Retro Home Computers – Commodore Amiga 3000

Commodore Amiga 3000,
1990 – 1992

A New Beginning

Commodore Amiga 2000

Above: Commodore Amiga 3000

The Commodore Amiga 3000 is the successor of the Amiga 2500. The Amiga 2500 was merely an upgraded Amiga 2000 with a faster processor and a hard drive controller.

The A3000 is a powerhouse in comparison to previous Amiga and was sold as a high-end graphics workstation. For a time it was used by W Industries as the basis of their highly acclaimed Virtuality machines. At the heart of the A3000 was the powerful 68030. In addition, the A3000 was the first Amiga to feature the new Kickstart 2 upgrade and Zorro III slots.

Commodore Amiga 2000

Above: Commodore Amiga 3000 motherboard

High End Workstation

To emphasis the A3000s capabilities as a high-end workstation, two operating systems were included. The first was the newly released Kickstart/Workbench 2. This was unusual by the fact that Kickstart was stored on the hard disk rather than in ROM. This was similar to the A1000 that required Kickstart to be loaded from floppy disk before anything else could be done.

The second OS to be included with the A3000 was the Unix System (SVR4) V operating system. This allowed the use of the Unix graphical interface, X Windows and Open Look. It also came with standard networking capabilities (probably a first for Commodore), such as TCP/IP, NFS and RFS for networking between different operating systems. In a bizarre twist, the Unix OS was sold on a magnetic tape rather than floppy disk.

Three Amiga 3000 models were produced : 3000, 3000UX, and 3000T.

Commodore Amiga 3000T

Above: Commodore Amiga 3000T

The desktop model which shipped with flippable 1.3 or 2.0 AmigaOS Roms. The Amiga 3000T, released in 1991, was a tower system with built-in speaker, 32Mb RAM, high-resolution mouse, 100 Mb hard-drive, a lot of Zorro III slots, a variety of drive bays, and a 25Mhz 68030 with a 68882 math coprocessor. The 3000UX shipped with “AMIX”, Commodore’s System-5 derived UNIX which was very nice and came with X-windows. It was Commodore’s only serious attempt to get into the UNIX workstation market, and a noble effort that unfortunately failed utterly.

Amiga 3000+

Notice there are some rare versions of the Amiga 3000: the 3000/16 (the speed is only 16 MHz) and the Amiga 3000+ which uses an AGA video chip and a DSP. The 3000+ was a prototype only. A few units are known to exist, but they are not supported. The DSP was able to function as a software modem in some configurations, which was extremely cool.

Commodore Amiga 1000

Above: Commodore Amiga 1000