Back in the day I had an Amiga 2500/30 with an A2286 as my "swiss army knife" home computer; not only did I have the ability to run MacOS (ShapeShifter) at native speed, but the 8MHz 286 bridgeboard allowed me to do anything IBM PC related. However, I was always disappointed that Windows was dog slow on the A2286. To make matters worse, it felt that whenever disk activity happened via the Amiga-hosted bridge (to a dedicated partition, not a hardfile) the speaker would beep a few times a second.

I remember reading something about the A20 gate not being completely decoded and that there was a hardware fix by simply running a wire between two locations. Simple enough, but unfortunately it ended up frying a board for me so I'm not sure it ever really worked. (Regrettably, I ended up getting another A2286 instead of upgrading to the A2386)

Why was the performance so bad and why did it beep so much?

  • Here's Windows 3.1 running natively on a 286 with 1MB of RAM: youtube.com/watch?v=TE1Zc36TAYw – traal May 3 at 22:02
  • I solved this with a 1.4GHz Pentium M SBC in my A2500. – Brian H May 4 at 16:18
  • @BrianH details please! Unless you were being sarcastic. lol – cbmeeks Jul 20 at 14:50
  • @cbmeeks I have an AxiomTek SBC very similar to the one linked installed in an A2500 8-bit ISA slot, along with a Soundblaster Pro, and running Win98. – Brian H Jul 21 at 17:02

An educated guess - the video was really handled by the Amiga, so that it could appear in an Amiga desktop window. (You could hook up a video card into one of the ISA slots, but then you'd need a monitor hooked to that video card's video port.) Assuming you were not using a separate monitor, that would explain the poor performance. In DOS mode, the graphical impact would be minimal to none most of the time, so you wouldn't notice the poor video performance.

  • I can’t find detailed resources to back this up, but video performance wasn’t the biggest factor in poor Windows performance on the A2286 — disk speed (which could be fixed by using a dedicated partition instead of a hard file, as the OP mentions in the question, or better yet, a separate controller and drive) and the A20 gate handling had a bigger impact. – Stephen Kitt May 4 at 11:20
  • I actually had a Boca Super X VGA 16-bit ISA card in the Amiga, so I was using a real video adapter. As well, Windows 3.1 couldn't use CGA out of the box, which was the only graphics mode that the software video emulation of the Amiga provided for the bridgeboard. You could, however, copy over the driver from Windows 3.0 but I never did that. – bjb May 4 at 18:23

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