My History with 16-bit Computers

My first serious computer was an Amiga 500. I purchased it from Walden Software (Remember them?) in 1989. This machine stayed in it’s original configuration until I started the upgrade process in 1992.

My Amiga 500 was a Rev 5 version with Kickstart 1.3, 1MB RAM (Upgraded with A501 512K memory expansion), an external 3.5″ floppy drive, Commodore 1084D analog RGB monitor and an Epson Dot Matrix printer.

In 1992, the first upgrade replacing the Kickstart 1.3 with a 2.04 Kickstart ROM and Workbench 2.1. This was quickly followed with the purchase of an IVS TrumpCard Pro with a 10 megabyte hard drive and an IVS MetaFour memory card.

Later, I discovered the Bodega Bay A500 expansion chassis. The Bodega Bay gave me four combination Zorro II / PC ISA slots, a built-in power supply and internal drive bays. With the Bodega Bay, I was able to install an A2088 Bridgeboard to have MS-DOS compatibility.

As you can see in the photo above, this was a pretty nice looking system. I was extremely happy owning this Amiga 500. It was everything I had wanted in my Amiga. Barely visible in the photo is my 2400bps BocaModem. I would occasionally take this setup to the monthly Abilene Amiga Users Group meeting.

1_A500_BodegaBay_2_scaled

Here is a photo with the Bodega Bay cover removed. You can see the A2088 Bridgeboard in the top slot. Under that card was the MetaFour then the TrumpCard Pro. I removed the 3.5″ floppy drive from it’s external enclosure and mounted the controller board, the drive (with 5.25″ to 3.5″ adapter)in the Bodega Bay and the 5.25″ Bridgeboard floppy in the Bodega Bay.

It wasn’t long after I got the Bodega Bay that I decided that I wanted an Amiga 2000, mostly for the Video Slot. I started scouring the Usenet groups (comp.sys.amiga.marketplace) for an A2000. I recall finding one for the then awesome price of $400. I sold the Bodega Bay and my A500 and transferred all the cards to my newly acquired Amiga 2000. With my A2000, I discovered the Readysoft A-Max II+ Macintosh emulation card. This card was pretty cool.

amaxii_plus_big

This internal Zorro II card, with the use of actual Macintosh 128k ROMs, allowed the user to run Macintosh software. This was especially appealing to me as my brother owned a Macintosh Plus and we could exchange software. Also, I could use AOL software. (I know, I know.) Running AOL was a big deal in the mid-90s. (Read update here)

At this point, I was able to run three different operating systems on my Amiga 2000. This was unheard of on ANY computer at that time! I also added an A2320 Flicker Fixer (Amber Card) to the system. This let me use a better Super VGA monitor instead of the standard analog RGB monitor.

1_A2000_scaled

This was my main system for a few years until I made the jump to an IBM PS/1 80486SX25 system. I hated it! I hated it so much, I sold it and bought a Macintosh Centris 650. Commodore was out of business, so the logical move was the Mac. Even though I had a Mac, I missed the Amiga.

I picked up another A2000 in 1995 except this one had an A2630 – 68030 CPU accelerator card, A2091 Hard disk controller, A2320 Flicker fixer. This was an awesome A2000, but I didn’t keep it very long due to an upcoming relocation to the state of Georgia. I wouldn’t own another Amiga 2000 until 2017.

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