Amiga Sidecar


Amiga Sidecar

The Commodore A1060 Sidecar is an expansion hardware device developed by Commodore and released in 1986 for the Amiga 1000 computer. It features a complete PC XT system mounted in an expansion case which connected to the expansion bus on the right side of the Amiga 1000 computer, sitting beside it similar to a motorcycle's sidecar.

The PC side of the Sidecar was built around an Intel 8088 processor. All I/O procedures from the PC side are performed by the Amiga. Software was included to allow data to be exchanged easily between the PC and the Amiga side of the system. The Sidecar was available with an internal hard disk which was accessible from both the MS-DOS and AmigaOS environments. This was the first hard drive produced by Commodore for the Amiga.

Video display and user input were performed through the Amiga's monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This allows the user to control both computers simultaneously.

Characteristics

The Amiga Sidecar was a complete IBM PC XT system, with the exception of I/O devices and operations which are handled by the Amiga.

*Processor: Intel 8088 clocked at 4.77 MHz
*RAM: 256K (expandable to 512K + 80K Dual Bus Memory)
*Graphics Emulation: Dependent on Amiga settings. (Can use real 8bit ISA graphics cards)
*Sound Emulation: Dependent on Amiga settings. (can use real 8bit ISA sound cards)
*One internal 5.25" drive bay normally fitted with a 360K 5.25" floppy drive
*3 x 8bit ISA slots for using real PC cards
*Amiga 1000 Expansion Bus connector (for Amiga connectivity)

History

Early in its life, the Amiga was strong in entertainment and graphics software but lacked general productivity software such as word processors, spreadsheets and database software. These are the areas where the de facto business standard IBM PC excelled. Commodore's intent was to let the Amiga take advantage of PC compatibility to shore up its weakness in this category of software.

The Sidecar was developed by Commodore Germany, as all of the Commdore PC-architecture based development was performed in that department.

Amiga computers released after the A1000 such as the Amiga 2000 had internal expansion slots and can use the Bridgeboard, which performs the same functionality, but internally. This eliminated the need to have a box inconveniently mounted to the side of the computer's CPU unit.

The Sidecar was relatively expensive and it required a non-trival amount of desktop space compared to the Amiga 1000 by itself. The device was also taller than the Amiga 1000, which made it seem even further disconnected to the main system aesthetically.

Many factors contributed to the lack of adoption of the Sidecar: the high cost of the device was a factor, but also new Amiga models were released like the Amiga 2000 which supported internal XT and AT expansion as well as the popular Amiga 500 which could not be used with the Sidecar at all due to the expansion slot being moved to the left side. Good productivity software began to be released for Amiga OS, mirrored by the ever-decreasing cost of IBM PC compatibles along with that platform's growing entertainment and graphics software base.

ee also

* Amiga
* AmigaOS

External links

* [http://www.amiga-hardware.com/showhardware.cgi?HARDID=327 The big book of Amiga Hardware]


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