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Amiga 600 FPGA Conversion (amigalove.com)
167 points by erickhill 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments



It’s been a good amount of time for me seeing custom mouse cursors (maybe since the days of MySpace). Very fitting. Thanks for taking me back, amigalove.com


I used to spend ungodly amounts of time making my own cursors in the Preferences page in Workbench 1.3.

I was a terrible designer when I was 8. My creations were usually a large box with an “X” connecting the corners, and the hotspot in the center. Hot pink, electric blue, and bright yellow where the 3 colors I settled on.

My Amiga 1000 handled all my computing for a decade, and it was still a downgrade in 1995 when I begrudgingly switched to a 486.


> My Amiga 1000 handled all my computing for a decade, and it was still a downgrade in 1995 when I begrudgingly switched to a 486.

Yes. Many Amiga owners I knew, and I myself, felt that way when it became clear around 1993-4 that the Amiga's future was not looking bright. I had invested quite a bit into my A1200 setup (HD disk drives, 68030+68882, MacGyvery external HD using a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE cable) and it could do most things I needed and wanted to do. But the need to collaborate with fellow students on papers, projects (SPSS, AutoCAD) drove me to get a (admittedly low end) 286 PC. I hated it, but it got the job done. I kept my Amiga around for many years after that, and used it, mostly for gaming, well into the 2000s. I finally got rid of it only fairly recently when I moved abroad. I tried Amiga gaming on emulators, but not having a native joystick (Suzo Arcade!) makes that no fun whatsoever.


>But the need to collaborate with fellow students on papers, projects (SPSS, AutoCAD) drove me to get a (admittedly low end) 286 PC.

Considering your Amiga's specs, couldn't PCTask or some other PC emu have done the job?


While CPU speed was okay-ish with the software emulators, graphics performance was underwhelming. You also had to suffer interlace for the high resolution modes.


>You also had to suffer interlace for the high resolution modes.

1200/AGA should have the double-scan (31KHz-ish) "productivity" modes. VGA monitors work just fine with these. The graphiti would have offered chunky modes (vs bitplanes) from AGA, for major performance improvement. Else, Amiga video cards generally do chunky.


I didn't leave Amiga till Pentium. Decoding mp3s in real time was the killer app that got me to switch.


I've always loved the computer-in-a-keyboard format of 80s home computers.

Are there any PC cases available today for home build PCs where the PC and the keyboard are one unit?


> Are there any PC cases available today for home build PCs where the PC and the keyboard are one unit?

Laptops are like that :) You could just remove the screen off a laptop and connect with the video out.

More seriously there are things like that: https://www.cybernetman.com/en/keyboard-pc


Haha well yes, I suppose I described a laptop, but really I was looking for a case I could put my own components into, so I could make something workstation class.


Commodore c64x was just such a case, but they go for 300 dollars or more now.


I think the fashion has been moving the PC into the monitor , so that the keyboard can be wireless.


Or behind it, by attaching a case were the wall mount would go.


I have a NUC which came with s VESA mount, and would love to attach it to the back of its monitor, but the monitor (and actually, every monitor I own with a VESA wall mount) uses the wall mount as the attachment point for the stand.


So... duct tape then? :)

Philips 40-43" has a foot stand!


I am actually considering attaching it using double-sided tape, or maybe Velcro.


I have doubts about the ergonomics of the keyboard, now days I'm used to almost flat keyboard (Apple ones). Sometimes I miss my A500, but not for the keyboard :)


I've been wondering if you could squeeze a Raspberry Pi into one.


It's been done for multiple retro-computers actually. And consoles, as well.


I programmed my first BBS on an Amiga 500 with 2 disk drives. Those were the times.


With the Amiga 500 I as a teenager learnt assembler - which was mostly about controlling hardware (graphics, disc drive, sound, etc.). It gave me a solid foundation in understanding bits and bytes, hex and octal. And last but not least, as a programmer always make programs fast and memory efficient. Today we always assume there is a lot of memory. Back then we were counting bytes and processor cycles.

It would be beneficial for the whole computer industry if every programmer get a year where they have to develope under similar constraints as we were under.


This is excellent, and these sorts of projects are wonderful to see, as they're nice reminders that although our modern computing tools are more powerful, there's much to be learned from studying the past.


Amiga Fever infects all!


Respect! Amiga rulez! Awesome project!


Can I buy it?


The MiSTer FPGA project is fun and easy to get started with.

You need:

1. The FPGA board from Terasic (Linux ARM host, has USB, HDMI) for $130

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/terasic-inc/P0496/...

2. To run the cores for the vast majority of supported systems you need a custom 32 MB SDRAM board. For timing reasons the DDR3 memory on the FPGA board can't be used.

https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki/SDRAM-Board

I bought mine for about $30 from someone in the MiSTer forum - there are a bunch of hobbyists that sell them there.

3. Some of the more complex cores (Amiga etc) need a custom IO board (VGA, SD card slot, etc):

https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki/IO-Board

This one also seems to go for around $30 in the forum.


As far as emulation goes, how is this better/different than running an emulator on my pc or raspberry pi? I really want one for the cool factor but am unsure of how practical it is. FPGA dev sounds fun.


Emulators add a lot of extra latency, both on input and on display. Actually it isn't so much the emulator as the host os, with its compositor etc. An FPGA has the possibility of running with dramatically better latency. Similar issues go for startup time.


Currently though, FPGA emulation of the Amiga hardware isn't 100% perfect (but good enough for almost all tasks).

Also, last time I checked, it also doesn't have AGA support yet, so there's no proper Amiga 1200 or 4000 emulation just yet.

The FPGA Amiga stuff is all open-source, so hopefully the emulation will get there eventually.


Both the MiniMig and FPGA Arcade cores support AGA these days.


Actually this has been solved recently in WinUAE by implementing "Beam Racing Lagless VSync"


Well, you can't beat the booting times of the FPGA. Also, if you want a monster Amiga hard to emulate, check this out:

http://orders.apollo-accelerators.com


I haven't ever actually used any of these FPGA emulators, but just wanted to point out that their wiki has an article on just that question:

https://github.com/MiSTer-devel/Main_MiSTer/wiki/Why-FPGA




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