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Thread: Best Tandy 1000 model for Tandy Graphics and Sound

  1. #1
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    Default Best Tandy 1000 model for Tandy Graphics and Sound

    I'm really interested in playing more with the Tandy graphics and sound. I had a 1000HX before, but the all-in-one and keyboard layout drove me nuts. What is considered to be the best model for that era? I'm looking at TL/2 or TL/3, as they have a bit more power with 80286 and the 640x200x16 mode and DAC, but would RL be a better choice? Are there any issues with one or the other? Would appreciate any feedback, as they are not cheap, at least from what I can find...

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    I miss the 1000 TX I had back in the day and would probably rather have one than a TL, but the only reason for that would be I'm actually strangely fond of the proprietary Tandy 2000-sourced keyboard layout used on the early models, compatibility warts and all. Objectively it's a worse computer than the TLs by most measures.

    The TL-no-slash might actually be better than the TL/2 if you're planning to put something like an XT-IDE in it because it has five slots while the /2 and /3 have a mostly useless XT-IDE interface and four slots.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
    I miss the 1000 TX I had back in the day and would probably rather have one than a TL, but the only reason for that would be I'm actually strangely fond of the proprietary Tandy 2000-sourced keyboard layout used on the early models, compatibility warts and all. Objectively it's a worse computer than the TLs by most measures.

    The TL-no-slash might actually be better than the TL/2 if you're planning to put something like an XT-IDE in it because it has five slots while the /2 and /3 have a mostly useless XT-IDE interface and four slots.
    Keyboards are definitely a very personal thing for me, and the layout/quality dictate how I like and use the machine.

    Good point about the TL with 5 slots, but I'm not really planning on adding any other cards, besides XT-IDE for HD. The one nice advantage as far as I can understand is that TL/2 and TL/3 have a built-in clock, while TL needs the Smartwatch, which is impossible to find with a working battery. My only other addition would be the 128Kb for Video RAM.

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    The "best" system is the TL/3, being the fastest system with Tandy graphics, and supporting both Tandy 3-voice audio as well as DAC audio. However, they're difficult to find and expensive.

    The next step up would be either the TL/2 or the TX, as they have an 8MHz 80286 which is enough power to offset slinging around 2x the video memory compared to CGA games (16-color modes are 32K, CGA is 16K). The TX is usually easier/cheaper to find.

    I'm not generally a fan of the 8088/8086-based Tandy systems for playing Tandy graphics games, because 16-color video modes use 2x the RAM of CGA, and so you generally need a 2x faster CPU just to "break even" in terms of action/3d games. I'm also not the biggest fan of the later VGA-based Tandys, because if you're going to play VGA games, you might as well go full hog and build up a 386+VGA+sound blaster that is easier to maintain and cheaper.
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    RSX is worth mentioning as (I believe) it is the last and fastest machine with Tandy sound. It does have VGA. But it's in a proprietary case that screams TRS.

    I can see Trixter's point though. Playing Sierra classics on my Tandy 4000 with VGA + GUS + MT32 isn't as enjoyable as on my HX with TGA/tsound. Though the later will only run AGI games. No shot at SCI.
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    I'm currently on a Tandy programming kick, so anything VGA is out for me. Trying to create a period-correct setup.

    I think TL/2 makes most sense then, although if I see a TL/3 at a decent price, I'll jump on it. Already have a mint CM-11, so it's a start. In the meantime, time to dig into 80286 assembly, have never used one before.

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    A lot of people consider the composite output important for Tandy graphics, and I tend to agree.

    I think the TX is your best bet in that case, but that is missing the DAC as I recall, so it's a tradeoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by keenerb View Post
    A lot of people consider the composite output important for Tandy graphics, and I tend to agree.
    Really? Why?

    I don't think I've ever seen a Tandy setup with a color TV. On the other hand, I lost count 30 years ago of how many CM-5 and CM-11 monitors I've seen sitting atop a Tandy 1K machine.
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    Personally I prefer the TL over the TL/2.

    They are nearly identical but Tandy replaced a ISA slot in the TL/2 with a "Smart Drive" interface which is pretty useless today. So the TL/2 has 4 ISA slots vs the 5 on the TL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlightman View Post
    Personally I prefer the TL over the TL/2.

    They are nearly identical but Tandy replaced a ISA slot in the TL/2 with a "Smart Drive" interface which is pretty useless today. So the TL/2 has 4 ISA slots vs the 5 on the TL.
    That's actually an interesting question - what are the actual differences? As far as I could find, TL/2 is year newer, has different board layout, and the 3 ISA plus the 8-bit IDE port. Is there any other difference?

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