For years I have been telling that SDX is not my cup of tea. But this year that changed. With MyIDE 2, IDE+ 2.0, and SIDE2 ... everything works extremely well, thanks to APT and SDX and FAT16.
I can understand that for people who are 'reborn in the a8 scene' it's all rather complicated. When your last memories are: booting DOS 2.5 from a 1050, I can imagine that the plethora of choices and options is such an overwhelming experience that you do not know where to start.
Perhaps, I'm not sure, for these people it's better to start not too big. Perhaps they should restart using a8 with one sio based solution first. To get used to all the new software and the way ATR files work. It asks the atari user for a different mind set to understand the fact that an ATR file is a disk-image for instance.
When you get used to that, and you like it, there is a big chance you want more.... more RAM, more storage space, more speed, more versatility, an RTC... etc.
That's the right moment to start looking for a solution like IDE+ 2.0 or SIDE2/U1MB. Both excellent choices.
I still prefer stock atari 8bit computers, with external solutions, although thanks to FlashJazzCat's new BIOS released for U1MB I think my U1MB atari 800XL with SIDE2 is a serious candidate for becoming my main system.
My CF card is partitioned with a couple of APT partitions:
one SpartaDos FS main partition 32 MB with all my regular used tools like Bobterm and The Last Word
one SpartaDos FS partition 16MB dedicated to atari 8bit music
one MyDOS partition 16MB
a couple of 180KB partitions in XDOS format
It's amazing that APT let me use my CF card in IDE+ 2.0 and SIDE... and in someway also in my MyIDE2 cart (as long as I use SDX I can access these partitions)
The reason I prefer stock atari's ... is that i also love simplicity. A stock machine with a plugin cart filled with games (I use The!Cart) ... so even my 6 year old daughter can use it... is great too; or simply booting a real floppy from a real diskdrive... it's all possible.
I must say as soon as you chose more powerful solutions, your original atari experience makes place for a (total) new experience. Personal I love that, and it's amazing how fast you are used to (or perhaps even spoiled with) all those new features. When I had my first 1050 I was amazed by the LOADING SPEED of this beast. Now I am falling asleep when I have to wait when a game like MULE is finally loaded on my stock 1050.
It's a matter of taste, and what you want to do.
A few more examples:
I have been running a BBS for a few years. This BBS was running on my Atari 8bit computer, but the visitors were from different kind of systems. Some of the visitors were not even aware it did run on an atari 8bit computer. Other people (also vintage computer users) did visit the board too. In this case I wanted my board to be LIGHTNING FAST. The regular users... I wanted their experience as good as possible, so the board has to be fast. The other users: i wanted to show them how fast and powerful my atari 8bit computer was... So for this purpose the fastest, most powerful and excellent setup was needed. That my system was still a vintage computer setup was not so important for me.
My most favorite part of the Atari hobby is coding. Most people here know that I only want to use atari 8bit hardware in this process, so no PC/MAC software is used here. But of course... compiling, debugging and editing sources do take a lot of time. So yes, when I do this, I also want the fastest setup possible. I don't want to compile thousands of lines on a 64K computer to a stock 1050 diskdrive no. I use a 512 bytes/sector partition for lightning fast data i/o.
But... in my room I also have a pile of original games on tape. I love the booklets/inlays of these tapes. It's a bright and colorful sight. From time to time I put a tape in my XC12 data recorder and I load a game. It takes a while... sometimes more than 10 minutes ... to load a game. But how cool is that? It's what I'm used to hear from my youth... it's great, and because I waited a long time for the game, I appreciate the game more and I do not switch my atari off within a few minutes to chose another game.
So it's just a matter of what do you want to do...
Feel free to ask whatever you want to know here on the forum.
My serious advice though: take your time to get used to everything is possible, and don't go too fast Start with a simple setup and once you are used to that, you always can get a step further.
Have fun anyway!
Atari is great!