Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 87 / AUGUST 1987 / PAGE 8

Upgrading Amiga's Processor

I am writing with reference to your hands-on report about the new Amiga 2000 computer in the March, 1987 issue. I am a satisfied owner of an Amiga 1000, and I think my computer can do just about all the things the Amiga 2000 can do—albeit not as conveniently. I can add extra memory and run IBM PC software with the aid of the Sidecar peripheral. However, I am not sure about one point. Can the Amiga 1000 upgrade to a Motorola 68020 microprocessor and/or 68881 numeric coprocessor as the Amiga 2000 can?

Nathan Singer

Both the Amiga 1000 and 2000 come with the same Motorola 68000 microprocessor as standard equipment. On either machine, you should be able to unplug the 68000 chip and replace it with the somewhat more powerful 68010 chip. This operation has been done by some Amiga 1000 owners, gaining a slight increase in performance. Note, however, that replacing the chip voids your warranty and should not be attempted unless you have plenty of electronics experience.

Unlike the 68010 chip, the 68020 processor is not plug-compatible with the 68000. You can't just pull out the 68000 and pop in a 68020 because the 68020 has a different shape and pin layout. A 68881 math coprocessor is a separate chip which would have to go in its own socket, too. There are no built-in sockets for either the 68020 or 68881 chips in any Amiga model. No matter what Amiga you own, you will need some sort of expansion board to upgrade to a 68020 microprocessor or to install a 68881 math coprocessor. For the 2000, this board (when it becomes available) will plug into one of the computer's built-in expansion slots. On the Amiga 1000, you must also buy an external expansion box, since no expansion space is provided inside the computer.

One company that sells a 68020 upgrade board for the Amiga 1000 is Computer System Associates, 7564 Trade St., San Diego, CA 92121. Prices for these chips are quite high; you can expect to pay over $1,000 dollars for a board containing both a 68020 and 68881. However, you can expect prices to drop as Motorola increases production of these items.