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800XL 256K RAM upgrade


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#1 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:31 PM

So last week I happened to open up an 800XL that I bought at a flea market a while ago and, what do you know, it has a 256KB memory upgrade in it.

Now I have two questions for the group about this.
First, I was searching on the Internet about the 256K upgrades and there seems to be several slightly different versions out there. How do I figure out what this upgrade is compatible with? It look like a professional job with a nice daughterboard in it, it also has Allen Macroware stamped on it. But as far as I can find out, they were a software company and didn't do hardware.

Second question, what can I use this extra memory for besides a RAM disk? I'm pretty much a gamer and don't really use any of the productivity stuff.

Mitch

#2 voy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 15, 2004 4:25 AM

You can use an extra RAM for watching demos or playing some games that require expanded memory (i.e Megablast)... :)

#3 hunter44102 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 15, 2004 8:37 AM

The simplest benefit of the extra RAM is it can run all the games/programs that were made for the Atari 130XE. Some of the bigger games can be loaded into RAM without having to keep reading the disk.

If you can take a picture and post it, we may be able to identify it. I have a couple 800XL's with 256k so I may be able to match it up. I think one of mine is a RAMBO XL 256k upgrade.

Also, from what I remember, you have to have SpartaDOS or MyDOS to get the extra RAMdisk.

#4 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Oct 15, 2004 11:59 PM

OK, here are a couple of pics.

Mitch

Attached Thumbnails

  • 800xlmemory2.jpg
  • 800xlmemory1.jpg


#5 voy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 19, 2004 5:11 AM

Can you make a photo of the chip in the socket at top of the motherboard? I mean a memory chip at top left... :) Three chips on the PCB are only a gate arrays..

#6 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 19, 2004 12:22 PM

Can you make a photo of the chip in the socket at top of the motherboard? I mean a memory chip at top left...  :) Three chips on the PCB are only a gate arrays..


It's a 50256 RAM chip same as the ones on the left side of the second pic.

Mitch

#7 CharlieChaplin OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:06 PM

Well,
in the A8FAQ by Michael Current you can find a huge list what kind of ramdisks exist for the 800/XL/XE (subject 8.10), what programs support a ramdisk (subject 8.11) and what programs require a ramdisk (subject 8.12). I am currently writing the update for all these subjects and will post it in a few weeks at comp.sys.atari.8bit maybe I will also post a copy here at atari-age... greetings, Andreas Magenheimer.

#8 Artlover OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:44 PM

You can use an extra RAM for watching demos or playing some games that require expanded memory (i.e Megablast)...  :)


Sorry to interrupt the thread, but I love Megablast! :D

#9 CharlieChaplin OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 26, 2004 1:32 PM

Well,
to find out which kind of Ramdisk (extra RAM) you have load the program XRAM (version 0.18, 0.19 or 0.21) by Satantronic on your Atari computer. It will display all the available rambanks, so you can find out if your RD belongs to the 8ACE (Newell, Rambo, TOMS,etc.) or to the 26AE (Compyshop, Megaram,etc.) types... -Andreas.

#10 Osbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:42 PM

nice setup, very professional... I found something like that for like 20 bucks on bestelectronics... something to look up for an upgrade of my brand spanky 'new' 800XL :)

#11 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:37 PM

Well,
to find out which kind of Ramdisk (extra RAM) you have load the program XRAM (version 0.18, 0.19 or 0.21) by Satantronic on your Atari computer. It will display all the available rambanks, so you can find out if your RD belongs to the 8ACE (Newell, Rambo, TOMS,etc.) or to the 26AE (Compyshop, Megaram,etc.) types... -Andreas.


OK, I downloaded it but it's a Com file not an ATR. Anyone got an ATR of it? It's been too long since I've messed with ATR file creation. :?

Mitch

#12 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:54 PM

Here is xram021.com in an ATR with DOS 2.5.

Attached Files



#13 miker OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:12 AM

You can using the APE program just mirror the folder where you have the XRAM in, and the download the com file on the Atari. :)

#14 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 1:05 AM

Thanks for the ATR. :)

OK, I ran it and it gives me this screen (see screenshot) how do I know which version I have?

Mitch

Attached Thumbnails

  • xram.jpg


#15 miker OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 12:11 PM

well... it seems to be a very strange expasion (at least not included in FAQs on Atari 8bit)

maybe some kind of selfmade extra-RAM? :)

Correct me if i am wrong...

#16 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:44 PM

So, it's not compatible with anything else then?

Mitch

#17 Shawn Jefferson OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 3:04 PM

Most of the 256k upgrades use bits 2356 instead of 2345 like yours seems to do. It probably won't work with most ramdisk software.

It may work with software that takes advantage of the 130XE extended banks, but not seperate antic/cpu banking (since that uses bits 4 & 5). Most the the extra ram modifications don't obey the seperate banking setup anyway so not much software uses it. The good news is that you should be able to play games like Alternate Reality Dungeon and have it utilize your extended RAM (like you had a 130XE). As far as I can see, anyway.

Any software that autodetects your extended banks should work, as well as any software that allows you to input the bank selection values since you can input what you need. A lot of demos allow you to do this.

#18 Mitch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:19 PM

OK, cool, at least it's not a total waste then. :)
Now I just have to figure out why XRAM keeps crashing while trying to test one of the banks.

Mitch

#19 hueyjones70 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:06 PM

Does DOS 2.5 automatically set up a ramdisk if your computer has extra memory?

#20 gilsaluki OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:46 PM

Does DOS 2.5 automatically set up a ramdisk if your computer has extra memory?

Yes, if there is extended memory, 2.5 will configure the RAM disk memory.  It will give you a message to that affect.



#21 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 6:58 PM

Yes, if there is extended memory, 2.5 will configure the RAM disk memory.  It will give you a message to that affect.

But only if the ramdisk file is in the directory..  Not all Dos 2.5 diskettes or ATR's have a ramdisk file..



#22 1050 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:25 PM

Try some of these in ATR flavor, but especially the
newly included extest by yours truly as it will find
the cheaper RAMBO upgrade which really isn't a 256K
class upgrade - 192 instead because of the 3 extra
wasted banks in that design.

http://atariage.com/...b/#entry3815398

Not a good symptom when a ram detector program crashes
when doing that job. Mine is not a decent tester in
that the only test really done is detecting banking
bytes and reporting them, no actual decent ram testing
is going on then. But some of these other testers will
actually do some real testing.

You'll know it's a RAMBO type because the last line
shown of banking bytes will only be four bytes wide
instead of eight when using EXTEST.COM. And
unfortunately standard RAMDISK.COM files will often
use a bank of the OS or RAM for one of the first
banks and with double use of RAM you can count on a
disaster just when you thought you might be good to
go. I'll never opt for the RAMBO again, big or small
just because they will most often require custom for
RAMBO design RAMDISK.COM files which would have to
be made since none I know of make any accounting for
the cheap bastard upgrade known collectively as
RAMBO type. You get what you pay for actually applies
here and if you knew how much of a cheapskate I was,
you would be on a dead run by now.

#23 ClausB OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:24 AM

...RAMBO upgrade which really isn't a 256K class upgrade - 192 instead because of the 3 extra wasted banks in that design.


What? There is no waste, all 256K are available, 192K extended plus 64K base. Even the 2K RAM under the I/O is available.

#24 Gunstar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:38 AM

I think the issue is still a lack of understanding with 48K, 64K base memories and extended memory. It's often exacerbated because extended memory software is often misleading in requirements, especially going by FAT16/32 file names descriptions, titles often say 256K, but really need a full 320K to run, and someone with a Rambo type upgrade thinks they've been cheated out of banks somehow.  

 

I had to learn the hard way myself, asking questions on the forums because none of the extended memory tests were showing all 16 banks of base and extended, and the bank mirroring the bank under the OS always shows an error, etc. Or other tests assuming 64K base and then using a + after it, counting extended banks and comes back with 15 or 64K+240K...oh, so my 256K 1200XL has 304K?!?

 

What is needed is one good memory tester program that tests for all memory, main, under OS, and extended, and can tell which extended  memory solution the computer is using, e.g. Rambo, XE, Wizztronics, or even 800's with Axlon memory!

 

Here is what I get from xram021, 15 banks showing of my 256K Rambo upgrade (with 64K base and 192K extended on 8x256 ram chips). I've been told xram021 does this because one bank is a mirror of memory under the OS and doesn't register with xram. But when I run the test, $83 gets an "e" for error, which I was also told was because that is the bank hidden under the OS. Now as far as I can tell, from loading up extended memory programs and demos, all 256K of my memory is working. TLW show 12 banks extended (+64K main), The only demo that uses 256K (192K xmem) 'Boogie nights' works, etc. Boogie nights actually shows my system being 320K, I assume it's counting all memory, as 256K exteneded and assuming another 64K...

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_20171231_095703.jpg
  • IMG_20171231_100609.jpg

Edited by Gunstar, Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:19 AM.


#25 1050 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 1, 2018 5:08 AM

What? There is no waste, all 256K are available, 192K extended plus 64K base.

When I said that I was thinking of the RAMBO as an
addon piggyback style instead of outright replace
64 x 1 with 256 x 1, and not the most intelligent
mutterings I've ever made anyway. Sorry to raise
hackles when I'm not even certain what my issue is
here. Something sure had me in a dither there.

Obviously not thinking clearly when the RAMBO is
not done in that style unless it's piggyback upon
other large size chips which wouldn't be 64 x 1
either. And the loss of the 64K was somehow
supposed to be the waste...

I think what's bothering me is the frustration of
having the new guy think that memory expansions are
all pretty much the same - and they very much have
differences along with gotchas. The RAMBO is an extra
level of trouble for a new guy, and I hate to see
that happen. I'll just have to let the new guy
learn the hard way if he isn't in here this deep.
Not the end of the world when a guy buys an upgrade
and it's not the perfect solution for what he does
with it.




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