connects to: Other
Picture of the AA3000 Motherboard
The "AGA Ladies" Alice and Lisa
Picture showing where the DSP/DSP Socket would have been fitted
Picture showing the DSP socket and the ZIP RAM banks
NOTE: No 31Khz output unlike the standard A3000
PCB front
PCB back
PCB front - original
PCB back - original
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1
Daugtherboard rev 1 - back
Comparisson with A3000 daugtherboard
Daugtherboard rev 1 measure
Daugtherboard rev 1 measure
Hi Res version, PCB front
- 1487 x 1600, 872K
Hi Res version, PCB back
- 1486 x 1600, 626K
Hi Res version,
- 1417 x 1600, 299K
Hi Res version,
- 1439 x 1599, 295K
Hi Res version,
- 1458 x 1600, 265K
Hi Res version,
- 1600 x 1591, 350K
Hi Res version,
- 1600 x 1491, 346K
Hi Res version,
- 1600 x 1539, 321K
Hi Res version,
- 1557 x 1600, 322K

Note: The AA3000 and A3000+ were two attempts by Commodore to build an AGA based Amiga 3000, although they were two separate projects the designs and goals were very similar and because neither project hit the market the boundaries between the two projects is very blurred. It is unclear what information applies to which project , or even if it applies to both. Therefore this page is intended for both the AA3000 and A3000+.

Standard Specifications


Case Type: Desktop
Processor: 030@25Mhz
MMU: Internal
FPU: 68882@25Mhz
Chipset: AGA
Kickstarts: V3.0
Bus Controller: Super Buster Rev 7
Expansion Slots: 4 x 100pin Zorro III slots
1 x (AGA?) Video Slot (inline with Zorro)
2 x Inactive 16bit ISA Slots (inline with Zorro)
1 x 200pin CPU Expansion slot
Standard CHIP RAM: 2MB (ZIP Chips)
RAM sockets: ZIP Chip Sockets
Hard Drive Controllers:  
Drive Bays: 1 x SCSI-II Controller
Expansion Ports: 1 x 25pin Serial
1 x 25pin Parallel
1 x 23pin RGB Video
1 x 23pin External Floppy
2 x 9pin Joystick/Mouse
2 x RCA Audio (Left/Right)
1 x 25pin SCSI Connector
1 x Keyboard Connector
Floppy Drive: 1 x Internal 1.76MB Floppy Drive
Motherboard Revisions: Rev 0 (A3000+, Most components were socketed)
Rev 1 (A3000+, Completed audio sub-system, most components surface mounted)
Rev 2 (AA300)
Battery Backed Up Clock: Yes, uses "Barrel" shaped battery.

The AA3000 is a very rare machine with only a handful in existence (estimated between 3 and 6). Commodore are rumoured to have produced as many as 50 but destroyed almost all of them around the time they went into liquidation. Unfortunately the AA3000 was never officially released to the public. The AA3000 and A3000+ were essentially different projects, with similar goals. The case design was basically the same as the A3000 case (including PSU) probably with some minor modifications for the Zorro slots as they are aligned slightly differently. They are about 1" closer to the case and obviously the label on the case would be changed to reflect the machines name. This machine is almost a hybrid between the A4000 and A3000 containing a fully functional AGA chipset on an A3000 style motherboard with SCSI onboard. The AA3000/A3000+ lacks the Amber chip which is found on the A3000 for scandoubling and flickerfixing the Amiga's native display for output to a PC style SVGA monitor. The motherboard contains space for a planned DSP which was rumoured to provide 16bit audio and addtional maths processing capabilities. The machine also contains a standard 200pin CPU Fast Slot for adding processor cards as found in the A3000 and A4000. The particular machine shown in the photographs is actually used with a Commodore A3640. The machine also came with the same Kickstart, in the same ROM format as the A4000, that is KS 3.0 on two ROM chips. The Zorro and ISA slots were also on a daughterboard (riser card) which is connected vertically to the motherboard. Ever fancied an A3000 with the AGA chipset and DSP? Well try and get your hands on one of these babies! :) This machine is reported to be very stable and runs AGA games just as any A4000 or A1200 would.

A3000+ According to Dave Haynie

"The Amiga 3000+ was the first computer based on the Pandora chipset (which was later dubbed AA, then AGA). Revision 0 of this system first booted successfully in February of 1991, thanks due to a chip revision that got the display logic actually working. This is revision 1, which completed the audio subsystem, and moved to surface-mount components.

As the name suggests, this system was being designed as a drop-in replacement for the existing Amiga 3000 motherboard. In addition to the features everyone knows from the Amiga 3000, and from later computers such as the Amiga 4000, the Amiga 3000+ sported the AT&T DSP3210 digital signal processor as a coprocessor.

You can see quite a bit of support circuitry for the DSP in the upper lefthand corner of this board. There was an audio CODEC here, designed to allow 16-bit, 2-channel recording and playback. This was very cutting edge at the time, such chips, common today, where just becoming available. In addition, there was a separate mono CODEC with hardware phase correction, which supported modem protocols up to V32. The actual DSP was located above and to the right of the CPU.

Note: this is the real Amiga 3000+, very rare. Most of the Amiga 3000+ type systems out, whether boards or whole computers, are actually the scaled-down "AA3000", which was after the A3000+ had been cancelled, by the Bill Sydnes administration, as a product." - Dave Haynie

Extra info from Haynie eBay moving sale (march 2015) un-edited:

This is one of those Amigas that never was. The Amiga 3000+ was my followup to the Amiga 3000. We actually had a "Rev 0" (which is why this is the Rev 1), which was kind of made for experimentation. The Rev 0 board was based directly on the Amiga 3000, but with a bunch of stuff added. Firstly, that was the Pandora chipset (later "AA", even later called "AGA", once the marketing people got their grips on it). The Rev 0 was up and running AmigaOS in February of 1991, though you needed some custom copper lists and code to get a color display -- I was probably the first person to actually write any code for that chipset: I made it do color bars with smooth(ish) color transitions, thanks to the (finally) 24-bit color pallette. Of course, the AA chipset went on to get released in the Amiga 4000, Amiga 1200, and the CDTV.

The other new feature in the A3000+ was a DSP subsystem. In late 1990, Jeff Porter and I took a trip out to AT&T in Bethlehem, PA. They had this new DSP chip, the AT&T DSP3210, that they were selling as a replacement for a whole board of electronics. We didn't want it for that -- we wanted it for a general purpose signal computing engine. They had an OS, called VCOS/VCAS, which was kind of a perfect match to interface to AmigaOS, which would have allowed multitasking of DSP work, something you didn't get with the typical DSP of the day. The DSP3210 could do some floating point operations (single precision only) ten times faster than the 68040. So anyway, the A3000+ had this chip -- which lived in the system as a bus master, sharing all of memory with the CPU slot processor -- and as well, two audio CODECs. One was for modem projects, a lower bitrate mono CODEC with phase correction, and the other was a 16-bit, CD-quality audio CODEC, for high quality audio I/O... the DSP would have been able to give us at least eight channels of playback at full CD quality. 

So anyway, much of this stuff was prototyped on the Rev 0 board. We decided to make the Rev 1 board use some surface mount technology. That was a new thing, but getting important, even for prototyping. At Commodore, it was pretty common to build prototypes in house. For through hole boards, this mean snapping the board in a frame, placing every part by hand, flipping it over, hand soldering -- this was one reason we had full-time technicians in the West Chester labs. But by the 1990s we had an in-house "pick and place" machine -- a kind of robot that could place components automatically on a PCB, once it had been trained for that PCB. So this Amiga 3000+ Rev 1 was one of the very first SMT boards done at Commodore. 

But then, kind of a series of disasters. As many Commodore followers may know, by 1991, Mehdi Ali -- a former money and hatchet man for Prudential Investments -- had been appointed President of Commodore International. He went after the various divisions that fell under CIL, putting his people in place to make them easy to control, and in early 1991, it was Engineering's turn. He kicked out Dr. Henri Ruben, former VP of Engineering at Commodore, and replaced him with William Sydnes. Sydnes was a long time industry guy with two claims to fame... or perhaps infamy. He was the head manager on the IBM PCjr project, and the guy who, while at Franklin Computer, oked their basically just Xeroxing the Apple ROM for Franklin's Apple ][ clone. 

So Sydnes comes in and puts Jeff Frank, one of the engineers on the little bit of PC Clone work still done at Commodore, in charge of New Product Development -- Jeff Porter's job. Frank wouldn't pay for stencils for the A3000+ build. If you're not familar with surface mount technology, the solder that's put down on a board is basically silkscreened onto the PCB, like ink. That silkscreen is called the stencil -- it's a metal template with controlled thickness and holes where the sold paste goes through. So our techs did their best to paint the solder on by hand -- and you can see the complexity of this board (I shot it in "high resolution" mode on my OM-D digital camera, hopefully eBay doesn't crush it too much). Then the pick & place puts down the parts on that solder, then it goes through a "reflow oven", which is basically just a big, very carefully regulated oven with a conveyor belt going through it. We didn't know this either up front, but this board was a bit too big for the oven we had down with the pick & place machine in West Chester. 

So I got these boards back, and had to go over them around the edges, looking for parts that didn't solder, a few that fell off. Then the real fun started. I found short circuits. Here, there, everywhere. All kinds of problems due to the solder paste application. This was really a Rev 2 design, most of the bugs were worked out, and yet, after nearly a month, I still couldn't get the thing to work. Traces were coming off the board (we built up two of them -- each one did things a little differently, thanks to these problems), it was mess, and we really needed to have more AA boards for development. 

I'm not suggesting this was intentional sabotage anymore than just general incompetence, and sure, a bit of inexperience with SMT at Commodore. But either way, the Rev 1 boards never really worked. Meanwhile, the new management had kind of gone on the warpath against all current projects, trying to ensure that nothing we had been working on would see the light of day and make the former Engineering management team look good. So some other projects were cancelled outright. I was forced to basically go back to the Rev 0 A3000+ board for Rev 2, but also to cut out all extra stuff (I left in the DSP, but there was too much analog and CODEC stuff to easily hide)... that became the "AA3000" that we eventually distributed to developers. On a plywood slab -- the new management considered it a high crime to put an AA3000 or A3000+ into an A3000 case, even though, of course, it was designed to pretty much fit (a little issue with some of the back panel connectors, but nothing you couldn't fix with a nibbler tool). We made 50 of those... I produced my end-of-Commodore video, "The Deathbed Vigil and other tales of digital angst" on one. That one was on loan to a friend when his house was burglarized -- never to be seen again, 

So this auction is all I got left of the A3000+. Great design, some great memories mixed with a number of real horrors -- it was that experience in 1991 that convinced me Commodore, if left to these clowns, was not going to last. Wish I hadn't been right. Anyway, this is that Rev 1 blank board, I don't know if any other examples have survived, but I kind of doubt it. Included are two of my notebooks from the A3000+ era... don't get too excited about those. I didn't always keep good notes in those days -- it pretty much all fit in my head back then. So these are mostly blank, but not entirely. I've been putting a few of these old notebooks in with other items that sold during this auction run, if I had written something that was somehow related to that thing that sold. 

One of the covers is kind of funny... basically, in order to slow down the advance of the AA chipset (we were supposed to be shipping the Amiga 3000+ in April of 1992, originally), the new management formed the "AA Task Force", which met something like once a week to report on the chips and basically just say stuff still worked. No major bugs -- there had been a couple I found, chipset bugs, but I was able to fix them externally. So anyway, at every meeting I added one more member to my personal task force, the one that in my imagination was going to come in all action-hero-like and obliterate any evidence there had ever been an Ali or a Sydnes. So that explains that cover, which you can see in the photos. Stupid stuff, but there it is. 

The blank board is a blank board for the Amiga 3000+. Two were actually built up. Neither worked, due to the solder issue. Later on, there was a different design, which I called the "AA3000", that stripped some of the good stuff out of the A3000+ design, because we needed a AA chipset prototype for developers, and that's all that management would allow. These were distributed mounted on standoffs on plywood sheets only -- the new management would not allow any to be put into A3000 cases, and anyone caught with one in an A3000 case was subject to big problems. They were trying to kill the idea of a proper A3000 followup as a real product. The A4000 that you all eventually got was something different: SCSI stripped out, no DSP, no CD-quality audio, etc.


Page contributors: Dave Haynie, Jan Pedersen, Steen Jessen
Updated: 2/14/2016 . Added: 12/22/2004