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Some basic questions

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Hi All,

Brand new to the site, apologies if this has been asked/answered as I couldn't find the info I need. I had an A500 back in the late '80's and want to relive that system. I've been offered an updated system with a few modern conveniences but I wanted to ask a few questions:

  1. The machine has a Gotek but the owner also suggested I get a CF card with IDE cable and card. Do I need that? I thought the Gotek would boot images, do I need Workbench to run from a separate device?
  2. He also said I need a TF536 with relocator 68030 to run WHDLoad...is that accurate? It adds a significant cost to the system.
  3. Finally, I'm a bit unclear about WHDLoad, Gotek, and how they all work together. Most of my Amiga files are ADF, do those work with WHDLoad? I've seen a ton of other formats online, like IPF, and found a WHDLoad pack that RetroPlay posted that are in LHA format, and some WHD packs that don't appear to be any format I recognize. Will all these work? Aren't Gotek and WHDLoad kinda doing the same thing? If I load my thumb drive with ADF files and something like FlashFloppy, what does WHDLoad provide that I don't have with the Gotek alone?

Thanks for any help...and sorry about all the questions 🙂

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Welcome along!


1: A Gotek is enough to run games from floppy disk images, which is close to the experience you get from using real floppies and likely what you had back in the day. Adding a CF card or hard drive improves the experience dramatically because loading times are greatly reduced, and everything's accessible from Workbench without faffing with disk swaps and reboots. But it also introduces some other requirements, and some people prefer the floppy-only experience. You don't need to boot Workbench at all for most games when you run them from floppy / floppy image, and Workbench can be booted from floppy too.


2: Well, if you add a hard drive to the machine and want to run games from it, you'll need more RAM. Additionally, the A500 doesn't have an IDE port, so you'll need at least some RAM and an IDE adaptor. You might also need a Kickstart upgrade. You don't specifically need a TF536 for this, but a TF536 gives you the RAM, the IDE and a dramatic increase in CPU power too. Depending on the games you play, that increase in power might not make any difference, or it might make a huge difference to playability.


3: There's a lot to this question really. ADFs are images of standard geometry Amiga floppies. As far as the Amiga is concerned, using them with a Gotek is the same as using the actual floppy with a real floppy drive: the machine will typically boot from them, loading times will be the same, and disk swapping needs to be done for games that span multiple floppies. However, many original games use a custom disk format as a form of copy protection, and these can't be stored as ADFs. So you'll typically have to use ADFs that are based on cracked copies of games, which had their disk format converted to standard so they can be copied. Instead of ADFs, if you want to use original floppy images, the IPF format includes the extra information needed to emulate the non-standard format. I don't think a Gotek can use these images - they're more useful for emulators.


WHDLoad is a very different thing. It's intended to patch original games so they can be used on expanded Amigas. This means they can be run directly from the hard drive, and also takes care of some other issues like incompatibility of games with later OS versions, CPUs or chipsets. It provides other fixes and options too, like a quit key to go back to Workbench without rebooting, support for 2-button and multi-button controllers, saving to hard drive, preloading games entirely into RAM to prevent any loading delays and so on. It only supports original floppies, so it won't work with most ADFs. It's easy to find archives of games that have already been installed from original floppies however, and can easily be transferred to the CF card from a PC, typically using WinUAE or another emulator.


So, if you're using your Gotek and a flash drive with your ADFs on it, WHDLoad doesn't really offer you anything. If you've expanded your Amiga and have a hard drive and enough RAM, WHDLoad offers a great deal of convenience. I personally wouldn't be without WHDLoad, but as I said above, some people prefer the floppy-like experience, and expanding an Amiga isn't particularly cheap.

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Just get A500 & Gotek for starters. This is a good setup for beginner user, so you can see how much of the "reliving" you actually want to do. Some people have the initial urge, but then after few weeks pack it all up ;)


And if you really get the Amiga bug, you can always expand later. Playing an occasional game from Gotek/adfs is okay for single-disk titles (and some multis) but can get annoying really fast when you have to start juggling adfs non stop, and that's the case with many bigger games. This is why WHD Load is a godsend, you just install a game and forget about swapping, it's also faster, and often has some extra features. It does need a hefty investment though. Personally I'd recommend ACA 500+, which is kinda like TF but with more features and user-friendliness.



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