Today while there’s a lot of choice in Falcon accelerators, all having strengths and weaknesses, unfortunately none of them can be purchased new. If you’re lucky at the time of this writing, you can get on the CT60 “abandoned” list in which case you might be able to buy a CT60 that the prior buyer didn’t follow thru on. So.. Let’s start from the beginning.
Simple Accelerators Simple accelerators are accelerators that aren’t much more than a replacement clock crystal. This overclocks your processor, bus, and some certain other hardware to gain a performance boost. Most people know that this particular method of acceleration doesn’t help much. Sure it might make your falcon a bit faster but it can be a huge stability cost. A standard falcon bus runs at 16MHz. It can be overclocked to 20 or 25MHz. Your DSP would then be running at 40 or 50MHz respectively instead of 32MHz so it’s quite a bump for the DSP. The problem is weird shit starts to happen! For instance, if you overclock to 25MHz and your system is working, you should put a heat sink on the DSP or else you risk problems with that. You also expose SDMA problems. You may have errors writing from IDE to SCSI drives, and these problems are GREATLY magnified when you put a heavy stress on the bus, such as usuing your new found clock rates to take your falcon from a piddly 640x480x256 colors to a more reasonable 800x600x256 colors. The overclock makes this possible but IMHO it stresses the system so badly it’s not worth it. While this upgrade does not do much by itself, when combined with a smarter accelerator is where it makes a huge difference as you will read below.
Smart Accelerators A smart accelerator is one that plugs onto the Falcon’s CPU upgrade ports. There’s 2 headers on the Falcon motherboard that make up the port. This is where falcon video cards plug in as well. Cards can be combined on this port so it’s possible to have an accelerator and a video card at the same time.
Afterburner 040 The Afterburner is a pretty wicked accelerator. It’s an 040 upgrade for your falcon and is quite fast. Unfortunately due to the way the Falcon works, ST-ram access (built in falcon ram) is even slower than normal and this ST-ram access is still needed for a lot! Disk access, video, etc. This card has not been in production for a long time. You’d be hard pressed to find one.
CT2 Falcon I say CT2 falcon because a CT2 is an extremely heavily modified falcon along with RAM and a better CPU. While it’s slower than the Afterburner 040, it’s much faster overall and is arguably a much better ugprade. The CT2 is the predecessor to the CT60 and was created by the same person. You can’t really buy a CT2 anymore. Most times you might only find a CT2 falcon where it’s built in. They’re not easily separated and I can’t imagine someone having the will to do so. A CT2 falcon has the bus overclock “simple acceleration” built right in as mentioned above.
CT60 The CT60 is the most recent and most interesting accelerator. Not only is it hands down the best one available, utilizing PC133 SDRAM for TT-ram (uhh.. FAST!), It can be installed without a single bit of soldering. You CAN buy a CT60 alone off the internet somewhere. There’s somewhere over 200 of them in circulation I believe but the creator said he will not be producing any more CT60’s. You might be able to get on the waiting list. The CT60 is an 060 based accelerator that has built in circuitry to handle the falcon bus overclock. The logic inside is extremely intelligent and well written, in fact the FPGA’s on board can be overclocked to 110MHz at max. This is a DOUBLE OVERCLOCK… That is NOT commonly possible. In fact, The CT60 is responsible for the first ever that I know of 68060 processor being overclocked above 100MHz and it brought this performance to the people. Even my falcon reliably did 92.9MHz and I must say, it’s HELLA fast.