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Review of AmigaKit's Sam460ex Complete System

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Posted 04-10-2011 at 06:07 PM by mpiva
Updated 04-10-2011 at 08:14 PM by mpiva (fixed dates)

Part 1 - The Order

After many, many years of whittling down my wife’s resolve, I finally managed to convince her to let me buy a next generation Amiga system, the Sam460ex. Even after paying a small fortune on this system, I’m sure my wife will continue to make me “pay for it” for several years (guess who’s not getting a birthday and Christmas present from their wife this year). Is this new Amiga system really worth its exceptionally high cost? Well, that’s what I hope to determine in this multi-part review.

I decided to get one of the new Sam460ex systems by ACube Systems Srl. “Why?” some might ask. It would be impossible to answer this question without it resulting in the obligatory flames, insults, and death threats so my only reply will be, “Why not.” What I can tell you, however, is that I decided to go with the Sam460ex Complete System from AmigaKit. I chose AmigaKit partly for their reasonable prices compared to other vendors and mostly because of the many great things I’ve heard about them from the Amiga Community. This was my first purchase from AmigaKit so I’m going to take the opportunity to review my experience with them as well.

First, a little about my Amiga past. I’ve been using Amigas since 1986 when my parents bought the family an A1000. In the following years I was the only one in the family who used the computer for anything other than games and eventually the computer became mine. What really kicked off my interest in the Amiga were the stack of “Phase 4 – Demo #x” disks we got with the computer. These confused the rest of my family as they would display some text like other disks do when booting but then nothing would happen. The rest of my family figured the disks weren't working properly, only I took the time to try and figure them out. That’s when I discovered the CLI, ABasic, and a wealth of other goodies that kicked off my 20+ year love affair with Amigas. I’ve owned most Amiga models at one point or another and currently have 7 Amigas, not counting the Sam460ex or my Amithlon and WinUAE systems. My most used Amiga is my A4000T with Cyberstorm MKIII, CybervisionPPC, and Prometheus running AmigaOS3.9.

Now back to the Sam.

At the time of my purchase, a Sam460ex Motherboard (with AmigaOS 4.1) cost $1003.24 in Canadian funds (from here-on in, all prices will be in Canadian Dollars). To get that with a 1TB SATA drive with AmigaOS 4.1 preinstalled was an additional $72.68. That price was pretty reasonable compared to buying a 1TB drive locally and it would save me the trouble of having to install AmigaOS myself so it was a pretty obvious choice to include it. Likewise, the 2GB of RAM option was reasonably priced and has the benefit of being tested as working properly. That brings the total of the Motherboard, Drive, and RAM to $1116.97. In the end, I decided to get the Complete System option with the RadeonHD 4650 and additional 2GB SD card as it only cost $1248.17. That means for only $131.20 more, I get a case, power supply, DVD drive, graphics card, SD card, and a fully tested, ready to go, AmigaOS 4.1 system. I doubt I could purchase all those components for that amount locally and I’d still have all the hassle of piecing everything together.

The only peripheral I opted out of was the Boingball keyboard and mouse. I already have several spare mice and keyboards at home and couldn’t justify spending almost $50 for more. Plus, I’d rather use a wireless keyboard, a multimedia keyboard, or a keyboard with built in USB hub; pretty much anything other than a plain, standard keyboard. Maybe I’ll have to buy some good sticker paper for my printer and print out some nice stickers to go over those Windows keys. Honestly, even though I do like the Boingball logo, I’d rather have Amiga “A”s on the keyboard like these:
A_stickers.png

Shipping was quite reasonable, only costing $51.69 plus $4.09 for Tracking/Insurance. I also took the opportunity to purchase the Micromys V3 PS/2 Mouse Adaptor that I’ve been wanting for my Amiga4000T for quite some time. AmigaKit didn’t charge me anything extra for shipping for that item so my grand total was $1336.86, or so I thought. A word of warning here; the actual cost may vary slightly depending on your currency. AmigaKit will process the transaction in GBP. Despite AmigaKit’s website calculating the cost to be $1336.86 CAN, it was actually 810.81 GBP. Between Paypal’s currency conversion fees and their below average conversion rate, Paypal charged me $1389.05 CAN to cover the 810.81 GBP, over $50 more than I was planning on paying.

The other little annoyance was that when Paypal pulls money from your bank account, it does not clear for several days. I placed my order on Mar 20 and it did not clear until Mar 28. Fortunately, AmigaKit did not wait until my order cleared before starting to put together my system. AmigaKit’s website was very helpful for keeping tabs on my order and several emails were sent to update me on the order’s status. Within a couple days of ordering the status was changed to indicate the system was being put together, by Mar 25, the computer began “Quality Testing” and by Mar 30 it was being packed up. So the eight day delay in my payment clearing didn’t slow things down at all.

On Mar 31 my order was ready to go and I receive an email with the serial numbers of the motherboard, hard drive, graphics card, and OS. FedEx picked the package up the next day and I got another email with the tracking info. FedEx estimated the package would arrive at my door by the end of Apr 6 but, incredibly, the FedEx guy got in into my wife’s hands by noon on Apr 4. That’s only two weeks from when I placed the order. I was expecting the whole process to take twice that.

But the good news of the package’s arrival was partially swallowed up by the expected, but always dreaded, Taxes. After another $63.22 in taxes, plus a $10.00 ROD Fee, plus taxes on the ROD Fee, I was finally done paying for my product. So, in the end, my new Sam460ex Complete System ended up costing me a grand total of $1462.77. Ouch.

Be sure to catch Part 2 where I show off the pictures from the "unboxing" and review the hardware.

Sam460ex_package.jpg
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  1. Old Comment
    actung_bab's Avatar
    great thanks looking forward to the unpacking
    AM keen one these myself after what read so far
    Posted 04-10-2011 at 06:41 PM by actung_bab actung_bab is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nice Part 1 review! I also have ordered from Amigakit and have had good sucess with all of the orders I have placed, including my Sam440Flex 800.

    Looking forward to the other reviews.

    PS: I was the person who bought your old A3000D computer from EBay quite some time ago. I still have it to this day and it works just fine!!
    Posted 04-10-2011 at 06:49 PM by amiwalker amiwalker is offline