Amiga 1200

OK, maybe I do have a problem; two Amiga 500’s, an Amiga 600, and now an Amiga 1200. Surely one can have too many Amigas 😉

Well I always wanted an Amiga 1200. I remember in the early 90s, here I was a very enthusiastic Amiga 500 user, and the 1200 came out around the time that it looked like Commodore was going down the gurgler. It seemed a bit pointless getting a 1200 if Commodore were going to go bankrupt. The 1200 was also expensive (AUD$1500 in the early 90s) and probably less powerful than a 386 … so I bought a 386.  I mean I reluctantly bought a 386. The 386 sucked, but that’s another story.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to buy a 1200 from the UK for a while, but I always get outbid in the last few seconds. There must be a lot of mad nutters like myself who still want a 1200. Then one came up locally. I was just sick of messing around and did a Buy Now.

This one came with a lot of boxed commercial software; AMOS Pro, AMOS the creator, Deluxe Paint III and loads of magazines. It’s actually a A1200HD/40 but the owner had removed the hard drive. That was fine, as I just shoved in a CF card adapter anyway.

The internal (Panasonic) floppy drive did not work, which I thought was fine. Out of all of my Amigas, pretty much none of their original drives work. I just put in a modded Mitsumi PC drive to get it going. I’ve since gone back and had a look at the original drive, and cleaned it out and alcohol’d the heads, and spun some disks in it excessively … and I think it might be alright. I can now read/write OK, but it is a bit noisy.

Since it came with so much original software and all the floppy disks looked to be well cared for, I put some of the disks in various floppy drives of my Amiga’s and … ultimately I should know better. All I did was transfer lots of dirt and gunk from one of these floppies to the head of the drive I put it in, which then transferred lots of dirt and gunk to the next floppy disk I put in that drive … and well I ended up with quite a few unreadable floppies and a seemingly dead floppy drive for a while. Lots of alcohol and spinning disks for a long time … and hey its all OK again.

So what have I done with the A1200? Not much yet. It came with KS 3.0 ROMs and I’ve put Workbench 3.1 on the CF card. I’ve tried some AGA demos on it. I’ve tried a few WHDLoad games on it … which don’t really work. I probably need to do a bit of research, but ultimately the A600 is probably better for WHDLoad stuff (I’ve added some kipper2k expansions to the A600, so it has about 6MB of RAM, and WHDLoad seems to eat RAM)

One thing that I did notice is that the A1200 does feel quite fast. If you think in terms of the processor being twice as fast and with twice the bus bandwidth and the processor has a ‘cache’  … then it should be significantly faster. Sure, everyone seems to put an expensive accelerator in an A1200, but from my perspective it’s a lot faster than an A500.

So I’m pretty happy about it. It had quite a few yellow keys on the keyboard. It’s actually interesting that the numeric keys along the top of the main part of the keyboard were very yellow, but the rest of the main part of the keyboard is quite white. Almost like the keys were made in a different factory. I’ve dipped the top of the case and most of the keys in a Sodium Percarbonate style solution … and things are better, but I think I’ll have to do the keytops again. I did try Hydrogen Peroxide mixed with the Sodium Percarbonate stuff … and that seemed to work a lot better on the keys … but its hard to find decent quantities of Hydrogen Peroxide.

So i tried to load a  few older games with the A1200, and initially thought ‘it is way incompatible with an A500’. I had a lot of failures, and it was just easier to use my A600 or A500, but I persisted and recently I’ve tried TUDE … and it is really good. Games like Lemmings and Buggy Boy work close to perfectly on the A1200 now. Sure WHDLoad is often recommended for an A1200 … but with only the base 2MB ram it’s difficult to get much WHDLoad stuff to work.