back to article New Amiga to go on sale in late 2017

The world's getting a new Amiga for Christmas. Yes, that Amiga – the seminal Commodore microcomputers that brought mouse-driven GUIs plus slick and speedy graphics to the masses from 1985 to 1996. The Amiga was beloved by gamers, graphics pros and many an IT aficionado who just appreciated their speedy (for their time) …

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Where the hell have you been Reg? The Vampire project has been around for the last 18 months/2 years.

Is your internet connection that slow?

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Not sure if the article has been updated since you wrote your comment, but it does say "Apollo's produced similar devices before".

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Read the linked document, dated August 3rd 2017:

"After the big success of the Vampire 600 V2 and Vampire 500 V2+, Apollo Team is proud to announce their next generation FPGA device: the Vampire V4."

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Glad this is getting mainstream attention. Even Trevor Dickinson's machines never really get much coverage. Still love the Amiga. Just give me a decent browser and LibreOffice and I'll get a Vampire for my A3000 when they are released.

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Mr. Hartley. On Amiga we already have a decent browser and it is name OWB (Odyssey for the friends). In the meanwhile LibreOffice is worked on, then you can made some good surfing.

If you will end not buying the Vampire, if you have plenty of RAM and an accelrated card on your A3000 then you can use Netsurf then, even if it has limited capabilities, as it is only HTML 4.01 compliant and lacks of Javascript that will be available from version 5 as stated by development team (experimental Javascript Machine is available on RiscOS Netsurf version as long as I remember).

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IDE disk drive? Never heard of SATA?

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It'll most likely be used for CompactFlash, not old school drives.

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PAH! SCSI or death! :-)

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Coat

PAH! SCSI or death! :-)

Happened more often than you think - every SCSI installation involved a Terminator.

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SCSI or death!

Pah! Block multiplexor or nothing!

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already have each of their Vampire2 products. all I'm going to say is:-

"shut up and take my money!"

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Is anyone keeping count?

The Amiga brand is like a Japanese horror movie curse.

Since Commodore went bust the brand has been passed through a multitude of owners. Each promises a new model "soon". And invariably the endeavour flops and the brand passes on to a new owner. Rinse and repeat for twenty years.

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Re: Is anyone keeping count?

@DrXym

That's not what's happening here though if that was a comment on the intention of the news post.

This news post isn't about someone trying to do a relaunch the brand with new hardware or whatever.

Whats happening here is simply just that a few enthusiast are making a new version of hardware that they are already successfully selling to their intended audience.

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Re: Is anyone keeping count?

This is not a simple nostalgia! The main argument for me is not to turn on the phone or power station PC if I want to use AMIGA!

I have V2 in an AMIGA600. Quickly done little things very effective!

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Unhappy

Re: Is anyone keeping count?

The Amiga has become the Blakes 7 of home computers.

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Re: Is anyone keeping count?

@DrXym; The intellectual rights associated with Commodore (including brands, names, software and hardware IP) seem to me to be a complete cluster**** with different parts spread among and sub-licensed to numerous parties.

That said, there do appear to have been quite a few "new" successfully Amigas released over the past decade. They appear to be aimed at the diehard rabid Amiga users as a means to run AmigaOS (and aren't directly compatible with old hit-the-hardware games and the like for the classic Amigas).

This shouldn't be confused with pitiful attempts to exploit the "Commodore" brand for nostalgia with (e.g.) generic Android tablets having the "Pet" name slapped on them and running C64 and Vic 20 emulators- as any generic Android tablet could (but ironically, not including a Commodore Pet emulator). Or attempts to use the names of classic Amiga models like "A3000" on generic HTPC cases that have *nothing* to do with the Amiga *nor* the new "real" Amigas described above.

In truth, it all died 20 years ago, and what we have now are people exploiting the scraps, scattered to the four winds.

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Re: Is anyone keeping count?

>The Amiga has become the Blakes 7 of home computers.

The Babylon 5 would be a more appropriate moniker

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Linux

Re: "it all died 20 years ago"

Commercially, yes, but the target audience don't particularly care about that.

I've long since moved on, and there's not really any going back once you've experienced the wonders of Free Software, but it's nice to see a bit of diversity, and of course diversity is absolutely essential for progress.

In any case, the "Vampire" series is technically impressive, and the combination of nostalgia and gadgetry is always compelling. At the right price, I'd buy it.

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The Amiga has become the Blakes 7 of home computers.

But Blakes 7 space ship was controlled by an Acorn System 1.

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Trollface

Just remember...

... it would never have existed had it not been for the Atari ST...

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Re: Just remember...

Again, the ST lived on for a long time throughout the nineties, largely due to its place in music studios.

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Re: Just remember...

And that just about everybody was using the same copy of Cubase

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just remember...

The Amiga was in development way before the ST. The ST was a rush job of generic components that Jack Tramiel wanted to get to market when he took over Atari.

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Re: Just remember...

oh my god. are we going to necropost about ST vs Amiga?? just for you kids...the whole fanboi thing is not new. Amiga vs ST arguments were loud and abusive all over the playground in 1985 onwards i think. the ST had better sound. but the Amiga was the better machine.

obviously i had an Amiga. if you had an ST, you were a slag. c'mon, i'll start it ...oi you, over here! come ON!! sllaaaaagggg with your ST...oooh, it does midi....NO ONE CARES! i want to be able to play stunt car racer networked (with a null modem cable i'll have you know)...CMON!!!

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Trollface

Re: Just remember...

" are we going to necropost about ST vs Amiga??"

Why not? I mean, people are still doing the same thing now over phones...

Obviously I had an ST... but that's because I was more into making stuff than playing games... /grin

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Re: Just remember...

Not sure about the ST having "better sound", but it did have a built in MIDI interface.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Just remember...

Amiga had a contract from Atari to develop the chipset that was eventually used in the Commodore Amiga. At the final minute, Amiga welched on the deal and sold themselves to Commodore..

So yeah, the Amiga was in development longer than the ST... all funded by Atari

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Re: Just remember...

Not quite, Amiga were on their own, got into financial trouble, and only got a deal with Atari to stay afloat long enough to keep developing the chipset into something workable.

The Atari deal of course was heavily wieghted in Atari's favour, and one of the Amiga team manged to find a way to wriggle out of it with the deal from Commodore.

On balance a pretty fair outcome given Atari's dodgy tactics.

Development was actually mostly funded by a bunch of dentists AFAIR!

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Re: Just remember...

ST owner here. My first ever paid development work was a magazine cover-disk game for the ST. A meagre fee, but it's still "for reward"...

The ST is most definitely the newer system. It's a classic story of corporate politics. Before its magnificent implosion, Atari (the Warner subsidiary) had comissioned Jay Miner (developer of the video hardware in both the 2600 and the 400/800 computers) to develop a new chipset for arcade and home use based around a 68000 CPU.

In the mess of the takeover of Atari by Jack Tramiel (recently ousted from Commodore), that contract lapsed, and it seems there was also considerable "anti-Atari" feeling from the new management team too. In fairness, the old Atari had been spectacularly badly run as a business, so this could be justified. In any case, Amiga Inc had lost its customer, so went looking for a new buyer, and Commodore seemed a natural choice, as there were really only a few serious options (Atari, Apple, Commodore - but Apple had just put out their Macintosh, so that just left Commodore)

Anyway, having lost Amiga either through ignorance of its existence, or risk aversion, Atari (the new Tramiel-owned company) then needed a proper 16-bit computer, and fast, so the ST was built in about a year using mostly off-the-shelf components. The Blitter chip was the most complex custom silicon on the ST, but it missed the deadline and got dropped from the launched product, but the underlying graphics library (on the 68000's Line-A trap) in the ST's ROM was clearly designed with this chip in mind.

The ST was a better computer design: it followed through on the 68000's clean architecture to produce a system that was logically arranged and easy to program. The Amiga was far superior as a multimedia machine, but it had some quirks. AmigaOS was a bit too adventurous for a CPU without memory protection (or a way to restart a bus error). I did own an Amiga for a while, but the poor stability of its OS for "work" tasks brought me back to the ST. Amiga, hands down, had the best games.

If you're into the Amiga, it's worth looking into the Atari 2600 and the 400/800. There's a lot of what became Amiga in those two machines (e.g., the 400's ANTIC was the forerunner of the Amiga's Copper display-list processor)

Fun-fact. Amiga's impressive 4096-colour Hold-and-Modify graphics mode was never designed as such: it was instead a relic of abandoned circuitry to directly produce a composite video output, as befitting the product's games console origins. In that mode, you'd hold the chroma signal(s) for two pixel clocks, and modify the luma every pixel clock to produce a full colour display with lower memory requirements, as television video standards all had a higher resolution for the luminance signal than the colour signal. When the video output requirement changed to RGB, the circuitry was repurposed to provide the HAM modes, on the basis that it was already in the chip and might be useful for something..

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Re: Just remember...

I have an Amiga MIDI interface which I bought off eBay just for the midi cables, it was about £1.50

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Pint

Re: Just remember...

@Dave 126:

Through the 90's?

I know of at least 2 that are still in use in a music studio not far from here....

<Beer? well, yes, they be hard workin "Toys">

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Trollface

Re: Just remember...

"oh my god. are we going to necropost about ST vs Amiga?? just for you kids...the whole fanboi thing is not new. Amiga vs ST arguments were loud and abusive all over the playground in 1985 onwards i think. the ST had better sound. but the Amiga was the better machine."

LOL. It's a moot point 'cos the Archimedes was better than either of them ;)

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Re: Just remember...

And if you want to, you can run RISC OS on a cheap Raspberry Pi nowadays (and quite a bit faster than the Arch could!).

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Re: Just remember...

archimedes? ST's? slaaags the lot of you. Amiga for ever.

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Re: Just remember...

@Kristian Walsh; Excellent and informative summary.

I've said myself that the Amiga was far closer to being the spiritual successor to the 400/800 (and, in turn, the VCS/2600) than the Atari ST was.

Architectural similarities, design philosophy of using custom chips for state of the art design (and accordingly high price when first released) and many of the same people involved. Not to mention that both started out as game console designs.

The ST was a product of Tramiel's "Atari Corp."- not the original "Atari Inc."- and reflected a very different "off-the-shelf" (as you describe) and "power without the price" approach. From what I've heard he sacked most of the existing Atari engineers and replaced them with his own people when he bought out Atari's computer/console division anyway. Not that much continuity between them beyond the fact he kept the 400/800 and VCS on, albeit more as cash cows with Atari Corp's shoestring approach to marketing.

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Re: Just remember...

@psychonaut; The ST had "better sound"....?! You are smoking crack and I claim my £5. ;-)

The built-in ST sound was p**s-poor, a variant of the same square wave chip more suited to 8-bit machines like the Oric-1 and later versions of the ZX Spectrum. The Amiga's sound... I saw it on Micro Live and it blew me away.

Of course, if one credits the ST with the performance of the £1500 MIDI keyboard or sampler plugged into it, then you could do the same with an Amiga and a £15 MIDI interface!

That said, Atari made the right move in having it built in, and the ST was much more affordable than the Amiga in the early days- especially since the performance of the built-in sound and graphics were irrelevant to its use as a MIDI sequencer- so it's understandable why it became popular for that use.

The ST was a great machine for the price in the early days- and I remember it being popular- but it's noticeable that almost as soon as the Amiga 500 came within sniffing distance of the 520ST (£400 vs. £300) it quickly displaced it in terms of being the favoured machine for non-MIDI users.

The ST never really recovered, but the Amiga itself got hit by a double whammy of improving PC specs and the 16-bit consoles within a couple of years...

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Re: Just remember...

A few slight corrections to a generally accurate post:

The Amiga chipset was in development before Atari got involved (other than their involvement of pissing off anough 2600/400/800 designers to make them available to Amiga). Atari did not "commision" them, and I don't recall there being any intent of using the chipset in coin-op. Atari came in with financing they needed, in exchange for rights to produce a game-console with the chipset, and a PC after a specified "head start" for the Amiga-branded one. This was a safe bet because Amiga was unlikely to have a saleable product much before the date that Atari could compete. (Source: I interviewed with Amiga, knowing some folks there, before any Atari connection. My life was not in a state where I could take the risk right then, but I stayed, and remain, in contact with a few)

The ST design already existed (was in progress) when TTL got Atari Consumer. It was designed by some C64 folks who had left with JT when he was ousted at Commodore. (Source, folks who were at Atari under both regimes, at least for a while. The rumor was that JT essentially bought the Atari logo to slap on the designated heir)

JT knew of the Amiga folks, and possibly their connection to Atari, before the sale, and his intention was to strangle the Amiga in its cradle, not to leverage it for his own future product (which was already in progress, see above). He was really pissed that it had escaped, and how it had escaped. (Source, some of the same as above, and few ex-commodore folks with more access to Mahogany row. This is the most tenuous of what I "know" via such rumors.)

The Amiga guys were pretty scrupulous about avoiding 2600/400/800 I.P. in designing the chipset. So there are philosophical "bloodlines, but nothing that could expose them to patent lawsuits if the Atari/Warner deal soured. They were not stupid. (Source: again, my personal connections with them).

(OTOH, Warner/Atari had a record of "winning" lawsuits and as a result sending money to the "losers". there was a joke at the time that to get rich in the games industry, just get Atari to sue you, and lose :-)

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Re: Just remember...

@michael storm - i think i was thinking of MIDI...it was a looooong time ago to be fair...

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Re: Just remember... @Mike 16

Thanks for the "inside story" - my info was just picked up from extensive reading, but often there are things that those sources won't write down... :)

The Amiga being a console only makes more sense, in hindsight - Atari Inc already had a 68k system for cabinets before (Marble Madness, Paperboy, etc...), and it fits with the HAM mode being originally a composite video generator... arcade machines were all RGB displays, so there'd have been no need for composite output.

Lots of accounts from the time suggest that Tramiel really did miss out on Amiga, and the attempts to kill it were after he realised how much of a threat it would be. There's also a bit of Amiga Inc deliberately keeping a low profile to avoid being noticed by Atari's new owners.. It was probably animosity toward Commodore, as the only likely buyer, rather than Amiga, that led to "Tramiel" Atari trying so hard to secure injunctions against Amiga, and I wonder if Commodore would have been so keen on Amiga had it not been seen as a poetic way to stab Tramiel.

I didn't intend to claim that the Amiga chipset was based on the 400/800, just that the concepts are very similar - nobody else so fully embraced the idea of displaylists, or the idea that a graphic display mode is a property of the current scanline, rather than the entire field. Those ideas started in the 2600 out of necessity, and the mindset carried over into 400/800, and later Amiga.

JT essentially bought the Atari logo to slap on the designated heir

Absolutely. The complete shift in product focus after ST is amazing in hindsight. Atari, the company that pretty much invented video-gaming, suddently became a business-machine provider: the ST's value propostion was its high-resolution monochrome display, easy porting of DOS software, and cost-effective printers and hard-disks.

Meanwhile, with Amiga, Commodore Business Machines launched what would become the ultimate games machine of the late 1980s.

I wasn't sure of the exact timing of ST, but it was definitely a quick design, and most unusually for the time, it came to market on time and on price - I suppose on that basis, it must have been started before Tramiel took over.

When I studied microprocessor systems, all of the textbook and data-sheet reference designs for 68k were eerily reminiscent of the ST that I had learned to program 68k assembler on, so I suspect that there was a lot of wholesale lifting of reference designs there.

ST was a really good piece of engineering in terms of "most performance for least cost", even if that meant some dated component choices that didn't stand the test of time. Most unforgiveably, ST didn't even have a rudimentary DAC, just that Yamaha square-wave generator that wasn't even up to the capabilities of the 400's POKEY chip. ST did have a rudimentary DMA controller, if I recall, which would have made a PCM audio system in the mould of the original Macintosh's (DMA to a DAC, with an interrupt when the buffer empties) relatively easy to implement.

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Re: Just remember...

You could play stunt car racer networked between an Amiga and an ST, I did (I was the Amiga guy and my mate brought his ST round mine)

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Re: Just remember... @Mike 16

Minor nit-pick: PaperBoy was, IIRC, PDP-11-based. I recently managed to get a T-11 chip as was used on the "System II" games. If my memory is not further addled, the "System II" games were also mostly programmed in BLISS-16, cross-compiled on a VMS Vax-11/780. _L_o_n_g_ time ago...

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There's also the Amiga One, with 4GB RAM and a hefty price tag: http://www.a-eon.com/?page=x1000

Why, I'm not sure. But I like it.

PA Semi Dual-core PA6T-1682M, nominal 2.0GHz (1.8GHz standard) PowerISA™ v2.04+ CPU

"Xena" 500MHz XMOS XS1-L2 124

ATI Radeon Evergreen or Northern Isles graphics card (option)

2GB or 4GB RAM (option)

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Meh

Decades too late!

I chucked my A500 and A1200 back in the 20th century, but have some archived Amiga CD and book rips.

New Amiga hardware is also rather pointless nostalgia when you can get Amiga emulators even on Android phones/tablets, which are probably a lot faster than even the original Amigas.

Also IDE is dead for years now; I've already recycled loads of obsolete and duff IDE and SATA drives for the very strong, head "speaker-coil" magnets :)

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Re: Decades too late!

The original Amiga came out at a time when the world needed it. It had it's place in NASA, a teenagers bedroom or budding musicians cheap studio. The Amiga was awesome and I loved mine.

But now...whats the point except for nostalgia? Running an emulator on your computer or phone to see or hear an old game or demo does the same job.

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Re: Decades too late!

@NonSSL-Login; This isn't really aimed at the nostalgia market- it's aimed at hardcore obsessives who want to continue running updated versions of AmigaOS on "modern hardware".

If similar machines released in the past few years are anything to go by, it won't even be directly hardware compatible and won't run software that bypasses the OS to run on the bare metal (which excludes most games and thus *won't* be of much interest to nostalgia freaks wanting to relive Lotus II).

That said, from what I've heard, the hardware on these "new" Amigas is massively overpriced and underpowered by modern standards (relative to commodity x86 PCs).

And while I've no idea what AmigaOS is like these days, I'd be surprised if it's up to modern standards- or if there's any reason to run it instead of Linux beyond being a diehard Amiga obsessive. Shame, as it was massively ahead of its time (and far more advanced and better suited to take advantage of 16 and 32-bit CPU power than MS-DOS whose design reflected its origins as a knockoff of CP/M- an OS designed for 1970s 8-bit microcomputers with archaic design that was added to in an ad-hoc manner).

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"512MB of RAM"

Exactly 1024 times more memory than my first Amiga :)

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You didn't have the the brick size half a megabyte upgrade that doubled the ram? :D

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Facepalm

I'd say..

..that if Jack Tramiel hadn't been quite as greedy, and a little easier to get along with, that we'd all be using Commodore or Amiga-compatible PCs instead of IBM clones. Commodore was that far ahead of everyone. And the world would possibly be a little better, in a small way.

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Re: I'd say..

I think you're right. Though those that got to know him closely all report him as being a lovely, affectionate, family man.

Just don't do business with him!

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Coat

Re: I'd say..

the world would possibly be a little better, in a small way.

If we were all using M68k instead of x86 architecture the world would be better in a very big way :)

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