Amiga 1000

I recently received an Amiga 1000 from a nice individual in Huntsville, Alabama who recently decided to move his Amiga collection. Knowing that I didn’t want these items in a landfill, I contacted him and asked if I could have them. Which he graciously agreed and sent them to me. It’s a nice addition to my collection.


After a disassembly, inspection and cleaning, the system was put back together and tested. Everything seemed to work fine. I am waiting for a set of Kickstart and Workbench disks to arrive to fully test. It is interesting to note that this system i9ncluded a DKB Insider II memory board installed. (You can see it just behind the floppy disk drive in the photo above)

Introduced on July 23, 1985, the Commodore Amiga 1000 was the first personal computer released by Commodore International in the Amiga line. It combined the 16/32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU, which was powerful by 1985 standards, with one of the most advanced graphics and sound systems in its class, and runs a preemptive multitasking operating system that fits into 256 KB of read-only memory and shipped with 256 KB of RAM. The primary memory can be expanded internally with a manufacturer-supplied 256 KB module for a total of 512 KB of RAM. Using the external slot, the primary memory can be expanded up to 8.5 MB.

Unlike later Amiga models, the OS was not placed in ROM then. Instead, the A1000 includes a daughterboard with 256 KB of RAM, dubbed the “writable control store” (WCS), into which the core of the operating system is loaded from floppy disk, known as  “Kickstart”. The WCS is write-protected after loading, and system resets do not require a reload of the WCS. In Europe, the WCS was often referred to as WOM (Write Once Memory), a play on the more conventional term “ROM” (read-only memory).

The Amiga 1000 has a Motorola 68000 CPU running at 7.15909 MHz (NTSC) or 7.09379 MHz (PAL), precisely double the video color carrier frequency for NTSC or 1.6 times the color carrier frequency for PAL. The system clock timings are derived from the video frequency, which simplifies glue logic and allows the Amiga 1000 to make do with a single crystal. In keeping with its video game heritage, the chipset was designed to synchronize CPU memory access and chipset DMA so the hardware runs in real time without wait-state delays. The original 68000 CPU can be directly replaced with a Motorola 68010, which can execute instructions slightly faster than the 68000 but also introduces a small degree of software incompatibility.

The Amiga 1000 has 256 KB of Amiga Chip RAM, which can be expanded to 512 KB with the addition of a daughterboard under a cover in the center front of the machine. RAM may also be upgraded via official and third-party upgrades, with a practical upper limit of about 9 MB of “fast RAM” due to the 68000’s 24-bit address bus. This memory is accessible only by the CPU permitting faster code execution as DMA cycles are not shared with the chipset.

The Amiga 1000 features an 86-pin expansion port (electrically identical to the later Amiga 500 expansion port, though the A500’s connector is inverted). This port is used by third-party expansions such as memory upgrades and SCSI adapters. These resources are handled by the Amiga Autoconfig standard.

The Amiga 1000  began shipping in September 1985 with a base configuration of 256 KB of RAM at the retail price of $1,295 (US Dollars). A 13-inch analog RGB monitor was available for around $300 (US Dollars), bringing the price of a complete Amiga system to $1,595 (US Dollars) (equivalent to $3,716 in 2018).

Many A1000 owners remain attached to their machines. Numerous aftermarket upgrades including CPU upgrades that plugged into the Motorola 68000 socket functioned in the A1000. Additionally, a line of products called the Rejuvenator series allowed the use of newer chipsets in the A1000, and an Australian-designed replacement A1000 motherboard called The Phoenix utilized the same chipset as the A3000 and added an A2000-compatible video slot and on-board SCSI controller.


The above photo shows the GBA1000 replacement motherboard. This board includes a A3000 style CPU, the ability to add up to a 68060 processor, ATA connector, Internal ROMS and 24-bit RTG graphics board It is the ultimate upgrade for the A1000 owner. (Photo Tim Talbot)


In 2006, PC World rated the Amiga 1000 as the 7th greatest PC of all time.

In 2007, PC World rated it as the 37th best tech product of all time.

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