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View Full Version : Actual IIe card or IIe emulator, which to choose?



punchy71
December 6th, 2011, 10:11 AM
Would I be better off to have a Mac with an actual IIe card plugged into it or just simply run a IIe emulator through software? What are the advantages and disadvantages to both methods?

Thank you

barythrin
December 6th, 2011, 10:56 AM
Kinda depends what you're wanting to do. In most cases, emulating a slower system has come along a good ways and is often going to get you what you want on a newer hardware. The emulator cards are harder to find, and certainly more expensive although certainly fun and impressive to own. The only problem I think you would find is you'd need older hardware probably to use the emulated cards, and 2. the cards may fail due to age.

If it's just curiosity sake and play with X system for a few minutes then emulators are a great way to go if you don't want to clutter the place with the actual systems.

Anonymous Freak
December 6th, 2011, 11:26 AM
Well, if you want to use actual Apple II disks and joysticks, the IIe card is your best bet, since it has ports that you connect physical peripherals to.

But if you want to just experience Apple II software more easily than an actual Apple II, a modern emulator is by far your best bet.

Trixter
December 6th, 2011, 12:46 PM
The Apple II was one of the first emulated computers I can remember; I recall a DOS emulator in the early 1990s. With the Apple II being such an old system, with fully open/documented specs, most modern emulators (I believe Bernie ][ The Rescue is one of the better ones for Mac) pretty much have the emulation down pat. With emulation being so accurate for the Apple II series, you should have no problem running the actual software, which means emulation matches the add-in card.

I use both real hardware and emulation in my retrocomputing hobby work; I use emulation for when I want to just quickly verify a few facts, or check out something I've never run before. But for deeper work, I always bring out the real hardware. There is a tactile and visceral experience you cannot get with any emulator, although a rare few come close (for example, WinUAE + floppy drive sounds enabled + scanline emulation enabled + a real 4:3 CRT that can do 50Hz refresh). An add-in card does not properly recreate this experience, in my opinion, giving it no advantage over emulation.

So my recommendation is emulation.

RWallmow
December 6th, 2011, 04:27 PM
Even the "Apple //e card" is using SOME emulation, its not a 100% TRUE hardware experience, yes it has a 6502 cpu, ram, IWM, and joystick port, it still emulates all the video portion on the host Macs video, so it can be somewhat slower than a REAL //e and less than 100% software compatibility. I would actually bet more modern "fully software emulators" probably have a better track record as far as software compatibility.

Nothing would be quite like a real //e, but as others have said, if you just want to mess around quick here and there, an emulator is just fine.

Vintage computer collecting/restoring is not for everyone, some say we are a bit crazy ;-)

punchy71
December 6th, 2011, 05:40 PM
I considered even the actual IIe computer as well. But I was wanting to see the possibility of using a Mac LC with a IIe card plugged in. I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages are of having a real IIe either.

Trixter
December 6th, 2011, 09:18 PM
I'm not sure what the advantages/disadvantages are of having a real IIe either.

Have you ever used a real II+ or IIe? If not, get the real hardware. The sound of the disk drive during the bootup sequence alone is part of the immediate visceral experience I mentioned earlier.

RWallmow
December 7th, 2011, 04:22 AM
Have you ever used a real II+ or IIe? If not, get the real hardware. The sound of the disk drive during the bootup sequence alone is part of the immediate visceral experience I mentioned earlier.
More than just the visceral experience, you get 100% compatibility with software and hardware with a REAL //e.

The //e card has some video incompatibility, however it should NOT have any trouble with copy protected titles since its using a real IWM and floppy drive, I would probably give it 98% compatibility.

"Modern" PC/Mac software emulation will likely have SOME issues with copy protected disk images (many have been hacked to work anyways though), but will probably have better video emulation than an LC card, I would say probably 99% compatibility (most A2 emulators do have 20+ years of development past the //e card, which itself is pretty vintage these days itself).

I would say any "cons" to owning a REAL //e can probably be said about an LC with //e card these days, its OLD hardware, and more prone to failures, will take tinkering to get it working and keep it working, but for some, those are not cons, myself I like tinkering with the old hardware.

While I do NOT own a LC and //e card at the moment, I have owned two of them in the past, the cards themselves never have that much to go wrong with them (unless they get static zapped or something), they are not usually known for problems, however the LCs they are in can have a few "common" problems that are starting to creep up these days, like bad leaking capacitors, battery failure (and leaking on the board), power supply failures, and less serious (since its plain SCSI) hard drive failures.

evantanski
January 6th, 2012, 02:32 AM
Honestly, the best way to use IIe software without a IIe is the Apple IIe card for an LC. LCs are easy to find and don't cost much.

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