What is an AmigaOne?
Since 1994 when Commodore went into liquidation there have been a handful of attempts to continue the legacy of Amiga. Without going into too much of the history here I'll jump straight to the present. The latest company to take up the monumental task of reinventing the Amiga is Eyetech. Based in Yorkshire, England, Eyetech have a long history with the Amiga, being at the front line as software and hardware vendors for the Amiga.
With this in mind, when Eyetech announced that they were to produce the next generation Amiga, it's no wonder that heads turned. A company with such a strong relationship with the Amiga community are surely to be the ones... Aren't they?
Well, the initial announcement told of 3 new boards. The Amiga One 1200 PPC, Amiga One 4000 PPC and the AmigaOne Stand alone systems. The former two were planned to be expansion cards for the existing A1200 and A4000 machines respectively whilst the stand alone system spoke for itself. These were to become the first non-68k based Amiga machines.
As time has passed, plans have changed and Eyetech have chosen to completely pull away from what has become known as the 'Classic' hardware. This has meant that the only version of the AmigaOne remaining is the stand alone model. The AmigaOne now has numerous versions of the board with differing specifications, namely the AmigaOne-SE G3, AmigaOne-XE G3, AmigaOne-XE G4 and the Mirco AmigaOne.
I see... So it's a PPC thingy now?
As I have mentioned, with the next generation Amigas take on the standard hardware frame, this has opened up the available hardware to a wealth of GFX cards, Sound cards and the like. The other major step in moving the Amiga forward is the move to PPC processors. The ones used in the A1 (The G3 and G4 variants) are similar to those found in an Apple Mac. Previously the Amiga family have been tied to 68k processors (Motorola 68k chipsets). These have proven to be very versatile processors which have, and still do, given excellent performance. Unfortunately though the clock speeds of these processors have been limited to 66-75Mhz with recent reports of some being pushed to 100Mhz.
If you have ever sat down to use a 'classic' Amiga running in the 66-75Mhz region you would be forgiven if you had to ask again, 'How fast is the processor in this thing?'. Those numbers that don't sound a lot are very deceptive when used in an Amiga. The AmigaOS is a very efficient OS and as such does not NEED a high clock speed to perform effectively and responsively. Naturally though, as the digital world gets larger, so do the files and the tasks involved with using these files. This is where the new PPC processors will push the Amiga forward again.
The AmigaOS is still as responsive as it ever was, only this time having a PPC running at 800Mhz takes the next generation Amiga to another level. You would be forgiven if you had to ask again, 'How fast is the processor in this thing?'. A further consideration is that the Northbridge chip (As mentioned in the specs) has the capability of handling dual processors. More on that later.
I could go into the question of RAM. How much do you need? What is the minimum you should get? What sort should I get?
... So I will. The recommended memory that should be used is the 'Kingston' branded memory. There are variations of this memory so it is suggested that you visit official Amiga dealers for this. You will pay a little more than if you go to a computer fair, but as with everything, you get what you pay for.
How much should you get? That's almost up to you. If you intend to run AmigaOS on your A1 (Which we highly recommend) you could grab 64mb and pretty comfortably run your every day tasks without worrying too much. If you are a grafter and require enough space for intensive graphics work you should look around the 256mb mark. It may be worth noting that most users seem to have opted for 512mb RAM. In Amiga terms, this could almost be considered overkill since AmigaOS doesn't have the same kind of memory issues that certain other operating systems have. But saying that, if you can afford it, go for it.
What about upgrades? My old Amiga cost me a fortune to upgrade...
This shouldn't be a worry at all. Remembering that the components you can install in the A1 are those standards used in the PC world, virtually any PCI upgrade will connect. All you will need to do is make sure you have the drivers to run the hardware. Have a look at the AmigaOS 4.0 section and have a look at the SNAP system that has been incorporated into AmigaOS 4.0. This has been used to open up almost any expansion you might want, i.e. Almost all the hard work is done for you. All you need to do is to buy the upgrade.
Okay, what else do I need to know?
Well, it's difficult to go into detail of the machine without accidentally slipping in details of AmigaOS 4.0. Since this is 'the' new Amiga, where would it be without a new OS to run on it? have a look at the OS 4.0 section. This will tie in with what you have read here.
Remember, if you are still unsure about something, what does what, what you have to do etc... Drop any of the Intuition-Base team an e-mail and we will gladly fill in the gaps.
Welcome to the future...