The Amiga 2000 You Always Wanted

Back in the late 1980s, Commodore pulled the masterstroke of selling several models and generations of Amiga that were all powered by essentially the same speed 68000 and associated chipset. Sure, there were differences in the RAM and other options you could fit and later models had a few extra graphics modes. Still, the entry-level A500 did substantially the same as the high-end A2000. No matter, we the fans all wanted a 2000 anyway, though we typically found ourselves unable to afford one. It’s 2021 now though, so if you never achieved the dream of owning your own A2000, now you can build one of your own! It’s the task [Drygol] has taken on, with an A2000 made entirely from new components, save for a few salvaged Commodore-specific chips and connectors.

At its heart is a beautiful recreation of the original PCB that we’re guessing will be of great interest to owners whose NiCd batteries have leaked and corroded their originals. It’s all through-hole, but the sheer size of a motherboard still makes it a daunting prospect to solder by hand. There are a huge quantity of decoupling and ESD components that all have to be held with tape before the board is flipped over for soldering, and then all the chips are socketed. A Fat Agnes address generator was fitted on a RAM expansion daughterboard, leading to some significant problems as it proved not to be compatible and had to be removed.

The whole is put in a very low-profile PC case with appropriate risers for the Zorro slots, and then in goes a set of upgrades probably not seen in the same place since about 1993. We don’t recognize them all, but we can see accelerators, a floppy emulator, an HDD emulator using a CF card, and is that a network card we spy? This machine is still a work in progress, but we can guarantee it would have been an extreme object of desire thirty years ago. See it in action in the video below the break.

If rebuilding an Amiga interests you, we took a look at the state of the remanufactured parts scene for the platform last year.

30 thoughts on “The Amiga 2000 You Always Wanted

  1. Way cool. I ran a BBS in my small midwestern town on the Amiga 2000 for 4 years from 1990 to 1994 using the C-Net software which in my opinion was the most configurable bbs software ever made for the Amiga. The drive I had crashed and it ended the BBS. I’ve often thought of sending in the drive to have the data fetched from it (if it’s possible at all), but never wanted to spend the money required. It was called the Imperial Realm BBS.

      1. Get a quote and ask Jason Scott (@textfiles on Twitter) from The Internet Archive. If the task is technically feasible it will be funded, trust me. I for one would chip in to such fundraiser.

  2. Kudos to Drygol on the build. I loved my Amiga 500!. However is the use of those sockets intended to emulate the legendary ‘reliability’ of the original Amiga 2000? If you’re building this do yourself a favor – just solder everything in that you can, and use machine pin sockets for the others (ex the custom chips and CPU) that may feasibly need to be removed. The long term reliability of wipe sockets just isn’t worth dealing with.

    1. so mere mortals w/o smd soldering expertise can build it themselves. plus the original chips are also thru-hole, and they are not manufactured anymore.
      never the less, this amount of thru-hole soldering is not for the faint hearted. just bending the resistor legs to proper size may take hours.

      1. Wow, you like making work for yourself, slick one lead in, loop it over, stick the other leg in, pull tight, takes as long as finding the holes with the ends of the pre-bent ones.

    2. the main goal was to make a replica, I did make a KiCAD equivalent of the A2000 but still a replica.
      it could definitely be converted to SMD and stuff moved around but it’s not an easy task on the A2000, and the capture had to be validated as-is first.

          1. Thanks! I had started doing this myself so if someone else has done it then its a big time saver. I wanted to split the board into smaller boards that would be easier to make.

            the demo for that guys layout software is windows only too, I don’t like to waste time with wine if I don’t have to.

  3. The Amiga2000 I wanted arrived back in 1993……as a pile of crap thanks to UPS. Remember the post a few days ago about shipping old monitors. I got all that in several different packages that were supposed to have been shipped together. They literally dropped it so hard they bent the case enough to break the motherboard and Zorro “daughterboard”.

    It wasn’t all bad though, I got an A3000 for about the same price and it was significantly faster and allowed me to use my Video Toaster, and most especially Lightwave, much better than that A2000 ever would have.

    1. Light wave, yes! I had three Amigas networked for rendering my crappy Lightwave (Cracked, of course) CG hobby projects. Funny thing is I persisted with the hobby until I was supervising the CG on some very large films you would’ve seen.

      I still think fondly upon those early years and how the Amiga helped make my dream a reality.

    2. I think it would be interesting to see how many video tools/lightwave tools/models people managed to have kept through the last 30 years. Would be interesting if any of it could be recycled into a modern work flow today. Especially the esoteric stuff like stop-action animation with the NewTek “Flyer” (which I had briefly at one moment in time) and external SVHS/Beta or 3/4″ UMatic decks. Or anything in the “cart/tape” management as you could be switching through the toaster to your broadcast line.

      And then while you sleep, a Guru Meditation error may crop up and would take the upper 1/3 of the screen while it played infomercials or maybe jerry springer reruns…

  4. I was a poor college kid when I got my Amiga 500. When I heard that you could actually run your own Unix OS (NetBSD 0.8) on a 68030 with a 68881/68882 FPU, I was a man on a mission. It took tens of 3.5″ floppies downloaded on the school’s computers, but I got the full distribution.

    I bought a GVP A530 sidecar. Then I learned that it came with the non-MMU version of the 68030 and no FPU. I saved up for the full 50 MHz ‘030 but I couldn’t afford the 50 MHz 68882 and the 40 MHz chip I had wasn’t reliable enough to run at 50 MHz.

    A smarter and richer person would have just bought the 50 MHz 68882, but either they weren’t available or I was stupid, and I didn’t want a 20% slower system, so ended up cutting the clock trace for the 68882 and bought a 40 MHz oscillator and wired that up. So for years, I had a 50 MHz / 40 MHz hybrid system.

  5. All nice and good, but my A1200 with a 68060 50MHz kicked butt, almost. Lots of crunching power, bottle neck was the aga chipset. Bought a tower mod with zorroIII slots for the A1200 but it never worked. Never did get a proper refund either

  6. The best thing about the Amiga 2000 is its case. If you put the electronics in anything else, it is just a 68K computer with the best OS. But /not/ an Amiga 2000.

  7. Considering ordinal Amiga 2000s are going for astronomical $800+ prices on eBay right now due largely to articles like this building a new one from scratch doesn’t sound like a bad idea despite the enormous BoM.

  8. I still have a complete collection of Amiga’s 2 – 1000, 1 – 500, 1 – 2000 and all kinds of one of toys from external hard drives to internal hard with IBM XT daughter card. Memory upgrades on legs. I guess I should look into let them go and free up shelf space drawing board might still be around.

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