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The AmigaOne X1000: Keeping a dream alive

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August 5, 2012

AmigaOne X1000

AmigaOne X1000

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The 30th anniversary of the Commodore 64 and death of its creator Jack Tramiel earlier this year is a reminder of a bygone age of computing. In the consumer climate of 2012, where computer architecture is dominated by Intel chips, it is hard to imagine another time when a battle for personal computing supremacy occurred between truly different systems. The struggles between Commodore, Atari and Apple throughout the 1980s and early 1990s (of which Jack was an integral part) are well documented. Personalities like Tramiel - who acquired Atari in 1984 after being removed from its main competitor, Commodore, which he had founded thirty years earlier - were often at the center of what became a consumer technologies war. Indeed the rise and fall of the Amiga and Atari ST, in retrospect, was greatly affected by boardroom politics and corporate mud slinging.

Flash forward to 2012 where Intel is king maker - influencing the direction of both Apple Macintosh and PC markets. Motorola and PowerPC chip driven computers like the Amiga have widely been confined to the annals of computer history along with their perceived end note: Apple’s move to Intel chips in 2006. What happens, however, when large scale manufacture of such systems is replaced by the desires of enthusiasts to keep a dream and operating system alive? The answer is AmigaOS 4 and AmigaOne X1000.

Announcements for the AmigaOne X1000 came in the form of a teaser trailer in 2010. Originally marketed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Amiga 1000’s launch in 1985 the machine took an additional two years to reach consumers - mainly due to struggles between development partners. The brainchild of Amiga enthusiast, entrepreneur and Director of A-EON Technologies Trevor Dickinson the X1000 is designed as a dedicated hardware solution for AmigaOS 4. As of December 2011 AmigaOS was at version 4.1 with demonstrations already posted on Youtube.

AmigaOS

Limited in terms of production number and costly in comparison to its specifications (circa US$3,200), the system is catering for die hard Amiga fans at this time. The continued survival of the Amiga, for the most part through its operating system since 1994, has given rise to an organic business model born from an assemblage of dedicated users. Indeed it is a scenario somewhat chicken and egg like in nature. If an otherwise defunct operating system like AmigaOS is kept active by users long enough will there come a time when the technological climate is such that this community can revive the parts that are missing? If the AmigaOne X1000 and other hardware developments on the way are a sign of things to come then the answer is yes.

The history of Amiga is one defined by struggle, survival and adaptation. Between 1982 and 1984 development of the original 1000 included many meetings between Amiga Incorporated, Apple, Atari and Commodore in an attempt to secure much needed funds. Eventually acquired by Commodore in 1984 the system was not only improved but incorporated in a way that retained the distinctive nature of its brand alongside that of its parent company. It was this strength, as well as flexibility, of the Amiga brand that ultimately ensured its survival when Commodore finally closed its doors in 1994.

Unforeseeably the brand was still strong enough, at least in 2012, to reposition itself in contemporary PC and Notebook markets like a phoenix from the ashes. This includes separate contributions from Commodore USA LLC. A Florida based company that acquired the rights to use the Commodore and Amiga brands for Intel based system architectures. If the Amiga is a sign of the times it would appear user groups can effectively develop abandoned brands that could even rival their commercial counterparts - potentially forcing the latter into specialist markets. Imagine a world where the third - voluntary and community - sector can make an impact on general consumer markets.

AmigaOne X1000 specs:
  • PA Semi Dual-core PA6T-1682M, nominal 2.0GHz (1.8GHz standard) PowerISA™ v2.04+ CPU
  • "Xena" 500MHz XMOS XS1-L2 124
  • ATI Radeon R700 graphics card
  • 2GB RAM
  • 500GB Hard drive
  • 22x DVD combo drive
  • customized case, keyboard and mouse
  • 7.1 channel HD audio
  • Ports and connectors:
  • 4x DDR2 RAM slots
  • 10x USB 2.0
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 2x PCIe x16 slots (1x16 or 2x8)
  • 2x PCIe x1 slots
  • 1x Xorro slot
  • 2x PCI legacy slots
  • 2x RS232
  • 4x SATA 2 connectors
  • 1x IDE connector
  • JTAG connector
  • 1x Compact Flash

Sources : A-Eon, AmigoOS.

About the Author
Adam P. Spring Adam has a wealth of experience with various digital documentation techniques and geodetic solutions. He's never shy around cameras or lasers and makes a good pasty.   All articles by Adam P. Spring
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7 Comments

The Amiga was much more than the OS, although an incredible OS that blew Apple and M$ Winblows out of the water in the mid 1980s. (Task swapping and multitasking arent quite the same thing Bill! If youre reading...)

Its strength at the time were those dedicated chips Agnus, Paula and Lisa which seem to make the Amiga a much more efficient and effortless than anything the large corperates could come up. The nearest thing to Plug n Play back in the 1980`s and embarrassed M$ and hardware manufacturers with their tweaky dreaded Blue Screen of death and meddlesome settings Interupt Requests on all serial Com channels. If you had a PC, you had to know your hardware specs if you wanted more than 3 hardwares working!

The Motorola 68000 series CPU`s were fit for the purpose around that period too, after all Apple were using them too.

The Amiga also had a dedicated bunch of third party programmers and was the era where you could actually talk to the big movers and shakers in the industry on IRC protocol on #Arcnet.

However, M$ and Apples core business (more luck than judgement), was eventually to be the writing on the wall for poor old Commodore. Stuck with limited investment, a small user base income revenue and fixated on 68000 processors the Amiga soon fell far behind the modular PC based set up.

In being in discussion with original A1000 Commodore machine owners recently, I think we were all in agreement. Whether we like it or not, M$ and the PC is a worthy tool in this day and age.

So in this case we are probably seeing are an Amiga badged PC with more than likely an emulated AmigaOS trying to keep with the hardware. Maybe I am wrong and its a re-write from the ground up and in that case really isnt what we expect in terms of something different.

I still happily run my Amiga Workbench 3.0 and my favourite game, Megaball written by Al Mackay, on my PC. I have all the necessary Kickstart Roms on file and they work with WinUAE in A1200 emulation mode.

The King is Dead. Long live the King. Lets just leave it at that, in the past where it belongs.

Chris Longley
6th August, 2012 @ 09:24 pm PDT

Hello chris ^^)

sorry but you are totally wrong !!!

The Amiga ONE X-1000 is a TOTALLY NEW and GENUINE REAL AMIGA Motherboard, fine tuned and designed to our needs for running our AmigaOS v4 (that was entirelly rewritten for PPC since 2000).

You'll should go to the A-eon website (www.a-eon.com) and READ the story , before writing something about it ^^)

and the King is STILL ALIVE, never it has been dead despite all the struggles and bad mouthing it had to fight to survive since April, 1994. :-D

Thanks for reading,

Amigalement,

JF Voxel ^^)

Jean-François Bachelet
7th August, 2012 @ 04:16 am PDT

Indeed! While lacking the budget for this kind of upgrade, I still run Amiga OS 4.0 on a nine-year-old AmigaOne-XE G4.

TVPaint (the full version) remains a powerful graphics tool -- 15-16 years after using the cut-down version which accompanied a 2 MB graphics card (such as the Picasso II) which occupies a Zorro II slot in my 68060 cpu A2000HD.

vortexau
7th August, 2012 @ 07:04 am PDT

As a long-time Amiga fan, and owner of 6 Amigas, I used a single Amiga A1200 with just scart leads and no separate controllers or graphics boards to run graphics across 9 monitors on a video-wall at the 1999 Satellite Show at Wembley Arena.

At the time the IBM PC required loads of extras at a great cost to do the same.

Long live the Amiga.... Paul

Paul Liversuch
7th August, 2012 @ 07:20 am PDT

Still rocking my 1990's Amiga 4000, my second Amiga and an essential part of my music setup, just with a lot more RAM now fitted; just can't bit old skool trackers like Octamed!

And I recall when I got my first A500, it wiped the floor with PCs and Macs, not just on the music front (only the Atari came close there) but on the games: Sensible Soccer anyone? Lemmings? Alien Breed? Swiv? Pure genius!

Long live the Amiga indeed!!

Paul Cripps
7th August, 2012 @ 02:07 pm PDT

I was an Amiga diehard in the 1980s. Had quite a few of them. But when Commodore died, I went to Macintosh and didn't look back, even though I have a 3000 still packed away somewhere. I'm not going to cling to an obsolete past.

Correction, Chris Longley. The original chipset was Agnus, Paula and Denise. Lisa was the Macintosh's predecessor at Apple.

Gadgeteer
7th August, 2012 @ 08:10 pm PDT

Hey gadgeteer, you still have that 3000 around? I'll keep it if you want. always dreamed of having one, and by reading that you have some still pºacked and you're not going to cling to an obsolete past, which I perfectly understand, I would gladly apply to take care of the A3000.

:)

cheers, say something that we can work it out.

Francisco Vasconcelos
26th August, 2013 @ 06:03 pm PDT
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