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A600

From Academic Kids

The A600, also known as the Amiga 600, was the final of the original A500-esque line. Launched in late 1991, it was essentially a repackaged A500+, intended by manufacturer Commodore International to revitalise sales of the A500 line before the more sophisticated A1200 became available.

The notable thing about the A600 was its size. Lacking a numeric keypad, the A600 was only 14" long by 9.5" deep by 3" high and weighed approximately 6 pounds.

It came with the Kickstart/Workbench v2 AmigaOS and was generally more user-friendly and pleasant than its older brethren. It was very much aimed at the lower "consumer" end of the market, with the higher end being dominated by the A3000.

According to Dave Haynie, the A600 "was supposed to be $50-$60 cheaper than the A500, but it came in at about that much more expensive than the A500."

Contents

Processor and RAM

The A600 used the Motorola 68000 processor, running at 7.14 MHz (PAL) or 7.09 MHz (NTSC).

Standard RAM was 1 MB, though many people upgraded to the maximum of 2 MB "chip" RAM. An additional 4 MB of "fast" RAM could be added if the PCMCIA slot was employed. Even more "fast" RAM could be added with a processor upgrade.

The original design did not intend processor upgrades expansion as the 68000 was soldered to its motherboard. Despite this, unofficial processor upgrades included the Motorola 68010, 68020 (at up to 25 MHz), and 68030 (at up to 50 MHz) processors. Additionally, up to 32 MB of "fast" RAM could be added with some processor upgrades.

Graphics and sound

The Fat Agnus display chip drove screen modes varying from 320x200 pixels to 1280x512 pixels. Generally only 32 colours (or 64 "half tone") were available, although a memory-intensive 4096 colour "HAM" mode could be used at lower resolutions. At its highest resolutions, only 4 colours could be displayed at once.

Sound was 4 channel, 8-bit.

Peripherals and expansion

One 3.5" internal floppy drive was standard and a second could be added externally. Two DB9 ports for joysticks, mice, and lightpens were included, plus a standard 25-pin RS-232 serial port and 25-pin Centronics parallel port.

Perhaps its most interesting connections were the PCMCIA Type II slot, and the internal IDE interface (for the astounding, and expensive 40 MB 2.5" disk). The model with the integral 40 MB IDE drive was sold - for almost double the price of a standard A600 - as the "A600HD", with a white rather than cream outer casing, and was marketed as a more "scholarly" version of a home computer hitherto best known for its extensive range of games.

Other add-ons included MIDI and samplers.

Operating System

The Amiga 600 was shipped with AmigaOS 2.0, consisting of Workbench 2.0 and a Kickstart ROM which was either version 37.299, 37.300 or 37.350 (Commodore's internal version numbers). Paradoxically, all three ROMs were officially designated as version "2.05".

Early revisions of the Amiga 600 were shipped with Kickstart version 37.299, which oddly neither had support for the internal IDE controller, nor for the PCMCIA interface. Although it was possible to load the necessary drivers from a diskette, it wasn't possible to boot directly from devices which were connected to these busses. Only later models of the Amiga 600 and especially the Amiga 600HD (which was bundeled with a hard drive) were equipped with Kickstart 37.300 or higher, which was able to integrate the IDE controller and the PCMCIA interface at boot time. Due to some strange bugs of Kickstart 37.300, the maximum supported size of a hard drive was limited to 40 MB. Everything above this size was a game of chance. On the other hand, version 37.350 was capable of supporting hard drives up to 4 GB.

Later it was possible to buy an updated Workbench 2.1. It featured a localization of the operating system in different languages and had a "CrossDOS" driver which provided read/write support for FAT formatted (MS-DOS) media like diskettes or hard drives. It was a pure software update. Kickstart ROMs designated as 2.1 never existed. Workbench 2.1 ran on all Kickstart ROMs of the 2.0x family.

Bundled software

Originally the computer came bundled with the popular game Lemmings and the sophisticated-for-the-time Electronic Arts graphics package Deluxe Paint 3; later, it came bundled with a series of more up-to-date games, including Zool and Pinball Dreams.

External links


de:Amiga 600

fr:Amiga 600

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