Amiga Hopes and Desires

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech Gazette, December 2016

Being the season, I thought I would start throwing around my “Christmas List” of hopes and desires for the coming year. I’m still waiting for the word on my Vampire II Amiga 600 expansion board, and from the looks of things, won’t be expecting it until sometime next year. I know Majsta and Kipper have been revamping their production capabilities in the wake of heavy demand, which hopefully goes much faster than the “homebrew” setup they used previously. Considering they just opened up pre-orders (of sorts) for a new Amiga 500 Vampire version, you’d only expect demand to jump, considering how the 500 is the most common single Amiga model in existence. (and from the sound of things, it might work on the A2000 and even A1000 as well).

Some time back, it was reported that Jens of Individual Computers bought up all remaining stock of Amiga custom chipsets (the AGA ones at least). I always hoped that meant a modernized Amiga system board would be produced, which was—sorta right. On the Individual Computers website and wiki page, there is a project called “Amiga Reloaded,” which is a new Amiga main board of similar specification to an A1200. What is especially notable (and double-edged) about this board is its modular nature. All you get is the board, which is sized to fit in an Amiga 1200 casing (A500 can work too). It has 2 megs of very fast CHIP RAM, and you can add Compact Flash devices as your storage. There is no CPU on-board, and instead it relies on any standard A1200 CPU card. This makes some sense to me, as 1200 CPU cards are relatively easy to come by, old and new (maybe even a hypothetical A1200 Vampire card in the future), but other omissions seem a little less ideal in my opinion. There’s no built-in video output, save for a B&W composite plug (for testing and emergencies). You can pick a 15 kHz output module for the regular Amiga RGB and VGA plugs, or a flicker-fixer module with VGA or HDMI outputs. Networking/ethernet and USB are extra-cost add-ons as well. I understand the intent to not have anyone pay for extra features that might go unused, but personally, I find it not that likely that people building a “new” Amiga system in this day and age would pass up things like USB support and network interfaces to save a little money. Perhaps I’m out of touch, and more people are interested in bare-bones (yet new) Amiga systems than I realize.

Finally, I’ll once again hope for more Amiga goodness and recognition in the world in general. Sometimes I can almost believe we have that, at least if you browse around YouTube and gaming channels, especially where British and European presenters are involved. I hope everyone has a fine holiday, and I’ll see you all at the meeting. Be there!