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My Amigas
For me, it all started back in the '90s, when I bought my first Amiga with the proceeds of my first summer job. it was a 2nd-hand Amiga 1200, based on the recommendations of a good friend of mine who also had one. Sadly, I killed the motherboard not too long afterwards while modifying it for tower use. But I was hooked, so straight away replaced it with another Amiga 1200 that I still own to this day.

Currently, I have six Amiga machines - four classic Amigas and two "NG" Amigas. The classics are three Amiga 1200s and an Amiga 600 (all modded to some extent or other), and the NG machines are an AmigaOne XE-G4 with AmigaOS4.1 on it, and an iBook G4 running MorphOS - an AmigaOS clone.

Amiga 1200 #1
My first A1200 is the one I've had the longest, and is the most expanded of all my classics. It's built into an old AT-style PC case with the back modified to give access to the Amiga's ports. Inside, it's got a hell of a lot of extras fitted:
  • An original Mediator PCI busboard with MMCD upgrade, populated with:
    • Voodoo 3-3000 16MB
    • Realtek 10/100 Ethernet adapter
    • SoundBlaster 128 sound card
    • WinTV TV/Video input card
  • DCE Blizzard 1260, overclocked to 66MHz
  • 192MB Fast RAM
  • Blizzard SCSI kit with the following attached:
    • 120GB Seagate IDE hard drive with SCSI-IDE bridge
    • Plextor 12/10/32S CD-RW drive
    • Old 4x CD-ROM drive from an old PowerMac
  • Elbox IDE splitter with the following attached:
    • 80GB Hitachi IDE hard drive
    • Iomega Zip250 drive
  • Home-made clockport splitter
  • Catweasel Mk. 2 with 3.5" and 5.25" HD floppy drives attached
  • Hypercom 3+ parallel/serial port card
  • DCE internal scandoubler
  • Home-made Amiga keyboard adaptor to use an Amiga 3000 keyboard
  • Home-made adaptor for analogue PC joysticks
  • Alphanumeric LCD display for status etc.
It's a beast of a machine, and probably well due a complete strip-down and rebuild. It runs OS 3.9 quite nicely, and while it's occasionally a little unstable, it is surprisingly useable given the amount of expansions it has!
Amiga 1200 #2
This Amiga 1200 was acquired from an old work colleague for not a lot of money at the time. Its sole purpose was to be the basis on which to build my MP3 jukebox, and as such is pretty unrecognisable. It's built into an old CD player case, with the following extras:
  • Phase 5 Blizzard 1230-IV, mounted on a home-made CPU bus extender
  • 32MB fast RAM
  • 120GB Seagate 2.5" IDE hard drive
  • Generic 52x CD-ROM drive
  • MAS player MP3 decoder
  • Home-made audio mixer
  • Home-made interfacing hardware for the front panel controls
  • Alphanumeric display
  • Infrared remote receiver
  • Home-made Amiga keyboard adaptor to use an Amiga 3000 keyboard
This Amiga runs a dual-boot custom 3.1 / 3.9 setup, selected at startup by holding the left mouse button for 3.9, otherwise booting directly into MP3 jukebox mode. This means that it can run "headless" as an MP3 player, or with a keyboard and mouse attached becomes an excellent WHDLoad machine.
Amiga 1200 #3
This one is as close to an original Amiga as you're going to get with me! It's still in its original case with only a few modifications:
  • 30GB Toshiba 2.5" IDE hard drive
  • Slimline laptop 32x CD-ROM drive with IDE adapter, mounted internally
  • 25MHz 68020 accelerator with 8MB RAM on board (currently on long-term loan to a friend)
  • This Amiga makes a handy WHDLoad setup, though doesn't get that much use these days with the accelerator missing.
Amiga 600
This was given to me for free by a friend many, many years ago to be used as the basis for my CRSystem, an automation system I built for my bedroom at home when I was a teenager. Like the MP3 jukebox, this computer was modified beyond recognition and lived in a wooden case in a drawer. It had the following:
  • 1MB Chip RAM expansion (for a total of 2MB)
  • 120MB Conner Peripherals 3.5" IDE hard drive
  • Home-made miniature audio amp with a speaker for sound (speech synthesis for status updates)
  • Home-made interface hardware for connecting various controls to a bus running around the room
  • Alphanumeric display for status
  • Home-made relay card connected to the floppy port
  • Infrared remote receiver
This ran 24/7 for a number of years until I moved out of home. When my brother inherited my room it was decommissioned and it sat in my parents' attic for years. Recently I rescued the motherboard, and after a clean and a recap it works perfectly and is currently used for testing.
Amiga 500
This is probably my most standard classic machine, and as a consequence, is unfortunately very rarely used except for testing. I picked it up nearby for next to nothing as it wasn't working - the floppy drive doesn't work a couple of ports on the back are damaged, and the A501 memory expansion it came with doesn't work due to the battery leaking. Still, it came with an RGB SCART cable, which is probably worth what I paid for the whole lot, and it's something to work on repairing on those cold, dark winter nights.
Amiga 2000
This Amiga came to me in a sorry state. It was a bit of a bargain price, but it was also only partially working and was caked in a thick layer of tar and nicotine, which meant it absolutely stank. Still, I took it home, stripped it down and cleaned all the boards, connectors and case parts. The keyboard also had a few dead keys, and after stripping it down and removing what felt like kilos of hair, dirt and general yuck from it, all keys are now happily working and it no longer spells like a smoking shelter.

The battery had leaked in the machine, and while it was still booting fine, there was serious damage to the CPU socket, meaning it was only working because of the accelerator in the CPU slot. The board was repaired and the socket replaced, letting the machine work on the 68000 as well if needed. The floppy drive was so encrusted with grime that the heads didn't even move, but a good deep clean has it working fine and surprisingly reliable. There was a Picasso IV board in there too, which crashed any time an attempt was made to use it. Reflashing the firmware sorted it out, and now, along with all the other upgrades, it's quite a serious machine!

The full spec is:

  • Phase 5 Blizzard 2060
  • 48MB RAM
  • 200GB hard drive on Blizzard SCSI via SCSI-IDE adaptor
  • Picasso IV graphics card
  • Catweasel Z-II S-Class, a Zorro-II board that combines the Buddha Flash IDE and Catweasel products on a single card, with the following attached:
    • Plextor 12/10/32x IDE CD burner
    • Iomega Zip-100 drive
  • Ariadne II network card
  • GVP HC+8 combo SCSI+RAM card
  • MultiFace 3 Card (extra serial and parallel ports)

AmigaOne XE-G4
Ah yes, this started out as a developer system for the new AmigaOS, version 4.0. Notoriously flaky, mine is one of the later boards with a couple of fixes applied to help improve stability. It contains:
  • 800MHz G4 7455 PPC CPU
  • 512MB RAM
  • Zalman VF900-CU cooler
  • SII 0680 ATA-133 controller with the following attached:
    • 320GB Western Digital hard drive
    • 12/10/50 HP CD-RW drive
    • Generic 52x CD-ROM drive
  • SoundBlaster Platinum 5.1 sound card
  • NEC USB2.0 controller
  • ATI Radeon 9250 256MB
This is the machine I use the most, doing most of my programming on it as well as some web development work. It runs well considering the dodgy motherboard it contains, and with OS 4.1FE installed it feels like an Amiga to use, but brought up-to-date (relatively speaking anyway...)
Apple iBook (MorphOS)
This is my old faithful Apple iBook, now triple-booting three different OSes: Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, Lubuntu Linux and MorphOS. MorphOS is a clone of the Amiga OS which started life many years ago when some developers weren't happy with the situation with Amiga OS and decided to start their own alternative. It has grown into a fully fledged alternative with many updated features while still retaining much Amiga compatibility. Personally I don't like it as much as AmigaOS 4, but it's a great OS for bringing my Amiga life on the road since it supports many models of PPC Mac - including iBooks and PowerBooks. This is pretty much original hardware-wise, with the following specs:
  • 1.33GHz G4 CPU
  • 80GB hard drive
  • 1.25GB RAM
These specs make it my fastest Amiga-ish computer, and with a 2-3 hour battery life even with the original 2004 battery, it's a very handy machine to have when I don't have access to my A1-XE.

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