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POKEY vs. SID

POKEY SID

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Poll: POKEY vs. SID (49 member(s) have cast votes)

Which sound do you like better?

  1. POKEY (13 votes [26.53%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 26.53%

  2. SID (36 votes [73.47%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 73.47%

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#51 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:02 PM

Personally I wonder on which of these chips development began first, and which one was soonest finished:

 

POKEY - Assumed development started in the summer of 1977, finished in 9 months (spring 1978) and demoed in the Atari 400/800 in January 1979. It also strikes me that development of the next generation gaming hardware was initiated before the VCS had been launched to customers, but perhaps constant development is a given.

 

AY-3-891x - Apparently GI had the AY-3-8900 STIC ready by January 1978, but not sure about the 891x sound chip. The Intellivision though is said to have been developed during 1978 and test marketed in late 1979 in California.

 

TMS9919 - It was pre-dated by the short lived SN76477 which only featured one channel of sound that could be either a sine wave, a square wave or noise, although with envelope control. This chip was found in Space Invaders from June 1978, but was soon replaced with the SN76489/TMS9919 with better capacities to match the already popular (?) AY-3-8910. Another time marker is the ALF Music Card MC16 for the Apple ][ that was demonstrated in late 1978 and for sale in early 1979. It is said that the 9919 pretty much is a single chip version of the MC16. Finally the TI-99/4 was demoed in June 1979, so by then the sound chip for sure must've been ready.

 

For further dating, there is a resource on the TMS9918 VDP that is rather vague about dating, but it mentions the hardware sprites were inspired by Atari, which I assume would put development no sooner than September 1977, unless TI engineers got a sneak peak. There is a timing document on the VDP from 1978, which matches the dating for the companion sound chip. 

 

Thus, it is a good possibility all three of those sound chips were worked on simultaneously. Perhaps GI actually predated Atari a little on this, which would suggest this order of chips being ready:

 

AY-3-891x

POKEY

TMS9919

(three years later)

SID

It's not surprising to hear the AY chip may have come first.
General Instruments produced a series of pong and other game chips between 1976 and 1978.
http://www.pong-story.com/gi.htm



#52 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:32 PM

FWIW, the AY-3-8910 had the most upgrades over the years.
The AY8930 which I already mentioned extended existing features.
The Yamaha YM2203 had backwards compatibility with the Yamaha version of the 8910, but also added FM sound synthesis.
I think there were some chips aimed at cell phones that still included 8910 compatibility but I'm not going to take the time to look it up.  I'm pretty sure they were just derivatives of the YM2203.



#53 rdefabri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:24 AM

By long after you mean 3 years.   :roll:

Umm - Moore's law?



#54 rdefabri OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:28 AM

I really like both chips.  Yes the SID is better. 

 

However, it's pretty amazing that POKEY can hold its own in a match with the SID when you consider that:

 

1) the SID chip was designed long after the POKEY was released.

2) the SID designer was an experienced analog synthesizer programmer.

Agree with this, as a lifelong Atari guy (I had a Atari 400 when they first came out in late '79 / early '80), I love POKEY and fought many a battle with C64 owners.  What SID can do is pretty awesome, although considering some of the work by modern Atari folks with POKEY, it can certainly do more than the generic square-wave sounds that is more common on the 8-bit platform.

 

Analmux's stuff comes to mind - that could be put up against any SID tune.  POKEY surely isn't as flexible and requires some wringing to get it to cooperate, but it's still a cool bit of tech.

 

Guys like Jay Miner and Doug Neubauer were childhood heroes to me!!  Bob Yannes - interesting guy (and I was a huge Ensoniq fan and customer), but I guess I was a little biased in my youth :)



#55 atarian63 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:29 AM

Pokey All the way! Sid can sound nice at times but mostly sounds like angry buzzy bees. Never cared for for.



#56 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:02 PM

Just out of curiosity, what sound chip do you think created this?



#57 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 4:44 PM

Since it comes from a site about the Russian Speccy scene, I'll put my money on the AY chip.



#58 JamesD OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 14, 2016 7:46 PM

Since it comes from a site about the Russian Speccy scene, I'll put my money on the AY chip.

I knew someone would cheat

But that proves you couldn't tell just by the way it sounds.



#59 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:39 AM

Actually my first thought was YM on the Atari ST due to the stereo effect, but that is quite the same as the AY. I was tossing between AY or SID but since you posted it in that manner in a SID - POKEY thread, I figured it was some kind of trick question. I tried to scan for non square wave sounds but didn't quite hear any, which further suggested it would not be a SID.







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