Common Questions and Answers

Here are some of the questions we’ve encountered

 

Q: When will Amy-ITX be ready?

A: She already is. Amy-ITX has been ready for some time now. We just didn’t want to fall in line with the usual shenanigans and “vapourware” that is announced but never delivered. The next batch is scheduled for Q1 2018.

Q: How much does Amy-ITX cost? And where can I get one?

A: The Amy-ITX DIY KIT is only available through pre-order. And the second batch will be announced Q1 2018. The price will be announced at the same time as the pre-order form is published. Please remember, this is a hobbyist project. We’re not making any real money and we have regular jobs and families. As you probably know, spare time is a precious commodity 🙂

Q: I declared interest for the second batch but haven’t heard anything! Will a board be allocated for me or not?

 A: If you filled in your details on the Google Form for the second batch and got a “Thank You for declaring interest in Amy-ITX & Friends” a board HAVE BEEN reserved for you. Please be patient. An email will be sent to the address you specified in the form when it’s time.

Q: “... what added value does this project have?

A: Obviously you can screw any type of SBC into a case and run/emulate Amiga OS and call it whatever you want. Amy-ITX was not created to compete. It was not created to win any awards. And it was actually never the intention to make more than one board for the developers own amusement.

Having this said – Amy-ITX clearly have a number of benefits (and drawbacks) over both the original C= design, and any modern FPGA or emulation design. If you’re asking yourself – “Why did they do this?” – The short answer is: “Not for you.” 🙂 If you’re interested in learning more about the design, check out the “About Amy” link in the menu.

Q: Is Amy compatible with my old Amiga software?

A: Yes. We have yet to find any 68k Amiga software that does not work as intended on the Amy. This includes running a feature rich Workbench, playing games, running audio and graphics applications and hardware banging demos.

Q: Can I use my old original Amiga flyppy disks with Amy?

A: Yes. Amy has a standard floppy connector and supports both DD, HD and floppy emulators such as HxC by Lotharek or the popular USB Gotek drive by Jean-François DEL NERO. (Thanks guys!)

Q: Can I upgrade the CPU and expand the amount of FAST RAM on Amy with CPU accelerators and Zorro cards?

A: Yes. Good upgrades compatible with an ordinary A500(+)/A2000 CPU-socket or Zorro II should work on Amy without problem. This includes accelerators like the VXL30 and Zorro-graphics, sound and network cards. Amy has been tested with a variety of Amiga expansion cards. Everything looks good so far. If you should find any issues please let us know at “info at amy-itx.com”

Q: Can use accessories like ACA 500 from Individual Computers?

A: No. Amy does not have the standard Amiga 500 side expansion slot. Instead we provide two Zorro II compatible slots for expansion cards. As stated above – accelerators intended for the M68k CPU socket should work fine. Earlybird users have reported the old VXL30, OpenSource Terriblefire 020/030 and the Apollo Vampire V500 V2(+).

Q: Are you planning to develop any expansion or acceleration cards of your own?

A: Yes. Actually we already have. At DATASTORM 2017 we demonstrated both a very effective 030 accelerator with FAST RAM and IDE/CF as well as a Zorro graphics card based on the Cirrus Logic GD5426 (Picasso compatible) as well as a few other goodies. Together with the second batch (Q1 2018) we will offer a unique bundle and offer for Amy Enthusiasts to get their very own SFF-optimized 68030/RAM/IDE as well as Network card for their Amy-ITX! As stated before more accessories have been made (PicassoII, RAM, IDE, USB, …) , and the feedback on current products will in some way determine their future.

Q: Can Mr.A’s other cards like the fabulous 030 Turbo or the super slim Zorro-cards be used in older Amiga models?

A: All accessories you find on this web page have been designed and optimized for the Amy motherboards. With this said; most cards have been successfully tested in older ZII or 68k-CPU compatible systems. For instance the 030 works perfect in a regular A500(+) or A2000. Although some minor work needs to be tended to the bottom of the A500 keyboard not to touch the accelerator.

Q: What custom chips are needed to get Amy up and running?

A: You will need standard CBM custom chips from an old Amiga 500(+) and Amiga 600. Some chips are still available as NOS on the Net (e-bay, etc.)

More specifically:

  • Motorola (or compatible) 68000 CPU (DIP64)
  • MOS5719 – Gary gate array IC.
  • MOS8520  – CIA (2 pcs. Even and odd) in PLCC44 package!
  • MOS8364 – Paula audio.
  • MOS8362 or MOS8373 – Denise graphics OCS or Hires Denise ECS.
  • MOS8375 – Agnus** – with support for 2MB CHIP RAM.

Q: Does Amy support Direct Memory Access (DMA) to allow Zorro expansion boards like SCSI controllers to directly access the motherboard RAM?

A:  Yes. and no. Without a Bus Master controller (Buster IC) Amy will work fine with one DMA capable Zorro card. Since the original goal was to develop a simple, compatible and modern gaming machine, no focus has been put to remedy this. **Do NOT put two DMA cards in the ZORRO slots of Amy** Things can get very weird. The 030 Accelerator supports DMA.

Q: What version(s) of the Amiga Kickstart ROM works with Amy?

A: All Classic Kickstarts from 1.x to 3.x works. And as an added bonus Amy supports 2 Mbit ROMs and has a special feature on board that we will talk about a little later.

Q: How is Amy  any different from the likes of FPGA Arcade, MiST, Minimig and a standalone Vampire V4?

A: Amy is based around the original custom chips from Commodore(tm). Thus no Amiga chips or functions are emulated or reconstructed using re-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The result is a very compatible system. 

Q: Why not make an AGA ITX motherboard?

A: Who said we haven’t?  The initial goal with Amy was a small, affordable, compatible yet still expandable Classic system that enthusiasts can build themselves.

Q: Why don’t you release all your stuff for free?

A: This is not as simple as it might sound. Creating good hardware (and software) is both a financial and temporal, not to mention often emotional investment. In true Commodore spirit all Amy-ITX boards is accompanied by detailed printed schematics to aid trouble shooting. So the actual “source” of the design is already released. For now we’re holding on to the digital versions and board schematics though.

Q: Is Amy an Amiga?

A: No. Amy is not designed by the copyright holders of the “Amiga” brand. And can thus not be referred to as an Amiga home computer. This is and will never will be an issue for us.