All the information presented here, was taken from the following sources:
Brain Bagnal's Book
On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore.
Available at Amazon.ca
The new edition had been delayed at Amazon until Feb.2010
Also, a lot of information has come from Video interviews with Bil Herd and Dave Haynie. Dave has a lot of videos on You-Tube. Search them out.. I wish I could post them here, but I don't have permission.
Lastly, more sites on the net have information. There are even a few dedicated sites to the C16. Do a Goggle search, because Bing is just a flash in the pan.:)
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The A3000 is regarded by some Amiga fans as the best model ever made, but they generally forget about the A3000T and A4000T which actually offer a lot more. The A3000 unlike most Amiga models, supports both ROM based Kickstarts and disk based Kickstarts, although not simultaneously. Kickstart V1.4 is actually a special version of Kickstart which loads the real Kickstart from a file called DEVS:Kickstart. Kickstart V2.04 was available as a ROM, or as a disk based version for use with A3000's which had Kickstart V1.4. A3000's fitted with Kickstart V1.4 cannot use 040 or 060 processors, regardless of what version of Kickstart is eventually booted, because it relies heavily on the integrated MMU in the 030 which varies to some degree from the MMU in 040 and 060 processors. The A3000 also contains a built in scandoubler and flicker fixer so that standard PC type SVGA monitors can be connected and display the native (PAL/NTSC) screen modes. It was available as a separate card for other Amigas called the A2320. The scandoubler can be disabled if necessary by a switch on the back of the machine. There is also a variable switch to finetune the scandoubler. The A3000 has a SCSI-II controller (WDC33C93) on the motherboard which is much faster than the standard IDE Controller that was supplied with the A4000 and other models. However some motherboard revisions have SCSI termination directly on the motherboard and others don't. You may find you need at least one SCSI device attached in order to boot, even from floppy disk. The A3000 is one of the few models of Amigas which actually has some NVRAM, primarily for storing the configuration settings of the SCSI controller, such as Controller ID, SCSI bus timeout, Synchronous mode and LUNs.
There are RAM sockets on the motherboard for expanding CHIP RAM up to 2MB, providing your Agnus chip supports it. These are in the form of DIP sockets. The motherboard also contains 32 ZIP CHIP sockets and 20 DIP sockets for adding additional memory (above picture). If the DIP sockets are used then only a maximum of 4MB of Fast RAM can be added. If ZIP memory is used then 16MB of Fast RAM can be added. The ZIP and DIP sockets cannot be used simultaneously. If you intend to use Zorro III cards which make use of Zorro III DMA then you need to upgrade Buster to Rev 11. The Zorro III and ISA expansion slots are on a daughterboard (riser card) which is connected to the motherboard and rises vertically from it.
The A3000 is a powerhouse in comparison to previous Amiga, it was sold as a high-end graphics workstation. For a time it was used by W Industries as the basis of their highly acclaimed Virtuality machines. At the heart of the A3000 was the powerful 68030 (described in ST/Amiga Format as a 'as a mainframe on a chip'). In addition the A3000 was the first Amiga to feature the new Kickstart 2 upgrade and Zorro III slots.
To emphasis the A3000s capabilities as a high-end workstation, two operating systems were included:
The first was the newly released Kickstart/Workbench 2. This was unusual by the fact that Kickstart was stored on the hard disk rather than in ROM. This was similar to the A1000 that required Kickstart to be loaded from floppy disk before anything else could be done.
The second OS to be included with the A3000 was the Unix System (SVR4) V operating system. This allowed the use of the Unix graphical interface, X Windows and Open Look. It also came with standard networking capabilities (probably a first for Commodore), such as TCP/IP, NFS and RFS for networking between different operating systems. In a bizarre twist, the Unix OS was sold on a magnetic tape rather than floppy disk.
Three Amiga 3000 models were produced : 3000, 3000UX, and 3000T.
The 3000 was the desktop model (pictured here) which shipped with flippable 1.3 or 2.0 AmigaOS Roms. The Amiga 3000T, released in 1991, was a tower system with built-in speaker, 32Mb RAM, high-resolution mouse, 100 Mb hard-drive, a lot of Zorro II slots, a variety of drive bays, and a 25Mhz 68030 with a 68882 math coprocessor. The 3000UX shipped with "AMIX", Commodore's System-5 derived UNIX which was very nice and came with X-windows. It was Commodore's only serious attempt to get into the UNIX workstation market, and a noble effort that unfortunately failed utterly.
Notice there are some rare versions of the Amiga 3000: the 3000/16 (the speed is only 16 MHz) and the Amiga 3000+ which uses an AGA video chip and a DSP. The 3000+ was a prototype only. A few units are known to exist, but they are not supported. The DSP was able to function as a software modem in some configurations, which was extremely cool.
* a Motorola 68030 processor at either 16 MHz or 25 MHz (The 16 MHz models were discontinued soon after).
* 2 MB of memory (configured as 1 MB chip RAM and 1 MB 32bit Fast RAM), expandable to a total of 18 MB onboard.
* a 68881 or 68882 FPU coprocessor (The 16 MHz model was shipped with a 68881, the 25 MHz model with a 68882)
* the ECS chipset.
* a SCSI interface and a Quantum LPS40S (40 MB), LPS52S (50 MB) or LPS105S (100 MB) 3.5" Hard Drive.
* a built-in 'flicker fixer' which enabled the use of a VGA monitor.
One could increase the amount of Fast RAM by adding ZIP DRAM chips, these were notoriously difficult to fit - and were available in two varieties, Page Mode or Static Column.
Other models included the A3000UX bundled with UNIX System V Release 4, and the A3000T tower computer.
The Commodore Amiga 3000UX is a model of the Amiga computer family that was released with Amiga Unix, a full port of AT&T Unix System V Release 4 (SVR4), installed along with AmigaOS. The system was otherwise equivalent to the standard A3000, once the Right-Mouse-Button initiated a boot to KickStart (Amiga's BIOS).
At one point, Sun Microsystems approached Commodore-Amiga Inc. with the offer to produce the A3000UX under license as a low- to mid-range alternative to their high-end Sun workstations. That this offer was declined was one of the many management decisions that led to the popular belief that Amiga would have been a real success story but for the Commodore management.
It is possible that Commodore (or a third party) repurposed A3000UX machines for standard AmigaOS, as some standard A3000 models have been found with labeling suggesting they were originally to be sold as A3000UX machines
At first glance, the A 3000 looks like a Frankenstein of a machine, blending 16 and 32 but technology.
The problem with this machine, is that for unknown reasons, Commodore choose to make the cas very small and compact, giving very limited expasion capabilities. There is no 5 1/4 drive bay nor room for one, limiting the user to an external CD-ROM or even tape drive on the Unix systems.
My Collection (AS of Jan 1, 2010)
In my collection: I did have one unit, the case was banged up and a new case was put on it, but due to space considerations, I sold it in the fall of last year. I miss that unit.
The A3000T (Tower) and the A3500
Launched in October 1991, this was the tower version of the powerful Amiga 3000. It came with a 68030 processor at 25 MHz, a 68882 FPU, built-in speakers, and was expandable to 18Mb on the motherboard.
As SIMMs were not yet a standard it came with the slower alternative named Zip RAM.
It was aimed at professionals - and the price shows. An Amiga 3000T with a 200Mb SCSI hard disk was $4998.
It is easy to assume that the A3000T is the same as the A3000 but shipped in a full tower instead of a desktop case, however the A3000T is infact a totally separate motherboard. The A3000T is a huge machine and probably has the largest motherboard of any Amiga, including the A4000T. It is similar to the A3000 but offers far more expandability. The Zorro and ISA slots are fitted directly onto the motherboard rather than being on a daughterboard (riser card) as they are in the desktop A3000. The A3000T probably has a small amount of NVRAM designed to hold the configuration settings for the SCSI controller which is the same chipset as in the desktop model. The A3000T also has a keylock and has an internal speaker for playing native audio, however external speakers can still be used. The A3000T contains a builtin scandoubler which allows PC type SVGA monitors to display the native NTSC and PAL Amiga screenmodes, which can be disabled with a switch on the rear.
The A3000T supports a variety of drive bays — two 3.5-inch drives; one 5.25-inch half-height drive, mounted horizontally; and two 5.25-inch half-height drives, mounted vertically. Inside, behind these drives, there is space for two more internal 5.25-inch half-height drives. The available drive bays make it possible to internally install up to seven devices in the A3000T.
Not many were produced, as they were quite expensive.
Motorola MC68RC030, clocked at 25 Megahertz
Enhanced Chip Set
ZIP sockets for expansion up to 16 Mb Fast RAM with Static column or Fast Page Mode ZIPs
Internal Chinon 880k Floppy Drive
Hard Drive Controller:
Onboard SCSI-I With internal 50 pin and external 25 pin connectors
Standard Serial, Parallel, Disk Drive, and 2 Game Ports
15 pin SVGA connector outputing 31.5kHz Standard VGA flicker free
23 pin connector for RGB (Analog/Digital) with adapters for 9 and 15 pin standard connectors
Horizontal refresh rates from 15.6 kHz to 31.5 kHz
Vertical refresh reates from 50 Hz to 73 Hz
4 channel Stereo 8 bit sound
External RCA stereo audio jacks
Several Zorro-III slots, Video Slot, Processor Slot, and several AT/ISA Slots
several 3.5" and 5.25" drive bays
AmigaDOS 2.1, KickStart 2.04 on 512kb ROMs
There is also a few A3500 towers out there.
Case Type: Full Tower
FPU: 68882@25Mhz (030 version)
Bus Controller: Super Buster Rev 7
Expansion Slots: 5 x 100pin Zorro III Slots
1 x ECS Video Slot (Inline with Zorro)
4 x Inactive 16bit ISA slots (2 inline with Zorro)
1 x 200pin CPU Fast Slot
Standard CHIP RAM: 2MB
RAM sockets: ZIP & DIL sockets
Hard Drive Controllers: 1 x SCSI-II Controller
Drive Bays: 4 x 5.25" (4 with faceplates, 2 vertical, 2 horiztonal)
3 x 3.5" (2 with faceplates)
Expansion Ports: 1 x 25pin Serial
1 x 25pin Parallel
1 x 23pin RGB Video
1 x 15pin VGA Connector (unconfirmed)
1 x 23pin External Floppy
2 x 9pin Joystick/Mouse
2 x RCA Audio (Left/Right)
1 x 25pin External SCSI connector
1 x large 5pin DIN Keyboard connector.
Floppy Drive: 1 x Internal 880K Floppy Drive
Motherboard Revisions: Rev 1
(Later revisions are probably A3000T motherboards)
Battery Backed Up Clock: Yes, uses "Barrel" shaped batteries.
Very little is known about the A3500 as it was never officially released, however an unknown number of models certainly found there way to dealers and end-users. Apparently, the A3500 was originally designed for Sun Microsystems to run UNIX on, who would have rebadged the machine and sold it as a Sun product. In true Commodore style, the deal fell through. This seems a likely cause for the A3500 never being officially released and eventually ending up being sold as the A3000T which is almost identical, apart from a slightly different case bezel and some minor differences mentioned below. In Commodore's tradition of whacky naming schemes the A3500 does not carry the "T" designation that their other tower systems do. The A3500 was previewed at the Business Computing show in 1991 and can be seen in the "Deathbed Vigil" video by Dave Haynie. The A3500 came with an 030@25Mhz and 68882@25Mhz on the motherboard. It seems unlikely that any machines were supplied with an 040 as the true A3000T was released shortly afterwards. The A3500 has the same SCSI-II controller as found in the A3000T and the desktop A3000 and also contains the same built in scandoubler. Some early prototype A3500's actually have a blue motherboard and even blue zorro slots and jumpers which is quite unusuak as most other Amiga's have the traditional green motherboard and black Zorro slots. Unlike the A3000T, the A3500 lacks a CD-ROM audio connector for mixing in the sound output of a CDROM, however it has two hard disk LEDs, instead of one and a power LED. The actual A3500 case is based upon a tower case which Commodore used with one of their PC systems (PC 60) but had a different name plate and an extra externally accessible drive bay. The case is also similar to the A3000 case, with the front bezel being different. The A3500 also includes an internal speaker for playing the native audio, however external speakers can still be attached.
The A3000T is considered my many the "Holy Grail" of the Amigas ONLY to be argued with the A4000T.
These towers were HUGE. probably twice the height of a modern tower system.
Commodore used these systems for development of new Amiga's all through out Commodore.
I have only seen 1 almost NOS system pop up on Ebay twice in the last year. The first time it was bid up to Close to $800 US, but the buyer step out, because of shipping (yes, it came from Canada). The second time it was up, it was sold for over $300 USD.
I recieved one in July 2010. (A BIG "Thank You" to Craig M)
These things are masive and HEAVY, so if you are looking for one, please keep in mind that shipping will be a lot!
On a personal note: The A3000T or "the T" as I like to call it, is my personal favorate of all the Amiga's I possess. The case is almost bullet proof! The side pannels are thick gauge steel. Unlike the PC cases today, where most of the side pannels are as thin a tin foil, you can pick up a pannel and there is little or no bow or flex in it.
Roomy: if you wish to work inside the case, there is a ton of room! I had an A3000 desktop, and the biggest pet peve was that everything is so tight inside, the SCSI cable had a tendency to pop off when you tried to put the drive sled back in.
YES you can hook a regular VGA monitor to the A3000 (Not just the "T") I have had both a CRT and a TFT LCD VGA monitor hooked up to Both my T and my Desktop A3000 and they work just fine. Infact, I get more resuloutions that just hooking up a 1084s.
Now the "T" does have a few draw backs. As I mentioned before, the case is heavy, so you don't want to lug it around too much.
The "side" or middle drive slead is a pain to take in or out. It is a pour desin in my opinion, but you have to remember that Commodore really designed this case for PC's Not the A3000. More than likely, they ordered an "Off the Shelf" case from a case manufacture at the time, and never really designed the case for technichians to get in and out of.
The very top drive bay is blocked buy the "Control Pannel" or ON / OFF button, lights, and key. You can mount a hard drive behind the pannel, but you can't use a CD rom drive inside there. This is not all that much of an issue, as you really have up to seven other drive bays, but in my opinion the A3500 had the better design.
The A3500 just had a different fron bezel. The internal metal chassis is exactly the same, so with a bit of imagination and a dremil, you can mount the power button and the key switch in the same spot as the A3500.
So far as of September 2010, my T is just a stock '030@25mhz. I recived it with the full 16 megs of zip RAM and have added a 4 meg Zorro Ram board. It has 3 SCSI drives, 20megs, 20megs and a huge 600 meg drive. It has the original 2.05 ROMS and a "Soft Kick" program that allows OS 3 to run. Because the hard drives are full, I am waiting to get some coin in to upgrade the ROMS to 3.1. At that time, I will do the battery swap (the barrel battery is still good and holds a charge at this time), and put an internal CD ROM and a 1 gig SCSI Drive in. I plan to at least upgrade the OS to 3.1, but if I can get a hold of more ram (I have some Zorro ram cards) I plan on putting OS 3.9 on the system. I would like to get a SCSI to IDE converter and Put a 4 gig CF card in as a hard drive, but at at least $150 for the tiny card, it just doesnt seem feasable at this time. You can help, by makeing a small donation to the lounge. I want to get a YOU Tube video up of this rebuild, because, as of this writting, there is NO videos posted with an A3000 Tower system.
I have since put the T on a VGA monitor, "sharing" with my A1200. I bought a Video switch box off ebay for $7 (including shipping) and now just switch between the 2. Some people have complained of "Ghosting" with this method, but I have yet to experience it.
Inside the "T". I will update this page with more photos, once I am ready to upgrade this baby.
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