Friday, December 16, 2022

X1000 AmigaOS 4 Updates in 2022

It's been a while since I covered happenings in the AmigaOS 4 world, so I thought it was about time to fix that and give my AmigaOne X1000 system some much needed love! 

I decided to try upgrading my AmigaOne X1000 AmigaOS 4 system to the latest Radeon Rx graphics drivers v5 released by A-Eon in 2022, along with the latest A-Eon Enhancer 2.2 release.

I even bought and tried some new games and applications I hadn't played with as yet, Entwickler-X freely available 2022 released Mace Defense game, and the newest A-Eon released DV Player!

I learnt a great deal, even having to build a new AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 setup for the AmigaOne X1000 along the way (something I have not had to do before), so there is plenty of new configuration information to share with you here!

I decided to look at the latest DV Player and Enhancer 2.2 first. I bought them both on CD from AmigaKit and waited for them to arrive. 

Once they did arrive, I decided to install Enhancer 2.2 from CD first.

Here is the inside of the DVD cased product as delivered, with a sheet of paper explaining requirements. 

Moving on, I ran the installation from the included CD.

I have covered the installation of Enhancer previously in this blog, so I will mostly gloss over it here.

There is a lot of tools, drivers, applications and more included in the Enhancer 2.2 package. It takes a while to install as a result, so get a coffee. :-)

As you can see, the changes in this update are extensive, and covered in the installer so you can review.

I got on with the installation.

The installer asks if you want to backup files to be over-written in case you want to get them back later - definitely a good idea.

As you can see, I have done it quite a few times...

As mentioned there is a lot to install here in Enhancer 2.2.

Here is the high level of each section of the installer, so you can see what is being installed with Enhancer 2.2 - it is a long list indeed!

Eventually it completed installation and we need to reboot.

With Enhancer installed, and reboot completed, I then put in the DV Player CD first, keen to run the installer.

Except, errr, there isn't one. I had to manually copy the contents of the CD to my hard disk. 

I really think this should really have an installer considering it is a commercial product...would be nice to have the installer also associate video files to the program, so  you can double click on video files in Workbench drawers to launch direct into DV Player. Just saying..

Anyway, I previously purchased and used an older version of DVPlayer for AmigaOS 4, before it was bought by A-Eon, and subsequently updated in 2021. Sadly no upgrade pricing for previously registered users.

The updated v54 version DV Player interface is nice enough (see below), but unchanged from the original version I bought, and so it looks a little dated in 2022. I would have thought it would be updated also to use standard AmigaOS 4.2 MUI GUI elements as per other A-Eon applications and tools, but it seems not as yet.

As you can see below, this version 54.7 was released in September 2021, but I only bought it in November 2022, so I am a bit late to try it out!

I went to run a MP4 video through DV Player and immediately hit issues as below.

I then realised I needed to have the latest Enhancer 2.2 installed with the Radeon v5 drivers in order for it to work! I should have read the documents in the CD first.

I was still running an older version of Enhancer with v2.22 drivers, and therefore older drivers that don't work with the updated DV Player. I checked A-Eon's Updater program to confirm my version was outdated.

A sheet in the box with DV Player (like Enhancer has) alerting people to the minimum system requirements to use it would be handy and avoid a lot of grief and frustration. Did I already mention an installer should be included too??

A-Eon announced and released these new Radeon V5 drivers for AmigaOS4 in 2022, which support the post southern island R7 chipset graphics cards, for example the ATI Radeon R9 270X and R9 280X graphics cards. Previously R7 was the maximum supported. The drivers also support hardware accelerated playback of video. 

Mind you, the "new" R9 graphics cards being supported with this v5 driver are from 2013, so we are still a long way behind. But any step forward in graphics card compatibility is a good step forward for AmigaOS 4 - and of course being this age makes the graphics cards cheap to obtain.

Given the requirements for DV Player to have v5 drivers, I then proceeded to purchase the RadeonHD v5 drivers from AmiStore. I selected the X1000 version since it is for the X1000. 

This is just my opinion, but expecting people to buy multiple versions of the graphics driver for multiple AmigaOS systems they have seems a little unfair, but it is A-Eon's choice. No upgrade or bundle pricing either by the way...

I have a X5000 and Sam460 also, but given the cost of the v5 driver, plus buying Enhancer 2.2 which is a pre-requisite, I chose to only get the v5 driver for one of my systems at this stage to see what benefits it gives over the current Radeon HD v2 drivers I am using.

In the past I used to be able to purchase tools, drivers, applications and games from within AmiStore and use the Odyssey web browser on my X1000 to pay for it via PayPal, but with recent changes to the PayPal website, it sadly no longer works with Odyssey on the X1000. 

This means I needed to select Email link option on checkout in AmiStore, login to AmiSphere using my Mac, and complete the payment on there, while leaving Amistore still running where it was for the checkout phase. 

After payment is complete, Amistore updates the status to purchased, and I could download the files as usual. AmigaOS 4 seriously needs an up to date modern featured web browser in 2022. 

I am still waiting for my newer Rx graphics card to arrive, but as per the Readme instructions with the Radeon HD v5 driver (above), the driver should be installed before this new card is installed.

I then ran through the installation, which worked fine. A reboot is needed after this.

After the reboot was done, I can run Updater and see that my Radeon HD v5 driver is up to date now.

I then ran the new DV Player again and confirmed it is able to play videos now.

I picked lower resolution videos to start with, just to make sure they worked.

M4V and MP4 videos worked ok, as long as they were 720p or less.

Running two videos in multiple instances of DV Player didn't work well - the second video was unable to keep up.

Playing 1080p videos didn't work well in DV Player at all - long periods of blank screen, horrible stuttering and the whole system ground to a halt, the mouse barely able to update its location every few seconds at best. Online comments bare this out, and the information provided also indicate 720p is the limit.

Seems weird to be limited to 720p.. 

With Altivec extensions in use by Live for It MPlayer builds on AmigaOS4, I could already playback 720p on the X1000 (without the new v5 drivers) using the old Radeon HD v2.4 drivers back in 2014...

Perhaps v5 is mainly needed for X5000 owners that don't have altivec (that X1000 has) to help accelerate video playback? 

I run MorphOS on my X5000 so I can't try the new card on the X5000 without rebuilding it for AmigaOS4 again, and besides, I then have to pay for another Radeon v5 driver just for the X5000 since I have to buy another driver for every system...

</begin small rant>

AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition - Possibly the only system in 2022 where we have to pay third party vendor for each version upgrade of device drivers, simply because the original developers are (for whatever reason) not officially updating the graphics drivers (and other parts too) any more. 

Seriously the whole situation needs to be re-worked, perhaps along the lines of ArcaOS subscriptions. With ArcaOS, users pay a yearly subscription fee and get all updates included. No extra costs. You could even have a higher level tier to include applications and games from AmiStore and others compiled into Amiupdate or similar to deploy. You know, like Playstation Network tiers, etc.

Developers of other niche operating systems have been doing this for years on low volume platforms to keep development going. Simple solution that doesn't involve any lawyers - what are they waiting for?

</end small rant>

Here is my Southern Islands R7 250X 1GB graphics card below that is currently in my X1000:

Out of curiosity, I have ordered a higher spec R9 270X graphics card on Ebay, one of the new Rx cards now supported with the Radeon HD v5 drivers, to try this out again. The gfx card cost me less than the v5 driver for the X5000 would have....

Doing this purchase should then free up the 250X card above to use in the X5000 in the future should I decide to convert it back to AmigaOS 4. (unlikely at the moment I have to say) 

The reason for this is because Southern Island graphics cards can't be used with MorphOS sadly, which makes running MorphOS or AmigaOS 4 an "one or the other, not both" proposition on the X5000. You have to use a much older card to work with MorphOS.

I will circle back to this new card installation in my X1000 and it's performance later in this blog post when I receive it.

Next up, I tried out the latest Mace Defense game released in 2022 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition by Entwickler-X. If you have played Swamp Defense 1 or Swamp Defense 2 (click for reviews) on AmigaOS 4.1 before, the style of gameplay is very similar. 

This game requires Warp3D Nova on your system, included with A-Eon's Enhancer 2.2 package.

It is great to play some new games on my AmigaOne X1000 in 2022, over 10 years since I got the system in 2012.

Instructions are included in the game:

Actually, I like the use of MACE style elements from the MACE shoot em up game released a few years back on AmigaOS 4.1, it makes the Defense series game feel more modern. 

You slowly unlock battlefields as you progress through the game

If you have some money, you can do some upgrades in the shop.

The first time you start into the game, Mace Defense gives some useful quickstart instructions on placing your defensive tower weaponry equipment to get you going.

The enemies appear from the left side of the game screen and work their way to the right side via the path. Your trash is to kill them all by placing your weapons in the right places.

I start adding turrets and other devices that slow the enemies progress, making it easier to pick them off with other weapons you have placed.

You can upgrade your placed weaponry, or replace it with others, but you have a finite amount of credits available so you need to plan it out carefully.

I got through the first battlefield and 10 waves of enemies mostly unscathed.

I can then proceed to the next Battlefield in the game.

This is an enjoyable game that is easy to get into, but tough to master. The waves get more difficult, with harder enemies that require more shots to kill. Graphics are nice, though not as impressive as Spencer was.

It is good fun though - and certainly worth playing!

The bottom bar which you can bring up with the mouse over the bottom of the screen enables you to select other weaponry to use, based on if you have enough money and if the item is unlocked yet.

The big boss at the end of the series of waves is definitely tricky.

But, you quickly learn what you need to do...

I know Entwickler-X are working on another new AmigaOS 4.1 game at the moment called Super Star Blast, and I am very much looking forward to it.

Let's move on from AmigaOS 4.1 gaming now as the new card has arrived.

I ordered a second hand Radeon RX270 PCI-e graphics card from Ebay for AUD$70 to try it on, and it has finally arrived this week so I can try it out with the new v5 drivers I installed earlier.

Here is a closer look the Radeon HD R9 ASUS 270X PCI-E graphics card with 2GB memory. It has Display port, HDMI and two DVI outputs (DL and I types):

Definitely feels more modern than the 250X card I have in my X1000 at the moment. It is also a lot bigger, well over twice as big!

Close up of the ASUS R9270X-DC2-2GD5 model number of the card so you know what model card I bought exactly.

Before I dive into the installation though, a little history.

Originally, AmigaOS 4.0 had Warp3D and Radeon RTG Picasso 96 graphics card support, which was based on the Warp3D 3D accelerated graphics card drivers used on Classic Amigas running PowerPC accelerators or PCI bridgeboards with 3D graphics cards like Radeon 9250 PCI series or Voodoo 3 PCI cards. If you were lucky enough to be able to afford such a setup back then, congratulations! 

I really wanted that setup but couldn't afford it. When I got my first AmigaOS 4.1 system, a Sam440ep based system back in 2008, it had an integrated onboard 64MB Radeon M9 graphics card which was limited in terms of what it could do as it didn't have Warp3D hardware acceleration support.

Move forward a few years to the X1000 release, I got my X1000 in 2012. I got a RV730 Radeon card capable of much higher HD resolutions, but still no Warp3D support (which came later). I added a Radeon 9250 PCI card as a dual display on my X1000 could enjoy the Warp 3D demo and games released for AmigaOS 4.1 at that time. I covered this dual display setup in my blog here.

The Radeon HD drivers v2/v3 drivers from A-Eon improved the situation enormously, as it supported the newer R7 Southern Island chipset ATI Radeon PCI-e graphics card under AmigaOS 4.1.6 and 4.1 Final Edition. I picked up a compatible Sapphire Radeon 7750 1GB DDR5 PCI-E card at the time to run with my AmigaOne 460CR system (my X1000 was being repaired at the time)

I remember when this support came, and it was exciting to see the graphics capabilities opened up with this support. 

It extended even further especially once OpenGL ES 2 support for games came with the Warp3D Nova and Warp3D-SI bridge for legacy 3D gaming support for Southern Island graphics cards. Spencer was one of the games for AmigaOS 4.1 to take advantage of the new features of Warp3D Nova. There are some Linux game ports released I covered also that also use it.

It is this adding and adding of extra functionality via extra add-ons and breaking (and then fixing) legacy Warp3D compatibility that got really confusing. Whilst great to have this extra functionality, the requirements needed for the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition system to use them became more and more difficult for the average person to follow. 

Hans worked on the Radeon HD v5 driver and provided a post on Amiga world recently that explains all the different features and versions. It helps make better sense of the situation, but it is still a confusing situation with so many different concepts to understand and the gfx card and system requirements for them all.

But now in 2022 we have new Radeon HD v5 drivers from A-Eon, which extend the Radeon HD PCI-e graphics card support to include some of the later Rx cards like the R9 270X and 280X, and provides support for GPU hardware playback of videos.

This new v5 driver is being sold as a standalone purchase, and platform specific, so you have select X1000 or X5000 as the target system. The driver is not cheap, but then the work to develop it was substantial also.

Confusingly though, you still need to purchase the latest A-Eon package of Enhancer 2.2 also, along with having AmigaOS FinalEdition (with Update 2) as some of the components needed to use Radeon HD v5 drivers are included in Enhancer 2.2. 

As with the original v2/v3 drivers, there is no legacy Warp3D support currently working with Radeon HD v5 drivers. We have to wait for a future Warp3D-SI bridge to correct this. In the meantime there is a "hack" to get some of the games working, which I will show later on.

Here is my old 250X card in the X1000:

I removed it and installed the 270X card. Definitely bigger! It also needs both PCI-E power connectors installed, unlike the 250X.

Of course, I have already installed Enhancer 2.2 and the Radeon v5 driver earlier in this blog post, so all things being equal, it should work right?

Kind of. It boots, but I just get this Workbench screen, with no desktop, icons, just the title bar and mouse. I can't access the menus or anything. Not a great start.

I booted the X1000 through the boot no startup menu, but it wouldn't give me a AmigaDOS prompt at all, just a grey screen after selecting Boot no startup-sequence.

I suspected something in the WBstartup perhaps, but since I couldn't boot the system at all, I couldn't change it. So I decided to pull out the AmigaOne X1000 AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition original CD to boot from. This worked. 

I booted to the live Workbench so I could access my hard disks.

I tried to modify the wbstartup in the System drive, but because ENV is mapped to Envarc on the CD rather than the hard disk, I can't actually change it!

I tried removing the prefs file manually on the system partition to force a empty wbstartup, but the same output resulted on boot.

Frustrated, I decided next to prep one of my backup partitions on the hard disk as a new AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition installation - completely clean build. I used the AmigaOS 41 Final edition CD to boot from and selected the hard disk partition option, so I could change the setup of my partitions to enable the backup partition to boot, and not mount the other previous partition I was using.

I unticked DH0's auto mount and bootable flags so it would not be visible or used for booting.

I then mounted the DH2 partition and set as bootable. This partition was a backup of my very old AmigaOS 4.1.6 build from many years ago.

I then booted to live workbench from the CD, and formatted the DH2 partition and labelled it AmigaOS41FE:

Format done, ready to reboot.

I boot again from the CD to live Workbench, to confirm the Dh0 partition no longer appears at all, just the newly formatted partition DH2 and my Work partition that contains my downloads, games, demos and mods.

I then started to install AmigaOS 41 Final Edition onto DH2:

I have installed AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition many times working with the A1222 and X5000, but actually this is the first time to install it from scratch on my X1000.

Install underway - time for another coffee.

Installl completed, reboot time.

I get this weird error message on boot, which is related to the USBCtrl and stack being too old - probably just need to install Updates 1 and 2 to fix this. Cancel boots up the freshly installed Workbench as normal.

At this point AmigaOS 4.1 final edition is installed, and completely vanilla. I need to install Updates 1 and 2.

Fortunately I have these on the Work partition, so it is easy enough to get this underway.

I walk through the Update 1 and Update 2 installs for AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition, rebooting after each one successfully completes.

For Update 2, you need to make a change to the kick layout file. The installer explains what you need to do.

I make the required change for my X1000:

Update 2 then completes and with another reboot I can move on. The error message I was getting before Update 2 is now gone, which is great.

Now I have to install Enhancer 2.2 on DH2. Since I did it earlier in this blog post I will not cover it again.

I installed everything, and it completed successfully.

With that done, I now have the Radeon HD drivers installed (although not the separate v5 drivers), so I should be able to change the resolution to something better than a stretched 1024x768 of the Radeon HD Lite driver that comes with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition..

Surprisingly, the 1080p resolution is not shown in the available modes.

I installed the Radeon v5 drivers next.

I checked the Screenmode prefs after the installation completed and rebooted, but still no 1080p screen modes.

I had to go into the Monitors section of the Screenmode prefs and add the mode myself manually. I have no idea why this would not be done by the Enhancer or Radeon v5 installers. Seriously. A user should not have to do this themselves.

With the mode added manually to the monitors section, I can now see the 1920x1080 screen modes I need.

I tested the mode and confirmed 1080p works fine.

I then save the setting and finally have a much nicer screen mode for my Workbench using the Radeon v5 drivers. 

Most importantly, the system boots fine into this screenmode now, which proves that something in the Dh0 partition was causing the system to failed to display Workbench correctly.

Having to build a new AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition in order to use the new drivers with a 270X card is not great though is it....

Having the old Dh0 still there (albeit un mounted) means I can go back to the old setup with the 250X card, so that is something I guess.

Anyway, I installed the updated Dv Player next, and then tried a video on it, which worked.

For 720p videos it works fine. For 1080p videos I get the same terrible output results as before. So no improvement using the 270X - I guess this should not be a surprise, but disappointing we don't see any greta improvement there on the X1000.

I decided to read up online to see what other people were experiencing with the RX cards (not Rx - confusing? me too initially) on their X1000 systems.

While doing that I installed the Catweasel Mk2 IDE drivers for the X1000 so I could use the floppy drive with the X1000 again with Amiga disks. I covered this in my blog before if you want to read more about it. 

That blog entry setup was with AmigaOS 4.1.6 - with Final edition Update 2 in 2022 I noticed some glitches in the Catweasel prefs program after installation, but I managed to fumble through it and save it.

The floppy drive works well on my new build of AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition Update 2 using Catweasel MK2.

I ran Spencer, which uses Warp 3D Nova to test it with the 270X card, and it runs very well.

I then hit a brick wall trying to run anything that required Warp3D. Almost nothing I tried worked. 

Considering the previous 250X card worked perfectly with these games using Warp3D-SI, I can only conclude that support for Warp3D classic is not in place for R9 series cards.

Looking online, that appears to be the case. I found a MiniGL4GLES "hack" released on os4depot that allows some Warp3D games and demos to work with the new R9 270X card.

Reading the instruction for installation, I just need to copy the minigl.library and mglut.library from the os4depot archive. I backed up the original files first of course...

I also updated SDL2 to the latest version released just last month:

I could then run a few games and demos with the 270X card, but many still didn't work at all - and they worked fine with the 250X card.

304 fps in Prototype is not too shabby :-)

I continued my research into the video playback and also the warp3d issues, and while doing that, I installed MUI 5 latest version from 2021.

I also installed the latest Ignition spreadsheet program released in 2022, which now supports Excel xlsx files and OpenOffice ods format files. This is a big deal indeed!

The Ignition add on installers needed some zip and unzip programs from os4depot to be installed first. Given this is a clean build, I am discovering what extra bits I have to add to get some things working, most of which I did 10 years ago! Surprised the zip and unzip are not included in Enhancer...anyway.

I definitely want to explore the new 2022 Ignition spreadsheet xlsx and ods file support functionality more in it's own blog post in the future.

For now though, I installed Digibooster and played back some modules. I bought this software a few years ago and already looked at it on this blog if you want to read more about it.

I was pleased to see the Enhancer 2.2 package installs everything I needed for my USB MIDI connection to the Roland SC-88 Pro to work without any configuration - I could install and use the Horny Midi Sequencer to play some MIDI files on my new build. Sounds good.

I read that apparently with the new v5 drivers and 270x card, we need to enable the high performance option in the Power Prefs supplied with Enhancer 2.2. So I went into there to change it - it is set to Dynamic by default:

It made no noticeable difference to the playback of 1080p videos though - still slows the system to a crawl and won't play. Running full screen videos in DV Player is nice though, even if it is only 720p - Viva Amiga!

Not the results I was expecting considering the significant cost outlay that is for sure. If you get 1080p video playback working for you on the X1000 with the latest drivers and Rx card, I really want to know how you did it!

Next I tried running Cromag Rally, a recent game release that is supposed to use the functionality of the v5 Radeon drivers and 270X Rx cards, but unfortunately it doesn't work at all for me. I get this output which appears like everything should be working but nothing further happens.

I have read stories that people can't even see anything on the X1000 with a RX card (not Rx) installed without changing CFE settings and adjusting jumpers I definitely will never touch again . 

Luckily for me this didn't impact me in 2022 trying a R9 270X card on as it was listed on Hans website as tested and working.

At this time, it is hard to recommend upgrading from the R7 Southern Island cards to the R9 270X-280X cards if you have an X1000, as I see little benefit with the latest v5 over the v2.4 drivers, but plenty of new problems and incompatibilities to be resolved still, as I have shown here. 

I will leave the setup as it is for now, and decide whether to restore the previous 250X card later on - I am hopeful some solutions will come to fix the issues I found.

But that said, I did have fun playing with the new games and applications released for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition this year. I look forward to seeing more for my X1000 in 2023!


  1. Thanks Epsilon for as always very detailed and informative blog entry. We have reported about it just like about your magazine review. The only thing which is not quite clear here: you took a screenshot of DvPlayer 54.7, but the latest is 54.9 (as in your update screenshot). Did you install that? Thanks, Daniel

  2. Hi ! Good read, but i feel i need to help to clarify some things: RadeonHD drivers handle HD video cards, and even V5 driver can't handle 1080p videos on any HD card. If you want 1080p with hardware acceleration, then only RadeonRX can handle it, for which, you use absolutely different driver : not RadeonHD, but RadeonRX (currently 2.11 version). But there is a drawback, you can't that “easy” use RadeonRX on X1000 : the UBOOT menu will be missing. So you had to do some steps to make RadeonRX to work on X1000 (they explained on amigans and on os4welt forums). Then you will have 1080P working on X1000. With RadeonHD cards and RadeonHD drivers you out of luck with.

    Next thing which i need to clarify, it's about old Warp3D classic support: If you use RadeonHD card, you then need to use Warp3D SI driver for (another thing to buy from aeon, yes). And together with it usuall minigl 2.24 from os4depot. Do NOT use minigl4gl4es : it's really a hack, dirty one, and very buggy one. You will have hard times with. Minigl4gl4es was just in-the-middle help for RadeonRX users (not RadeonHD users). But now, NovaBridge library out (Again, another purchase from AEON, yes), which handle classic Warp3D fine on both RadeonHD and RAdeonRX cards, and again, with usuall MiniGL 2.24, no use this minigl4gl4es hack ever :)

    At the end, need to note (but it's too late) : no one should today use RadeonHD cards on amigaos4 or buy any v3 or v5 or whatever drivers. They were f..ed up a bit with V5 , and can't make 1080p working with. So, instead you need RadeonRX graphics card, and RadeonRX driver, and everything will be fine. But i know, kind of too late :)

  3. A very interesting and detailed report. Thank you!
    I am happy to read, that you also have planned a post about ignition and his add-on's. Let me know, if you need any support. ;-)