Amiga peripherals

There were a great many peripherals available for the Amiga range of computers.  We will concentrate on the official peripherals available from Commodore on this site, but there were many more from other manufacturers, such as GVP (Great Valley Products), Phase 5 Digital Products, and many, may others.  There are even some manufacturers still producing and selling brand new peripherals, such as Individual Computers.

While some peripherals can be used with almost any Amiga, this depends on how they connect to the machine.  For example, every Amiga model, asides from the CD32, has an external disk drive port, which is a female DB23 connector.  So anything designed to connect to this should, at least in theory, work with any Amiga – with the obvious exception of the CD32.

So, in order for us to have a sensible discussion regarding peripherals for the Amiga computers, we first need to discuss what methods there are of connecting them to the Amiga.

As mentioned, every Amiga model, asides from the CD32, has an external disk drive connector.

They all also have (once again, asides from the CD32), a standard RS232 25 pin (male DB25) serial port, a standard Centronics 25 pin (female DB25 on all models but Amiga 1000, which has male DB25) Parallel port, and a 23 pin RGB Video out port (male DB23).

Every single Amiga model features 2 “Atari style” 9 pin joystick (male DE9) ports for connecting a mouse, joystick or various other devices.

The Amiga 1000, Amiga 500 and Amiga 500 plus, all feature what is commonly referred to as the Zorro expansion port, an 86-pin edge connector, which enables the addition of many peripherals.  While the Amiga 1000Amiga 500 and Amiga 500 plus models share the same connector, it must be said that on the Amiga 500 and Amiga 500 plus it is located at the left edge of the machine, while on the Amiga 1000, it is on the right edge.  So while you can use peripherals designed for the Amiga 1000 Zorro expansion on the Amiga 500 and Amiga 500 plus, it will be rotated 180 degrees (so back-to-front), and the same goes for using anything designed for the Amiga 1000 on an Amiga 500 or Amiga 500 plus.

The “big box” Amiga models – the Amiga 2000, Amiga 3000, Amiga 3000 Tower, Amiga 4000 and Amiga 4000 tower, all had several different kinds of internal expansion slots, suitable for adding various peripherals.  They all had at least one video slot, which provided access to the video signals within the machine.  The Amiga 2000 had what was called “Zorro 2” slots, which were 100 pin, 16-bit slot connectors.  The Amiga 3000, Amiga 3000 Tower, Amiga 4000 and Amiga 4000 Tower all had “Zorro 3” slots, which were backwards compatible with most Zorro II expansions, but were 32-bit and capable of extra speed due to multiplexing the bus.

The Amiga 2000, Amiga 3000, Amiga 3000 Tower, Amiga 4000 and Amiga 4000 Tower all also had a CPU expansion slot. in the Amiga 2000 this was an 86-pin slot. In the Amiga 3000, Amiga 3000 Tower, Amiga 4000 and Amiga 4000 Tower the CPU slot was the same 200 pin slot, in fact the A3640 CPU card that was in the Amiga 4000/040 was designed for the Amiga 3000, but wasn’t available until after the Amiga 4000/040 was launched.

It has to be said that one of the opportunities that Commodore really missed with the Amiga product line was selling peripherals to go with the machines, and as a result, companies such as GVP made much more money selling various peripherals to Amiga owners, often because Commodore didn’t offer the peripherals that people wanted, such as 68030-based accelerators for the Amiga 500, or pretty much anything for the Amiga 1200.

Amiga 1000 Amiga 500 Amiga 500 plus Amiga 600 Amiga 1200
External
Disk drive:
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Serial port: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Parallel port: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Expansion buses: 1 Zorro edge connector 1 Zorro edge connector No 1 Zorro edge connector A1200 trapdoor
RAM expansion: Front Memory Expansion Slot 56-pin Trapdoor Slot 56-pin Trapdoor Slot 40-pin Trapdoor Slot
and
PCMCIA Type-II Card Slot
PCMCIA Type-II Card Slot
Disk type: Double Density 3.5″ Floppy Double Density 3.5″ Floppy Double Density 3.5″ Floppy Double Density 3.5″ Floppy,

2.5″ IDE Controller

Double Density 3.5″ Floppy,

2.5″ IDE Controller

Amiga 2000 Amiga 3000 Amiga 3000T Amiga 4000 Amiga 4000T
External
Disk drive:
Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Serial port: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Parallel port: Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Expansion buses: 5 Zorro II slots,
2 16-bit ISA slots,
2 8-bit ISA slots,
1 OCS/ECS Video Slot
1 86-pin CPU Fast Slot
4 Zorro III slots,
2 16-bit ISA slots
1 ECS Video Slot,
1 200pin CPU Fast Slot
5 Zorro III slots,
4 16-bit ISA slots,
1 ECS Video Slot
1 200pin CPU Fast Slot
4 Zorro III slots,
3 16-bit ISA slots,
1 AGA Video Slot
5 Zorro III slots,
4 16-bit ISA slots,
2 AGA Video Slots
RAM expansion: No DIP Sockets for Chip RAM
ZIP sockets and DIP sockets for fast RAM
DIP Sockets for Chip RAM
ZIP sockets and DIP sockets for fast RAM
4 72-pin SIMM slots 4 72-pin SIMM slots
Disk type: Double Density 3.5″ Floppy High Density 3.5″ Floppy,

SCSI-II controller

High Density 3.5″ Floppy,

SCSI-II controller

High Density 3.5″ Floppy,

3.5″ IDE Controller

High Density 3.5″ Floppy,

3.5″ IDE Controller,

SCSI-II controller

CDTV Amiga CD32
External
Disk drive:
Yes No
Serial port: Yes Yes (6-pin mini-DIN)
Parallel port: Yes No
Expansion buses: No 182pin CD32
RAM expansion: No No
Disk type: Compact Disk (CD-ROM) Compact Disk (CD-ROM)

To go with the original Amiga (later renamed the Amiga 1000), there were several peripherals available:

  • A1010 External Double density 3.5″ Disk drive.
  • A1050: Memory expansion.
  • A1060: – Intel 8088 @ 4.77Mhz PC sidecar for the A1000
  • A1300 – Genlock for the Amiga 1000

For the Amiga 2000:

  • A2090 – First Generation DMA Disk controller supporting 7 SCSI and/or 2 ST-506 drives.
  • A2090 Autoboot – A card that provides autoboot for the A2090
  • A2090a – First Generation DMA Disk controller supporting 7x SCSI and/or 2x? ST-506 drives, with Autoboot
  • A2091 – Second generation DMA Disk controller supporting 7x SCSI and/or 2x XT* drives and 512K/1M/2MB AutoConfig FastRAM
    *The header for the XT drive was normally not installed, and only SCSI drives were used.
  • A2052 – 2MB AutoConfig FastRAM
  • A2058 – 2/4/8MB AutoConfig FastRAM
  • A2088 – 8086 PC Bridgecard (4.77Mhz)
  • A2286 – 80286 PC Bridgecard (10Mhz)
  • A2386 – 80386SX PC Bridgecard (16/20/25Mhz models)
  • A2065 – 10Base-T Ethernet Network card
  • A2060 – Arcnet Network card
  • A2232 – 7-port Serial card
  • A2300 – Genlock for the A2000/NTSC
  • A2301 – Genlock for the A2000/PAL
  • A2230 – Deinterlacer card for A2000 (Amber chip on a card)

For the Amiga 500 and Amiga 500 plus:

  • A520 – Amiga RGB to RF output modulator
  • A570 – A500/500+ CDROM unit
  • A590 – A500/500+ SCSI/XT/RAM unit (functionally equal to the A2091)