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Acquired an Apple IIgs. Looking for assistance.


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#1 Sky7 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 6, 2017 9:31 PM

I acquired an Apple IIgs today in good condition (along with the Apple RGB monitor). Looking for some assistance and/or recommendations for a SD interface card, OS and software. 

 

The IIgs has the 1mb RAM card and has a rev 1 ROM. Any recommendations and suggestions would be appreciated. 

 

 

 

 



#2 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 6, 2017 11:16 PM

Get a 4 or 8MB RAM card from Byteboosters so you can run GS/OS. It's not totally necessary, but if you have a IIGS then you may as well run it.

 

SD interface at the moment is probably going to be the Floppy Emu. At some point in the future there will be another run of the CFFA 3000, which is superior but more expensive and only in production periodically. Also, supposedly the guy who makes them is planning a batch of 500 for the next run and already has more than 500 people who have expressed interest (including me). So they may be a little hard to get unless you get in right when he announces them. I assume some people will not follow through on their early orders.

 

For software, it's impossible to recommend without knowing what you're looking for. The Apple II had some form of basically everything available at that time.



#3 Octavian OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 8:33 AM

Not the op, but coincidentally, I got an Apple ][gs just the other week. I had my eye on the MegaDrive/Turbo unitn as it seems as though it would be faster and more versatile than the Floppy Emu in terms of a HD alternative. Do you have any thoughts on that product?



#4 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 10:35 AM

Not the op, but coincidentally, I got an Apple ][gs just the other week. I had my eye on the MegaDrive/Turbo unitn as it seems as though it would be faster and more versatile than the Floppy Emu in terms of a HD alternative. Do you have any thoughts on that product?

 

That's a hard drive emulator only. You really don't want that; very little Apple II software was made to run off hard drives, so to limit yourself to that is going to be really... well, limiting. The Floppy Emu emulates both types of floppy drive as well as hard drives, as does the CFFA 3000. So those are really the options I'd consider.



#5 Polymorph OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 7:02 PM

 

That's a hard drive emulator only. You really don't want that; very little Apple II software was made to run off hard drives, so to limit yourself to that is going to be really... well, limiting. The Floppy Emu emulates both types of floppy drive as well as hard drives, as does the CFFA 3000. So those are really the options I'd consider.

 

Again it depends on what software you are wanting to run. Plenty of Apple IIgs 16 bit software *does* run from a hard drive. In fact I would go so far as saying *most* 16 bit software can run from a hard disk (don't get me wrong, there are plenty of titles that won't too!).

 

If you are wanting to run old 8 bit titles, then there are options for running those from a hard drive as well - for example, in recent years there has been a substantial effort by qkumba on the comp.sys.apple2 newsgroup to convert many of these old 8 bit titles to run from ProDOS (i.e. and consequently from a hard disk).

 

Another SD Card solution that you don't hear about much is Ian Kim's SD Disk ][ Plus:

http://quick09.tisto...ISK II Emulator

 

The benefit the SD Disk ][ Plus would have over the Floppy Emu is speed. I do not have an SD Disk ][ Plus, so I can only surmise that this is true. Because the floppy emu runs via the SmartPort, it is fairly slow in comparison to slot based solutions. Having a fast hard disk solution is particularly important if you plan to run GS/OS and 16 bit applications, as GS/OS can be sluggish at the best of times. But the Floppy Emu has the benefit of being usable on the //c (ROM 1+) and //c+ in addition to the IIgs.

 

Of course for me, the CFFA3000 is still the premier solution. If you can wait for the next run, that is definitely the pick of the bunch.

 

That's just my 2c.  :-)



#6 spacecadet OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 9:21 PM

 

Again it depends on what software you are wanting to run. Plenty of Apple IIgs 16 bit software *does* run from a hard drive. In fact I would go so far as saying *most* 16 bit software can run from a hard disk (don't get me wrong, there are plenty of titles that won't too!).

 

Yeah, but IIGS software is like .01% of the Apple II software out there. Most people aren't buying a IIGS just to run IIGS software, and then just to run IIGS software designed to be hard drive friendly.

 

I would never recommend somebody buy a device that will only emulate hard drives when other devices do both hard drives and floppy drives. It doesn't make sense.



#7 Polymorph OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 9:55 PM

 

Yeah, but IIGS software is like .01% of the Apple II software out there. Most people aren't buying a IIGS just to run IIGS software, and then just to run IIGS software designed to be hard drive friendly.

 

I would never recommend somebody buy a device that will only emulate hard drives when other devices do both hard drives and floppy drives. It doesn't make sense.

 

I was providing options that suit *all* user types. If the OP was planning to run a lot of 16 bit apps (like I do), I wouldn't want to be running from a Floppy Emu. Compared to my CFFA3000 it would be like running through molasses. ;-)

 

By the way, Ian Kim's solution that I linked too does floppy and hard disk emulation AFAIK.

 

And, if the OP does go for a hard disk based solution, here is a link to all of the games currently converted by qkumba to run from ProDOS:

ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/collections/san_inc_prodos/

and some more by usotsuki:

ftp://ftp.apple.asimov.net/pub/apple_II/images/games/collections/usotsuki_prodos/

 

I have many of these installed on a real hard disk attached to my //e via a High Speed SCSI. 

 

Personally I would also recommend a solution that does both floppy and hard disk emulation, but I was just putting it out there that there are alternatives.



#8 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 10:34 PM

I'd stick with CFFA 3000. It's well supported and characterized, that means people know how it works and can help troubleshoot any issues and answer questions. It's THE premier solution built of quality parts with real 5v - 3.3v translators on the bus. It's been around for like 15 year or so.



#9 towmater OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 10:48 PM

The floppy emu acts as a floppy or a hard drive, but not at the same time. So it is cumbersome to install anything like gs/os.

#10 Polymorph OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 7, 2017 11:45 PM

I'd stick with CFFA 3000. It's well supported and characterized, that means people know how it works and can help troubleshoot any issues and answer questions. It's THE premier solution built of quality parts with real 5v - 3.3v translators on the bus. It's been around for like 15 year or so.

 

Well, not quite - CFFA3000 has been around since 2011 (so about 6 years); but the original CFFA design has indeed been around for about 15 years. I have one of each and will be getting another CFFA3000 when the next batch rolls out. They are truly awesome cards!

 

My only gripe with the CFFA3000 is that they never got DMA working to increase the performance. But for all the positives they bring to the table, this is a minor inconvenience.  :-)



#11 Iamgroot OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 8, 2017 9:06 AM

I have a CFFA3000 also, but I haven't disassembled the firmware yet to see if I could speed it up like it was done with the CFFA v2.0.  On a 7 Mhz IIGS with CFFA 2.0, I wrote a driver that could give 500 kb/sec block reads and writes.  This was accomplished due to the IIGS can read a 16 bit word from the card at a time.  There is a post on Rich Drehers website that has the driver.  This driver did not work with the original CFFA v1.2.

 

But for disk access speed, it was the cat's meow, that made reading and writing even to a hard drive a lot of fun.  Even at half the speed of DMA, it was quite a speed improvement over anything else.  If you do find a CFFA card on ebay, get the version 2.0, since for me, it was very stable, easy to tap into the firmware, it also gives access of up to 128 GB (yes gigabytes) of an SD card that is accessible from Prodos 8.  But another driver I wrote only gave access to 8 GB (which is 256 volumes of 32 Mb each) which, I believe, is enough to store all the games and programs for both Apple ii and IIGS software.

 

But the bottom line is, whenever you play with original hardware, you will want to speed everything up as fast as possible to prevent your brain from sitting idle.  Probably why I moved to emulators and run them wide open most of the time.  Only slow them down to play the odd game and to catalog a volume, and even then I'm re-writing the CATALOG command so the emulator can be run at full speed.

 

Due to the availability of some of the devices, one still might want to get the Megadrive or an older CFFA card just to have something with mass storage until something better comes along.



#12 Octavian OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 8, 2017 9:29 AM

I think I'll go for the MicroDrive/Turbo. After looking for software options for this machine, I stumbled across the What Is The Apple IIgs website and found a ton of HD images that have a lot of 8 bit and 16 bit software pre-installed. I haven't checked out Polymorph's links yet, but it sounds like something marginally similar to the Amiga's WHDload project.

 

I would snag a CFFA, but the limited production runs and waitlists just aren't my thing, and I don't want to babysit the website for news that a new batch might be coming in a few weeks or months and then HOPE I can get one when they come.

 

If there is a application or game that won't run from HD, I can always just dump it to a floppy from the HD. In fact, I love the sound the Apple II drives makes. It makes "Wizardry!" sound like "Wizardry!" to me. :)



#13 Keatah OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 8, 2017 11:25 AM

Dreher is very good about sending emails and updating status. And he makes enough so there is no rush. Just send him an email.



#14 eightbit OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:43 PM

The CFFA3000 is incredible. Easily the best device (of its type) I own for any retro computer, period. If you can get one do no hesitate!





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