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SDrive-MAX vs SIO2PC?


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#1 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:56 PM

I have multiple 800xl's hooked up to different TVs. I really love my SIO2PC as it seems to run pretty much anything except physical media, of course, but it would be nice to not have to have it tied to my laptop and I am thinking about getting another drive emulator for the other 800xls, but would like to keep the SIO2PCs functionality. The SDrive-MAX sounds like it could be the closest stand-alone drive emulator to the SIO2PC so far. I haven't seen any reviews or comparisons for the Sdrive-MAX posted or in videos yet. Has anyone noticed any limitations or advantages in software capability of the SDrive-MAX compared to the SIO2PC? For instance, files that load with SIO2PC that don't load with SDrive-MAX? Thanks!



#2 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:18 PM

I have multiple 800xl's hooked up to different TVs. I really love my SIO2PC as it seems to run pretty much anything except physical media, of course, but it would be nice to not have to have it tied to my laptop and I am thinking about getting another drive emulator for the other 800xls, but would like to keep the SIO2PCs functionality. The SDrive-MAX sounds like it could be the closest stand-alone drive emulator to the SIO2PC so far. I haven't seen any reviews or comparisons for the Sdrive-MAX posted or in videos yet. Has anyone noticed any limitations or advantages in software capability of the SDrive-MAX compared to the SIO2PC? For instance, files that load with SIO2PC that don't load with SDrive-MAX? Thanks!

 

Generally it's the other way 'round. The biggest selling point to me for the SDrive-MAX is that I can use it to load unmodified, protected .ATX files made from "virgin" Kryoflux or SCP images of original floppies. While almost every major title has been cracked over the years, some were cracked years or decades ago and modified - brag/crack screens added, the code tweaked or changed unintentionally or on purpose by the cracker for reasons lost to history. Being able to load original, unmodified titles on real hardware is great. Plus of course, it's self-contained and pretty easy to use. The downside is that the file system of the SDrive-MAX truncates filenames and so if you have multiple files with similar names, it can take a few clicks to pick one from the list, see the long, "correct" filename in the status line, or else back out and try another almost-identical truncated name and hope for the best. Again, it's not a major deal but it's a downsize.

 

SIO2PC devices let you use mouse-based GUI and keyboard to select files, create new disk images, rename them, and you don't have the issue of truncated filenames to fit a small screen as you do with the SDrive-MAX. The downsides to SIO2PC devices are that you need a separate computer or fairly powerful little box like an RPi + keyboard/mouse/display to use efficiently. Also, unless you're using the paid version of APE on a Windows PC, you can't load ATX files through one. There is a development effort going on now to add ATX support to RespeQt, and a test build available, but for now it's Win-only still.

 

Hope this help.



#3 SS ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:59 PM

I like my SDRIVE-MAX.  It's easy to use and good for all of the reasons that DrVenkman lists.  However, I cannot use it in a SIO chain with my other devices.  Other people have been much luckier and more successful with this than I have but, for me, the SDRIVE-MAX has killed the functionality of all of the other devices in the chain when they are connected together.  For this reason, I cannot use my SDRIVE-MAX as a read/write device.  As a read-only device and the only SIO peripheral attached to my XL, though, it is great.   



#4 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:02 PM

 

The downside is that the file system of the SDrive-MAX truncates filenames and so if you have multiple files with similar names, it can take a few clicks to pick one from the list, see the long, "correct" filename in the status line, or else back out and try another almost-identical truncated name and hope for the best. Again, it's not a major deal but it's a downsize.

 

You can also have it boot to the sdrive.com program which allows you to select the ATR files on the Atari screen, and it is capable of displaying the long file names.


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#5 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:30 PM

 

Generally it's the other way 'round. The biggest selling point to me for the SDrive-MAX is that I can use it to load unmodified, protected .ATX files made from "virgin" Kryoflux or SCP images of original floppies. While almost every major title has been cracked over the years, some were cracked years or decades ago and modified - brag/crack screens added, the code tweaked or changed unintentionally or on purpose by the cracker for reasons lost to history. Being able to load original, unmodified titles on real hardware is great. Plus of course, it's self-contained and pretty easy to use. The downside is that the file system of the SDrive-MAX truncates filenames and so if you have multiple files with similar names, it can take a few clicks to pick one from the list, see the long, "correct" filename in the status line, or else back out and try another almost-identical truncated name and hope for the best. Again, it's not a major deal but it's a downsize.

 

SIO2PC devices let you use mouse-based GUI and keyboard to select files, create new disk images, rename them, and you don't have the issue of truncated filenames to fit a small screen as you do with the SDrive-MAX. The downsides to SIO2PC devices are that you need a separate computer or fairly powerful little box like an RPi + keyboard/mouse/display to use efficiently. Also, unless you're using the paid version of APE on a Windows PC, you can't load ATX files through one. There is a development effort going on now to add ATX support to RespeQt, and a test build available, but for now it's Win-only still.

 

Hope this help.

 

 

 

You can also have it boot to the sdrive.com program which allows you to select the ATR files on the Atari screen, and it is capable of displaying the long file names.

 

Thanks. Pretty much exactly what I was wondering about. It sounds like from what I've read people even last month are installing their own LCD screens and programming the microcontroller, but the ones I've seen for sale on from the seller are plug and play. I'll have to ask him about what I would need assemble and know how to do.



#6 Swami OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:37 PM

I like my SDRIVE-MAX.  It's easy to use and good for all of the reasons that DrVenkman lists.  However, I cannot use it in a SIO chain with my other devices.  Other people have been much luckier and more successful with this than I have but, for me, the SDRIVE-MAX has killed the functionality of all of the other devices in the chain when they are connected together.  For this reason, I cannot use my SDRIVE-MAX as a read/write device.  As a read-only device and the only SIO peripheral attached to my XL, though, it is great.   

 

I've seen similar behavior with my SIO2PC. It seems to work fine daisy chained with my 1050, but If I also hook it up with my XC12 program recorder through an APELink it won't work.  However, it sounds like more of a problem with your unit if you are limited to only the SDrive-MAX SIO peripheral. Lotharek sells something similar to the APELink with an extra power supply connection that "you should only use when you need to," which is a little scary, but whether this would fix your problem depends on if it is a power draw problem or signal interference.



#7 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:58 PM

 

I've seen similar behavior with my SIO2PC. It seems to work fine daisy chained with my 1050, but If I also hook it up with my XC12 program recorder through an APELink it won't work.  However, it sounds like more of a problem with your unit if you are limited to only the SDrive-MAX SIO peripheral. Lotharek sells something similar to the APELink with an extra power supply connection that "you should only use when you need to," which is a little scary, but whether this would fix your problem depends on if it is a power draw problem or signal interference.

 

It's some kind of SIO contention issue. A diode between the TxD line (IIRC) on the Arduino and the SIO DATA IN line can help, but it doesn't eliminate all issues. Some tweakes to the SDrive-MAX firmware to address timing can also help, but again it's not a panacea. So on my 1088XEL, I use the built-in XEL-CF card reader to boot most stuff on a daily basis, augmented by RespeQt running on an RPiZeroW I have running nearby for some other things. When I want to boot an ATX file, I'll use the SDrive-MAX.

 

At some point, I plan on having several A8's setup for use at once. When I do that, I'll likely have SDrive-MAX's in use on both my "secondary" Atari machines in order to boot whatever I want/need without needing connections to anything else. 



#8 SS ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:18 PM

Lotharek sells something similar to the APELink with an extra power supply connection that "you should only use when you need to," which is a little scary, but whether this would fix your problem depends on if it is a power draw problem or signal interference.

 

I actually own one of Lotharek's SIO hubs.  It is a handy little device but it doesn't solve my problem, even with the external power supply attached.  

 

 

At some point, I plan on having several A8's setup for use at once. When I do that, I'll likely have SDrive-MAX's in use on both my "secondary" Atari machines in order to boot whatever I want/need without needing connections to anything else. 

 

This is pretty much what my plan is as well.  Once I get another 600XL to install my SOPHIA and ANTONIA boards into, I will use the SDRIVE-MAX as the primary input device for that machine because I will not need to do any writing to other devices with that system.  This should make for a nice and compact, but yet very powerful, setup for the 600XL.



#9 SS ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 11, 2018 1:21 PM

I have been playing around with the SDRIVE-MAX's cassette emulation and ATX support last night and today. IMO, these are the two things that really makes the SDRIVE-MAX worth owning. Especially if you already have a SIO2PC that can communicate with a physical drive to write real floppy disks.




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