Monday, March 11, 2024

Looking at the new AmigaOne A1222

 This week it was announced that the AmigaOne A1222 system is now available for people to order! 

We have a new AmigaOS 4 system in 2024! For me, it's release completes a long Hyperion Entertainment official beta testing program I was part of for this new system.

I have been under NDA during this process and unable to talk about it, but with the A1222 system now released and final form of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition now set in stone, I confirmed that I can talk about the new system now! So let's dive in!

I originally covered a lot of detail about the system back in 2016 when I first received my beta tester board to begin testing (Linux initially, and AmigaOS 4 later on):

https://www.epsilonsworld.com/2016/01/my-a1222-has-arrived.html

I wrote some blog articles around that time that went into the setup of Debian Linux with Amiga emulation on the A1222 system:

https://www.epsilonsworld.com/2016/01/debian-linux-on-amigaone-a1222.html

https://www.epsilonsworld.com/2016/02/classic-amiga-emulation-on-amigaone.html

Because I just received the motherboard back then, I also had to buy my own case and components for it. The case is no longer available anymore, but I still use it today! You can read more about it here:

https://www.epsilonsworld.com/2016/02/new-case-for-amigaone-a1222.html

I later started work in earnest on beta testing the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition build for the A1222. 

A lot of work was done by a number of beta testers to work through testing the new drivers, firmware and other critical upgrades developed for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition to support the new system hardware.


The 2020-2022 COVID outbreak resulted in component shortages for the boards, the dropping of official Linux support for PowerPC SPE and PowerPC 32bit in the late 2010's, and the legal action Hyperion was involved in all contributed to lengthy delays, but updates continued to come, and beta testing was ongoing throughout this time.

I know there has been plenty of criticism in forums and elsewhere levelled at the choice of the tabor motherboard, mainly around the limitations of the FPU functionality of the PowerPC SPE CPU included. 

The point of the selection of the board at the time I believe was to have a cheaper board to produce than the X5000 and X1000 were, so hopefully make the price point more attractive. 8 years down the line, a lot has changed, and the boards are now more expensive than the original expected pricing. 

Actually the A1222 reminds me of the Amiga 600, which was meant to be cheaper than the Amiga 500, but ended up being more expensive.

It is what it is. 

Development costs and expensive component shortage board reworking need to be recouped, and a small profit too as these are commercial companies after all.

This is not a Raspberry Pi, sold in the millions, with a huge developer base and super cheap arm based hardware made in large factories with a large global IOT, hobbyist and education fan base.. 

The A1222 has a small development team, with small runs of new relatively obscure powerpc hardware produced with a likely small potential user base. It needs to remain PowerPC compatible to work with AmigaOS 4 code. 

I do hope the A1222 will be successful.


I am grateful that in 2024 that alongside the Sam460LE (which is a cut down version of the earlier Sam460xe and cr boards) there is now another option with the A1222 to run the next generation AmigaOS 4 on new hardware that is available for Amiga and other hobbyist computer fans to purchase now.

You can make your own mind up about value, but I find AmigaOS 4 an interesting system to tinker with, and love the new functionality and speed compared to a classic Amiga system (even ones using old PowerPC, or newer Pistorm or Vampire accelerators I have also).

Personally I would love to see AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition ported to a PowerPC emulation running on FPGA hardware accelerator that can operate standalone or connected to a classic Amiga (like the Chameleon64 cartridge does for the C64). I guess the world is just not there yet with PowerPC emulation, but maybe Qemu or PearPC one day?

As a current owner of an AmigaOne X1000, X5000, Sam460cr and now an A1222, I think I have enough experience running AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition across all these "next generation amiga" system platforms (and MorphOS on X5000, Powerbook G4 and Sam460cr) to be able to offer some feedback on a kind of buyers guide summary for these systems.


My personal buying advice for people thinking to buy an A1222 or Sam460LE: 

To avoid misunderstandings and potential disappointment, please be aware of what an AmigaOS 4 system can do, and what it can't do. 

  • It is hobbyist system, not your daily driver. It is to tinker and have fun with. AmigaOS 4.1 is still being actively developed with new features and functions, which will continue to evolve slowly over time with a small team of developers. Accept and enjoy exploring the system for what it can do today (which is a lot), with no expectation of a timeframe for new features or bug fixes to be released - the same as for any other hobbyist system in active development, eg Mega 65.
  • You used AmigaOS 3.x on your classic Amiga with applications and workbench friendly programs and tools. If you now want to be able to use them on the latest AmigaOS 4 system with higher speed, new native applications, classic amiga emulation for hardware hitting games/demos, and more modern AmigaOS4 native games and more operating system functionality and modern device support, then yes, this is a system to consider.
  • If you have a classic Amiga system (real or emulated) and you also want to try the latest AmigaOS 4.1 separately, or you don't have any Amiga system and just want the latest one running the newest AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition, then A1222 is a system to consider.
  • If you own and muck around with ArcaOS, then this is a system to consider. Not because it can run ArcaOS, because it can't. But because you probably understand where AmigaOS 4 is positioned, as the modern commercial successor to AmigaOS 3.x, in the same way ArcaOS is the commercial successor to OS/2 Warp 4.5 released in the mid-late 1990's as well. ArcaOS has a similarly interesting development story if you don't know - you can read about it more here. BTW I run ArcaOS too :-)

  • If you are buying an AmigaOS 4.1 system expecting to be able to also play modern AAA games on Steam, Epic, Battle.net, Amazon gaming, Microsoft Xbox gaming, Live streaming with OBS, and to use modern web browsers like Firefox and Chrome with complex applications like Microsoft Office 365, Photoshop, AutoCAD, MS Teams, Azure, AWS, YouTube, Discord, Snapchat, Skype, etc, then stop right now. This is not the system for you.
  • If you are expecting the A1222 to still have native Amiga custom chip hardware compatibility to boot and flawlessly run all Amiga games and demos released 30 years ago  -  again, I would stop right now. This is not the system for you - use FPGA based solutions like the MIST or MISTER instead that implement the original chipsets via cores on FPGA.

    • If you are comparing the specs of the A1222 to the latest PC or Mac system and plan to complain online loudly about the price and how much more value, speed and functionality you get from a modern PC or Mac, then stop right now. This is not the system for you.

    Now, with all that covered early on, and those people who are now no longer  interested in a A1222 having likely moved on, we can move forward with those of you that remain that are still interested!

    Let's take a closer look at the A1222 board. My board is the original production run for beta testers back in 2016 - the final A1222+ version is likely different looking as due to component shortages during global COVID outbreak the board was re-worked.


    The specifications of the AmigaOne A1222 (Tabor) I have are:


    PowerPC CPU: Freescale QorIQ P1022, 1.2GHz, 32-bit, e500V2, dual-core
    • 1x CPU fan + heatsink
    • 2x fan ports

    DDR3 SODIMM
    • 64 bit interface
    • 400Mhz
    • Support up to 8GB RAM

    RS232 Serial
    • 1x RS232 including flow control
    • Level shifting from TTL UART serial levels to RS232 levels
    • Maximum baud rate of 230,400

    SATA
    • 2x SATA 2.6 compliant controllers

    USB
    • 2x External & 2x Internal USB port

    Ethernet
    • 2x RGMII ethernet PHYs each providing Gbit ethernet

    PCIe
    • x4 PCIe gen 1 link allows data rates of 2.5Gb/s per lane
    • x16 PCIe connector to support RadeonHD graphics cards

    Audio
    • Audio CODEC generating stereo audio out from I2S digital audio

    HDMI LCD Interface
    • 24 bit colour depth
    • Support for resolution up to 1280x1024
    • HDMI 1.3 support

    GPIO
    • Support for user GPIOs
    • GPIO JTAG

    Micro SD
    • Micro SD card for ROM - later possibility of running the whole system from the microSD card

    WCU Prog

    LED ports for Power, CPU, HDD


    For my A1222, I housed it in a rather cool looking In Win H-Frame mini ITX case. Sadly I don't believe this case is available to purchase any more. 

    It is an open case form factor, with lots of cooling as a result. But mostly I bought it because it looked cool - fellow Amigan (and part time Atarian - heh) TJ from the US also bought one at the same time! :-)

    I added a low profile half height ATI Radeon Southern island chipset graphics card in the PCI-e slot. Full ones will not fit in the InWin case.

    I added a 256GB SATA SSD as the main hard disk, with a slot load SATA DVD drive connected to the other SATA port on the A1222 board. I added a USB3 to USB2 converter so I could use the front USB 3 ports on the case.

    You can easily unscrew and interchange the glass and red cover to see the board and internals.

    Behind the covers you can see the case is quite open in its design. I think it is quite clever. My board didn't come with the usual blanking plate surround for the ports, but the open nature of the case means I don't see it as an issue at all. If anything, it enhances the look of it.


    You can see the blog post with the full build process I did here.

    The A1222 system should come with a recover USB to rebuild the system, and it is this that I used to build my system to the base configuration. It includes AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 2 with all the additional drivers for the A1222, and also includes the Enhancer 2.2 package from A-EON, which gives the critical Radeon HD drivers, tools and applications as well. I have covered Enhancer in a lot of detail on this blog previously, so I suggest going here to learn more if you are interested.

    In this part, I plan to focus on what is included as delivered on the system build, and the next part on tweaking and customising to add additional AmigaOS 4.1 tools, games, demos and applications.

    On first boot up, the system boots in 1024x768 graphics mode:


    Naturally I wanted to quickly fix this, since the drivers support 1920x1080, which is my attached HDMI screen's native resolution.

    Unfortunately the driver didn't detect this resolution in my screen when I checked ScreenMode prefs - this may not be a problem for everyone, it is likely screen dependant:


    Flicking over to the Monitors tab, I only have 800x600 and 1024x768 detected automatically:


    It is easy to fix though. So I unchecked the detect automatically setting, and manually added the 1920x1080 screen resolution in this section as below:


    I then selected my new 1920x1080 entry in the Monitors section of ScreenMode prefs:


    When I save the settings in ScreenMode prefs it prompts me to reboot for the settings to take effect:


    Note that you can now also shutdown the computer from the Workbench titlebar menu, with options to restart AmigaOS, Restart the computer, or power off. Power off will soft power off the machine - no more pushing the physical power switch to turn off the system.


    On reboot I now have a 1080p Workbench screen. Excellent:



    The SGrab tool is included in the recovery USB disk image, so I could start to grab screenshots from here on:


    Going back into ScreenMode prefs, you can see the new screen setup setting in effect now:



    Now, for those who haven't used AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition before, or are coming from a classic Amiga environment like AmigaOS 3.x or even earlier, I thought it would be helpful to also walk through some of the features included under AmigaOS 4.1 final edition on the A1222.

    For those who already know all this I guess you might likely skim read over parts of it... :-)

    The Workbench partition uses the whole drive capacity, now unlocked from the 2GB/4GB limits in AmigaOS 3.1 and earlier. (yes I know AmigaOS 3.2 also allows larger partitions now)


    Icons are no longer limited in colour depth, but support for older formats like NewIcons, MagicWB, etc, have been retained so they display correctly.

    The usual Devs, Prefs, Storage, System, Utilities and Trashcan drawers are included, with the addition of Emulation, Internet, MUI, Documentation and Purchases drawers. There are many more hidden drawers without icons in the file system itself as was the case in AmigaOS 3.1, like c, s, l, libs, fonts.

    You can see them by changing the view from Icons only, to show all files, from the workbench title bar menu, or just right clicking inside the active window. I recommend showing by name if showing all files as it is easier and quicker to navigate.

    Preferences includes a number of items carried over from AmigaOS 3.1 like Screenmode, Time, Locale, Deficons, WBPattern, Datatypes, Font, etc, but a number of new features are added to them, and a number of other Prefs are now included also like USB, AmigaInput, Compatibility, Console, GUI, Internet, PopUpMenu, URL, Updates, and more.


    In the Utilities drawer, there is a lot installed here. Some of these programs are included in the standard AmigaOS 4.1 install CD, which is included as an ISO on the partition (more on this later). Others are installed as part of the A-EON Enhancer package



    Utilities drawer in AmigaOS 3.1 and earlier was quite limited, with Multiview, Calculator, Clock, Commodities being the main ones there. 

    As you can see there is a lot more now - so let's take a look at some of them. TuneNet is a music player, and able to playback MP3's, Amiga module (MOD) music files, and stream internet radio stations. You can also add AmigaAmp plugins to enable more music file format support, but for now I will use it as it was delivered.

    I first cue up some Chillout lounge music to stream from the internet...


    On the Tune tab you can see the output levels, music file type and options to adjust balance and volume. 



    If playing back MOD files, you can also select sub-tunes for Amiga MODS (custom ones) that have multiple sub songs in the one music file.



    You can add folder contents and then save playlists of your favourite music for next time you want to listen to music in TuneNet.

    Naturally, I don't want to have to navigate to the TuneNet drawer every time I want to run it, so I can drag the TuneNet icon from the program drawer onto the dock at the bottom of the AmigaOS 4.1 Workbench screen. This dock is called X-Dock, and is started automatically each boot. It is also located in the Utilities drawer and is part of the A-EON Enhancer bundle.

    Below you can see the TuneNet program icon now showing in the x-dock dock below the drawer:


    Also included in the Utilities drawer is a program called DvPlayer, included with the Enhancer bundle. It is used to playback videos. This program was developed a long time ago in the mid 2000's (I registered it back then), and was purchased and updated a little bit by A-EON to be included in Enhancer. You can buy it separately though - which I showed on this blog.


    DvPlayer is quite limited though due to its age, and I couldn't get it to play mp4 videos on the A1222 as delivered. I know from trying it in 2022 on my X1000 that it needs Radeon HD v5 drivers to play other formats well, which is sold separately to Enhancer.  

    Update 15/3/24: I have been informed by Trevor Dickinson that the A1222+ customers receive should have a RX graphics card which apparently does allow higher resolution video playback with DVPlayer. Sadly those cards don't fit in the InWin case, so I can't test this myself on the A1222. 

    There are other video playback options on AmigaOS 4.1 like MPlayer and Emotion which we will explore in another part later on. DvPlayer as delivered here did play lower resolution AVI videos ok as shown below:


    I also added the DvPlayer program icon to the x-dock dock. I think I'll call it the dock from now on, but I mention it is actually x-dock, rather than the Amidock that is included with AmigaOS 4.1. You can enable Amidock instead if you prefer from the WBStartup in the Prefs drawer.

    X-Dock has a lot of preferences, which you can adjust the icon positions, create sub-docks, add separators, change the location and orientation of the dock, and add multiple docks.


    As you can see the TuneNet and DvPlayer icons I added to the dock appear in places I don't want in the dock.


    I can add separators and then move the icon positions around until it looks how I want:


    There are plenty of other options too - X-Dock is very customisable:


    As a side note, you can right click on the Workbench desktop screen to access commonly accessed programs such as those in the System, Utilities, and Prefs drawer:


    I mention this as it is not necessary to add shortcuts to all the programs into the dock, as you have other quick ways to access them.

    The next included utility is MultiEdit, part of the Enhancer bundle:


    Personally I normally use Cubic IDE for editing, but this utility is simple to use, and allows multiple files to be edited and switched within the same program - below I am editing the startup-sequence file, which is located in the S drawer, and is executed every time the system boots up:


    I then opened up User-startup and network-startup files (both also in S), and the Kicklayout file from the Kickstart drawer, which loads operating system kernel modules at boot time:


    Next program I wanted to try in the utilities drawer was PlayCD, but it didn't find my CD drive. Normally it expects to find it as CD0, which under AmigaOS 3.1 is the usual name for the CD drive.

    However , the DVD drive on my system is mounted as SATA1: for some reason. I checked and confirmed this by running the 'info' command from the Shell (located in the System drawer):


    The Workbench partition device name is DH0: and USB0: is the device name for the USB stick I had inserted into the A1222 USB port at the time.

    I looked at the icon information (right click on the icon and select Information), selected the Icon tab, and changed the DOSDEV=CD0 tool type to SATA1:
     


    And yes, I know I could just do an assign of CD0: to SATA1: - but I thought using the GUI method was nicer.

    PlayCD then worked - I could play an Audio CD, but it needed to be inserted when the system booted, otherwise the system didn't see it. It also stutters playback. Hopefully this bug is just because I am using on older A1222 board and it can be fixed.


    Also in the Utilities drawer is a Audio Mixer program for the A1222 to adjust input and output volumes:


    On the audio front, there is a seperate VU Meter program too, but I haven't played with that as yet.

    Next up is the Calendar program (again from Enhancer), which you can leave running on the Workbench, and launch on boot using the WBStartup preferences program. 



    You can customise the Calendar via it's preferences:




    You can also add Notifications (alarms) or triggered actions via the Clock prefs when clicking on a day in the Calendar.




    On the subject of the Clock, it is the Enhancer version (rather than the original AmigaOS 4.1 Clock), and it is displayed on the top right when the system is booted.

    There are a lot of settings to customise the clock - you can have multiple clocks showing different time zones which might actually be useful for me:


    You can change if there are sounds on quarter hour, hour, etc, and how loud:


    You can also change the appearance of the clock with a number of theme styles available to choose from as delivered:


    Here is a few examples - you can do Square shaped ones too:




    Moving on from the clock, there is a ShowConfig utility which gives a quick system summary:



    Directory Opus 4 is also included. This was a commercial application written in Australia by GP Soft - It is very popular on AmigaOS - I used it back on my 1.3 Workbench system, and still use it today! I am glad there is a AmigaOS 4 version too, which opens on a separate screen, but you can change this behaviour if you prefer it to open on the Workbench screen - I like it on a separate screen.



    After adding the utilities I explored so far to the Dock, It is looking better already!


    I then tried Multiviewer, which is a fancy upgraded version of Multiview from AmigaOS 3.1. 

    It supports multiple document types being available for easy access from the left pane, with more functions available than Multiview. Multiviewer, like Multiview, can view any file format as long as there is a Datatype for it installed on the system. Here I have some JPG pictures, startup-sequence and Module file opened in Mutiviewer:


    Naturally, we need a web browser, and included on the A1222 is the latest available AmigaOS 4.1 version of Odyssey from 2022:


    The recovery usb stick sets up the network interfaces on the A1222 board using DHCP, so make sure it is connected before you proceed. Make sure to download the fonts using the supplied installer, which is downloaded from the internet.

    On first launch Odyssey will process the fonts added. After that it will launch much faster.


    os4depot.net is the place to go for AmigaOS 4.1 files, and you can also get files from Aminet.net too, as long as they are Workbench friendly and don't require the custom chips from the original Amiga in order to work:


    You can also go to my website EpsilonsWorld.com as it works fine in Odyssey. But hey, you are already here :-)


    In my testing, sadlyYouTube doesn't work in Odyssey, even when spoofing as Firefox, Chrome, or iPad / iPhone web browsers:



    It used to work fine with Odyssey a few years ago, I covered that in this blog - but unfortunately YouTube keeps changing the website functionality and minimum requirements, and sadly it is broken again on AmigaOS 4 in 2024. It is a constant moving target, so hopefully it is fixed again soon.


    We really need an updated modern web browser on AmigaOS 4. 

    On MorphOS they have a newer modern browser under active development called Wayfarer that fixes a lot of the issue with this version of Odyssey. I would love to see it on AmigaOS 4 too in the future.

    While in Odyssey, I recommend to create a new drawer called Downloads in your Workbench partition, and set that as the default download location for Odyssey. It puts downloads in RAM by default, and personally I prefer them on the hard disk:


    While in the settings, you can see there are a lot of web browser spoofing options, since the AmigaOS is not recognised by most websites nowadays. Pretending Odyssey is something else on more popular platforms like iOS, Windows, and MacOS can get a number of website to display correctly.


    Lastly in the Utilities drawer, I wanted to mention the inclusion of AmiPDF, to view PDF documents. On AmigaOS 3.x, using AmiPDF is a chore, as rendering pages is so slow, even on a fast 060 system.

    However on the A1222, PDF's load quickly and are quick and easy to navigate. There is a Quick start guide in PDF format the Documentation drawer on the Workbench partition:



    There is also a Technical Reference Manual for the A1222 board, and a guide to installing Debian linux on the A1222, both in PDF format.


    You can see you can select the chapters of the PDF's on the left side to skip sections you are not interested in reading, which is handy.


    I will move now to the System drawer, to see what is included there:


    I realise some people who use AmigaOS 4 regularly already know this stuff, but I think it is helpful to cover as many people who have never owned an AmigaOS 4 system would not be aware of this. The A1222 is targeted to those people, so I think a quick coverage is potentially useful.

    Media Toolbox is the replacement for HDToolbox on AmigaOS 3.1. It works in a similar way, so if you know how it works already, you will feel right at home.



    Editing partitions looks the same as HDToolbox too, but one thing to mention is that the A1222, like the X5000, using NGFS as the file system, not SFS2 as used on the AmigaOne X1000 and Sam460. Classic Amiga system generally use Fast File System (FFS), but also can run SFS and other file systems like PFS too. A1222 only supports using NGFS on the boot partition, same as for the X5000.


    If you are interested to learn more, there is a PDF included in the documentation drawer that explains the file system features and differences.


    Moving on in the System drawer now, DiskImageGUI is next. This allows us to mount virtual CD's (ISO files) as device ICD0 or ICD1, and Amiga virtual floppy disks (ADF) as IDF0 or IDF1:
     

    We can also eject them from the same interface. Once launched, we can bring it up anytime (as it is a AmigaOS commodity) with the keyboard shortcut CTRL ALT D.

    Here is a ADF disk image (Freds Journey game disk) mounted using DiskImageGUI. I can open it to see the contents. If the disk has it's own icon it will be displayed - if not it uses a generic icon:


    Next I ejected it, and mounted the AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition ISO: 
     

    The AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition ISO is included in the Purchased drawer of the Workbench partition, along with the Enhancer software original archive:



    Note that if you mount a disk or ISO and reboot the system, it will mount them automatically on reboot. So remember to eject them when you finished with them.

    The Shell has received plenty of attention in AmigaOS 4.1, with tab completion, multiple tabs and plenty of other customisable options.


    You can get very granular with the shell functionality, if that is your thing!


    Being able to adjust how much history is kept, and the ability to save the history into a file on exit is great.


    You can make the Shell colours to your preference too. Note that AmigaOS has no "dark mode" theme, so you have to adjust in multiple places to achieve a similar outcome. Personally, I don't think it is worth it, but YMMV.


    There are two updaters included, one called Updater for updates issued from A-EON products you have installed on your system, either from Enhancer, or purchased and installed from their AmiStore application that is also included.


    You will need to setup an account on AmiSphere (managed by A-EON) in order to use this. You log into AmiStore app using the AmiSphere ID for purchasing software also so it is linked to your account and any updates for purchased products can be downloaded from Updater.

    The other update program is called AmiUpdate, which checks what updates are available from Hyperion Entertainment for the AmigaOS 4.1 operating system. 


    Using this requires a login using an id registered on the Hyperion Entertainment website. You also need to register the AmigaOS 4.1 Final edition license key you received with your A1222 to that ID. You can then see the updates using AmiUpdate.

    Moving on from updates now, the Find tool in the System drawer is next. As you would expect, it allows you to search any drives connected to the system for whatever you are looking for. In this example I looked for PDF files, which is how I found the PDF files I viewed earlier.


    Double clicking on the resultant files will open them in the associated application for that file type, if there is one.

    There is also a Help tool in the System drawer, which helps with information on AmigaDOS commands in Shell (located in the C drawer) and the correct syntax to use:


    Next up in the System drawer is SDBackup. This is a very useful utility that allows you to backup and restore the firmware of the A1222 to/from a file. It also has a number of other functions.


    On the A1222, the firmware is stored on a MicroSD card on the board itself. So here I decided to backup my current A1222 firmware to the Workbench partition, using a new SDBackup drawer which I created for the purpose.


    With this setup, I am ready to start:


    The backup completes within a second:


    You can see the resultant file in the SDBackup drawer I created earlier:


    FYI you can also create a new drawer in any open partition or drawer window on the Workbench by right clicking and choosing New > New Drawer - you can also use a keyboard shortcut Amiga-N or select from the Titlebar workbench menu - lots of options...even from the shell using makedir (but note the shell method will not create a icon for the drawer)


    MUI 5 is also included in the System drawer, but note that it is the unregistered version, which does have limitations on the functionality. MUI is used by a lot of Amiga software these days, and it is a good thing it is included in the A1222 system from the start.


    You can register it from the www.sasg.com website. Place the resultant mud.key in the S drawer to activate its full functionality. Even without that, you can still change a lot of settings:


    You can see that MUI applications have two extra buttons on the top right of their window to iconify and resize (small):


    An example MUI application is Odyssey, and in it's titlebar menu is an MUI options section, which presents the options which will only apply to Odyssey (not every MUI application):


    Next up in the System drawer is the Commodities drawer, which contains tools that run and stay resident while the system is running. You can run them from here or launch automatically each boot via WBStartup preferences. When running as a commodity, you can invoke them with Amiga keyboard shortcuts to use/customise them:


    A good inclusion in the System drawer is Archiver, which allows you to create archives from files and folders on your system, to make them easier to transfer somewhere.


    There are many tools for this on the Amiga, but none are included standard with AmigaOS 4.1 (or 3.x for that matter). Normally I copy lha and zip handlers to the C drawer from Aminet and use the shell. I know there are GUI options but I rarely use them. 

    It is good to see though that the GUI tools exist on the A1222 to cater for people who prefer a GUI over the shell for this task. I tried compressing the drawer I did earlier for the SDBackup. You can choose from a number of different compression formats using the method drop down box.


    It worked fine - here is the resulting archive:


    That finishes off my look at the System drawer.

    There is an Emulation drawer int he Workbench partition, but at this moment it just contains the Workbench 3.1 disc contents, and the Amiga kickstart roms. We need to install some additional components from the AmigaOS 4.1 ISO first to use this.


    So, using the DiskImageGUI tool I covered earlier, I mounted the AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition ISO and opened the Extras Installer icon that then appeared on the Workbench desktop.


    The items highlighted in red are already installed and newer versions than the ones in the extras installer.

    From the list I installed RunInUAE and the Classic 68K Cinemaware titles - I used the Simple mode for the RunInUAE installation. This installs the E-UAE emulator and related WHDLoad files needed to run classic Amiga games that are not Workbench friendly. 


    I put RunInUAE in the Emulation drawer, to keep everything Emulation related together:


    Once the installation was completed and system rebooted, I now have RunInUAE and the Cinemaware classic Amiga games like Defender of the Crown, Wings and more. These games are setup to run using WHDLoad, installed as part of RunInUAE.

    This is an older version of E-UAE and also older version of WHDLoad (which still expects registration - before it was made free). We will fix it later.


    For now though I can now try out playing Wings on my A1222. Double clicking the game icon launches RunInUAE, which detects the whdload call as a call to run a 68k binary, and redirects it to launch in E-UAE using the basic Workbench 3.1 environment in the Emualtion drawer.



    The game launches full screen using a small section of that 1080p screen, since the original screen resolution was 320x200 or 320x240 depending on whether you had PAL or NTSC back then.


    RunInUAE launches a small window you can right click on in the workbench screen to customise the settings for launching this game. I switched back to the Workbench screen (use 'Amiga' and 'N'), and changed it to launch in a window on the Workbench screen, setup to use 640x512. I closed the emulation using CTRL Amiga Q. On relaunch Wings now runs in a window - much better:




    The game works perfectly.


    This RunInUAE functionality is not limited to WHDLoad converted software. If it detects any 68k binary being run, it will prompt you whether you want to redirect it to E-UAE - some examples are some demos I had backed up on a USB stick:


    It is interesting to see just how much AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition has out of the box to muck around with on the A1222. I plan to do much more with the emulation later on.

    Let's move on from the Emulation drawer to the Preferences drawer. 

    Starting first with the GUI preferences - I love the improvement in the customisation of the Workbench GUI in AmigaOS 4.1 compared to classic AmigaOS 3.x - this was so messy in the older versions, requiring multiple customisation tools that often clashed with each other:



    Locale works much the same as it did in AmigaOS 3.1, but it knows about Daylight savings time nowadays in AmigaOS 4.1:


    AmiUpdate preferences allow you to change the behaviour of AmiUpdate when downloading, applying and rolling back updates:



    A-EON provided their own version of Time prefs. Not sure this was really needed as AmigaOS 4.1 has it's own...but the option to adjust Daylight saving time automatically is nice.


    Printer preferences have been updated from AmigaOS 3.1, but driver support is limited. Postscript is your best bet.


    You can specific USB printers as a device or print to file, but as mentioned driver support is limited when it comes to printers (USB or parallel). It might work, or more likely not.


    There are ways to print to network printers, but it is something I have only read about and not tried yet - I will have to try it one of these days, but I guess printing is something I rarely need to do from the Amiga. I assume it is the same for others too given the driver situation.

    Sound preferences is another A-EON replacement, and merges the AHI audio preferences and traditional AmigaOS 4.1 sound prefs into the one preferences tool:




    CANDI prefs are also present, but at the moment CANDI does not work on the A1222. IT works fine on the X1000 and X5000, so I expect there will be a fix in the pipeline. But for now, I wouldn't try to use it as it will hang the system.



    Moving on, the URL preferences allow you to define actions to launch Amiga web browsers from a right click context menu.


    Input preferences allows to setup the mouse and keyboard to your liking:


    The Workbench preferences allows you hide devices, set the Screen title information in the Titlebar, if the traditional volume gauge is visible in device windows in workbench, Icon display options, transparency and more!



    Naturally I change the titlebar screen text to include EpsilonsWorld.com, as I do on all my builds:





    Fonts preferences work similarly to AmigaOS 3.1, with the option to support anti-aliasing of fonts, which is enabled by default.




    Serial preferences are next up, and look similar to AmigaOS 3.1


    Screenblanker allows you to set the screen saver you want to use, and setting associated with it, timeouts. etc.


    Pointer preferences allows you to change the design of the mouse pointer if you desire it. Back in Workbench 1.3 I used to do this, but since AmigaOS 3.1 I haven't bothered. But if you like to do this kind of thing, you can still do it!


    AmigaInput allows settings for devices like USB joysticks and scanners, and testing/calibration settings. For joysticks you can test that the directional functions and fire buttons work as expected.


    That completes the look at the Preferences drawer. 

    I added a Photos, Applications, Music, and Videos drawers to my Workbench partition in preparation for the next part.


    To be honest, I think not enough attention is given to how much functionality is included in the AmigaOS 4,.1 Final Edition, and I hope I have helped to show some of it in this post. 

    If nothing else, it helps people new to AmigaOS 4.1 and buying a A1222 system to understand the key parts of the system.

    That completes this initial look at the build. 

    I plan to add a lot more software to the base system, and look in more detail at the performance of the A1222 system compared to other AmigaOS 4 systems in the future. 



    16 comments:

    1. Nice review, thanks!

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    2. W Amiga !!!! we need to have many porting ...programs / games ....and we Win !!!

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    3. Thank you for your time! Hope to see part 2 soon:)

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    4. Thank you for the introduction to the A1222 !

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    5. Very good work...seems like a serviceable system...you did a very good service with your review. I would hope more developers could add more interfaces with other hardware, and develop pro level productivity software.

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    6. Brilliant post, as always. A few points from my experience:

      1. If you have the latest version of DVplayer and va.library from A-EON -- which you should have -- DVplayer should be able to play your MP4s just fine if the codec is supported by the library. You can double-check with Emotion.

      2. PlayCD has stuttering problems on not just the A1222. Thankfully PlayCDDA works just fine, at least for me. You can grab it on OS4depot.

      3. AmiPDF can be a tad pokey on the A1222, but RNOPDF is much, much faster. It uses the Hollywood PDF decoder, and I highly recommend it over AmiPDF.

      4. The CANDI breakage has been reported to A-EON. No idea if a fix is being investigated.

      I touch on some of this in my A1222 QuickStart Guide. You can visit it at http://eliyahu.org/tabor if you're interested.

      -- eldee

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      Replies
      1. DvPlayer should be the latest version which MP4 videos almost up to UHD resolution. the va.library (and many other critical libraries and drivers from A-EON) are included as default in the Recovery USB pen drive.

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      2. As Eldee said. DvPlayer plays very high resoultion MP4 files with ease. The va.library driver (and all other critical A-EON driver and Enhancer v2.0 files) are automatically installed by the Recovery USB pen drive. Workbench CANDI always worked on the A1222. Something has changed in OS4.1. I also agree, the updated AmiPDF is extremely fast compared the the earlier versions.

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    7. As Eldee said, DvPlayer plays MP4 files up to UHD with ease. The va.library drivers (and all other critical drivers and other Enhancer V2.2 software) is installed automatically by the Recover USB pen drive.

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    8. DvPlayer works well with very High resolution MP4 video files.

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    9. Grazie! possiedo una Sam460ex ed è bello vedere che AmigaOS4 continua ad essere supportato. Hai fatto una bellissima recensione. Aspetto la seconda parte :)

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    10. 'this is not a raspberry pi' - with all due respect that's the problem imo.. powerpc was old in the 2000s and here we are in 2024 expected to buy a board for more than half thousand euros which is obsolete on arrival.

      if hyperion focused their efforts on providing a fun and easy alternative on a standardised and accessible platform instead of creating a 'rich guy club' on hardware that needs to be recalled even after years of delays maybe they'd even expand their user base and make a decent profit..

      having said that, i'm still excited to see amigaos 4 and refuse to give up hope that maybe one day i can run it on something other than qemu. and no, i'm not fussed about the price, i'm annoyed at the wasted possibilities.

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      Replies
      1. I think you need to read up a bit about the processor used in the A1222...

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      2. i have mate. it's from 2010 and is/was used mostly in embedded systems. it can, in some circumstances, outperform the ARM cortex A7 (used in the raspberry pi *2*) which is from 2011. don't make me laugh..

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    11. Hey guys
      Part II is about other (added) software

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    12. I enjoyed reading this article, i just recently purchased the A1222+ system, for a new Amiga 4.1 user like learning and reading this article is very helpful. It an esoteric OS, the more information about it, the better for new users like myself may want to try and test it. Thank you very much and also Eldee Stephens's A1222+ quick start guide is very good too for additional review on the A1222+ board. Looking forward to part 2 and more.

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