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Thread: What SD card options are there for my Atari 8 bit Computers?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Connecticut, USA

    Default What SD card options are there for my Atari 8 bit Computers?

    I am relatively new to the ATARI 8 bit line. I bought an Atari 130XE and Atari 800XL from a woman who sold off her passed fathers entire (huge mind you) atari collection of magazines, computers, peripherals, boxed games, etc. I havent done much with it yet. I was wondering what sd card options exist for these computers and what you all recommend as Id like to get more into it.

    I may catalog some of what I have and sell, there is alot of programming rom carts and disks, complete computer magazine runs for the early to late 80's, etc.

    Appreciate the feedback, thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Metzger, Oregon


    I'm using SIO2SD, I think there may be 1 or 2 other options, but as far as I know, they are all variations of the same concept. Both of your machines have an SIO serial bus, and a PBI parallel but. The parallel bus, while faster, wasn't available on all machines in the Atari 8-bit line, and saw fewer peripherals developed for it. Because of that, I am not aware of any PBI SD options. The SIO can support up to 4 drives, D0-D3, and those can be floppy, hard drive, SD, or optical. I believe most/all SD options use a .atr file on a FAT formatted SD card. The machine will attempt to boot from D0: so if you connect a SIO2SD and it has a bootable image file on it, set it to D0. If you wish to boot from floppy, and format a new "blank" image file, set your floppy to D0 and the SIO2SD to D1, D2, or D3. The Atari's internal ROM-OS reads and writes sectors to the storage device, and the storage device is in charge of translating that to physical media, so SD storage is supported by every OS option, as the machine has no idea that you're using an SD card instead of a floppy.

  3. #3

    Default SD card

    There are a multitude of different ways to use SD cards and Flash Memory cards on the 8-bits.

    The fast ones are parallel bus devices and several of those are IDE hard disk interfaces, connected to the PBI, with an IDE <> SD adapter. The slower ones are SIO solutions like SIO2SD, SDrive or SIO2IDE. For the XF551 disk drives one can use floppy emulators as used on PC, Atari ST/Falcon and Amiga. If they can emulate 360KB disks mechanics you're probably good to go. To support 720KB the stock O.S of the XF551 has to be replaced (EPROM). 1.44MB is not possible this way.

    If you happen to have a SCSI interface (MIO/BlackBox) you can use SCSI memory card readers. Those support multiple memory card formats and/or PCMCIA of which SD is just one of it , but only up to 4GB.
    Atari 8-Bit user (400/800/600XL/800XL/1200XL/65XE/800XE/130XE/XEGS)

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