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Philsan

SIO2SD - SDrive comparison

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CONCLUSIONS (not final)

 

SIO2SD and SDrive are both good devices.

SIO2SD has the advantage of drives supported (15 instead of 4), disks selection on the fly and loader long files names display (all not only selected ones); obviously with this device you can select .xex/.atr with the LCD display too.

 

Are there SDrive advantages?

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Are there any technical reasons why an SDrive can't support more drive images? Heck, you wouldn't have to mod too much... not even the control scheme..just keep pushing those left/right buttons until you get to the next row. ;) ((I'm teasing..I know it's a gargantuan task...)

 

Two stumbling blocks: 1) The design already uses all the outputs available on the microcontroller. 2) The memory on the microcontroller is packed full.

 

The latter could be overcome by swapping to the newer available chips (which might be what happens for the new run of SDrive NUXXes since the old are out of production) and then just rewriting the firmware.

 

The former? Less so.

 

That said, those indicators are more to indicate which of the four images is the current "D1:". If the firmware got rewritten, I suppose one could increase the number of assigned images, and just only swap in the first four based upon the buttons on the front.

Would it be possible to enhance SDrive's programming using the Atmega168 or Atmega328? These chips have the same pinout as the venerable Atmega8 but have more flash memory, 16KB and 32KB respectively vs the Atmega8's 8KB.

 

As for more LEDs just multiplex the signals. Of course adding a decoder and more LEDs isn't a drop-in replacement like upgrading the AVR.

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CONCLUSIONS (not final)

 

SIO2SD and SDrive are both good devices.

SIO2SD has the advantage of drives supported (15 instead of 4), disks selection on the fly and loader long files names display (all not only selected ones); obviously with this device you can select .xex/.atr with the LCD display too.

 

Are there SDrive advantages?

 

The Sdrive on-screen user interface is super quick and easy to use. I much prefer it to pushing tiny buttons and looking at a little screen. I realize that it has been posted that the SIO2SD can have an on-screen menu too, but I haven't seen it. If I understood correctly, it requires a firmware update and I'm afraid of "bricking" my SIO2SD. Every Sdrive uses the on-screen menu with no firmware updates, it loads quickly, it works EXTREMELY well, loads XEX directly or mounts ATR. I think the Sdrive is quicker and easier to use with no dicking around with firmware, etc. Maybe it's just technical-dumbasses like me that really like the Sdrive, but I certainly wouldn't be without one.

 

If there's some limitation (some super-short list of games that are 8 disks or something) then I will just plug in the Atarimax SIO2PC USB edition. Haven't had to, yet.

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CONCLUSIONS (not final)

 

SIO2SD and SDrive are both good devices.

SIO2SD has the advantage of drives supported (15 instead of 4), disks selection on the fly and loader long files names display (all not only selected ones); obviously with this device you can select .xex/.atr with the LCD display too.

 

Are there SDrive advantages?

 

The Sdrive on-screen user interface is super quick and easy to use. I much prefer it to pushing tiny buttons and looking at a little screen. I realize that it has been posted that the SIO2SD can have an on-screen menu too, but I haven't seen it. If I understood correctly, it requires a firmware update and I'm afraid of "bricking" my SIO2SD. Every Sdrive uses the on-screen menu with no firmware updates, it loads quickly, it works EXTREMELY well, loads XEX directly or mounts ATR. I think the Sdrive is quicker and easier to use with no dicking around with firmware, etc. Maybe it's just technical-dumbasses like me that really like the Sdrive, but I certainly wouldn't be without one.

The loader exists since old version 2.5 so no firmware upgrade is needed (I now see that v2.5 is only one year old, I don't know if previous v2.3 2007 version had this feature). Anyway firmware update is very easy.

SIO2SD loader appears quicker than SDrive one (4 seconds instead of 6), selection is quicker (thanks to letter selection you don't need to scroll up and down) and you see all long filenames, not just the one highlighted.

post-12528-0-29903800-1308596375_thumb.png

(loader v.2.5)

Edited by Philsan

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Actually, I think you can enter short search strings on the SDrives as well, jumping to a folder, then a file-name.

 

It's true that you you can swap out files on the fly and have more available at any given time on an SIO2SD, though, but the reason why so many of us are enthused by the NUXX variant of the SDrive that Consumer is offering, is due to the particular ergonomics and almost blind ease of functionality that it provides. It can handle everyday handling and its' larger footprint is more easily serviced, if there is a slight fault. Given the choice between a bare-bones, house-less board on a pure functionality basis, yeah it's pretty obvious that the SIO2SD provides that extra bit of random-access, but at a hit in hands-on functionality.

Edited by AtariNerd

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The latter could be overcome by swapping to the newer available chips (which might be what happens for the new run of SDrive NUXXes since the old are out of production) and then just rewriting the firmware.

 

The former? Less so.

 

That said, those indicators are more to indicate which of the four images is the current "D1:". If the firmware got rewritten, I suppose one could increase the number of assigned images, and just only swap in the first four based upon the buttons on the front.

Would it be possible to enhance SDrive's programming using the Atmega168 or Atmega328? These chips have the same pinout as the venerable Atmega8 but have more flash memory, 16KB and 32KB respectively vs the Atmega8's 8KB.

 

As for more LEDs just multiplex the signals. Of course adding a decoder and more LEDs isn't a drop-in replacement like upgrading the AVR.

 

That's what I was implying, using an Atmega168 or Atmega328. And I did think of multiplexing things, but figured I'd rather come up with an upgrade that all SDrive users could use by just swapping microcontrollers.

 

At some point, if I pull together enough time (which means not real soon), I'd like to take a stab at new firmwares and/or new control programs for the SDrive.

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Actually, I think you can enter short search strings on the SDrives as well, jumping to a folder, then a file-name.

 

It's true that you you can swap out files on the fly and have more available at any given time on an SIO2SD, though, but the reason why so many of us are enthused by the NUXX variant of the SDrive that Consumer is offering, is due to the particular ergonomics and almost blind ease of functionality that it provides. It can handle everyday handling and its' larger footprint is more easily serviced, if there is a slight fault. Given the choice between a bare-bones, house-less board on a pure functionality basis, yeah it's pretty obvious that the SIO2SD provides that extra bit of random-access, but at a hit in hands-on functionality.

 

I was working with c0nsumer as he designed the device (he bounced ideas off me and vice versa, but he did all the real work). Once he knew he was using that case, he made the board as big as the case. It makes the board fit better, and allows the board to be more hobbyist friendly. In fact, for the final revision, he further spaced out components for more separation. He also specifically chose through-hole components for all but the SD card slot, which did not have a non-surface mount part. And for the SD slot, he chose one that should be easy to solder.

 

Now, I see references to SIO2SD being open source, and they make all the board files available... but can someone point me at the source for the firmware and/or the Atari utility for it? I think it would be interesting to compare it against the available SDrive source...

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The latter could be overcome by swapping to the newer available chips (which might be what happens for the new run of SDrive NUXXes since the old are out of production) and then just rewriting the firmware.

 

The former? Less so.

 

That said, those indicators are more to indicate which of the four images is the current "D1:". If the firmware got rewritten, I suppose one could increase the number of assigned images, and just only swap in the first four based upon the buttons on the front.

Would it be possible to enhance SDrive's programming using the Atmega168 or Atmega328? These chips have the same pinout as the venerable Atmega8 but have more flash memory, 16KB and 32KB respectively vs the Atmega8's 8KB.

 

As for more LEDs just multiplex the signals. Of course adding a decoder and more LEDs isn't a drop-in replacement like upgrading the AVR.

 

That's what I was implying, using an Atmega168 or Atmega328. And I did think of multiplexing things, but figured I'd rather come up with an upgrade that all SDrive users could use by just swapping microcontrollers.

 

At some point, if I pull together enough time (which means not real soon), I'd like to take a stab at new firmwares and/or new control programs for the SDrive.

I wish my coding skills were better than they are. I'd like to have the ability to select disk sets for SDrive. One set for work (which for me only means dabbling in Action! programming). One set consisting of ATRs filled with XEXs, i.e. a gaming set. Other sets might be multi-disk games. The idea would be choose the set you want and have all the related ATRs mounted all at once.

 

Presently to do those functions I just use separate SD cards. Two cards are configured to autoboot. One is for programming. One is for gaming. No fussing with the SDrive control program there. I have a third SD card for trying out new ATRs or XEXes. It does boot to the SDrive control program.

 

Shuffling SD cards can get a little confusing at times. I sometimes put the wrong files on the wrong SD card.

 

Having sets, as I just described, would let me use just one SD card for everything and still have a fairly simplified boot sequence.

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Thanks.

Regarding that new device there is a thread on AtariAge too:

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/192209-sio2arduino

Device homepage:

http://www.whizzosoftware.com/sio2arduino

 

SIO2Arduino is a work in progress and presently is limited compared to SIO2SD and SDrive.

An interesting project though.

If in the future it will be available I'll mention it in the topic for newbies.

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I own an SDRIVE NUXX and Santosp Micro SDRIVE and have always wanted an SIO2SD. I finally had the opportunity to nab one of Santosp's excellent SIO2SD/PC Combo units. I have to say, you can't beat the build quality of the SDRIVE NUXX, but for functionality, the SIO2SD to me is the clear winner. I actually prefer the older SIO2SD loader version 2.5 to the newer ones.

 

1) SIO2SD allows changing/adding disks on the fly. [bIG advantage]. You better know what drives to mount before you boot on the SDRIVE.

2) SIO2SD can handle 16 drives verses 4 on the SDRIVE [small advantage]

3) SIO2SD has a better loader interface. Always shows long filenames and uses quick A-S and 1-8 drive selections. SDRIVE only shows long name of selected file and requires many more CNTRL arrow keys to place selected files. SDRIVE does allow joystick control, but I think newer SIO2SD loaders do as well [bIG advantage].

4) SIO2SD also seems to have more features (i.e. speed, configuration) than the SDRIVE.

 

They are both awesome devices and the SDRIVE NUXX is just an awesomely designed and manufactured masterpiece. I'm keeping them all, but if I need another, it will be an SIO2SD.

 

I would imagine the SDRIVE loader could be updated to adopt the SIO2SD loader format (i.e. A-S, 1-4, etc) ????

 

 

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