What is Amiga?
Amiga, a Spanish word which means "girl friend," is a line of computer models introduced by Commodore Corp. in 1985. This computer platform is the pioneer of multimedia and multitasking.
- Gateway 2000 made a concise comment to Amiga technology:
"Since the introduction of the Amiga 1000 in 1985, Amiga has represented the embodiment of the efficient use of memory and hard drive capacity, while pioneering industry developments in multimedia, 32-bit multi-tasking and autoconfiguration."
While "celebrating" 20-year birhday of PC in 2001, Doug Barney, a columnist at Network Computing, said,
It is only now, and only with a whole new code set in Windows NT/2000, that we're finally making progress -- gaining features the Commodore gave us some 16 years ago.
- The Amiga computer suffered from a misperceived image as a "game" machine. Indeed, once NASA enigneers used it for a space mission. Further, if one considers UNIX as a serious platform, one should admire the forward-thinking of Amiga designers. In 1991, the release of System VR4 by AT&T was a major development of UNIX. The first platform to port this UNIX version was the Amiga 3000(UX).
- Multimedia graphics is a major strength of Amiga. Many special effects in TV series such as SeaQuest, RoboCop, and Babylon 5 were made with Amigas. Although the effects in Jurrasic Park were produced in SGI workstations, the previsuaization was performed in Amigas. Some effects in the James Bond movie, Golden Eye, were also created in this platform.
- Back in the 1980s when RAM was expensive and hard drives were not common, Amigas was able to handle multitasking from a floppy boot disk with only 128K of RAM. Amiga's multimedia functions is closely tied to its multitasking capability. Although an Amiga uses Motoroloa's processors, the same as those in a 68K Mac, the chips are customized. There are at least four procossers in an Amiga, which enables asymmetrical multiprocessing i.e. different processors handle ifferent tasks. For instance, one chip can work on playing music in the background and at the same time a compressed animation is also running smoothly by another chip.
The multiprocessing feature also empowers an Amiga to display multiple screens plus interlaced video simultaneously.
- Unfortunately, today Amiga is losing the competitive edge to other platforms. At first Video Toaster/LightWave 3D, which is one of the best non-linear video editing tools, was custom-made for Amigas. But Video Toaster/LightWave 3D has been ported to other platforms. The magazine Video Toaster even recommended buyers to purchase the NT version of Video Toaster/LightWave 3D rather than the Amiga version.