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phreakindee
September 7th, 2009, 06:19 PM
I have posted an Atari 600XL as my newest review, since I enjoy the 8-bit line and thought a review should be fun - Nobody else is doing one either - so please if you would, watch and tell me what you think! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSLLLh2sFa8) Thanks guys

NathanAllan
September 7th, 2009, 07:25 PM
I said it at Atariage, now here-- great review, great coverage.

Nathan

Vint
September 7th, 2009, 09:40 PM
Nicely done video :)

Back in the 80's I was Commodore specific - never had an Atari . . .
until the 00's! Now I have a 600XL and an 800XL plus the 1050 drive.

Question:
I noticed you have the SIO2PC that hooks the Atari to your PC. I've considered that thing, but it's a tad spendy. I do have a similar gadget that works with my C-128, the XA1541. Costs a lot less too and the software (OpenCBM) was free. So my Commodore is good to go.

My question is, after you buy the SIO2PC, do you still need the APE/ProSystem software at $50. to use the SIO2PC gadget?
$90. or even more if you go with the USB version is over my head when I bought the Commodore equivalent for under $20. and software was free.
Am I missing something here?

carlsson
September 7th, 2009, 11:07 PM
Vint, I would think that while 6-pin DINs can be had almost anywhere, the SIO connectors are rare as hen's teeth. There are one or two surplus electronics resellers in the USA who claim to have loose SIO connectors in store, but once you have placed an order and filled in your credit card information, they regretfully tell you it is sold out.

On basis of that argumentation, the competition for X-series cables is much bigger than it will ever be for SIO cables. You and me can solder together our own XE, XM, XA and other cables. We only need the DB25, the 6-pin DIN, a couple of diodes or transistors (?) and a few spare hours. It may be cynical, but I'm totally sure the less common something is to obtain, the more money can you ask for the products you made out of it.

phreakindee
September 8th, 2009, 07:04 AM
Nicely done video :)

Back in the 80's I was Commodore specific - never had an Atari . . .
until the 00's! Now I have a 600XL and an 800XL plus the 1050 drive.

Question:
I noticed you have the SIO2PC that hooks the Atari to your PC. I've considered that thing, but it's a tad spendy. I do have a similar gadget that works with my C-128, the XA1541. Costs a lot less too and the software (OpenCBM) was free. So my Commodore is good to go.

My question is, after you buy the SIO2PC, do you still need the APE/ProSystem software at $50. to use the SIO2PC gadget?
$90. or even more if you go with the USB version is over my head when I bought the Commodore equivalent for under $20. and software was free.
Am I missing something here?


Not really missing much... after you get the SIO2PC, you do still need APE to run it. However, the trial version that it comes with is nearly fully functional (both the older DOS and newer Windows versions, with ProSystem). Essentially, it will have a nag screen at the beginning, but you can then use it normally. There are a few features that are locked, but I have never needed those. They pertain to using certain copy-protected disks, I think. There may be more info on Atarimax's FAQ on their site, but I have never really needed to know since it's worked fine for all I needed it for, which is loading disks, unlike the XA1541 in which I wanted to write disks as well. That may be limited with SIO2PC, not sure since I haven't needed to yet.

carlsson
September 8th, 2009, 07:39 AM
It may be worth mentioning there are other SIO solutions too: SIO2USB, SIO2SD and so on. I own the SIO2SD and posted a review on this forum earlier. It doesn't require any special PC software, just plop down the disk images on the SD card. I'm not sure if it takes SDHC but at least it works with traditional SD up to 2 GB each. Honestly I don't think you need more than that, or else you can swap cards.

Vint
September 8th, 2009, 11:33 AM
Ok, so this SIO2PC 'thing' has prompted me to delve a little further into the subject. I spent some time reading the AtariMax forum info about the adapter and software. I didn't want to spend forever so I tried to glean just what I wanted to know. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing though . . . From what I understand now . . . with the free version of the software, you get nag screens, delays, slower operation, and the ability to write to the PC mirror image is disabled. I don't want to misrepresent anything - so here is the link to the differences between the pay version and the free versions of the software.

http://www.atarimax.com/ape/ape.htm#Reg_Benifits

As Anders pointed out, basically, supply and demand is an issue when comparing the Commodore adapter to the ATARI adapter and associated cables.

To me, owner of both systems with fine running floppy drive units for each - I think I will stick with my Commodore and forgo the SIO2PC adapter and the APE software, strictly on a cost basis. I would like to have the SIO2PC, BUT . . . what program, game, software could I use on the Atari - that I couldn't on the Commodore? An important consideration indeed. There is a huge amount of software for the Commodore, so in my case hooking the Atari system to my PC for added fun and games is really just a redundant measure.

I read with interest Anders 'review' of an SIO2SD gadget - March 2008. Though I prefer the old big clunky drives like the 1541 and 1050 and playing with the 5.25" disks. It's quite fun to take a disk 'image' and transfer it from my PC over to my 1541. I'm sure in the future when my drives konk out I'll be moving on to SD, IDE, or whatever to keep the systems cooking :)

carlsson
September 8th, 2009, 11:49 PM
Ideally you could use memory card readers (SD, CF and so on) and a copying program that runs natively on your target computer to generate physical floppy disks from images. I don't know about the Atari drives, but the 1541 and so on are reprogrammable. It leads to many programs implementing their own fastloaders usually don't work on the SD devices, due to the memory card device only emulates the track structure of a floppy disk, not the intelligent controller. There are some devices that emulate the 6502/6522 chipset too, but as it requires beefier chips they get more expensive than what most average users would like to spend.

By the way, I would think IDE hard drives is a dead end. Just like a floppy drive they need their own power supply, are harder to move around and will cease to be produced so only used drives remain. For most vintage systems, a few gigabyte of storage space usually is more than required and in a memory card based system you can easily swap cards. I know there is an issue with maximum number of write cycles on Flash based media but usually you would mostly load (read) from the card. I'm not sure about longetivity of stored data, for how many years a card will hold its content depending on if it is accessed every now and then or not at all.

On the other hand, newer memory technologies are bound to come so within foreseeable future those memory cards supported by today's retro interfaces will become obsolete and no longer available other than in used form. But then again, it was many years ago you could buy brand new 5.25" floppy disks from someone else than the Athana factory.