Sunday, 21 October 2012

Amiga 1200 - 20 Years Old Today!

Released on the 21st October 2002, the Amiga 1200 was Commodore's final budget machine before it filed for bankruptcy in early 1994.

Priced at £399, the initial UK pack, entitled "Desktop Dynamite", saw the machine bundled with platformers Oscar and Dennis, art package Deluxe Paint IV AGA, wordprocessor Wordsworth, and operating system Workbench 3.0.

The A1200 was a 32-bit system, played host to a 14mhz 68EC020 microprocessor, and came with 2 MB of RAM as standard. The machine also contained the AGA chipset, which increased the color palette from the A500's 4096 to 16.8 million colours.

The machine was originally intended to be released with the AAA chipset, offering increased audio and graphical specifications. However, with development lagging behind, the A1200 was rushed to market with the Amiga 4000's AGA chipset instead.

These days, the Amiga 1200 seems to be the platform of choice for those who wish to keep a working Amiga system at home. This is mainly due to the low price of the computer on the second hand market, combined with excellent expansion possibilities.

Such is the popularity of the A1200, that even today new hardware is still being released for the platform. These include graphics cards to allow the machine to be connected to high definition displays, RAM and CPU expansions, and even compact flash card adaptors.

If you're thinking of bringing your A1200 out of retirement you may find that due to Commodore's sourcing of cheap parts the capacitors on your machine have started to go. If your mouse is playing up or your sound has gone or is distorted then you may need to take the top off the case and take a look for leaks.

If the caps have gone, don't panic, and certainly don't even think about binning your machine. Pop over to Amibay where a number of forumites are offering cap replacement services. If you'd rather send your machine off to a registered company AmigaKit will also replace the components for you.

Raise a glass for the trusty Amiga 1200, and think what might have been had Commodore remained in business.

(Thumbnail image borrowed from the excellent Amiga History web site)

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