Part of the custom chipset
found in the Amiga
. Responsible for much of the "metaprocessing
" - taking care of menial
tasks (Dividing the frequency of the external 28 MHz clock
, handling the 25 DMA
channels for I/O
-intensive tasks and acting as a memory controller
for chip RAM
, for instance) and leaving the more intensive number-crunching
to the CPU
Fat Agnus also contains the bit blitter, capable of moving around chunks of memory as well as performing a number of operations on the memory, in a proto-MMX fashion. The blitter was, naturally, the demo-coders best friend, allowing huge scrolling texts be moved around with little effort.
Since the Amiga's internal representation of the video memory is planar, with each screen made up of a separate bitmap of the three RGB layers (rather than having the RGB values combined into one bitmap), the video memory needs to be translated into the standard single-bitmap format before it is passed to Denise, the graphics chip. This is done by the copper (short for Display Synchronized Coprocessor). The copper is programmable by placing commands in the 'copper list'. The copper list is executed every time the screen refreshes, and this was used to make some demos unscreenshottable - the copper copied the video memory just before Denise requested the video stream, and cleared the screen (or displayed a snide remark) when Denise was ready, thus only displaying the screen for about 0.02 seconds (depending on refresh rate). When the demo was paused (often performed in hardware, by simply disconnecting the clock from the CPU), it showed nothing (or abovementioned remark) in 98% of the cases.