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Thread: What can you do with a videx 80 col card on an apple II or II plus besides th obvious

  1. #1
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    Default What can you do with a videx 80 col card on an apple II or II plus besides th obvious

    So I have a few II plus computers an an original Model II and I have 3 videx 80 col cards. What can you do with these cards besides the obvious (run test mode at 80 col for office suite applications)?

    I am unfamiliar with anything other than the apple IIe 80 col cards. IF the videx card is installed into a II or II plus can you play 80 col games written for the IIc or IIe (given the II plus has the sufficient RAM installed. i.e. Prince of Persia)?

    I am just unsure how useful these cards are or what their potential is on these first model Apple II's.

  2. #2
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    The Videx cards can only display text; they have a built-in 2k character buffer that’s page-flipped in a 512 byte window in the slot space and a CRTC-based display generator that runs completely independently of the built-in display. So from a technical standpoint they’re completely different from the IIe’s DMA based video generator that’s pretty much the original Apple II system on steroids. The only compatibility is at the software level so far as I’m aware, IE, the Videx latches onto the same firmware APIs.

    So, yeah, the long and short of it is they probably are not of much interest for games unless it’s Zork or friends.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  3. #3
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    Never tried it myself, but I was under the impression these were often used with CP/M cards, so it could display CP/M applications in 80 column text. I think there was a version of VisiCalc that supported the Videx card, and probably some other applications like terminal programs. Basic programs that use it like a printer device (PR#3) might work.

    Not terribly useful, as it worked like plugging in a dumb terminal but sharing a monitor.

    Software produced after the Apple IIe seemed to forget all about Videx, requiring the Apple IIe 80-column system instead.

  4. #4
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    I vaguely recall seeing Appleworks run on a fully-expanded II+ with a Videx card once, but I guess upon Googling that it looks like that doing so required patching the software:

    https://www.apple.asimov.net/documen...20Modifier.pdf

    I'd hazard a guess that similar patches probably came out for at least a while but, yeah, it seems like "serious" software got on the IIe train pretty quickly. Games and other software that was fine with 40-column displays mostly stayed compatible with the "64k Apple II+" baseline right up to the end of the Apple II's lifespan. I have a both a IIc and a Frankenstein II+ compatible and I haven't run into many games that doesn't run on the latter.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  5. #5
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    I did read the videx support sheet for appleworks and saw the patch. Well thanks for all the info guys. In a nutshell there is NO WAY to beef up a II or II plus to make it compatible with IIe programs then? Shame really, I love the II plus from a build perspective.

  6. #6
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    Unfortunately, yeah, you'd basically have to replace a big blob of the II's video generation circuitry with the equivalent of the MMU they came up with for the IIe. Technically a II+ with a Videx card and a "Slinky" RAM expansion could still do the needful for text-based applications about as well as a IIe and some people soldiered on with them for a while, but eventually a IIe got cheap enough that it made more sense to just buy the system unit and move all your cards to it if you were of the "Apple II forever!" stripe.

    I will say cursor and additional function keys were a nice addition on the IIe, even if the layout was pretty mickey mouse.
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

  7. #7

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    I just received a Videx 80 card. I don't have a II Plus handy, but my Platinum IIe is currently on the bench. Can I use the IIe to test this card in slot 3 (pulling out the extended 80-column card and leaving the aux slot empty)?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by groink View Post
    I just received a Videx 80 card. I don't have a II Plus handy, but my Platinum IIe is currently on the bench. Can I use the IIe to test this card in slot 3 (pulling out the extended 80-column card and leaving the aux slot empty)?
    Im pretty curious to hear about your results on a iie.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by groink View Post
    I just received a Videx 80 card. I don't have a II Plus handy, but my Platinum IIe is currently on the bench. Can I use the IIe to test this card in slot 3 (pulling out the extended 80-column card and leaving the aux slot empty)?
    No need to remove the aux slot card. Just plug into Slot 3 and go. I've used Videx Videoterm and Ultraterm cards in //e machines without any problems. The Ultraterm is particularly interesting since it can do 132-column display (was useful for spreadsheets back in the day).

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