FireBee Series 2 - Now open for pre-orders
As promised, we would like to inform you today about the upcoming production of the next batch of FireBee computers.

As they have been sold out since 2014, but requests for more units were repeatedly made, we decided to produce another series. In order to pre-finance it completely, we would like to get 50 fixed pre-orders, and have 20 of those to make a down-payment of 200,- Euros. As soon as this number of pre-orders and advance payments has been reached, production will begin. Building the boards will take approximately 12 weeks after that. Ideally, those boards will still be shipped in 2015, if enough orders are made in the upcoming weeks.

Of course the FireBees of the 2nd series can also be bought without pre-orders after production has been completed. But every fixed pre-order allows us to begin production sooner!
Therefore, this would be a good time now to place an order, if you have already been thinking about getting a FireBee.

The production will be taking place at a Swiss assembling company. The good news is that we could lower the price to 560,- Euros per board. The bad news is that, originally, we had planned to surprise you with a massively reduced price of 460,-. But the cost reductions in computer hardware were completely nullified by the Swiss Franc exchange rate. After the Swiss National Bank lifted the minimum exchange rate with the Euro at the beginning of this year, the Swiss Franc soared up massively. As a consequence, the FireBee costs 560,- Euros again. Only Atari-friends within Switzerland can enjoy a deeply discounted FireBee. For everyone else, we were still able to provide at least a small price reduction.

As for the board itself, we decided - after giving it lots of consideration - to produce it 1:1 like the first series. There are a number of reasons for this:

- By re-using the existing films and skipping further prototypes (which would also have been necessary even for small changes), the price could be kept down.

- Since we produce in small series, any change in hardware carries the risk of a "support disaster". The need to consider the version of the board, or the firmware, for every customer request or when developing an application, and then having to create different versions of software / firmware / etc., could eventually end in a catastrophe. Ideas for making it cheaper, like using a smaller FPGA (which could be used directly thanks to PIN compatibility), were scrapped for the same reason.

- Requested smaller hardware changes have to be implemented for the 1. series as well anyway. For example, the IDE bus currently lacks two signals required for IDE-DMA operation. Since we can provide those with an add-on using the Expansion Socket, and since we have to provide a special cable for the 1. series anyway if DMA should become feasible, an adaptation of the new boards would not have been justifiable.

The computers will therefore be produced exactly like the 1st batch. All previous information and reviews still apply, and all existing software can definitely be used as well.

Fixed, binding pre-orders can now be made. Either the classical way, by sending an email to "acpinfo atari org", or by using the new online order form on firebee.org. If you want to order a mini-case for your FireBee, please specify the preferred color as well.


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