The Editorial Staff of "The Amiga Monitor" handles your questions and problems

Editor's Note: It has been some time since we have included this department in AM, due largely to time constraints. As a result, some of the messages we are publishing here may date back as much as a year.

Amiga Emulation

Can you tell me whether there is any emulator which will transform your PC into an amiga? I am wanting an Amiga 500 emulator for my PC, so I can play my old Amiga 500 software on my PC. Can this be done?? If so where can I get an emulator from??

Phil B.

There is a fairly new Amiga emulator available for a variety of platforms. It is called UAE, which stands for "U" Amiga Emulator, where the "U" means everything from "Unix," "Ultimate," and "Universal" to "Useless" (probably by those whose computers are too slow). In fact, it is by definition an A500 emulator.

Go to http://www.freiburg.linux.de/~uae/ to find out more about and to download UAE.

This may be able to do what you're looking to do, but there are two catches: one is that you need an Amiga ROM image file which must be extracted from a real Amiga (and legally, the real Amiga and the emulated one cannot be run simultaneously, unless you buy a ROM chip), and the other is that you need a fast PC in order to achieve decent performance (a 486DX-66 runs UAE at roughly 1/5 the speed of an A500).

One other potential catch is that you can't be guaranteed that all software, particularly of the older and all-too-often "hardware-banging" variety, will run. But it can't hurt to try.

Michael Webb
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

You are in luck. There is an Amiga emulator that can turn your Pentium into a slow Amiga 500. It is called UAE (Useless/Un*x Amiga Emulator). There is a version for Unix (obviously), PowerMac, and Intel PC. You can find sites that carry this program by searching for UAE on either amiCrawler or The Amiga Web Directory's search engines. You cannot read Amiga floppies on the PC so you will also need Kickstart ROM images and disk images. The ROM image can be taken from your Amiga (remember, downloading a ROM image you do not own from the Net is software piracy) and there is software for making the disk images.

Anthony Becker
Executive Editor

You're looking for UAE, or Universal Amiga Emulator. For it to be somewhat usable your PC has to be 100 MHz or better and you need a Kickstart from a real Amiga. Use of the Kickstart ROM's without the real machine is prohibited by copyright. I'm not sure about UAE availablity, but it is available on the 'net I believe. Probably Aminet will have it.

Hope this helps.

Greg Noggle
Telecommunications Editor and Hardware Guru

I have what I hope is a quick- and easy-to-answer Mac Emulation problem. Years ago I had an AMax II. When I bought an A4000 it wouldn't work, so I tried and registered for ShapeShifter and found that the program crashed spectacularly whenever the keyfile was present, so I gave up and bought an Emplant (the dual serial/SCSI version) with ROM's on the grounds that Emplant had been around long enough to be reliable. Unfortunately, whenever I try to start Emplant running it locks the Amiga tighter than a tick two seconds into the final screen before the emulation begins. I asked in comp.sys.amiga.emulations if anyone had any suggestions as to what might be causing this to take place, but received no reply.

I have an 18-MB A4000/030 (no MMU) with a 1.2-GB Maxtor, and the cards I have installed are OpalVision, a GVP multiserial board (which I presume I'll be able to ditch once I get the Emplant running), and an Expansion Technologies IDE-to-SCSI adaptor attached to an internal ZIP drive. Assuming that the various pieces of hardware aren't a factor, are there any background programs that Emplant dislikes that I might be running inadvertently? I hope I can find an answer soon -- I've already spent enough on emulators to buy a pretty nice used Mac...

Bruce E. Durocher II

My Emplant was a nightmare board. I have it for sale now. The best configuration I've heard of is CyberGraphX, 3.1 ROM's, a 24-bit display card like a Retina, and a separate Mac-formatted hard drive. Mine was fairly stable, but I think that was because it was run in monochrome mode and I gave it 16 megs of RAM in the setup. Also, you mentioned the 3 dreaded letters, GVP, and their libraries are the cause of many crashes. I would suggest you pull the GVP setup first (make sure you delete all the libs, references in User-Startup, etc.) then try to run your Emplant. Also, the later Mac OS absolutely needs 16 megs of RAM to run, so make sure you give it enough in the Emplant prefs.

Bill Graham
Graphics Editor

I have had my share of trials with Emplant also.

Try the different options for the Emplant. You get some options for MMU/no MMU etc. Try them all. Also, what version of Mac OS are you trying to install? 7.5+ require an MMU to be present for the Emplant board.

Check to see what scsi.device you have selected. Are you using the 4091, or what SCSI controller are you using? If the Expansion Technologies is your only SCSI controller, that might be the problem also. The reason why I suggest this is that one of the differences between the registered version of ShapeShifter and the unregistered is the ability to use device disks. That suggests a SCSI controller problem (wrong device selected in prefs for example, or a not-completely-C= spec. controller).

Not much help, but some things to consider.

Greg Noggle
Telecommunications Editor and Hardware Guru

A500 Expansions

I have the "opportunity" to purchase an A500 (with Commodore 1024D monitor) for a mere $125. However, this is a completely unmodified/unenhanced A500.

What I need to know is, can I upgrade it in the following ways:

  1. More RAM (from 512 kB to 1 MB or more); Where can I get the upgrade?
  2. Floppy drive (from 720 kB to 1.44 MB); Ditto
  3. Processor (from 68000 to ... ?); Ditto
  4. Kickstart ROM's (from ? to ... ?); Ditto
  5. Commercial software (anything); Where can I purchase it?

I am interested in knowing how viable it is to make my Amiga into a usable system for composing .MOD's (yes, that's the MAIN reason I want the Amy).


There are three ways to upgrade an A500's memory:

The Amiga's built-in drives are actually 880 kB, as they use a more space-efficient disk format. You can use high-density drives with Amigas, however, which store 1.76 MB per disk. There are some built specifically for the Amiga, and while most are external, you may also be able to find an internal drive to upgrade your built-in unit.

A processor upgrade can be done internally or externally. You can replace your 68000 with a 68010 and have almost perfect compatibility (the only exceptions being some very old programs), or upgrade the 68000 with a 68000 board with a higher clock speed (the ICD AdSpeed comes to mind). These are inexpensive upgrades. I believe there has been as much as a 68040 available as an internal expansion. You can get a lot more in an external accelerator, however. I personally use a GVP A530 Turbo Accelerator with my A500, and it provides a 40-MHz 68EC030, socket for 40-MHz 68882 FPU, up to 8 MB 32-bit 60-ns fast RAM, a 16-bit SCSI-II interface, custom mini-slot for expansion (the only thing I know of that goes in there is the PC286 hardware-based PC emulator), and a hard disk. The entire subsystem truly turned the A500 into a new machine. It cost around $800 in 1994, and would probably go for a lot less now. There are other external accelerators, generally with 68020's or 68030's, as well, and most really do form an entire subsystem with more than just the CPU chip.

The A500 can be taken from OS 1.2 all the way up to the very latest, OS 3.1. The upgrade involves a ROM, software, and manuals. Many Amiga dealers carry upgrade kits.

I've worked with music on the Amiga, but I've never worked with MOD's. Just the same, I can say you will probably be able to work with MOD's on even a basic Amiga system. Thanks to a lightweight OS and outstanding built-in sound capabilities, all you really need beyond the computer itself is a MOD composition program, and speakers to play the music. Of course, it helps to have extra memory, disk, and OS resources in order to do more with the system. But any Amiga is still nearly the ideal computer for what you're hoping to do.

Michael Webb
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Return to the April 1998 (Volume 2 Issue 9) Main Index