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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:33 pm

IMG_3722.JPG
The amazingly powerful and affordable 8MB RAM to 68000 by MKL (could use a catchier name, but it's accurate at least)
Several weeks ago I was lamenting over the lack of RAM upgrade options for the Amiga 1000. Sure, there are plenty of 25-year old side car expansions typically in the 2MB range. And to be honest, the vast majority of games and software don’t require that much.

But on the A1000, the most common approach to solve this problem is the use of the side-car expansion slot, right behind where the 2nd joystick port is located on the right side of the machine. This isn’t a major issue, but for me personally I don’t have a ton of room to spare.

I also have several accelerator cards that come with RAM, but getting any of them to fit into the 1000’s case without physically modifying the floppy drive bracket is an extremely difficult task to say the least.

And now that I finally got my Amiga 1000 Phoenix running exactly the way I’d like from a software/HDD perspective (it’s so, so sweet) I’m really hunting for some RAM options. Then, mattsoft keyed me into a lesser-know new option over on AmiBay from a user in Finland who goes by the moniker MKL. He is building and selling these really awesome little 8MB RAM boards that fit exactly on top of the 68000 socket on the motherboard. The CPU then sits on top of that. In all, it only adds maybe a centimeter of vertical height.
IMG_3724.jpg
This is the RAM module AND the 68000 combined, ready for takeoff.


I bought one to give it a shot with my stock A1000. It was literally plug and play! The RAM module I got auto-configures. To think I’d bought a 25-year old 2MB side-car expansion for over $150 (it's all I could ever find), and this little amazing gem of technology only cost me $50 US (incl. shipping)!

It fits perfectly into my A1000 right below the floppy drive with plenty of room to spare. Solid workmanship, too.

More detailed techie info
Purchase info

It goes without saying you need to have an account on Amibay.com to purchase one of these, and you'll need to go through the process of purchasing it directly from the creator of the tech. But oh man, it's so worth it.
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For me, it was a plug-and-play experience with my stock A1000 (side-car removed).


I did try to see if my Phoenix would accept it as well by just plugging it in, but at least on first boot I just stared back at a blank dark screen. I will need to read the Phoenix manual and see if I need to move some jumpers around on the MB to allow me to use one of these amazing little RAM modules with it. I really hope that’s the case - this is the best RAM upgrade for the Amiga 1000 I’ve ever seen. And holy smoke - it's very affordable compared to every other option I've ever run across. Call me a big time fan of this kit.

I’ve also got a healthy portion of my desk back next to my 1000. :)

It looks like it should also work well with the Amiga 500 and 2000 models, but I haven’t personally tried any experiments on those machines. I'd think this would be a slam dunk for a lot of A500/A2000 users that can't easily scrounge up a GVP RAM upgrade from yesteryear.
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leighb2282

by leighb2282 posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:00 pm

intric8 wrote:
IMG_3722.JPG


It looks like it should also work well with the Amiga 500 and 2000 models, but I haven’t personally tried any experiments on those machines. I'd think this would be a slam dunk for a lot of A500/A2000 users that can't easily scrounge up a GVP RAM upgrade from yesteryear.


my question is if you add this to the 68000 slot but use a separate accelerator card )using the CPU slot in an A2000) will it still register the 8meg of ram? I'm unsure if it still looks at the original CPU if you run a CPU card in the 2000's expansion slot for an accelerator.
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McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:04 pm

I'm not convinced it will work in a Phoenix.
For the Phoenix, it needs to add to the autoconfig chain afair. But if I remember correctly this board doesn't have config-/out.
The stock A1000 doesn't have an autoconfig chain, nor the A500.
Could work in an otherwise unexpanded A2000.
User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:56 pm

@leigh, I don't know. You should ask MKL. If you learn anything new, let us know for sure.

@McTrinsic, I could be wrong, but these newer RAM modules can be ordered in various flavors now. When I first pinged MKL, I told him I wanted whatever would work in my stock 1000. He originally asked me:
Which CPLD version?
Config out, config in, Ram on even when no autoconfig (use addmem command)?
So I think you can have it however you want.

I had no idea how to even answer that question, so I just told him it was for my stock 1000. And it works great there. Having it work in the Phoenix would have been icing on the cake for sure.
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SnkBitten
South Carolina

by SnkBitten posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:40 pm

That's awesome. I'd love to eventually pick up an A1000 again and this would be an excellent addition if I ever do. I was concerned with the limited RAM available on the A1000 (my original one had the 256K front expansion and an Insider board. That and an external floppy drive was as far as I went with the A1000 and traded it in for an A2000 (+Video Toaster/TBC's, etc..).
Amithlon, A4000D, A4000T
http://amithlon.snkbitten.com/
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Bulletdust

by Bulletdust posted Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:47 pm

leighb2282 wrote:
intric8 wrote:
IMG_3722.JPG


It looks like it should also work well with the Amiga 500 and 2000 models, but I haven’t personally tried any experiments on those machines. I'd think this would be a slam dunk for a lot of A500/A2000 users that can't easily scrounge up a GVP RAM upgrade from yesteryear.


my question is if you add this to the 68000 slot but use a separate accelerator card )using the CPU slot in an A2000) will it still register the 8meg of ram? I'm unsure if it still looks at the original CPU if you run a CPU card in the 2000's expansion slot for an accelerator.


I tried a similar product a few years ago where the ram was fitted to the 68000 CPU socket on the A500. Running an ACA500 the extra ram wasn't recognized, however it was recognized the second I removed the ACA500.

Which was a real downer as I was hoping it would be good work around for the deliberate ram limitation on the ACA500 and the benefits it would offer in relation to WHDload games.

I assumed it was because the 68000 was being ignored for the 68020 on the ACA500.
User avatar
McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:37 am

Well, if it adds the RAM automatically it is using autoconfig :) .
This probably won't work in the Phoenix, unless you add some minor wires. Same with the ACA500. The ACA creates an autoconfig-chain which will ignore the FastRAM. You'd have to put them in a chain.
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Bulletdust

by Bulletdust posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:16 am

McTrinsic wrote:Well, if it adds the RAM automatically it is using autoconfig :) .
This probably won't work in the Phoenix, unless you add some minor wires. Same with the ACA500. The ACA creates an autoconfig-chain which will ignore the FastRAM. You'd have to put them in a chain.


I totally get what you're saying, because running the ACA500 the extra fast ram mounted directly under the CPU didn't work.

I wonder if this supplier of the new version of literally the same product I tried a few years ago can configure the ram to work correctly? It would make the ACA500 all any A500 user ever needs without the need to add expensive 32 bit A1200 accelerators just for the fast ram when the accelerators actually slow the machine down at times due to the need to introduce wait states in order to interface their 32 bit processors with the custom chipset.
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McTrinsic

by McTrinsic posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:59 am

Not quite I understand your point.
The ACA would benefit only very little from this additional RAM as it has to go through the Amigas internal bottlenecks. The RAM attached to the ACAs benefit from the direct access of the ACA's CPU to RAM.
It seems you can order this 8MB board as non-autoconfig. This could work with the ACAs or in a Phoenix. You have to manually add the RAM with e.g. 'AddRam' from Aminet.
In this case, however, the RAM is not available in case you boot a NonDOS-game from disk. Got good and for bad. While the RAM is then not available for use it also doesn't get in the way so to say ;) .
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Bulletdust

by Bulletdust posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:06 pm

McTrinsic wrote:Not quite I understand your point.
The ACA would benefit only very little from this additional RAM as it has to go through the Amigas internal bottlenecks. The RAM attached to the ACAs benefit from the direct access of the ACA's CPU to RAM.
It seems you can order this 8MB board as non-autoconfig. This could work with the ACAs or in a Phoenix. You have to manually add the RAM with e.g. 'AddRam' from Aminet.
In this case, however, the RAM is not available in case you boot a NonDOS-game from disk. Got good and for bad. While the RAM is then not available for use it also doesn't get in the way so to say ;) .


The problem is that the ACA500 (non plus - Not too sure about the plus) doesn't 'quite' have enough fast ram for the full WHDload experience (this was deliberate on behalf of Jens BTW, in order to sell his accelerators), you can't just exit a game back to the desktop, you need to reboot. If you add an accelerator to the ACA500 you get the benefit of literally tonnes of fast ram, but in a small number of cases your system runs 'substantially' slower in cases where the software hits the chipset directly as you're now interfacing a 32bit 030 with the 16 bit bus of the early OCS/ECS 68000 equipped Amiga's - According to Jens himself this is due to the need to insert wait states into the interface, effectively the 16bit bus becomes a large bottleneck.

Hence a number of us were experimenting with fast ram under the processor solutions, but they never worked.

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