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Catweasel MK3 PCI/Flipper

Four controllers in one for emulation support

This product is discontinued. Please have a look at its successor, Catweasel Mk4.

The third generation of Catweasel controllers shows again that Catweasel has always been a bit more than just a floppy controller. If you have started an emulator on a modern computer, you'll know that a lot of things are different from the original machine. The new computer can't read the original disks, the old joysticks don't fit, and the keyboard has a lot of keys in a place that you're not used to. Once you have adjusted to the new situation, bad sound effects or music that just doesn't sound like what you've heard over and over again more than ten years ago spoils the party.

Catweasel MK3 solves all of these problems.

As the name already tells, it's a PCI board for modern PC's, Macs and the AmigaOne.

PCI/Zorro Flipper Interface The surname "Flipper" suggests that there's more to this interface. The new Catweasel is a so-called flipcard, it can be plugged into the Zorro slot of a classic-Amiga. Even if you don't have any of these bus systems, there's another connector for the clock-port of an Amiga 1200 - a small pin header on the motherboard of the computer that's connected with a cable.

The main purpose of the Catweasel has always been to allow access to non-standard disks using normal PC-diskdrives, even if you usually need a completely different computer for that. The capacity of the drive does not matter in this case: A 5.25" drive with 1.2 MByte capacity will read and write a C-64 disk with 170 KByte as well as a 3.5" drive with 1.44 MByte can access a 1.76 MByte Amiga disk. The implementation of more than 1100 different disk formats is being worked on, and it does not matter that this has been classified impossible by others before. Even the 800 KByte disks from older Macintosh computers can be used in standard 1.44 MB drives, although the original drives have rotated their disks at variable speeds. Even if the format you desire is not yet supported, it only requires a driver update to get new features out of the controller.

To bring the real feeling of the old games to new computers, the Catweasel MK3 has two connectors for so-called digital joysticks. This is the type of joystick that has been used by many computers of the 80's like C-64, VIC-20, Atari and Amiga. The connector was the same on all these computers: A 9-pin Sub-D. Analog joysticks of that time (so-called paddles) can also be used.

Emulation does not necessarily mean to bring nostalgia to your computer. AmigaOS XL and Amithlon bring an operating system to the PC world that is superior to the mainstream systems in many respects. A lot of users of that software wanted to use real Amiga keyboards on the PC, that's why the Catweasel MK3 features a mini-DIN connector for an A4000 keyboard. If you want to use an A2000 or A3000 keyboard, this can be done with a PS2 adapter.

SID Last but not least, the Catweasel MK3 has an option to use the original sound chip of the Commodore C-64, also known as SID (Sound Interface Device). This part of the board has been carefully designed in order to produce exactly the same sound that the C-64 produced. There have been other attempts to bring this chip to the PC world, but none of them was really satisfying.

Catweasel MK3 does not accept compromise in this matter. Even direct comparative tests with a real C-64 reveal nearly no differencies. This is also caused by a real Commodore-Chip that is being used to generate the SID clock frequency. An additional circuit that is contained on all Catweasel MK3 can output a fourth voice even out of the later versions of the SID (8580) that could be activated by a software trick on the old version (6581). If you connect the Catweasel MK3 to the internal CD connector of your soundcard, you can hear the fourth voice on a separate channel if you like.

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