In 1985, the Amiga 1000 --- a so-called “dream machine” -- was introduced at Lincoln Center in New York. It shipped to its first customers in September. The A1000 featured the basic design that Jay Miner thought up three years earlier. Based on a custom chip design, all major tasks of the machine were handled by dedicated chips. These co-processors relieved strain on the CPU, which was free to concentrate on explicit controlling and calculation tasks.
The Amiga design team gave each custom chip a name: “Agnus”, the address generator, handled the addressing of the "chip ram" (the part of the main memory shared between the CPU and custom chips.) “Denise” was the display adapter and handled the screen functions. “Paula” handled the I/O ports and audio. The custom chips gave the Amiga 4096 possible colors, 8-bit 4-channel stereo sound, and fast screen modes with 32 colors displayed out of the possible 4096. Furthermore, there was also an additional slower mode called HAM (Hold And Modify) which enabled full display of all 4096 colors. (Early on, the team hadn’t wanted a computerized name for their new computer, so they nicknamed their machine "Amiga", the Spanish term for "girlfriend". They gave the custom chips female names like Agnus, Portia, and Daphne, not unlike the Apple people who developed computers called Sara and Lisa).
History text copyright © 1999-2006, MobyGames
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