I for one am not giving up on my Amiga. I have been pricing $4K and up
PC systems, and in this price range, the Amiga 3000 with 040 board is
the price/performance leader. At $6K, the Amiga 2000 with GVP 040
and 24-bit board pushes systems at 4x the cost (i.e. SGI Elan).
But I have been really shopping for a PC in earnest these days because
CBM is not an American company anymore. They are not selling Amigas
in America, except to those who already own Amigas. Nor is progress
on their own proprietary technology anything to brag about. The future
looks very dim for American Amiga users. I am also depressed about the
lack of interesting hardware and software products that people should
be doing on the Amiga, especially Zorro III hardware and high-end user
As I have shopped for PCs, I am in awe of all the nifty goodies that
PC users can buy for little money - ethernet cards for 1/3 the price
of Amiga ones, 256 color cards for 1/8th the price of comparable
Amiga ones, CD-ROM machines that blow away CDTV (486SX with 4MB
of RAM for $1100), and aisles and aisles full of software to choose
from. As well, there are two outstanding integrated C++ environments
with GUI builders and browsers that the Amiga stuff can't touch...
I had pretty much settled on a Sharp 6881 laptop computer, which comes
with 4MB of RAM, 120Meg hard disk, and the most beautiful 256 color
LCD display I've ever seen. The concept of supplementing my Amiga
with a machine I could port around with me (the 6881 wieghs only
5.9 pounds) is something that is hard to resist. But it has no
expansion slots to plug anything into...
Before that, I had been looking for a fast 486 machine with lots of
future expansion possibilities, but frankly, I was not impressed with
the kludgy hardware implementations of all the machines I looked at and
the cost wasn't very impressive either. But today, I went to CompUSA
and I was soooo impressed with two of the 486 machines that I am likely
to get one.
Both machines are made by DELL, one being a smallish 3-slot machine
for $2300 and the other being an A2000 sized box with room for
3 or 4 internal hard disks as well as 6 slots and more. The bigger
box costs about $250 more and comes with more, so that is likely
what I will buy...
The DELL 486D/50 is a 50MHz DDX based machine with 32768 color
(15 bits per pixel) SVGA on the motherboard (not across the piss-poor
ISA bus). The 32768 color mode is limited by the 1Meg of RAM that
is expandable to at 640x480, but it does do 256 colors at 1024x768
and boy is it FAAAAAAAAAAAST (32 bit CPU accessing 32-bit VRAM).
The system comes with a 210Meg hard drive and 8 Megs of RAM on the
motherboard, which is expandable to 64Megs (again, this avoids the
need for slow ISA bus expansion). As well, the floppy/hard disk
controller is also on the motherboard... The machine does not
come with a monitor, which is just as well - I would prefer to
choose my own. And monitors start at around $300 for 1024x768
256 color flicker free video! $300 is about what the last 1084s
I bought cost me... The NEC 5G 17" monitor really impressed me
as the one I'd like to save up for - such a beast is useless
to me for my A3000, unless I want to do "lores" (640x400 mode)
"lo color" graphics modes on it.
The memory on the motherboard is interleaved so it has less than
1 wait state - very much like the GVP 030 and 040 accelerator
designs. The DELL computers have no need for the 64K expandable
to 256K cache RAM kludges that many fast PC clones come with. All
RAM in the machine is 70ns parts (10ns faster than the FAST RAM
in my A3000).
I plan to run and write only Windows 3.1 (and up) applications
and never expect to have to use MS-DOG's command.com interface.
If I can't get a decent shell in the PD, I will write my own,
first thing. Borland's Turbo C++ development system comes with
a windows-only version and DOS versions, so I can pick and choose
the interface I like best. From what I've seen of the software
that comes with Turbo C++, I do not see how any Amiga compiler
system will match it without a few hundred man years' worth of
There are about 15 flavors of Unix to choose from for this
machine, and it would run them all quite well (with RAM
upgrade, naturally :) There are also about that many
non-unix flavors of X-Windows from different vendors.
As well, an ethernet card and TCP/IP software costs about
Besides the pwoerful CD-ROM based machines, there was this
MediaVision CDPC(TM) Subsystem on display. This cost $1199,
but was full of features... To quote the literature:
"Fully MPC compliant, very high performance CD-ROM drive, delivers
16-bit digital audi orecording and playback to 44.1 KHz, 4-operator
FM-Synthesis, MIDI, and SoundBlaster compatibility through its
100W music amplifier and unique speaker imaging system. These
features coupled with its multi-source analog mixer and Spectrum
Sound makes the CDPC the ultimate delivery vehicle for: multimedia
presentations, audio files, games, and even CD-AUDIO disks. And with
its input jacks for other audio equipment, the CDPC's 100W of
music power and stereo speaker system can be used to serve as a
high quality amplifier for your DAT, cassette deck, radio tuner, etc.
A single cable connects the CDPC to your computer. CDPC is compatible
with SOundBlaster, AdLib, Windows 3.1, ProAudioSPectrum, Thunderboard,
It records steareo 16 bit samples at 44.1KHz direct to disk. The FM
synthesis part of this device rivals very expensive musical keyboard
instruments for quality and features. And it is designed so you can
set your monitor and up to 88 total pounds of equipment on top of
it. It also comes with 6 CD-ROM applications - real applications and
CompUSA has Macintosh stuff, lots of it, too. But I can't imagine
anyone wanting a Mac after seeing that PC's provide much much more
for much much less. The only reason the salespeople could give me
for why people would buy a Mac anymore is simplicity of use. However,
the Mac quickly becomes a limiting factor when you get used to using
it - not good for power users on a daily basis...
Hey folks, the PC is where the money is. The Amiga is where the soul
Amiga programmer of: GRn, MailMinder, Budokan, Beyond Dark Castle, Dark Castle
Sega Genesis programmer of:* Tracy and Marble Madness.
1124 Fremont Ave.
Los Altos, CA 94024