the early 130XE and 800XE boards were different - from 1985-1987 (maybe also 1988 and 1989) Atari used 130XE boards with 16 RAM chips (8kbytes each) and 800XE boards with 8 RAM chips (8kbytes each); thus if you have such an older 800XE it cannot be upgraded so easily to 128k;
From 1988/1989 until 1992 Atari sold the 65XE (EU+US), 130XE (EU+US) and 800XE (only in EU) with the same 130XE board that had space for 4 chips (32kbytes each)
I don't believe any 65XE (US) NTSC have a 130XE board.
Some 65XE PAL systems were the same as the US 65XE (no ECI)
Can we at least all agree that if you have an ECI port, you have a 130XE board (4 socket or 16 socket) and can be upgraded to full 130XE 128K functionality?
AFAIK Atari only produced two XE motherboard lines: the 65XE/900XLF (8 sockets, no ECI) and the 130XE (in two RAM socket flavors + ECI).
This is why I don't like using the Marketing labels when talking about these systems: What motherboard do you have is way easier.
What are the different models that I could best buy?
400 - 8k of 16k machine and can be upgraded by adding extra memory in the slots of the machine. This was marketed as a gaming machine which it's design to an extend shows as it's a light weight 800.
800 - 8k to 48k machine and can be upgraded by adding extra memory in the slots of the machine.
600XL - 16k, easy to upgrade (if socketed) by popping in new ram chips and soldering a couple/few wires, depending on the method.
800XL - 48k, the most common - almost ALL software will work on a 64k XL...some 1990s (and onwards) demos and games require more ram. almost ALL Taiwan 800XLs are soldered - which makes upgrading harder. 50% of Hong Kong 800XLs have socketed ram.
1200XL - the easiest to upgrade, but easier to buy in the USA than europe. most ICs are socketed which makes installing a 256k wizztronics clone, Ultimate 1mb or the newer Antonia 4mb upgrades much easier. almost all 1200XLs will need a clear pic, UAV or similar upgarde to make video reasonable.
65XE - 48k, an XL with ST styling - many do not have the ECI port.
130XE - 64k, again, an XL with ST styling, but with 128k ram.
800XE - 48k, eastern european crossover from XL to XE range - some (about 30%) of these have a buggy GTIA chip, but if you strike lucky you get a nice "XL" with freddie chip and ECI.
Why upgrade RAM?
To either gain access to 130XE library and to more modern demo's, games, etc.
Different RAM standards and why do they matter?
Plain and simple comparability as some RAM upgrades have different memory adresses, which means some software might not run or not run correctly under a different standard.
Can and is it worth it to upgrade my RAM by filling out empty RAM spots on the motherboard on my 65xe or 800xe?
Yes, if you have those slots and if you don't want to go all out on the RAM or keep your machine like it was during the machines production life. Watch out for the faulty GTIA's though. You can check for those buy typing in :
10 GR. 9:D=1:FOR X=0 TO 79
20 COLOR C:C=C+D:IF C=15 OR C=0 THEN D=-D
30 PLOT X,0:DR. X,191
40 NEXT X
50 G. 50
Which RAM upgrade kits are still available? (mainly available for 800XL and later models, unless noted otherwise)
Antonia 4MB http://atariage.com/...ead/?hl= ctirad(I assume there is a newer location that sells them that I'm not aware of) (please note, the Antonia has 2 different versions one for the XL line and the other for the XE line)
Ctirad 576XE http://atariage.com/...ead/?hl= ctirad
(No soldering required, up to 576k of RAM and please not "up to" as it requires you atari be on 128k of RAM before slotting it in to get that amount, otherwise you won't get 576k)
Incognito Don't know where it is available
(only for the 800)
I think creating a RAM Upgrade sticky is a great idea. I struggled with the same thing. Very hard to figure out all the pros/cons and even to know what is available, if like me you aren't a constant reader here...
To be complete, you could also include official ram upgrades for the 400/800 and also Incognito. Likewise the 600XL is easy to upgrade (if socketed) by popping in new ram chips and soldering a couple/few wires, depending on the method.
(price: 39 Euro plus shipping; he also builds-in the extension if required...)
512k SRAM-Extension by tf_hh: write him a pm via AA
All three extensions are more or less the same, they offer the same functions, the same RAM (512k XRAM) and the same compatibility: a) no switches: 576k RAM with Compyshop and Rambo banks available at the same time (no sep. Antic acces then), b) with one or two switch(es): 320k RAM Compyshop comp. (with sep. Antic access), c) with one or two switch(es): 320k RAM Rambo compatible, d) with one or two switch(es): 64k RAM, XRAM off;
I do own two of these 512k SRAM extensions by mega-hz and since I did not install any switches, I do have 576k RAM always available and the program can simply use the required banks/mode (Compyshop or Rambo) automatically. Most programs simply work without any user-invention, except those programs that do require sep. Antic access and those programs that do require more than 576k RAM (e.g. 1MB XRAM / 1088k RAM). Luckily there are not so many programs, that require sep. Antic access or more than 576k RAM, so I do not really need a 1MB, 4MB or 16MB extension. Games that do require 1MB are often available as ROM/cart., so I bought the cart or flashed the ROM on an Atarimax or my Ultimate Cart and thus they run fine on 64k computers. But thats just my personal/subjective preference...
tf_hh also made the superb Syscheck II, which plugs in any ECI/PBI port and doubles as a (Rambo?) 512K extension. It should be noted that, the RAM extension can't be used with an 130XE or a 16KB 600XL.
tf_hh also made the superb Syscheck II, which plugs in any ECI/PBI port and doubles as a (Rambo?) 512K extension. It should be noted that, the RAM extension can't be used with an 130XE or an 16KB 600XL.
It CAN be used with the 130XE. Jürgen has posted a correction somewhere and I'm using the SysCheck II on my otherwise unmodded 130XE and I get 512K. Not to mention that you also get an O/S switcher with the SysCheck. I can definitely recommend the SysCheck.
From what I can make out the Citrad RAM 320XL isn't available anymore, although I'm not sure.
One of the challenges is that most of these upgrades go through multiple production periods. Someone announces they will build a batch if there is sufficient interest, orders come in, a certain number are made and then they are out of production until another batch is announced, sometimes years later by an entirely different person.
This is what makes understanding what is available so difficult for newbies.