Amiga CD1200 Prototype
Year of demonstration: April 1994
Following the launch of the CD32, Commodore had made it clear
that there was always the intention to release an official CD drive
for the A1200 & A4000. The demonstration of the CD1200 model at
the CeBIT '94 show was a fulfillment of this promise. Unfortunately
for Commodore it also became the last project to be demonstrated
before the company filed for liquidation. Numerous writers picked
upon the fact that its appearance at the show was a last minute
decision, highlighted by its omission from the press information.
The story on these events has never fully came to light, it is
known that many Commodore executives were critical of the absence
of FMV (Full Motion Video) support for the CD1200. In particular,
Commodore UK managing director, David Pleasance commented in
several magazines that he disliked the idea of selling a CD drive
that would never support FMV. This could have delayed its
announcement until the last minute.
Keeping up appearances
Two variants of the CD1200 are known to exist - a grey and
off-white model. It is likely that the grey model was an early
prototype while the white model is a later version. The drive uses
a different disc locking mechanism to the CD32 and is a sharp
contrast to the Zappo PCMCIA drive available at the time. An
interface module connects to the trapdoor expansion slot and a
cable attaches this to the 'Data In' port on the back of the
CD1200. This prevents the use of an accelerator or memory board.
Instead, a Simm socket is available on the CD-ROM to take
additional memory. However, those who needed a faster processor
would have been out of luck.
It is clear that the CD1200 was intended to be purely a way of
allowing A1200 owners to run CD32 games, without the hassle of
buying another machine. In this area the CD1200 stands head and
shoulders above its competition. While third parties were forced to
provide software emulation, the CD1200 contained the much needed
Akiko chunky-to-planar chip to provide complete compatibility with
CD32 games that accessed this hardware (in theory). The reality was
that some games that bypassed the operating system would not
While the unit demonstrated was clearly a prototype, it was
expected to go on sale in Germany during May 1994 for DM 500. This
would be followed in September 1994 by its release in the UK for an
expected price of 199 UKP. This fueled concerns that another CD32
price cut would make the device too expensive to run CD32 games
when the real thing was a similar, or even cheaper price.
The demise of Commodore Electronics and the closure of almost every
subsidiary resulted in the project being canceled and the prototype
scrapped. When Escom bought the Amiga, Amiga Technologies launched
their own official CD drive by rebadging
a third party PCMCIA CD-ROM drive.
White CD1200 attached to the A1200
(5.87k) | White CD1200 logo close-up
(10.6k) | White CD1200 connectors (39K)
| CD1200 cover on Amiga Format May 1994
(155k) Grey CD1200
Grey CD1200 images are ©1999-2000 Ryan E.
A. Czerwinski, All Rights Reserved, Used with permission
Last Update: 8/3/2002
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