlike every other machine, these ports have the reverse genders, so the DB25 serial port was female instead of male, and the DB25 Parallel port was male instead of female.
Because of this, it is VITAL that great care is used when connecting items to these connectors, as it is possible to damage the electronics if you connect something to the wrong port. The Amiga features an pin expansion port electrically identical to the later Amiga expansion port, though the A's connector is inverted.
This port is used by third-party expansions such as memory upgrades and SCSI adapters. These resources are handled by the Amiga Autoconfig standard. Other expansion options are available including a bus expander which provides two Zorro-II slots. Before the release of the Amiga and Amiga models in , the A was marketed as simply the Amiga , although the model number was there from the beginning, as the original box indicates.
The Commodore branding was retained for the international versions. Additionally, the Amiga was sold exclusively in computer stores in the US rather than the various non computer-dedicated department and toy stores through which the VIC and Commodore 64 were retailed.
These measures were an effort to avoid Commodore's "toy-store" computer image created during the Tramiel era. Along with the operating system, the machine came bundled with a version of AmigaBASIC developed by Microsoft and a speech synthesis library developed by Softvoice, Inc. Many A owners remained attached to their machines long after newer models rendered the units technically obsolete, and it attracted numerous aftermarket upgrades.
Additionally, a line of products called the Rejuvenator series allowed the use of newer chipsets in the A, and an Australian -designed replacement A motherboard called The Phoenix utilized the same chipset as the A and added an Acompatible video slot and on-board SCSI controller.
In , as Commodore filed for bankruptcy, Byte magazine called the Amiga "the first multimedia computer The airlines required a name for the airline ticket and Joe Pillow was born. The engineers RJ Mical and Dale Luck who flew with the Amiga prototype codenamed Lorraine drew a happy face on the front of the pillowcase and even added a tie. Joe Pillow extended his fifteen minutes of fame when the Amiga went to production. All fifty-three Amiga team members who worked on the project signed the Amiga case.
This included Joe Pillow and Jay Miner 's dog Michy who each got to "sign" the case in their own unique way. Media related to Amiga at Wikimedia Commons. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Amiga portal. Retrieved May 14, Dvorak October 22, PC Magazine.
The biggest difference is that the Amiga OS could operate fully and multitask in as little as K of address space. Even today, the OS is only about 1MB in size. Tight code—there's nothing like it. I've had an Amiga for maybe a decade. It's the single most reliable piece of equipment I've ever owned. It's amazing! You can easily understand why so many fanatics are out there wondering why they are alone in their love of the thing. The Amiga continues to inspire a vibrant—albeit cultlike —community, not unlike that which you have with Linux, the Unix clone.
USCS Engineering. Archived from the original on June 17, Retrieved March 14, Howard Stolz LinkedIn profile. Retrieved June 28, Retrieved August 23, Commodore-Amiga, Inc. Archived from the original PDF on June 13, Retrieved August 26, August 5, April 8, New York Times, August 29, Retrieved April 11,
The Commodore Amiga , also known as the A and originally marketed as the Amiga, is the first personal computer released by Commodore International in the Amiga line. The Commodore Amiga , also known as the A and originally marketed as the Amiga, is the first personal computer released by Commodore International. The Amiga was released in July , but production problems kept it from becoming widely available until early The best-selling model, the Amiga.