A Great Day at Zzap Live!

Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who stopped by the Kickstart stand at Zzap Live this past weekend. It was great to see so many people and to talk about our plans for the group. We even met a few Kickstart Originals (members from before hour hiatus) which was wonderful.

We had a double table in the Amiga room at Zzap, where we originally had five machines on display for people to use as part of our promotional efforts, but soon we were down to four after a customised A1200 we had on show decided to malfunction. We think its a Chip RAM issue, so should be easy enough to fix.

For the day, the remaining four machines were an example of member-owned computers, either modified and updated for 2023, or brand new hardware.

First up was the A600D – an Amiga 600 motherboard in a beige metal Checkmate desktop case, with green case lighting and a variety of upgrades. This machine was fitted with a PiStorm and Pi 3A+, giving it an impressive processor boost as well as retargetable graphics. The days of dreaming about an expensive Picasso 4 graphics card are long gone. This machine also had an RGB2HDMI upgrade, powered by a Pi Zero 1, which upscaled the native output to HD resolution and allowed for a modern HDMI output in addition to the original 23-pin D connector. Finally, this machine was fitted with a buffered IDE interface, 128GB SATA SSD drive, DVD burner and a Gotek floppy hardware emulator. The keyboard is a Keychron C2 mechanical PC keyboard attached to a USB keyboard interface inside the A600. The keyboard also has Amiga-style PC keycaps fitted.

Up next was the A500++, built by Vin. A brand new 2023 purple motherboard, and made with a mix of mostly new old stock chips and minimal salvaged chips from broken machines, this was also fitted with a purple Goex floppy hardware emulator and a purple Spitfire accelerator card. To finish it off, brand new black Amiga keycaps and the crystal clear case, both from A1200.net.

Arguably one of the more controversial machines in the Amiga world today, the Apollo Vampire V4 Standalone (V4SA) is a modern reinterpretation using an FPGA and modern components. Its much more powerful than an 060, in similar territory to a PiStorm, but fully integrated and fits into a box smaller than a paperback novel. Storage is in the form of a 128GB CompactFlash card connected to an IDE interface. Two 9-pin D connectors allow the use of traditional Amiga joysticks and mice, while three USB ports allow the use of a limited, but growing, number of supported mice, joypads and keyboards. High speed ethernet and Native HDMI output for both retargetable graphics and native output are also present.

Finally is the Evolution 64 – yes it is a Commodore 64 and not an Amiga, but it is like no C64 you have ever seen. From the Plexilaser case to the extreme over-engineering of the motherboard components and the modern HDMI-based motherboard, this was also using a Sidekick64 card, a Raspberry Pi-powered cartridge that offered an array of expansions and performance improvements.

That’s just a few of the pics from the day. There’s loads more doing the rounds on Facebook, but for a really good look at the whole event, and to see just how busy it was, take a look at this video:

Thanks again to everyone who attended, and to the team at South West Amiga Group who dod much of the heavy lifting to bring the Amiga room to life, as well as the Zzap team for putting on the event.

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