The Amiga 4000 Tower: Summary of Complaints
Various types of grievances concerning the A4000T
By Michael Webb, Editor-in-Chief, MikeWebb@CompuServe.COM
Included here are categorized lists of my complaints about the A4000T. The categories themselves are alphabetized, while the items within are in no particular order.
The complaints themselves range from severe to minor. If you see something listed here that seems like nit-picking on my part, I probably wasn't extremely displeased, but rather have mentioned it simply to cover all the bases. I felt like I was being very picky while writing some of this, but I believe these items are worthy of mention.
The Design of the A4000T in Particular
- No external floppy disk drive port.
- Non Amiga-specific components seem to have been used apparently to cut costs, such as the floppy data cable which is messily cut and spliced.
- There appears to be room for more than six drive bays inside the case.
- External drive-access door could be sturdier.
- Speaker enable/disable button mislabled as "Turbo" -- indicative of generic parts usage.
- Ease of disassembly not quite up to modern tower computer standards.
- Shortage of floppy drive power connectors from power supply.
- Floppy drive jumpers are undocumented.
- Some ribbon cables pass through the drive frame in ways making disassembly unwieldy.
- Standard floppy drive is 880-kB, double-density rather than 1.76-MB, high-density.
The CyberStorm MKII 68060 Processor Board (phase 5)
- SIMM sockets are partially obscured by drive frame.
The Design of the AGA Chipset and Related Components
- No hardware display enhancer (flicker fixer, scan doubler).
- Lack of chunky pixel screen modes.
- Unable to use VRAM and eliminate bus contention.
- Useful resolutions and color depths possibly sacrificed for the sake of global 8-bit capability.
- No utility included to allow creation of user-specified monitor drivers.
- Overall significantly faster and more colorful than ECS, but there was more room for improvement.
The Direction ESCOM and Amiga Technologies Took in Their Reintroduction of the Amiga
- No middle-range-priced desktop-type Amiga (like the original A4000) to fill the gap between small (A1200) and huge (A4000T).
- Despite the Amiga's high level of capability, the price is too high, especially for the 68060 version, and especially for any potential new users from other platforms.
- Without warning, the Magic Pack ceased to be included.
- Instead of being added as I had asked, the high-density drive was used to replace the double-density drive.
- Instead of four 4-MB SIMM's in the motherboard sockets as I had asked, the A4000T had a 16-MB SIMM on the processor card.
- The Ariadne Ethernet card was not preinstalled.
- No documentation included for AmTrade high-density floppy drive, particularly for its jumper settings.
- Of the four SIMM's on the motherboard, the number recognized by the system varies with the order in which they are physically arranged.
- The computer crashes while attempting to boot from any AmigaOS 3.1 Install disk (traced to the "SetPatch" command, but further details unknown).
- Two times when it was new, after transportation or installation of internal components, the system completely ceased to function (not even beginning to boot). This may be somehow attributable to electrical contact between the drive frame and the processor board.
- Various strange floppy drive problems have occurred, including format errors and problems with high-density disks. Most problems cleared up after jumpers were changed around, but then placed back exactly as they had been.
- There is something that appears to be a sprite bug (hardware or software, I do not know) which sometimes shows up while flipping screens, hitting various key combinations, or even just plain moving the mouse, in the form of a quick flash of a mangled image as wide as the pointer, but reaching from the pointer to the bottom of the screen, with parts of the pointer showing up throughout it. This may occur only under CygnusEd.
- The third-party "System Prefs" suddenly stopped working (it just won't start) unless the system booted from some drive besides my hard disk partition. Attempts to rule out various things I've added to the system have not turned up anything.
- Before there was any memory on the CyberStorm card, and the only fast memory was on the motherboard, the mouse pointer exhibited an inexplicable jumpiness. This occasionally disappeared when certain applications, such as IBrowse, were running. After I added a 32-MB SIMM to the processor card, the mouse movement became almost flawless.
- The system crashes when certain resources are preloaded with the "LoadResource" command.