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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:39 pm

IMG_6428.jpg
One of the things I really love about the ICD AdSpeed accelerator, in addition to it's noticeable speed benefits, is its incredibly small footprint. It takes up almost no room at all and only adds a tiny bit of extra height to your CPU.

For years now I've had a very mild accelerator in my daily driver Amiga 1000. And for years the AdSpeed I had was only partly functional.

By default, the AdSpeed accelerator has a physical switch that is supposed to let you set the boot speed to either stock 7Mhz or 14 Mhz. For whatever reason, my AdSpeed would only allow the switch to occur via software. That meant I had to boot workbench at 7Mhz no matter what, activate it if I wanted the 14 Mhz mini-boost or leave everything as-is. The only time this was kind of a bummer was when I needed to boot a game off a disk, which bypassed Workbench altogether. Thus, I could never accelerate those games if I ever wanted to. The speed differences aren't mind blowing, but at times it can be noticeable and quite pleasing.
adspeed-advert.jpg
Original AdSpeed advertisement from ~1990.


In Workbench it can make quite a difference. When activated, the simple act of opening a drawer will let the machine draw the contents (icons) much faster, which means I can click on things and keep drilling down much quicker. I can even copy disks noticeably faster as it reads and writes data. It's not going to beat my A3000 any time soon, but it's noticeable. Launching programs will often be a bit faster, too. Simple little quality of life things like that. And, some programs simply run a little bit more smoothly. It's that whole "snappiness" thing. And it feels kind of magical, as it all runs off a stock 68000, and it can work in any amiga that has the 68000 slot.

Last year I found another AdSpeed. This now being my third. My previous 2 both worked the same way, much to my disappointment. But with the 3rd? Finally - FINALLY - the jumper on the board actually worked and I can boot up in 14Mhz mode. I don't need to always boot up in 7, then use a software switch. If I need to drop down to 7Mhz it's not an issue at all. Click a button in my AmiDock and "poof!" Back down to stock.

I've used these devices for years now, as I've said, and not once have I ever come across a single issue, other than the physical switch not working. And now I'm totally in business.

However...

About two weeks ago I decided to install Indiana Jones Last Crusade off original disks to the Amiga.
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Yes, the box cover has a Macintosh sticker on it. The lower box and all of the box contents are 100% Amiga. But my original Amiga cover was completely trashed (graphics ripped off the front and side). And while removing those stickers can be relatively easy, it would reveal either a blank spot or actually a PC / Tandy default, which to me is even worse. So, Mac it is. I'm not going to spend $100 for some box cover...


I have two sets of original disks (because reasons). After the installing to the hard drive following the instructions in the box, I had crazy issues with the game saying it couldn't read from "unit 1" which made no sense to me at first. Unit 1?
IMG_0095.jpg
What meanings do ye try to convey, confounding error message?


After a few days of troubleshooting I discovered what was going on.

If I had an external floppy drive attached to the Amiga (which I nearly always do) and I didn't have Disk 2 in the 2nd external drive the moment I booted the game - either via hdd or floppy - the game wouldn't load! While I realized in hindsight that back in the day that an Amiga 1000 with an external disk drive might have been pretty posh, this glaring bug still stunned me.

But, I did get past it. I unplugged the drive and now I could boot the game.

However...

It would always freeze at the Lucasfilm logo. Whether I tried to boot off the original floppies or the hard drive installation it always locked up. Even the animation of the twinkles on the chrome Lucasfilm logo were janky slow.

I made ADFs of my disks and sent them to a friend to test on his Amiga 1000. No problem at all. First I decided to remove my beloved Parceiro and swap in a Starboard R2 just to try and eliminate the fast RAM and/or hard drive solutions since both are quite different. Same results.

This inspired me to pull an A600 (that came with OS 2.0) out of storage to try for myself. The internal floppy drive is broken, I discovered, but using an external I was able to load the game up with no problems at all.
IMG_6414.JPG
Amiga A600 FTW! I never thought I would say that. ;) For what it's worth, in 2022 the really small footprint of the A600 on my desk is quite refreshing, to be honest. And its little internal original hard drive is still spinning!


My friend Crispy had the idea that maybe my AdSpeed CPU was using an 68010. It is understood today that the 68010 sometimes has compatibility issues with older games. My CPU wasn't labeled. Or, if it was, the label was beneath an original AdSpeed sticker which I had no intention of ever removing. I thought this was a brilliant theory and I have several extra CPUs.

So, I pulled the CPU and swapped it out with a spare where I could see it wasn't an 68010. To be honest I'm not sure I even have a 68010.
IMG_6434.jpg

The first CPU I put in there actually was dead! It was a sad moment. But I had several more so I swapped in another. To my immediate disappointment, the machine froze again in the exact same place: the Lucasfilm logo.

Finally, I removed the AdSpeed entirely and put a stock 68K CPU in its place. For the first time in 2 weeks of trying, the game fired right up! (Thank goodness, because I was running out of ideas.)

Something in the AdSpeed's instruction set conflicts with Last Crusade. After all these years I've finally found a single game that won't work with the (glorious) AdSpeed by ICD.

I wonder what other games / software break? I've thrown quite a lot at it. And I also wonder why, when even dropped to 7 Mhz, it is still incompatible? Crispy suggested that potentially there's a difference in the bus timing. But at this stage it's somewhat of a mystery.

I do wonder if I had a physical hardware switch attached to the jumper if that would fully disable things and allow the stock CPU to run pure. I suppose I can pull the jumper to find out. Might as well - I've gone this far in the QA process, right? I should know one way or the other here in a bit.

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 2:23 pm

UPDATE:
I performed the last test I can think of. I removed the physical jumper (seen in the photo as the little black speck on the table next to the tank mouse) that enables 14 Mhz by default. Removing it is supposed to drop the CPU to stock (and from a speed perspective, it does).
IMG_6500.jpg

The game set physically to 7Mhz does not produce the results we're looking for. The game still locks up.

As Talk Talk once sang, "It's a shame!"

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kneehighspy
usa
Twitter

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 3:14 pm

from i can see from the pic, the adspeed looks like it also has some ram on it. so the original adspeed cpu might be a 68010.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 3:44 pm

@kneehighspy

I've swapped out the original AdSpeed CPU with a stock 68K and back again. It behaved the same way each time.

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nonarkitten

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 4:45 pm

Are you using it with the Rejuvenator?

The AdSPEED will cache everything except the 2MB chip RAM region. I think the Rejuvenator will remap the Amiga 1000's built-in RAM as Ranger RAM and this RAM might not like being cached either.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Sat Jan 08, 2022 6:29 pm

Are you using it with the Rejuvenator?
I am indeed. And like I said, I've used it this way for a long time. This was the first time I'd ever run across an issue. But if it was a clash between Rejuve and AdSpeed RAM I could totally wrap my head around that. It's a pretty rare set of circumstances. I'm just surprised - if that's the case - I haven't run into it before.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Tue Jan 11, 2022 10:46 pm

UPDATE:

Tonight I finally got the game working and fully loading off the hard drive. I think maybe what was going on was a combination of user error and a total misunderstanding of how the hardware works. (Maybe?) I would have to repeat all of my previous tests to verify at this point...

But here's what I've learned. In the past - using a different AdSpeed - I would be forced to boot up in 7 Mhz mode no matter what I did or how the jumpers were set. Then I'd click my AdSpeed software icon in my AmiDock after Workbench loaded and that would switch me to 14 Mhz. I had to manually do it every time.

With this new AdSpeed I got recently that would default to 14 Mhz with the jumper in position, I assumed it worked the same way. I'd boot up then launch the software to drop to 7 Mhz to try and run Indy. What I didn't realize was all it did was actually spawn the iconified version of the program - but it never switched! Indy wasn't working because the CPU was still set at the wrong speed the whole time!

Tonight I launched it and right-clicked to access the top menu strip of options and discovered it was still set to 14 Mhz! So I changed it via the software to 7Mhz and ... it worked!

The mystery now is why the AdSpeed didn't flip to 7 when I pulled the physical jumper.

Regardless, I'm back to a very happy place and can totally run the game the way it's supposed to be. What a weird journey!

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auk

Posted Thu Jan 13, 2022 9:04 pm

Are you able to use the disk storage on your Starboard R2 or Parceiro devices with the AdSpeed set to 14.3MHz?

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Jan 13, 2022 10:41 pm

Are you able to use the disk storage on your Starboard R2 or Parceiro devices with the AdSpeed set to 14.3MHz?
Yes, absolutely 100%. Why?

User avatar
auk

Posted Fri Jan 14, 2022 8:44 am

In my 512K A1000 with Parceiro v1.1, the AdSpeed must be set to 7.16MHz in order to boot or use the Parceiro disk storage. The 14.3MHz mode works well in other limited circumstances.

If I try and cold boot at 14.3MHz, after reading a Kickstart 1.3 disk the A1000 shows a yellow screen with ten pulses of the power LED then restarts/repeats the yellow screen with pulsing LED.

If I try and access the Parceiro disk storage at 14.3MHz, the shell returns empty directory listings.





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