Retro Home Computers – Commodore Amiga 4000

Commodore Amiga 4000,
1992 – 1994

A New Beginning

Commodore Amiga 4000

Above: Commodore Amiga 4000 desktop model

In 1992, Commodore launched their most advanced Amiga. The Amiga 4000 used the AGA chipset to allow it to show 256,000 colours on screen from a palette of 16.8 million, as well as the new Workbench 3.0 that introduced the concept of among other things, datatypes.

Several variants were available, all fitted with 6MB RAM, 1.76mb High-Density disk drive and an internal hard drive as standard, though the Amiga 4000 used a much slower IDE drive as opposed to the internal SCSI of the Amiga 3000. The Amiga 4000 also came with an updated Workbench, the Amiga’s operating system.

Commodore Amiga 4000

Above: Commodore Amiga 4000 workbench

The Amiga 4000 was intended as a replacement for the A3000 & A3000T. The A4000 was a big box with plenty of expansion slots like the A2000 using the 32-bit Zorro III slots. Like the Amiga 3000, the 4000 provided for memory expansion for up to 18Mb RAM on the motherboard. While not a lot these days, 18MB was a significant amount of memory in the early 90s.

The Amiga 4000 shipped with either a 25 MHz 68030/68882 or 25 MHz 68040 CPU. The A4000 was never intended for release, but was a prototype for a system known as the A3000 Plus which was a considerably better machine.

The A3000+ or AA3000 machine was eventually cancelled and the A4000 drafted for release due to the low cost of development.

Commodore Amiga 4000 desktop motherboard

Above: Commodore Amiga 4000 desktop motherboard

Many ex-Commodore engineers, Dave Haynie being the most notable, have never forgiven this marketing blunder that replaced a machine that corrected many of the Amigas failings with one based around an extremely flawed design.

The 4000, while a faster machine, had significantly slower drive access times compared to the A3000. Another flaw was the use of PC memory, which was about 50% slower than the A3000. However, a year later, Commodore released the A4000T, which offered both SCSI and IDE, but still used the slower PC memory.

Commodore Amiga 4000T

Above: Commodore Amiga 4000 tower model