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Performance of Amiga Explorer Serial Connection



Q: How fast is Amiga Explorer over a serial connection?



A: The pre-configured default is 19.2 kbit/sec, which was tested to work well even on the slowest systems (68000 CPU). We have successfully tested settings of 57.6 kbit/sec on Amiga 1200s (68020 CPU), and up to 115.2 kbit/sec on Amiga 3000 and 4000 systems (68030 and higher CPUs), using the standard Amiga serial port and the standard Amiga serial.device.

With Amiga Explorer 8 or newer, higher speeds can be achieved with third-party Amiga serial expansions, for example when combined with a USB serial interface on the PC. As not all speeds supported by third-party hardware may be listed in the Windows side of Amiga Explorer, it may be necessary to enter the speed manually (e.g. 230400, 460800, etc.), in a way similar to what is required on the Amiga side.

The performance of the Amiga serial port may be reduced depending on the resolution and depth of the frontmost screen. On older Amiga systems this begins to be noticeable when using Amiga screen modes having more than 8 colors. RTG (graphics card) modes have no negative impact on performance.

For better performance, the Buffer Size in the Amiga Serial Preferences should be set to at least 4096 bytes. Lower values can cause transmission problems at higher speeds, or, on 68000 Amiga computers and Workbench 1.2, even at the default speed.

Several replacements of the serial.device exist, which to different degrees claim and achieve a better overall system performance during use of the serial device. In general, it should however be considered that the Amiga does not allow for bi-directional transmission speeds higher than those which are possible with the serial.device. Some programs achieve higher transmission rates by taking over the system, or by sending data only (not receiving it). This is indeed possible, but Amiga Explorer is a system-compliant application, designed to multitask with other programs, and which needs both to to read and to send data.

Longer serial cables may increase the error rate, adversely affecting performance. For this reason, placing a USB serial interface or a Bluetooth serial adapter closest to the Amiga serial connector may improve reliability if it shortens or eliminates the additional null-modem cable. Either way, the maximum speed will always be within the limits of the Amiga CPU and serial port hardware.

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Article Information
Article ID: 13-104
Platform: Windows
Products: Amiga Explorer, Amiga Forever
Additional Keywords: TIA 232, EIA 232, RS-232
Last Update: 2020-03-26
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