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A brief history of the Amiga

Amiga 600 / Amiga 1200 / Amiga 4000

In March 1992, the Amiga 600 was launched in the UK for £339.90, but the CPU was still the MC-68000. It had a surface-mount technology, and RF and Composite output were added as well. It was also the first Amiga with an IDE controller and a PCMCIA slot, giving it the slight edge over the A500. The major disadvantage of the A600 was the lack of a numeric keypad. An A600HD was launched later this year.

Meanwhile, rumors spread around about a new Amiga storing an advanced chipset capable of supporting up to 16.7 million colors. These rumors were true, and Commodore announced the release of the AGA chipset (Advanced Graphics Architecture) at the World of Commodore Show in Pasadena, California. Commodore introduced their first Amiga with the AGA chipset at that time along with AmigaDOS? Release 3 Operating System and AmigaVision? Professional Authoring System.

In December 1992, the Amiga 4000 was launched in the UK. It featured a 68040 CPU, Workbench 3.0, Zorro-III, and the new AGA chipset. In addition to upping the total color palette available from 4096 to 16.7 million colors, it featured new screen modes capable of displaying 256 simultaneous colors and a new HAM-type mode, HAM-8, giving near true color output. The chipset also had the capability of generating VGA-compatible signals, which the Commodore Management took as an excuse to leave the flicker-fixer out of the A4000. Compared to the old ECS chipset, the AGA chipset was very fast. The chipset was also included with Commodore's next machine, the Amiga 1200.

With the A4000, Commodore included a Seagate ST3144A 3.5" Hard Drive, with 120MB capacity. It was pre-formatted with a 8MB Workbench partition as well as a 116MB Work partition. The floppy drive was dual-speed high-density. Commodore also used SIMM technology for the memory upgrades, although the A4000 came with 6MB RAM (2MB Chip, 4MB Fast). The A4000's only great disappointment was that the Paula sound chip was left untouched for compatibility reasons. At nearly the same time, the Amiga 1200 was released, and featured the MC-68EC020. It also had 2MB Chip RAM (which was expandable to 10MB of total RAM). Both the A1200 and A4000 made use of AmigaDOS 3.0, which added CrossDos, a useful commodity capable of reading and writing MS-DOS-formatted disks. Workbench 3.0 was also included. This release had a number of new features, including "datatypes" and "localization". Datatypes allowed programs to access data in an unlimited number of formats, whereas localization enabled Workbench and other programs using it to utilize multiple languages. Also, a new filesystem, DCFS (Directory Caching File System), was incorporated.

Continued: The Rise and Fall of CD32

Table of Contents: A brief history of the Amiga