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Thread: I wish to create a new DMA/RAM expansion card for the Tandy 1000 line.

  1. #561

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkrenicki View Post
    The majority of my Cisco cards identify as "STI Flash" with a version number that follows. Based on that, I believe them to be rebranded Simpletech cards. There are a couple that identify as something else, but I do not recall off the top of my head what those were.
    If you can find the Seagate ST1 MicroDrives I highly recommend them - they are almost as fast as flash due to a huge ram cache and should live longer than flash.

    IMG_0288_2.jpg
    My Retro Collection:
    CBM: C64, Amiga 500 x2, 600 & 1200
    Apple's: IIc, Mac SE, LCII, LC630 & Power Mac G3/233 Desktop
    PC's: K6-III+ 500 System + Roland MT-32 & Tandy 1000 EX 640kb, 3.5" FDD, CF-IDE 4GB HDD
    Visit my Tindie store for Tandy 1000 Adapters for EX, HX, SX, SL, TX & TL etc

  2. #562
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkrenicki View Post
    The majority of my Cisco cards identify as "STI Flash" with a version number that follows. Based on that, I believe them to be rebranded Simpletech cards. There are a couple that identify as something else, but I do not recall off the top of my head what those were.
    I just dumped out the handy stash-O-Cisco-CFs and ran them through the USB converter setup. (Faster than sticking them in the Tandys and I might as well DD the boot sectors clean anyway.) The breakdown is:

    2x 2GB "UNIGEN FLASH"
    3x 512MB "UNIGEN FLASH"
    1x 512MB "STI Flash 7.4"
    1x 256MB "STI Flash 7.2"
    1x 128MB "SMART CF Media"
    4x 128MB "STI Flash 8.0

    So far I've only tried "STI FLASH" cards, which have seemed to be fine, and those two 2GB Unigens, which definitely were not fine. I guess I'm going to have to give the 512MB ones a spin and see if they act badly.

    Odd observation: the "SMART CF MEDIA" and UNIGEN cards have *much* higher write speed than the STI Flash cards while running on my oddball USB adapter setup. (It's a CF->44 pin PATA->Universal PATA/SATA to USB adapter stack; my direct CF->USB multi-reader evaporated from my computer bag at some point and is still pending replacement.) DD reports the other cards writing at 2.5MB/second while the STI Flash cards only run at around 140Kps. I don't think they run that slow in the Tandy so... CF weirdness extends beyond the XT-CF realm, apparently.

    As noted this particular PATA->SD adapter seems to be trouble free as well in my 8-bit XT-CF. It's running an old rotgut MicroCenter-branded SD card and performs the same as the CFs. I need to get around to trying some different SDs in it; in particular I want to try some of those constant-use rated high-durability SD cards they sell for video surveillance and Raspberry Pis. If they really deliver on their ratings I don't think there's any way you could realistically burn one up in an XT.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  3. #563

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    I have 5 x STEC 128Mb CF cards which identify as "STI Flash 8.0" and have had zero problems with them in my ISA - CF or XTIDE cards in my IBM's, I also have SD adapters with 4Gb Transcend SD cards and have had zero problems with them in my XTIDE cards but none of them work when connected to my ISA - CF adapter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dJOS View Post
    If you can find the Seagate ST1 MicroDrives I highly recommend them - they are almost as fast as flash due to a huge ram cache and should live longer than flash.
    I think I have an old 340mb IBM Microdrive somewhere.. I will have to dig it out and give it a try. Luckily the CF-IDE adapters that I have are Type II.

  5. #565
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    Something I discovered in the box with the CFs is I also have four PCMCIA ATA flash cards. Part of me is curious if they'd work, but whether they do or not is probably such a singularly useless thing to know that it's not worth spending the money on the adapter
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  6. #566

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    Something I discovered in the box with the CFs is I also have four PCMCIA ATA flash cards. Part of me is curious if they'd work, but whether they do or not is probably such a singularly useless thing to know that it's not worth spending the money on the adapter
    Those are great for Amiga 600 and 1200 models and frequently sell for silly money on eBay.
    My Retro Collection:
    CBM: C64, Amiga 500 x2, 600 & 1200
    Apple's: IIc, Mac SE, LCII, LC630 & Power Mac G3/233 Desktop
    PC's: K6-III+ 500 System + Roland MT-32 & Tandy 1000 EX 640kb, 3.5" FDD, CF-IDE 4GB HDD
    Visit my Tindie store for Tandy 1000 Adapters for EX, HX, SX, SL, TX & TL etc

  7. #567
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    So far I've only tried "STI FLASH" cards, which have seemed to be fine, and those two 2GB Unigens, which definitely were not fine. I guess I'm going to have to give the 512MB ones a spin and see if they act badly.
    This evening I had a few spare minutes to take one of the 512MB Unigen Flash cards and install it in the 1000 SUX. To give it the fairest chance the card was DD'ed entirely with zeros before starting. I booted the DOS 5 install set, partitioned the drive, and did a clean full install. No errors cropped up during the installation, but, as a harbinger of things to come, the machine hung on the first boot from the install. It *did* boot after a power cycle, but the very simple test of trying to run "NIBBLES.BAS" repeatedly fails, with QBASIC hanging on startup or the program bombing out with bogus errors.

    These cards aren't just a little incompatible, they're *very* incompatible, in the worst way possible. Sheesh.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  8. #568
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    Okay guys, I don't mind if the conversation wanders a bit, especially if it pertains to combo cards and potential design options, but 1) the CF card discussion is off topic, and 2) said topic of CF compatibility REALLY is deserving of it's own thread, and I'm surprised there wasn't one already.

    So I created a dedicated thread here: XTIDE Device Compatibility List

    If you could copy those posts over to that thread and delete them from here (or move, if there's an option for that), that'd be much appreciated. I've been meaning to get a list going for a while, and I think we've got a the start of a good dataset going here.
    Last edited by blackepyon; December 8th, 2019 at 12:41 PM.
    My vintage systems: Tandy 1000 HX, Tandy 1000 RSX, Tandy 1100FD, Tandy 64K CoCo 2, Commodore VIC-20, and some random Pentium in a Hewitt Rand chassis...

    Some people keep a classic car in their garage. Some people keep vintage computers. The latter hobby is cheaper, usually takes less space, and is less likely to lead to a fatal accident.

  9. #569
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    So, I'll probably go ahead and update the device compatibility thread after I'm more 100% sure of the relevance of my data. I spent a couple hours this Saturday playing Mr. QA and double-checking results, and my worst fears came true; the Venn diagrams illustrating "apparently compatible" and "troublesome" cards are not identical when I tested them in my original prototype XT-CF board and the newer combo XT-CF and serial board. (TL;DR: The Unigen flash cards were obviously bad in both, but while the older board seems to work fine with all the "STI Flash" cards the newer board seems rock solid *only* with the 8.0.0 128MB cards; the STI 256MB and 512MB cards basically didn't work at all. This is with the respective boards hosted in the same computer and same parent memory card) I'm going to try finding some formal media testing software to make sure the cards that *seem* error free actually are, and maybe give in and try to see if the oscilloscope can tell me if there's a difference in how noisy the bus is on the two boards.

    (A confounding factor, of course, is the two cards have different form-factor interfaces so I can't easily swap adapters between them. So differences in quality between the adapters *could* be a factor, although a brief test of the 44 pin adapter in the 40 pin board via a short cable/adapter lashup didn't replicate the error seen with the 44 pin board.)

    I've never seen an error when running Checkit's hard disk diagnostics, but since it only seems to do reads of sequential and random sectors without caring what the contents read are "supposed" to be it may be useless if communication/compatibility issues are bus/adapter related. (IE, it's probably just reporting if the controller throws an error.)
    Last edited by Eudimorphodon; December 9th, 2019 at 05:28 PM.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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    It is very much the case in today's world that within a "standard" like SD cards for example, that there are manufacturers who publish compatibility guides for one brand/model because some work in the device and some don't. As much as it is interesting why this is so, if there is a selection of working and compatible hardware the fact that there are incompatible ones can be dismissed in a hobby product like this if a manufacturer like GoPro is doing the same.

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