Siamese Systems Accepting Pre-orders for its PC-based Amiga Board

For immediate release 4th March 1998.

Siamese v4, PCI based Amiga.

Fellow Amigan

As you are probably aware the Siamese System has been developed to bring the Amiga into the mainstream computer market to create a hybrid Amiga/Windows platform that can bring rewards to the Amiga owner by giving them access to the low cost PC components, and to the PC owner by bringing the richness of the Amiga software base. Initially the Siamese System worked with Serial (for RTG) and SCSI (for File Transfer), followed by v2.5 which now uses the Ethernet and TCP/IP protocol. Now we are working on Siamese v4.0 which is based around a complete AGA Amiga on a PCI card which can take a 33mhz 68040 or a 66mhz 68060.

This system has many aims in life which are as follows:-

  1. To give Amiga owners the Ultimate and fastest Amiga ever, and one that is fully backward compatible.
  2. To push the Amiga Alpha project into the next stage and giving the Amiga the Alpha chip power.
  3. To create the Ultimate Hybrid machine using Amiga / Macintosh / Windows operating systems in one box.
  4. To give the PC access to the Macintosh software market and creating a hybrid Macintosh / PC using this card.
  5. To give the PC and Mac owners a new software base of the great and inexpensive Amiga software.

However, we face a dilemma with the Amiga market in the position it is in with users holding back on investing in Amiga hardware until they see something happening at Amiga Inc. We are working on the Macintosh version of this product because we know there is a very large market for this innovative product, born out by the hundreds of emails received since the press release was sent out last week. However, we are concerned about the lack of activity in the Amiga market. Even though the Siamese system has sold in reasonable numbers, being the best selling product at many dealers, this is not what we would consider selling in a strong enough volume to encourage us to invest the many thousands of pounds necessary to create a full Amiga version of the Siamese v4. This project is not just software and involves expensive hardware design work, therefore we must be financially very careful.

As many should be aware I have backed the Amiga since 1988 and have stuck solely with this market until now, but financial pressures are forcing us to push into other markets to survive. Having read the announcement from Vulcan software I can only agree and applaud his brave and from the heart comments. I believe that by pushing into another market that is prepared to upgrade to newer hardware we can earn the revenues needed to create new and exciting Amiga products, and bring back the old Amiga user who could afford to support the development community. A knock on effect would be that these new PC/Mac users could later be turned onto the Amiga software market with a simple upgrade disk, we call this "Amiga by Stealth". As I hope you can see this is very important for the future of the Amiga and can have a very beneficial effect on the Amiga developers by selling their software to Mac owners running on the Siamese v4 Amiga.

Now to the main point of this message posting, we need to be sure that there is a market for this great new Amiga product that we are preparing before we invest in the development. So we need to know how many people will order this product upon completion, are prepared to put down a deposit on the final price, and pay the balance within 30 days of availability. The retail price of this product excluding CPU is to be 399.00 Pounds including UK vat, and $499 in the US.

We are working the deposit on a sliding scale approach so that the bigger the deposit the more you will save on the final price. The chart is based on the UK price and this is the amount the UK and European price will be based on. Bear in mind that the deposit is non refundable unless we do not deliver the product. Time for delivery would be about three to four months from date final decision on whether this product should go ahead..

25.00 pounds deposit Total price to pay inc. deposit 375.00 pounds saving of 25.00 pounds
50.00 pounds deposit Total price to pay inc. deposit 350.00 pounds saving of 50.00 pounds
100.00 pounds deposit Total price to pay inc. deposit 325.00 pounds. Saving of 75.00 pounds

If you are a dealer, you can pre order from the first batch and if you meet the right order quantities you can become a distributor for that territory, obviously the same rule applies and a deposit must be paid up front. Please contact us if you wish to be a dealer and we will send you the special introduction prices.

There is a time scale on this, and if we do not reach near enough to the 500 units the product will have to be dropped, I am sorry but that is the way it has to be. We have invested everything in this Amiga market and can not do it any longer unless there are people who are willing to order the product. This is not a new idea and it happens in many other areas where there is a very small potential market.

As you can see it is worth paying the deposit and as long as we meet a target of 500 boards we will invest the money needed into the Amiga version of the "Siamese PCI Amiga". This may seem like an extraordinary way to develop a product but the software is 80% complete and the hardware is 60% complete. However the development cost is too high when the Amiga buying public have become so lethargic about paying for new Amiga products and at the same time complain about the lack of development.

Remember we are not a large company with deep pockets, we are an Amiga company working in the best tradition of the Computer market on a tight budget and with more ideas than money. I hope that you will see the sense in this and understand that we want this new Amiga to appear, but we cannot develop it just for fun, it must have a market to sell too. I have already had a large amount of interest in this board and I am confident that this confirmed order scheme will work, which is why I am risking a good flaming to put the reality out there to the community. I hope that this is acceptable to most Amiga users, the ones I have field tested this on have all been very positive and encouraged me to continue, so this is now up to you, are you in or out?

For those who say how can it be faster than any other Amiga, well it works like this, all I/O, graphics display, sound and file operations will be processed by the host PC/Alpha processor, and the bandwidth across the PCI bus is about 10 times the Zorro3 bus speed. Therefore the 680x0 processor just sends a simple system request and carries on processing code. We expect to give between 50-100% effective speed increase for the processor being the equivalent of a 133mhz 68060. To back this up, the Amiga will have OpenGL using the Host PC and its graphics card to render and therefore again no work for the 68060. Finally, an average PC graphics card will always be faster than an Amiga card because of the increase in bus speed that this new system will have access too. Also if this card is fitted into the Alpha, the gradual Amiga porting will give incredible performance increases way in advance of any PowerPC chip based card.

Finally let me talk about money, as this is very important. You can buy a cheap 233mhz PC for around 600.00, add the Siamese PCI card and a processor from your existing accelerator, ( if removable ) and for 1000 have the most innovative computer on the Planet.

What about games, well this card has a full AGA chip set on board, so most games should work without any problems through the Amiga Video output, also if you wanted to create a hybrid Analogue / Digital video system with your existing Genlock you could with this card. This is something sadly lacking in the budget video world, again another Amiga first.

Please check out our web site for more details about the potential of the card and if you want to join the plan there is an email form to fill in and we will send you the paper work.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Jones
Managing Director
Siamese Systems ltd.

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