Pi and the Amiga 500 (EMU68k) - PiStorm comparison

In my previous post, I brought up the benefits of using the PiStorm build to bring your Amiga 500 to a whole new world of capability. But for many (including me), I felt like I lost the “flavor” of what the Amiga 500 is. If you share the same guilty feelings and find yourself sleepless at night over the subject, I offer “EMU68K”. But take with an err of caution. Emulation almost always has its drawbacks & limitations.

The beauty of having a Raspberry PI sitting in your 68000 CPU slot is that you still have menu options there on how you want this system to behave. Options are limited, but they’re there:

  • PiStorm (Musashi): Linux O/S driving your system into a frenzy, full of massive capability (stolen from the power of Linux) where you can run Amiga OS, Caffeine OS, Other Crazy OS - all from an A500 frame.
    • PROs: Feature rich, full of expanded features and capability including Caffeine OS compatibility, wifi access, CPU acceleration and memory expansion, hard drive and RTG capability, remote access to hard-drive
    • CONs: Linux OS operating as your 68000; some compatibility problems; unrealistic A500 capabilities, slow boot-up time (spin-up of Linux OS)


  • EMU68K: My new love! This is a bare-metal Just-In-Time emulation featured Pi, meaning there is no OS layer driving your Amiga 500. The build is from one of the Amiga Pros himself, Michal Schulz, with code presented to the Raspberry Pi ARM to emulate the 68000 processor, while providing additional Fast RAM capacities / capabilities and SD access via virtual SCSI for hard drive use. The CPU equivalence is 68040.
    * PROs: More realistic “Vanilla Amiga”, CPU acceleration / Memory Expansion through Raspberry Pi hardware, Hard Drive and RTG capability, Fast boot up time (no Linux OS)
    * CONs: Less features than PiStorm; no remote access, less capable

The best part about the menu above is you aren’t just limited to one option. The switch between options one and two are selectable by a switch of a SD card. Other flavors and combinations of Kickstart ROM / Amiga OS can be maintained on separate SD cards for easy changes between them. Further, SD cards can routinely be backed up to PC to preserve your system in an operative state!

For EMU68K, losing remote access to your media does not mean you have to resort back to floppies to get your system up and running, though it took me some time staring at my computer to try to figure out the best approach. Again, WinUAE comes to the rescue. The SD card can simply be used within WinUAE to access your SD “hard drives” and by having an additional directory as another “hard drive”, it becomes a drag and drop of files you have downloaded via your PC.

Notable observations: Maybe it was just bad luck for me, but out of the 20 or so downloaded games I had that required floppy to execute, only two ran. Most of the hard-drive installed games that are invoked from the desktop environment worked. I switched the hardware back to the 68000 and Kickstart 2.04, at which point the games ran flawlessly; confirmation that the EMU68K was causing the incompatibility.

Takeway: EMU68K is a great opportunity to utilize and employ multiple versions of desktop environment of Amiga OS and is perfect for those that are not seeking the “gaming experience” of the Amiga without the pains of running WHDLOAD. Important to note here too that not all games are available by WHDLOAD. Along with that are the benefits mentioned above and the AGA video experience. However, if you want the real-feel of the Amiga and desire to be able use all the old-school games that were out there, then EMU68K is not your solution. You are better off souping your Amiga up with the ACA500 expansion.

EMU68K in action on the real Amiga hardware:

Same SD card running in WinUAE:



Emu68K details:

PiStorm purchase:
PiStorm - AMIGAstore.eu.