Wed 22 Oct 2008
I just found the perfect Compact Flash card to IDE adapter for the Amiga 1200 and the Amiga 600. It is attached straight on the 2.5” hard drive pin row on the motherboard and is relatively securely attached to the pin row by the 44-pins. Since the Compact Flash adapter connects directly to the 2.5” hard drive pin-row you do not need to feed the CF-adapter power with a cable which makes a very clean looking installation.
The thought of running CF-cards on a basic Amiga instead of a traditional hard drive is a great idea, likely to become somewhat of a standard in vintage Amiga 600/1200 desktops in the future. Not only does your Amiga run more silent and cooler, it does also have a green effect, a Compact Flash card consumes a lot less power than a hard drive does. So if you have a fully expanded A1200 with all kind of high end components and you want to run it of off the original Amiga PSU adding a CF-card instead of a hard drive could save you 5 to 10 watt depending on what hard drive you originally had in your Amiga system.
It makes a lot of sense if your PSU only has 20-30 watt.
I have not seen any tests on how much faster or slower a Compact Flash based Amiga runs over a hard drive based one but I suspect in some cases a CF-equipped Amiga is faster and in some cases it is slightly slower. I can tell you one thing, on my Apollo 1260 equipped A1200D running a 1 GB CF-card the system absolutely flies on the Workbench, even the boot time is reduced to near WinUAE standards, amazing!
Keep in mind though that not all CF-cards or CF-adapters works on the Amiga, exactly which one works and which one do not is not easy to track, but this is not exactly the most expensive hardware either, I think I paid about 5 Euros for the one featured here, and that was including shipping from Hong Kong.
And finally, yes a CF-card has limited read/write cycles, however technology in this area has greatly improved to the point where you do not really have to worry much about these issues anymore, especially on the classic Amiga since the operating system –Workbench- do not swap to hard drive constantly unlike other operating systems. This basically means you should not need to worry about your CF-card breaking down under normal usage.
Setting up a Compact Flash card on the Amiga might be more tricky than a common IDE hard drive, if you configure it wrong you might get weird errors when loading applications and some programs might fail to load at all. Be sure to check out this thread on English Amiga Board before you decide to do it!