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Hardware: Raspberry Pi & Amiga

Introduction

Most people in the tech world will know about this tiny all in one Arm powered computer, price as low as £7 for the pi zero. There has been many interesting little projects that have come out of the Pi thanks to its low price, low power requirements and small size. One of the more popular uses of Pi hardware is to emulate the old 80s and 90s Computers, this also includes the Amiga, even the Pi Zero is (just about) powerful enough to run A500 games. However its the slightly more powerful Pi, the Pi 4 and recently launched Pi400 (a all in one computer inside of a keyboard just like the popular Amiga500) where it has more than enough power to emulate the fastest Amiga (even out performing the recent Vampire v4).

Thanks to developments like Amiberry, Amiga emulated systems are only getting better, from simulating a base A1000 all the way up to A4000 with Graphics card, there even the possibility of this board being fast enough to do PPC emulation. There are already a few Pi dedicated images pre-configure distributions for Amiga users to turn Pi into great little Amiga system.

However it not just emulation that these boards can do, there is a Aros Arm port largely targeted and optimised for the Pi systems as well.

If that wasn't enough of an Amiga connection to justifies its inclusion on the site, thanks to development of the A314 expansion card you can hookup a Pi to your old Amiga and allow it to become a CPU & GPU accelerator and more.

There also been a number of hacks/modders that use the Pi as the bases, like the RGBtoHDMI project (more here) or Pi as a Floppy disk drive (read here) that help expand Amiga abilities. Pi4 and Pi400 support is only going to improving with time, and new solutions like Ami-Hybrid, Aros Arm, Amikit are all being activity worked on for the system so it use for Amiga fans is likely to only get better.

Hardware

Pizero

Pi Zero

  • 1Ghz single core ARM CPU
  • 512mb Ram
  • Mini HDMI, Micro USB
  • Run Amiga 500 / 1000
  • £5
Raspberry Pi 4

Pi Model 4

  • 1.48Ghz quad-core ARM CPU
  • 2Gb, 4Gb or 8Gb Ram
  • 2x Mini HDMI, 2x USB3, 2x USB2
  • Run Amiga 500 to A4000
  • £35 (2gb version)
Pi400

Pi 400

  • 1.8Ghz quad-core ARM CPU
  • 4Gb Ram
  • 2x Mini HDMI, 2x USB3, 1x USB2
  • Run Amiga 500 to A4000
  • £70

There are more models but these are the main ones that are available, you can find out more about the hardware and what else can be done with the Raspberry Pi boards on the offical home page https://www.raspberrypi.org/

Its not just Pi hardware there are more intresting development and extra hardware that may help Amiga use the power of th Pi, with things like the A314 board.

a314_with_rpi

A314

The A314 is an expansion board for the Amiga 500 that goes in the trapdoor expansion slot. A Raspberry Pi (RPi) is attached to the A314, and the A500 and the RPi can communicate through a shared memory.

There are already a number of hacks and intresting project that have happened thanks to this (Spoitfy on A500) But a more intresting development is PiStorm, which allows you to use the Pi as a CPU / GPU card for your Amiga. https://github.com/captain-amygdala/pistorm

 

Project Ideas

Browservice - Browse Modern Websites on Old Computers, A web "proxy" server that enables browsing the modern web on historical browsers. It works by rendering the browser viewport into images, which are then shown by a JavaScript application running on the client browser. This basiclly allows Amiga browse modern internet with out running into a number of issue that a outdated brower can encounter, find out more  https://github.com/ttalvitie/browservice/ of course you can use a simple Pi to power this, here is a video of it running on AmigaONE X5000 https://youtu.be/gdD4Q5jVSdI

PiStorm - This project goal is to allows you to use the Pi as a CPU / GPU card for your Amiga. https://twitter.com/Claude1079 has a number of screenshots and video of the project. Source code and guide here https://github.com/captain-amygdala/pistorm

Software Images

Different Pi images are popular within the Raspberry Pi community to quickly allow you to test out different OS,of course Amiga fans have started making Amiga themed images that allow you to boot stright into an Amiga emulated devices and development of this is only going to get better as emulators made for the Pi improve. Below are some of the main ones.

Retro Pie - one of the more popular images for pi's has been Retro Pie, its main purpose is to run emulated computer games of the past, including Amiga's, you can learn how to set this up and run it here, https://retropie.org.uk/docs/Amiga/

However there also pre setup one available too, not too sure on the legality of these images, but it does help end users have a quick setup, these also have nice art work and video intros for each game to make it easy to quickly find a game your after, the 32GB Tomato Amiga Retro Pie is a popular one, designed for Pi3, click here for more

Most people use this kind of build just for the Games and so I would recommend another build for full AmigaOS experice.

Pimiga - Is becoming a popular build for it focus of the Pi4 & Pi400 and large pre-setup system (again not too sure on legality) you will need Amiga Roms for the system to work wich is easy to setup. Then you are taken in a highly customised AmigaOS3.1 GPU setup with loads of games and software all pre-setup and ready to go. https://odd.blog/2020/09/24/pimiga-amiga-on-the-pi/

Amikit XE Pi - Already one of the best distributed pre-configure Amiga setup you can get for the PC, its making the jump to Pi, with features like Rabbit Hole as well allowing you to still have access to linux apps from within the Amiga emulated setup making them feel part of the OS meaning this is a true solution to dumping your PC for Amiga! https://www.amikit.amiga.sk/

Amiberry - Most of the above would'nt be possibe was it not for UAE4ARM and Amiberry, which is a optimized version for Pi baords, the clues in the name really.  https://blitterstudio.com/amiberry/

Aros ARM - raspi-armhf-system - The native version of Aros for ARMv6 based Raspberry Pi computers. Contains all files needed to boot from a FAT formatted sd-card. https://aros.sourceforge.io/nightly1.php