Build A Killer Amiga Emulator For Under $100 With The Raspberry Pi 3

Running Software On Your Retro-Amiga

rpi retro amiga 2
That's Some Geeky Goodness Right There...

Our overclocked Raspberry Pi 3 running Amibian is a surprisingly good performer. To show you just how good, we ran a common Amiga benchmark called SYSINFO. SYSINFO does some basic calculations on the CPU and presents the user with a numerical result...

amiga sysinfo
The Overclocked RPi 3's Performance Is Literally Off The Charts

According to SYSINFO, our emulated Amiga is many times faster than some of the original machines and over 3X faster than an Amiga 4000 with a 25MHz 68040 CPU, which was one of the most advanced models released by Commodore. Now, keep in mind, if you emulate an Amiga 500 with a 7MHz 68000 CPU, and keep the 7MHz timings, performance inside the emulator will be right in-line with that CPU. But if you set the emulator’s CPU speed to run as fast as possible (which is a simple tick box in the CPU menu inside UAE4ARM), you can achieve higher performance. For the vast majority of titles, overclocking isn’t necessary, but we thought it was an interesting and fun exercise, nonetheless.

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1425MHz / 550MHz (left), 1500MHz / 600MHz / Turbo Mode Enabled (Right)

If you don't mind voiding your warranty and get a even more creative with cooling, the Raspberry Pi 3 and Amibian are capable of some impressive feats. With a custom-made, mini active-cooler and a more aggressive overclock to 1.5GHz CPU, 600MHz memory, and with Turbo-Mode enabled (enabling Turbo mode will void your warranty), we more than doubled its performance according to SYSINFO. And, yes, we are still able to close the Retro Amiga case.

amiga workbench
Amiga Workbench

Most applications and games boot from their floppies on the Amiga (or the ADF files when running in emulation). So, all you need to do is bring up the UAE4ARM menu by hitting F12, click the Floppy menu, choose your desired ADF, and restart to run the game or app. If you launch into Amiga Workbench, and "insert" a floppy in UAE4ARM, it'll appear right on the desktop.

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Defender Of The Crown

There are a myriad of games and demos available for the Amiga that were considered bleeding-edge in their time. Today, the graphics and sound will seem primitive by comparison, but many of the better games like Defender Of The Crown, Out Of This World, Shadow Of The Beast, and Turrican 2 (among others) still have plenty of charm. Heck, many of the Cinemaware and Psygnosis titles are still super-fun. Not to mention all of the awesome classic adventure games.
rpi retro amiga 3

We hope you enjoyed this project as much as we did. The Amiga holds a special place in computing history and introduced many new technologies to mainstream users. Had Commodore not gone bankrupt, it’s entirely possible the Amiga would still be common today. The machine truly was ahead of its time and there's a reason a vibrant Amiga community still exists today.

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