Eyetech Group Ltd


+44 164 271 3185 : 07000 4 AMIGA : 07000 426 442 : 01642 713 185


+44 164 271 3634 : 01642 713 634

AmigaOne 1200/4000 specifications for running the Amiga DE

For immediate release

The basic AmigaOne 1200/4000 will ship with:

  • 6 x PCI slots (on 2 buses) + 1 x AGP slot
  • Up to 512 MB SDRAM memory in 2 sockets
  • 1 x cpu ZIF socket to take a Macintosh-type G3/G4 PowerPC cpu module (see below for example pricing)
  • 1 x custom PCI card with USB1.0 (for Amiga DE mouse / keyboard / printer / scanner / floppy disk / Zip etc), UDMA/IDE/ATAPI & 10/100 MBPS ethernet controllers. (This card is not required for non Amiga DE use.)
  • A1200/A4000 interface logic, ATX & AT PSU connectors and tower system mounting hardware.

You will also need 2 matched PC-type SDRAM DIMMS and a G3/G4 PowerPC cpu (see picture). These components will be available from the AmigaOne distributors or from a variety of third party, non-Amiga outlets. For example the OWC 266Mhz G3 with 512K 2:1 backside cache is currently available from www.macsales.com for just $35.

In addition, to run the full, native Amiga DE you will need to add:

  • Next Generation Matrox graphics card
  • Creative EMU10K1 based PCI audio card
  • 10 GB+ HD
  • 56k modem
  • IEEE 1394/Firewire for video capture/editing. (Firewire is the Apple trademarked name for IEEE 1394)

How does it all hang together?

The AmigaOne 1200 & 4000 have 6 x PCI slots (2 buses) + 1 x AGP + (up to) 512MB memory (in 2 DIMMS) + a standard Mac ZIF socket for a G3/G4 cpu upgrade module. This cpu module will be needed for both the Classic Amiga (via cpu emulation and or OS emulation) and for the Amiga DE. The actual AmigaOne boards will ship with a choice of processors/RAM - or none for those who wish to supply their own, including possible second-user ex-Mac G3/G4 modules. The system will be dual boot. The custom chips, kickstart etc of the original Amiga will be used for 100% compatibility in 680x0 emulation mode. As and when Classic Software can be run under the Amiga DE the old Amiga could actually be disposed of (a few mechanical brackets etc will be needed) as all the hardware functionality needed by the Amiga DE (USB, UDMA-IDE, FireWire etc) will be on the new board.

With 680x0 emulation on the G3/G4 (which will be a boot option from the AmigaOne's flash ROM) the board will just look like an Amiga accelerator to the native Amiga, and will boot the Amiga's Kickstart ROMs etc. All the old hardware will be available to the OS eg for the use of MIDI, digitisers etc which have essentially non-retargetable drivers and this is the real point of doing it this way. All the PCI resources will also be available to the Classic Amiga, but will obviously need Classic Amiga OS compatible drivers (which we are not planning to write but will give all assistance to anyone who wants to write PD ones). In fact the logic on the board makes the Amiga look like a bus-mastering PCI card to the rest of the system.

More likely is that the whole process will give an added impetus to a Classic Amiga 'emulator' under Amiga DE, which will allow the old Amiga to be thrown away and the new PCI resources to be used by Classic Amiga software. However one useful Classic Amiga OS driver would be for a PCI SCSI card so that Classic Amiga SCSI peripherals could easily be attached to the AmigaOne. Any offers anyone?

For connection to the Amiga (A1200 Z4-compatible tower or A4000 desktop tower conversion) the A1200 edge connector or the A4000D CPU connector will be used. Because a G3/G4 processor is required there is no longer any need to have a Blizzard/Cyberstorm accelerator (as is the case with the low cost Predator-SE design) as the interfacing logic has been brought onto the mainboard.

How will it run Classic Amiga Software?

Whilst some of the commercial negotiations are still to be finished on the actual software that will ship with the board/on the flash ROM, the hardware will be designed to be able to run either the H&P emulation or MorphOS, as well as the Amiga DE. A 68k or phase 5 PPC accelerator will not be needed or usable. A G3/G4 cpu module and memory will be needed both for Classic Amiga and Amiga DE operation. If you have the ability to change a simm (ie know how to handle static-sensitive components) then you will also be able to upgrade the cpu yourself.

Why not an ATX board immediately?

Amiga Inc have been very keen to deliver their promise of new hardware for the existing Amiga Community 'by around Christmas 2000'. They haven't got mountains of cash and have some very significant other goals to achieve too, so they took the view of asking (several) people who are still operating in the Amiga business if they could help deliver this promise within more-or-less their original timeframes.

The work on the Predator-Plus (which does not use the same technology as the GRex from DCE) means that we can produce developer - and end user - boards MUCH more quickly than starting from scratch. And in 1Q01 - when the AmigaOne 1200/4000 is released - there will be very little by the way of native DE applications/games etc, and no robust Classic Amiga 'emulator'. So by taking this path hardware can be delivered which will both run the full DE & applications when available and will run Classic Amiga software at G3/G4 speeds until then. This will not be everyones preferred solution but it is deliverable and is technically robust.

And for commercial reasons any purely ATX PPC design will have to be an all-purpose design capable of running other OS's too (eg PPC Linux) and this requires much more in the way of compliance testing and hence cost and lead time. The upside is that when it is eventually delivered the wider appeal will hopefully translate to higher volumes and lower prices.

Will the A1200/A4000 AmigaOne fit into my existing tower case?

The AmigaOne 1200 is designed to fit into a Z4-busboard compatible tower. These include the Eyetech EZTower-Z4, the Elbox A1200 tower and its derivatives (the Vesalia Winner tower and the Power Tower). However due to fact that one of the Elbox/Vesalia/Power A1200 towers back slots does not line up with one of the the Z4 slots you will loose a PCI slot unless you modify the the case. It will probably also fit the older A1200 towers from eg ICS and Micronik with some modifications, but we can make no guarantees in this respect.

The AmigaOne 1200 will not fit in an EZTower Mk 1-5, as these are designed to take an AT/ATX formfactor AmigaOne, rather than the Z4-busboard formfactor AmigaOne 1200. You'll have to wait a bit longer for this option unless you want to change to an EZTower-Z4 tower (at a discount). The AmigaOne 1200 will also not fit in the RBM Towerhawk cases (and derivatives) or Ateo towers as these use non-standard busboards and mounting points.

We will be offering our own compatible A1200 tower cases at a discount for those who have not yet towered up their A1200's or have incompatible tower cases.

The AmigaOne 4000 is designed to fit in an Eyetech EZTower-4K desktop to tower conversion case. It will also fit in the Elbox A4000 tower and derivatives (the Vesalia Winner Tower 4000 and the Power Tower 4000). It may fit older A4000 towers - eg from Micronik - with some modifications, but we can make no guarantees in this respect. The AmigaOne 4000 will not fit in the RBM Towerhawk cases (and derivatives) or Ateo towers as these use non-standard busboards and mounting points.

We will be offering our own compatible A4000 tower cases at a discount for those who have not yet towered up their A4000's or have incompatible tower cases.

What about Eyetech's expertise in hardware design and manufacture?

Project management of large one-off computer and electronics projects has been, and still is, the mainstay of the Eyetech business since we started in 1983 - and we have managed projects far more costly and complex than the AmigaOne over the last 17 years. By contrast we've been in the Amiga business since 1996, and our growth and success in this market has largely been driven by applying the techniques and lessons previously learnt in servicing the wider IT and bespoke hardware business.

Why this emphasis on project management? Well we are not attempting to design/produce the AmigaOne 1200/4000 in house but are effectively project managing the efforts of some of the best Amiga and PPC designers around. This method of organisation has been proven time and time again as the most cost effective and operationally efficient method of bringing new products to market on time and within budget.

What about versions for the A4000T/A3000/A3000T?

It is a physical layout issue. The actual technology is identical, it is the physical board layout that would need reworking. We are initially making 2 PCB designs/layouts, one for the towered A1200 & one for the towered A4000D. As the A3000, A4000T & A3000T all have a different three-dimensional physical layout (ie cpu connector to card slots topology) if you were to plug the AmigaOne 4000 cpu header into the A3000/A3000T/A4000T motherboard cpu connector the actual PCI slots will all be in the wrong place. And to make a new PCB layout for these boards means that we have to validate that the trace routing actually works all over again - a big & expensive job.

Our current plans are to bring the A4000 desktop tower conversion and A1200 tower versions of the AmigaOne to market before undertaking any further design work for additional Amiga platforms. We will however start conducting feasibility studies for the introduction of AmigaOne expansion boards for the Amiga Technologies A4000 Tower and for the Commodore manufactured A3000 desktops and towers, once the AmigaOne 1200/4000 systems are shipping in volume. The priority with which we tackle these new designs will depend on the technical/mechanical complexity of the design and the perceived demand for the products.

So if you are interested in potentially purchasing a AmigaOne for any of these types of systems it would be enormously helpful if you could email our sales address indicating in the subject line the type of system you would like to use the AmigaOne with.

Your subject line should read "AmigaOne for xxxxx"

where "xxxxx" is:
- "A4000 desktop tower conversion using (manufacturers name) tower"
- "A4000T tower Amiga International design"
- "A3000 desktop system by Commodore"
- "A3000 tower system by Commodore"

Thanks for your help.

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