Contents | < Browse | Browse >
Review: Apollo 1240/40 Accelerator, Part 1
By: Jason Compton
I remember when an 020/14 seemed really, really fast. Unfortunately, to
most people, it doesn't seem that way anymore. But the A1200 ships that
way, so you'll have to take matters into your own hands to cram some speed
into that little case.
The Apollo 1240/40 card aims to do just that. Armed with a Motorola 68040
processor at 40mhz, fully equipped with FPU and MMU, your A1200 will get
quite a speed increase.
Installation is thankfully much easier than with the first 040 accelerator
we reviewed, the Falcon 040/25. The Apollo is self-contained, with a
smaller 040 package than the Falcon's. The chip, a small heat sink and a
fan are all mounted on the side of the board that faces up into the
computer, the underside contains all the support logic, SIMM slot, and the
SCSI module header. (The SCSI module is sold separately and unfortunately
was not provided for review.)
Pop in a SIMM up to 32 megabytes and set the RAM jumper to on. The board
takes care of the rest. The only other jumper is the SCSI option jumper,
which you activate when you install the SCSI card.
Open up your A1200's trapdoor case (you may actually find it helpful to
just open the case outright, it makes putting these cards in a lot easier),
slide it in, and you're ready to go. There is no necessary support
software, the 040 will configure automatically and you're off and running.
Unlike the Falcon, the card is not so huge that you'll never be able to get
it out--it's large enough to fit snugly in the trapdoor, but can be
manipulated in and out easily.
A stronger power supply is recommended by the card manufacturer but I have
noticed no ill effects on the A1200 with hard drive we used for testing.
It is worth noting that the chip, despite its heat sink and fan does get
The operating manual is all of two A4-sized pieces of paper, which cover
the bare essentials of the accelerator's function. For troubleshooting,
you're on your own.
We'll wait for benchmarks until AR 4.12, when we will compare the Falcon,
the Apollo 1240/40 and the Phase5 Blizzard 1260. But here are some
real-world impressions of the 1240/40 card:
Functionally, the card is quite satisfying. Just as it should, the system
is significantly sped up, even over the performance we got with the Falcon.
However, under CPU-intensive operations I noticed a tendency for the mouse
pointer to freeze up intermittently, in a way I've never seen before under
normal operation of other computer and accelerator configurations.
Speed is indeed faster than stock 040/25 configurations for both 3640 cards
(as found in 4000s and 4000Ts) and the Falcon.
To my mind, the Apollo supplants the Falcon in price and functionality, and
is the only marketed 040 solution that even approaches usability from a
heat and size perspective. (Now that there's a Falcon alternative, I can't
recommend it in good conscience. Phase5's upcoming 040 A1200 board is
intended for tower configurations only.) Stay tuned for benchmarks, and
give the Apollo 1240/40 some serious thought if you're looking to get some
extra juice out of your A1200 without taking the 060 plunge.
Provided for review by DataKompaniet