The Vintage Computing Festival 2010- The AmigaOne X1000
Although the focus of the event was vintage hardware, there was at least one brand-new product being showcased: the AmigaOne X1000 from A-EON. The A-EON stand drew by far the biggest crowd of the day, but those expecting to be able to get their pre-orders in were left disappointed by director Trevor Dickinson.
Dickinson demonstrated a Revision 1 Amiga X1000 built by hardware partner Varisys running Amiga OS 4, but announced that a firm release schedule hadn't been decided upon, pending the creation of a Revision 2 motherboard. Trevor admitted that although the system on show had been running a working copy of Amiga OS 4 for the last six months, last minute hacking was required prior to the show as "only in the last couple of days has it successfully booted off the hard drive."
While the hardware on display matched the originally released specifications - aside from a CPU clockspeed increase to 2GHz - the design left something to be desired: far from an Amiga 1000-inspired chassis as was originally promised, the X1000 was a black monolith with a surprisingly loud series of fans keeping the dual-core PowerPC-based processor cool.
The first new Amiga in years, the X1000, was one show
Describing the X1000 as a "top-end machine," Dickinson explained that "compared to mass-produced Intel machines or x86 machines from the Far East this is going to be much more expensive. We're a very small market, we're specialist, we're making very small numbers - [it's] inherently expensive." Although cagey on firm figures, Dickinson did confess that the AmigaOne X1000 was definitely "going to be north of £1,500," and possibly as high as £2,000, while pre-ordering for the device isn't expected to open before Christmas.
Speaking to us after the event, Dickinson explained that he firmly believed that the 2GHz dual-core processor in the X1000 would be enough to satisfy the most demanding of users, despite its lower clockspeed when compared to current x86 hardware. Describing his early use of a beta-test version of an A-Cube next-gen Amiga using an AMC 440 667MHz CPU, Dickinson explained that "Amiga OS 4 on that feels as fast as running Windows on your multi-gigahertz whatever - it won't do certain things as fast - it won't do number crunching as fast - but when you're using it, from a users' perspective it's a nice machine to use. So, is 2GHz enough? Probably, if it's multi-core."
The X1000 features a dual-core 2GHz PowerPC CPU
Dickinson also revealed a bonus designed to tempt those Amiga fans who have never made the move to next-generation hardware, in that A-EON is "trying to build in software some compatibility with the classic [Amiga] range," with one developer working on the project putting together "an Amiga Classic distro - completely reproducing a fairly souped-up Amiga Classic system - but on [the X1000] in software [to] give the classic people a link into it so they can at least take it on board as they haven't so far with the next-generation Amigas."