Some time ago the MorphOS Team also told the community that the upcoming MorphOS 3.8 would support the SAM 460ex and SAM 460cr motherboards by Acube. The former has been on sale for a couple of years and the latter since last year. The difference is that the latter lack some built in components the former has, lowering the price a little. There is no set date for the X5000 support though, but not earlier than MorphOS 3.10 at least.
When Genesi stopped selling the Pegasos 2 motherboard in 2006 and the Efika 5200b low cost, low performance home server in 2007 there has been no new hardware available to run MorphOS. Apple also abandoned the PPC processor in 2006 and switched to Intels x86, effectively killing off PPC as a home computer processor.
In order to give the community something to run MorphOS on the Team started to port it to used PPC Macs instead. This proved to be a very good move as these computers are pretty reliable and plentiful. I’ve seen complete PPC Macs go for as low as 30 €. In contrast, buying a complete SAM 460 based computer cost over 1000 € and an A-Eon X1000 (the predecessor of the X5000) more than twice that much.
However, some people still want new hardware even when they cost a lot and this is the reason the MorphOS Team started this project. Somewhere along the way the X5000 was also added. Rumour says it’s because A-Eon asked the Team, but it’s not confirmed at this point.
I feel I need to write something about the price/performance issue with these boards. And this simply because it keeps popping up as an issue in various Amiga forums. There is no doubt that the price/performance ratio is utterly terrible. The SAM 460 is no better than a 100 € super low end mini laptop and the for the price of one X1000/X5000 you could buy several x86 based computers/motherboards with loads of change to spare.
But people seems to confuse the motivations behind Acubes and A-Eons products. People must think that these guys are the Amiga world version of evil Bill Gates, who just look for a way to monopolize the market for themselves. But the truth is that they are more like Steve Wozniak who just do this for their own and other peoples enjoyment. To keep their hobby alive and let others join their party as well.
Yes, these motherboards/computers are pretty darn expensive but that really is beside the point. There is no market here anymore. No money to gain. And both Acube and A-Eon knows this. But this doesn’t stop them putting themselves in finansial risk just in order to have some fun. Like any geek would regardless if they are crazy about obsolete cameras or runned down cars.
The alternative is plain and simple no new PPC hardware at all. So cut the guys some slack and give them some much deserved praise for what they are doing or trying to do. Don’t like the price tag? Then don’t buy it. There is still a lot of PPC Macs out there to go around.
Speaking of “new hardware”, the reason I haven’t updated the blog lately is because I’ve been crazy busy with another huge project of mine: becoming a dad.
There truly is a lot of cool things going on in Amigaland right now and I want to write about it all but my newborn son doesn’t share my passion for Amiga stuff (not yet anyway) and he keeps demanding that I spend less time in front of my computer screens and more time feeding him and changing his diapers.