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Finally got a MegaChip!

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I've been looking out for one of these for a long time, but they always seem to run around $200 so I passed on a few. I made an offer recently for $150 for one and the seller accepted. The plan was to install it in my NTSC Amiga 2000. Works great and increased the chipram to 2MB which opened up the ability to play a bunch of WHDLoad things I could not previously (most notably Cannon Fodder).

 

And, the Agnus that came included was a PAL agnus which effectively turned my A2000 into a PAL machine. This was a bonus for me as I use my machines in PAL mode pretty much exclusively. I know I can use PAL switches in the whdload prefs as well (this is how I did it before) but I like the fact that the machine is native PAL now....great for disk images.

 

Anyone else own one of these?

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Yep, have one in my A2000... just installed a Vampire V2 also. Besides the speed boost, amazing all that card does and replaces. Was able to pull my SupraTurbo28 accelerator, SupraRAM card w/ 6mb, a 2091 SCSI card with 2mb and the Kickstart chip. :lol:

 

Need to update the firmware I guess to unlock the SD functionality (using an IDE-CF adapter now) and the Picasso drivers if I want to bother hooking an LCD to it. Does the SD slot (I have an extension for it, so it hangs out the back) act as a removable drive by chance? All people seem to talk about is using it as a hard drive. Don't care about that since I'm using a CF card, but would like some removable storage functionality so I can get things from my Mac straight over to the Amiga.

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I don't know the Vampire offhand...I'm still on the waiting list ;) How do you like it? Sounds like you do! I am personally still on the fence about it though. I mean, I know what it does and what it allows the Amiga to do and they are all great things. I just don't know how I feel with introducing an FPGA to real hardware. I've been down the road of arguments in this regard in the past and I do not wish to get into that, but I just want to say that I feel like I may "unpurify" the computer by adding one. I don't know. I am on that list and will most likely grab it when my number is called...but I still can't help but to think the way I am thinking in regard to it.

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Now let us think about this for a moment. Some accelerators replace/workaround/deactivate/ignore a good chunk of the original computer's circuitry, or "work outside" of it. And they then use what's left (of the original rig) to act as a terminal. Others just swap out the cpu core and that's that.

 

I can't speak directly for exactly what the Vampire because I do not have one, nor have I read a lot of its documentation.

 

I can speak directly for the Apple II, The TransWarp //e and Titan accelerators are a bunch of logic, have their own ram, a fast cpu, and some bus interfacing. It is essentially a new computer on a card. They only access the motherboard for roms and i/o. That faster processor needs faster ram and faster bus logic. Later accelerators had some cache and continued to use the original system memory. The Apple II had a long enough lifespan to have had all kinds of styles of accelerators developed for it. From a user standpoint it doesn't matter what flavor you get, just that the systems runs faster.

 

The more complex the computer, the less of it is duplicated on the accelerator card. Think 486 and 486 overdrive. You just replaced the main cpu. And that was it. All the other circuitry remained intact and fully utilized.

 

There's really a lot of variety and you will simply have to read the technical notes and Theory of Operation sections of the manual.

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The Vampire is a little different than a "normal" accelerator in the fact that it is taking over the machine a lot more than one of those. Take for example the Amiga(s). I have two that are now accelerated (an A2000 and A500). The accelerators are providing a faster CPU (68030's) and RAM, but they are not providing the chipset (ECS in this case) or the functions of any of the other hardware (sound, video, etc). They are replacing the CPU itself with a next generation version from the series and there is a fall back mode to revert back to the stock 68000 on at least my accelerators should you need to.

 

But the Vampire is doing something more and it is evident with the ability to play AGA games (the chipset in the A1200 and A4000 only) on machines that do not have the chipset at all. I still suspect that the vampire does not even "need" the Amiga to function should there be a way to provide I/O to it (such as with a docking station of some type (like with the Turbo Chameleon).

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That is right. I also strongly suspect that with a little bit of reprogramming and the appropriate I/O, the vampire would be like a MiST or any other FPGA based computer. It certainly has the power and versatility.

 

In fact, the Vampire likely has to do extra work to fit itself inside the Amiga. Interface with it. Handle and interpret the existing original chipset information. Sync itself. More than if it was to run freely outside the case.

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Sorry for starting Vamp talk in your MegaChip thread Bruce, but couldn't help it since we were on the line of upgrades! :grin:

 

Yes, love the thing and don't give a crap about it being a programmable deal or not. It's a hardware board with chips, that's as solid as can be until bricked by some firmware update mishap or whatever. To me, hardware is hardware. Period. Even if it runs "software". :lol:

 

Don't believe AGA support is finished yet (they're calling it something different IIRC) and even when it is, won't it only be supported through the HDMI output? Kind of like the SD card only acting as a hard drive (whoopee, give me removable mass media support - hello!?) don't really give a damn. Not going to be playing Amiga games on a modern display anytime soon. You can keep the blocky/mal-colored/lag-ridden mess that is today's tv's and monitors. ;)

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That is right. I also strongly suspect that with a little bit of reprogramming and the appropriate I/O, the vampire would be like a MiST or any other FPGA based computer. It certainly has the power and versatility.

 

In fact, the Vampire likely has to do extra work to fit itself inside the Amiga. Interface with it. Handle and interpret the existing original chipset information. Sync itself. More than if it was to run freely outside the case.

 

So you see what I mean. I see it as basically a MiST (perhaps a more powerful FPGA) but without the I/O and sticking it into an Amiga it *really* takes over...so much so that the Amiga is effectively then the "docking station" for the "Vampire Computer".

 

I know the average Amiga user probably doesn't care and just loves the end result (wow, 100X faster than the stock Amiga! AGA support on an Amiga without an AGA chipset!) but I guess I am one of the few left that kind of do care exactly how it is achieving these results. It doesn't feel like its an Amiga anymore to me.

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Sorry for starting Vamp talk in your MegaChip thread Bruce, but couldn't help it since we were on the line of upgrades! :grin:

 

Yes, love the thing and don't give a crap about it being a programmable deal or not. It's a hardware board with chips, that's as solid as can be until bricked by some firmware update mishap or whatever. To me, hardware is hardware. Period. Even if it runs "software". :lol:

 

Don't believe AGA support is finished yet (they're calling it something different IIRC) and even when it is, won't it only be supported through the HDMI output? Kind of like the SD card only acting as a hard drive (whoopee, give me removable mass media support - hello!?) don't really give a damn. Not going to be playing Amiga games on a modern display anytime soon. You can keep the blocky/mal-colored/lag-ridden mess that is today's tv's and monitors. ;)

 

 

No problem brother! I am always interested in people's take on these devices. And don't get me wrong, I appreciate any new device for classic hardware that comes out and I do understand (not fully mind you, but some) of how the hardware is doing what it is doing and I think it is an amazing thing. I have been a big fan of FPGA stuff for a long time and really believe this is going to be the way to experience the old hardware in the distant future when that old hardware can no longer be saved. But for now I try to keep it vintage to a degree. I do believe in upgrading to modern media (CF, SD, etc) for loading the software as well as upgrading the means to display on more modern displays such as with the scandoubler/flickerfixers (I love the Indivision ECS) so I am not keeping the machines "stock" so to speak.

 

I still have the Vampire on pre-order so it is inevitable that I will be getting one soon. But I still have the feelings about it that I have upheld pretty much since I learned about it :)

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My Amiga 1000 with an original Phoenix mobo and an ACA500/ACA1221 hanging off it, totally feels like an Amiga to me. So does my A2000 outfitted with the Vampire. You know what didn't really feel Amiga-like to me? When I "upgraded" to MorphOS. Or use an emulator like Amiga Forever with a fancy PeeCee. ;)

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Don't believe AGA support is finished yet (they're calling it something different IIRC) and even when it is, won't it only be supported through the HDMI output? Kind of like the SD card only acting as a hard drive (whoopee, give me removable mass media support - hello!?) don't really give a damn. Not going to be playing Amiga games on a modern display anytime soon. You can keep the blocky/mal-colored/lag-ridden mess that is today's tv's and monitors. ;)

 

Oh yeh mister?? Well YOU can keep your hot heavy power hog CRT boxes that are full of geometrical distortion and inconsistency from one model to the next. :D :P

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WOW! $150 for Megachip, I have one suck in my A2000. Very useful for Video Toaster.

I sold my second plain A2000 for that much few years back.

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I bought two 2000's that were for local pickup only in the city where my son lives. I got a great price on them, and one of them came with a MegaChip. Nice surprise!

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WOW! $150 for Megachip, I have one suck in my A2000. Very useful for Video Toaster.

I sold my second plain A2000 for that much few years back.

 

 

Prices have certainly increased, that is for sure....and much to my dismay. The A2000 I purchased is in pretty much mint condition, came with a GVP Impact II SCSI card and 8MB of memory and that ran me $350. $150 for a Megachip, over $200 for a 25Mhz 68030 accelerator, $60 for a SCSI to microSD adapter, another $150 for iComp's Bigram.

 

Now the machine sports 125MB of fastram, 2MB of chip, 25Mhz 68030 and a 4GB card filled with WHDLoad games and demos. It is damn fast for what it is (sysinfo reports it slightly faster than an A3000) and a joy to use.

 

I know there are faster options out there (Vampire, etc) but it was pretty satisfying getting this machine together and having it work so darn well...even if it did break the bank some.

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My A2000 is fully loaded too:

A2091 SCSI with 4MB, 030 25MB with 2MB, Megachip, Video Toaster 2000, Time Base Corrector board, CDROM, Intel SingleBoardComputer 266MHz with Sound Blaster (for that I had to solder the missing ISA slots to get the 16bit port working.) This beast is heavy!

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I see you put BigRam in your A2000, is that actually working?, I read that these boards work only on Zorro III machines (A3000/A4000). The A2000 only has Zorro II slots.

Max RAM on Zorro II autoconfig is 8MB.

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Not to derail this but the endgame for the vampire is indeed a vampire Stand-Alone. So eventually yes, it will be like a mist. I think they are plugging it in to Amigas now just to get all the programming correct.

On another note, congrats on your accelerator. I really enjoy reading about the different upgrades paths people take. The Amiga seems to truly hold to it's sense of customization. many of us had them back in the day and many of us still do, each one unique to it's user both in hardware and software. I think that's a big reason I fell in love with it many moons ago.

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My Amiga 1000 with an original Phoenix mobo and an ACA500/ACA1221 hanging off it, totally feels like an Amiga to me. So does my A2000 outfitted with the Vampire. You know what didn't really feel Amiga-like to me? When I "upgraded" to MorphOS. Or use an emulator like Amiga Forever with a fancy PeeCee. ;)

 

If you don't mind my asking, at what speed are you running the ACA500/ACA1221? Does it run at the highest speed of the accelerator?

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