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evisu

CD32 ... the third attempt (or the fourth?)

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Good morning guys. My first CD32 came in 1994 to me, after I sold my A500+. Can´t even remember why I sold the 500 ... loooong time ago. The CD32 was the logical step for me, been always a fan of Amiga and I loved Wing Commander. On the standard 500 more or less unplayable, was WC a seriously great game, even on the standard CD32 with only 14Mhz. Had a lot of fun with other games too, Banshee I remember e.g. At one point the CD32 had to go ... probably for an PS1 or something else.

3-4 years later I found another one. Was the golden age, when ebay was quite new and absolutely bargains could be made when it came to old video game systems :D Bought another CD32 (probably something around 20€ or so ...), couple of games, but it wasn´t the same. Was too much in the newer consoles, sold the stuff short time later (guess for a ridiculous price). I´m not sure, if there was another one ... systems came and went ... but bought now another CD32. Prices are still ridiculous ... but on the other end of the scale! Well ... have and like my Jaguar, so the CD32 is probably what I need to be happy.

The console came with a few games, Elite, Chaos Engine, WC was part of the bundle ... so I started yesterday again with killing cat aliens :D

 

Planned next steps: re-cap the system, probably new laser unit, TF330 is something what sounds great too.

 

Is there a chance to connect a P/S2 or USB keyboard somehow to the console?

And the broken original controller ... are they manuals how to fix these things?

 

Cheers and Greetings from Dublin ...

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33 minutes ago, evisu said:

Planned next steps: re-cap the system, probably new laser unit, TF330 is something what sounds great too.

 

Is there a chance to connect a P/S2 or USB keyboard somehow to the console?

There are guys that sell the TF330 with a riser which has a PS2 connector. For example here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/TF330-Expansion-for-Commodore-Amiga-CD32-64MB-Ram-IDE-030-50-Riser-CF-card/233406330699?hash=item365819f74b:g:aRoAAOSwaKVcvLAo

 

The above seller is based in Canada but there are others who are based in Europe. You can ask on the TF330 forum here: https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=70

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1 hour ago, evisu said:

Planned next steps: re-cap the system, probably new laser unit, TF330 is something what sounds great too.

 

Is there a chance to connect a P/S2 or USB keyboard somehow to the console?

And the broken original controller ... are they manuals how to fix these things?

 

Cheers and Greetings from Dublin ...

Yeah, the TF330 will make a huge difference to the speed of the machine. While many of the 2D arcade-type games won't see much difference other than loading times, 3D stuff like Frontier, flight sims and strategy stuff like Theme Park, Syndicate etc. will all get a significant boost.

However, even the TF328 (RAM + IDE/CF) will give a decent speed boost, because as standard the 14MHz 68020 is a little choked by the RAM access speed on the CD32 since it's shared with the Amiga chipset. Adding some CPU-specific RAM is enough to let the CPU work on one thing in its own RAM while the chipset works on another in the shared RAM. But the 68030 of the TF330 is a different beast again. Either way, the added hard drive functionality makes the CD32 into a very impressive machine for all Amiga games.

 

What exactly is broken with the controller? They're not a great controller to be honest, and the D-pad is commonly broken. There are 3D print files available for replacements, but honestly a 3rd party replacement might be better. For example, the KTRL-CD32 is a homebrew pad that takes a clone SNES pad and replaces the guts with a CD32-compatible board. This also gives the advantage of being able to remap buttons, e.g. mapping up (for jump) to one of the buttons for platformers intended for joystick control.

 

And hello from a fellow Dub :) I'm not sure if you know about it, but there's a pretty big yearly Amiga meetup that happens in Athlone for a weekend every January. There's usually some pretty big names at it (Dave Haynie is booked for this one coming for example), and lots of gaming competitions, workshops and so on. and of course, pints ;) I'll be there giving a talk on ARexx programming :p Check out amigausers.ie if you're interested!

Edited by Daedalus2097
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22 hours ago, chue said:

There are guys that sell the TF330 with a riser which has a PS2 connector. For example here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/TF330-Expansion-for-Commodore-Amiga-CD32-64MB-Ram-IDE-030-50-Riser-CF-card/233406330699?hash=item365819f74b:g:aRoAAOSwaKVcvLAo

 

The above seller is based in Canada but there are others who are based in Europe. You can ask on the TF330 forum here: https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=70

Guess, that´s the best option ... TF with PS2 connector. Will ask the guys. Not cheap, but a good investment.

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21 hours ago, Daedalus2097 said:

Yeah, the TF330 will make a huge difference to the speed of the machine. While many of the 2D arcade-type games won't see much difference other than loading times, 3D stuff like Frontier, flight sims and strategy stuff like Theme Park, Syndicate etc. will all get a significant boost.

However, even the TF328 (RAM + IDE/CF) will give a decent speed boost, because as standard the 14MHz 68020 is a little choked by the RAM access speed on the CD32 since it's shared with the Amiga chipset. Adding some CPU-specific RAM is enough to let the CPU work on one thing in its own RAM while the chipset works on another in the shared RAM. But the 68030 of the TF330 is a different beast again. Either way, the added hard drive functionality makes the CD32 into a very impressive machine for all Amiga games.

 

What exactly is broken with the controller? They're not a great controller to be honest, and the D-pad is commonly broken. There are 3D print files available for replacements, but honestly a 3rd party replacement might be better. For example, the KTRL-CD32 is a homebrew pad that takes a clone SNES pad and replaces the guts with a CD32-compatible board. This also gives the advantage of being able to remap buttons, e.g. mapping up (for jump) to one of the buttons for platformers intended for joystick control.

 

And hello from a fellow Dub :) I'm not sure if you know about it, but there's a pretty big yearly Amiga meetup that happens in Athlone for a weekend every January. There's usually some pretty big names at it (Dave Haynie is booked for this one coming for example), and lots of gaming competitions, workshops and so on. and of course, pints ;) I'll be there giving a talk on ARexx programming :p Check out amigausers.ie if you're interested!

 

A Amiga meetup in Athlone? Sounds interesting .... but not sure, if I´m in country mid of January. I´ll check it out and If I can make it happen, I will give it a chance. Would really like to see one of the newer Amiga models in action. Thanks for the heads up.

 

With the controller you´re probably right. They are not awesome pieces of hardware. Would be simply nice to have an original one working. D-Pad doesn´t work. Probably I´ll try to fix it one day. Have a Competition Pro CD32 what came with the console. Works great and have a nicer shape.

 

The TF cards are amazing, from what I´ve seen so far. Wonder, if the 328 could be an option too, with 8MB Ram and the CF card adapter. But I guess, finally it´s worth to spend some money extra for the 330 to get the 68030/50. AB3d2 or Gloom (even my beloved Wing Commander) will for sure benefit from the extra speed. Will game save data saved on the CF card as well? Or do they use the internal save buffer?

 

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Yeah, it's definitely worth going if you can! Plenty of Amigas from very old to very new and everything in between. Usually a few C64s and similar knocking around too.

 

Check out some of the 3D printed D-pad replacements, which might do the job. The Competition Pro is a nice pad, and generally much sought after so hold onto that if you enjoy it! I prefer the smaller D-pads of the SNES etc., but that's more a personal thing.

 

The RAM alone will give you a significant boost, but if you have the cash, the 030 is the way to go. If you have games installed on the CF card, you'll typically be using WHDLoad. That patches installed games so that they save to the CF card instead of NVRAM or floppy. Original games will still need to save to the (very limited) NVRAM of the CD32.

 

You should bear in mind that you'll need to get a riser for fitting any accelerator or RAM card in the CD32 anyway, so it might make sense to pay a little extra for one with PS/2 keyboard capability. There are other options though - the CD32 Aux port accepts input from an Amiga 4000 keyboard, and while they're expensive in their own right, you can get adaptors for the A4000 that let you use a PC keyboard. These should work on the CD32 as well. Lyra is one example.

Edited by Daedalus2097
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Most/all of the risers coming out of Canada these days have PS/2 ports built in. 
 

Aux port on the left hand side of the CD32 works with any Amiga keyboard via a simple passive adapter too. I use an A2000 keyboard with mine. But keep in mind, if you have one of these TF3xx accelerators with said risers, and are using the Aux port with a keyboard, you need to remove the IC on the riser for the keyboard to work properly. IC is only there for a PS/2 keyboard port on the riser. There's a conflict with the Aux port on the CD32 if you leave it in.

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Failed to mentioned, I went with a TF328, saved me quite some dough and I am happy, I don't want to use my CD32 as a computer so the boost given by the FastRAM is enough for the few games I cared to see accelerated (AB3D and Gloom) and they gain a decent enough speed up.

 

I'll see if in due time I'll pick up a TF330 or not, for now I am content with what I have.

I bought from "supaduper" in the UK and he made me a happy camper, literally plug and play.

 

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I have both the 328 and 330. Great to have the extra speed up for WB operations and some games for sure, but yeah - the 328 is a nice little upgrade for what it is.
 

Will probably snag the 360 if it's not too pricey when released.  :love:

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16 hours ago, save2600 said:

...
 

Will probably snag the 360 if it's not too pricey when released.  :love:

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=2275&start=10#p28609

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=2275&start=30#p28693

it may not happen, Stephen Leary has stepped away from the scene, so far the TF360 is in hiatus, and unclear when he will get time/energy to fix the TF330 disable issue: https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=1877&p=28765#p28765

Pity really, the guy did a lot for the CD32.

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Ahh. Oh well, at least we got what we got and for that, I'm grateful. A fun machine to begin with, enjoyment of the CD32 has been greatly enhanced thanks to him, Alen, Kipper, etc.   :)

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17 hours ago, save2600 said:

Ahh. Oh well, at least we got what we got and for that, I'm grateful. A fun machine to begin with, enjoyment of the CD32 has been greatly enhanced thanks to him, Alen, Kipper, etc.   :)

Yep, the CD32 went from being the runt of the AGA family to being quite the jewel .... granted if one wants to use it as a computer may as well focus on an A1200 ... I've been told though that the CD32 may actually end up being cheaper.

 

It's obvious now that without FastRAM it had no chance, that plus the cheap ports sealed its fate ... in all fairness no console born computer was ever a success (CDTV, CD32, FM Towns Marty, C64GS, XEGS, GX4000 they all fared poorly as consoles, sure the XEGS, C64GS and GX4000 where late to the party but still it seems it just doesn't work that way .. ironic that modern consoles are glorified but underpowered x64 PCs)

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Well, while TF may have stepped back from the internet side of things, there was an Amiga meetup in Glasgow in December, and I got to see him demonstrate the TF360 *and* TF1260 up and running, side by side. Both running Quake competently and (perhaps more importantly) stably. There's some more work to be done on them, but they're pretty close to being available now!

 

Edit: Oops, I meant to add a link for the Amiga Ireland meetup details: amigausers.ie

Edited by Daedalus2097
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On 12/31/2019 at 8:27 AM, Daedalus2097 said:

Well, while TF may have stepped back from the internet side of things, there was an Amiga meetup in Glasgow in December, and I got to see him demonstrate the TF360 *and* TF1260 up and running, side by side. Both running Quake competently and (perhaps more importantly) stably. There's some more work to be done on them, but they're pretty close to being available now!

 

Edit: Oops, I meant to add a link for the Amiga Ireland meetup details: amigausers.ie

Yup:

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=2427&p=31353#p31334

 

neither of those is up my alley, if the TF330 gets the disable switch worked out I may consider, albeit I do not want to get suckered in into accelerating a 25Y old piece of hardware, I have no "what if" I care to find an answer to. Mind you I am not belittling his work in the least.

 

He's doing a stellar job, no question about it, he had a few itches he wanted to scratch wrt the Amiga platform in various incarnations and he did and he's still doing a tremendous work on all fronts. Outstanding contribution to the Amiga community, imho.

 

 

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On 12/10/2019 at 6:27 AM, save2600 said:

I have both the 328 and 330. Great to have the extra speed up for WB operations and some games for sure, but yeah - the 328 is a nice little upgrade for what it is.
 

Will probably snag the 360 if it's not too pricey when released.  :love:

And I caved ..... 6 months in and I gave in and purchased a TF330, Supaduper gave me a killer deal I couldn't resist.

 

Just bought the populated TF330 board and will be reusing riser, CF adapter and CF card that I got when I purchased my TF328 (also Supaduper outstanding production).

Let's see how long it takes to make it through customs etc... I have no idea why I caved but hey .... the hobby is the hobby, later on I'd probably resell the TF328 (maybe).

 

@save2600 when do you use each of them? Is there any game that works on TF328 but not on TF330?

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11 hours ago, phoenixdownita said:

 

@save2600 when do you use each of them? Is there any game that works on TF328 but not on TF330?

Are you talking about the NVRam issue with the older TF330 firmware? It's rare anymore that I actually spin a disc since having IDE/CF capability, so haven't noticed any incompatibilities or bugs that way. 'Course WHDLoad fixes most any and all issues from having an 030 installed, different Kickstart requirements, RAM expansions, etc. Haven't done a ton of gaming on the machine since getting the TF330, but haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary when I have played.

 

Bought a 3D printed backplane cover for my TF/Riser combo. Tight fit which adds protection, stability and looks great. A guy in Spain (eBay) produces them at what I thought was a reasonable price shipped. He also makes front door replacements for the 108x series of monitors that I've been thinking about getting as one of my Philip's models has the dreaded broken tabs.  

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17 hours ago, save2600 said:

Are you talking about the NVRam issue with the older TF330 firmware? It's rare anymore that I actually spin a disc since having IDE/CF capability, so haven't noticed any incompatibilities or bugs that way. 'Course WHDLoad fixes most any and all issues from having an 030 installed, different Kickstart requirements, RAM expansions, etc. Haven't done a ton of gaming on the machine since getting the TF330, but haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary when I have played.

 

Bought a 3D printed backplane cover for my TF/Riser combo. Tight fit which adds protection, stability and looks great. A guy in Spain (eBay) produces them at what I thought was a reasonable price shipped. He also makes front door replacements for the 108x series of monitors that I've been thinking about getting as one of my Philip's models has the dreaded broken tabs.  

You mentioned you have both TF328 and TF330 and we know the TF330 has still the disable bug (as in you can't disable it), so I was wondering if you had any use for the TF328, once mine arrives I'd have little use for the TF328 I think (I am convinced it's a beauty and Commodore should really have tried to add say even just 2MB of fast RAM to the CD32 .... it makes such a difference already).

 

Wrt the riser, mine has a clear plastic sheet covering the backside so it's not really exposed per se.

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Received the TF330 from Supaduper and he has thrown in extra hw to get me going even easier (extra IDE cable, extra CF card adapter etc....) ... speechless, the guy is awesome.

 

The board performs exactly as expected, and it does make for a much better experience on the CD32 all around, we know that clock-for-clock the 030 is about 10% faster than the 020 on the same async bus so a minor change (as the TF330 fw updates have shown, enabling burst [aka sync bus cycles] adds an extra 20% perf in benchmarks though). 

 

Now not only I think Commodore should have thrown in 2MB fast RAM in the CD32 but also a faster 020 (or EC030 as it may be) say a 2x (28Mhz) could have made for a much much much more compelling package .... oh well.

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TF360 (and indirectly TF1260) so close to completion ... people already testing them with LC060 (no FPU but other than Amiga Quake you'll be fine and it's way way way cheaper  https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=75&t=3277 ) and then "big Polish mess" ... stop to all Terrible Fire development (casus belli over the TF536 project being copied as an act of spite against Stephen for no freaking good reason as the board was meant to become open source in the coming months).

 

 

What a sad state of affairs:

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=65&t=3359

 

Why do the CD32 users have to pay for some Polish dude misbehaving!?! Unfair. 

At the same time I can understand TF frustration ... he's been a genius in his own right when it comes to this class of accelerators and his boards are very very affordable and work well (as I said above I have both a TF328 and a TF330 ... and was recently awaiting on a TF360 [price was unannounced so who knows ... but his whole mantra was around affordability with quality to boot]). 

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Were his designs open?  Did he have any protection (legal) on them?  Why not name the asshole who made the threat?

 

Most questions answered in that 18-page thread... holy crap.  I hate to see projects hit problems like this.  The Amiga world is too small to deal with ineptitude and grifters.

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That's Amiga for you. Two steps forward three steps back in pretty much everything people try to do. So much strife. Plus legal infighting over this and that. I gave up on Amiga hardware a couple of years back. Sold off everything. Emulation is good enough for me to enjoy the odd classic game.

 

 

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