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Dr Do

To 800XL or not to 800XL?

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Hi folks

 

I recently recovered an old 65XE from the loft, and with the addition of a SIO2PC connected have been rediscovering the fun I used to have with it 15 years ago. I then came across AtariAge by chance, and am fascinated by all the things that you get up to with yours!

 

Having been bitten by the bug, I couldn't resist adding an Atari 800 to the collection (unfortunately it's afflicted with the "red screen of death" so I need to work out how to fix that with my next to non-existent electronics skills, but that's for a separate discussion...). However, on reading through this forum I notice that there's a lot of love for the 800XL - which makes me wonder whether I'm missing out by not having one of these creatures too. On the one hand I appreciate that it's just the 65XE in a different case, but on the other hand it seems to get thumbs up for better build quality and expandability - although if I've understood correctly, the PAL versions tend not to have socketed chips, which makes them no easier to work on than the XE - is that right? Is there much use for the PBI that comes on the XL? (Incidentally, my XE has an ECI port, which I gather is unusual for a 65 - or maybe that's just a US vs UK thing too?)

 

Maybe it just boils down to whether I have spare money to blow on eBay and space in my living room for another machine? Your thoughts??

Edited by Dr Do

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Hi folks

 

I recently recovered an old 65XE from the loft, and with the addition of a SIO2PC connected have been rediscovering the fun I used to have with it 15 years ago. I then came across AtariAge by chance, and am fascinated by all the things that you get up to with yours!

 

Having been bitten by the bug, I couldn't resist adding an Atari 800 to the collection (unfortunately it's afflicted with the "red screen of death" so I need to work out how to fix that with my next to non-existent electronics skills, but that's for a separate discussion...). However, on reading through this forum I notice that there's a lot of love for the 800XL - which makes me wonder whether I'm missing out by not having one of these creatures too. On the one hand I appreciate that it's just the 65XE in a different case, but on the other hand it seems to get thumbs up for better build quality and expandability - although if I've understood correctly, the PAL versions tend not to have socketed chips, which makes them no easier to work on than the XE - is that right? Is there much use for the PBI that comes on the XL? (Incidentally, my XE has an ECI port, which I gather is unusual for a 65 - or maybe that's just a US vs UK thing too?)

 

Maybe it just boils down to whether I have spare money to blow on eBay and space in my living room for another machine? Your thoughts??

Are there PAL 800XL? Seems I've heard of 800XE in PAL.

Edited by russg

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Are there PAL 800XL? Seems I've heard of 800XE in PAL.

 

There are. In the UK we had the 800XL and then the 65XE/130XE. The 800XE was sold in mainland Europe, but not over here.

Edited by Dr Do

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An 800XE is just a 65XE with a different model name sticker...

 

There is no real reason to get an 800XL if you already have a 130XE/65XE(PAL), as the main diff to software is the ext mem in the 130XE... which can be added to the 65XE (easily) and to the 800XL (not as easy, but not difficult at all). And if you add a Ultimate 1Mb from Candle, to both the 800XL and the 130XE, the only difference would be the keyboard...

 

For the most part, anything that works on the 800XL will work on the 130XE, and the other way too, if the 800XL has ext mem added...

 

sloopy.

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... the main diff to software is the ext mem in the 130XE... which can be added to the 65XE (easily) and to the 800XL (not as easy, but not difficult at all). ...

 

sloopy.

 

I thought adding memory to a 65XE was really hard? Similar to what you did when you added memory to that XEGS?

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... the main diff to software is the ext mem in the 130XE... which can be added to the 65XE (easily) and to the 800XL (not as easy, but not difficult at all). ...

 

sloopy.

 

I thought adding memory to a 65XE was really hard? Similar to what you did when you added memory to that XEGS?

 

In NTSC land adding mem in a 65XE is hard, relatively speaking... PAL 65XE's are (almost always) 130XE's without the ext mem and EMMU installed, so its just a matter of installing the DRAMs, and EMMU.

 

NTSC 65XE, and 800XL are the same for the most part, you need to replace the DRAMs and put in the support circuits... using something like the U1mb or the Hias 512k SRAM upgrades are two of the easiest

 

The XEGS is the worst of the bunch, as the 64kx4bit DRAMs it uses arent pin compatible with the 256kx4bit DRAMs. So, where as the 800XL and NTSC 65XE you can replace the 64kx1bits with 256kx1bit, and add circuitry, the XEGS you really need to either use a self contained upgrade that holds the RAM, or you need to do alot of solder work...

 

Also note, the 600XL (both PAL and NTSC) use the 4bit DRAMs like the XEGS, but the 16kx4bit are upwardly compatible so 64k upgrade is simple, but adding ext ram to the 600XL gives the similar issues to the XEGS, with the exception of the Hias 512k SRAM upgrade is easier since it can be piggybacked on the OS or BASIC...

 

sloopy.

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... the main diff to software is the ext mem in the 130XE... which can be added to the 65XE (easily) and to the 800XL (not as easy, but not difficult at all). ...

 

sloopy.

 

 

I thought adding memory to a 65XE was really hard? Similar to what you did when you added memory to that XEGS?

 

In NTSC land adding mem in a 65XE is hard, relatively speaking... PAL 65XE's are (almost always) 130XE's without the ext mem and EMMU installed, so its just a matter of installing the DRAMs, and EMMU.

 

NTSC 65XE, and 800XL are the same for the most part, you need to replace the DRAMs and put in the support circuits... using something like the U1mb or the Hias 512k SRAM upgrades are two of the easiest

 

The XEGS is the worst of the bunch, as the 64kx4bit DRAMs it uses arent pin compatible with the 256kx4bit DRAMs. So, where as the 800XL and NTSC 65XE you can replace the 64kx1bits with 256kx1bit, and add circuitry, the XEGS you really need to either use a self contained upgrade that holds the RAM, or you need to do alot of solder work...

 

Also note, the 600XL (both PAL and NTSC) use the 4bit DRAMs like the XEGS, but the 16kx4bit are upwardly compatible so 64k upgrade is simple, but adding ext ram to the 600XL gives the similar issues to the XEGS, with the exception of the Hias 512k SRAM upgrade is easier since it can be piggybacked on the OS or BASIC...

 

sloopy.

 

Cool. Thanks for the info. :thumbsup:

Edited by Official Ninja

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Specifically speaking to the upgrade question, if you plan to upgrade the unit yourself and you are a beginer I would 100% recomend starting with a 800XL. The build quality is a lot better and very forgiving of mistakes. The XE on the other hand is rather fragile and can be damaged fairly easily if you are not careful (speaking from experience of upgrading multiple 800XLs and killing too many XEs)

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Thanks for your input folks - more things I didn't know about the 8-bits. Out of curiosity I decided to have a look inside my XE to see how easy it would be to stick the DRAM and EMMU in, but after lifting the keyboard and discovering the big metal shield that appears to be attached to the motherboard and blocks access to the chips, I decided to heed orpheuswaking's advice and leave it be for now. I don't want two dead Ataris on my hands!

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I used to own a Atari 800 now I own a Atari 800XL I much rather and prefer the 800 ans it was my first Atari "computer" which I loved to program and I put in many an all nighter too.

 

The Atari 800XL is a great computer though, mine is in mint condition too and I love it but I miss my 800 and I would trade my 800xl for an 800 in a heartbeat at an even trade.

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The original 800 is my favorite. I see no need to get an 800XL or to mod a 65XE.

If you are going to mod any machine, I'd mod the 800 with an Incognito board.

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Thanks for your input folks - more things I didn't know about the 8-bits. Out of curiosity I decided to have a look inside my XE to see how easy it would be to stick the DRAM and EMMU in, but after lifting the keyboard and discovering the big metal shield that appears to be attached to the motherboard and blocks access to the chips, I decided to heed orpheuswaking's advice and leave it be for now. I don't want two dead Ataris on my hands!

 

Removing the shield is fairly easy and has little chance of damaging anything. So feel free to remove that and take a look at the motherboard.

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Removing the shield is fairly easy and has little chance of damaging anything. So feel free to remove that and take a look at the motherboard.

 

From my quick peek, it looks like a case of taking some pliers to the bits of metal that have been twisted round the slots in the motherboard. Yeah, I think I'll give that a go.

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Thanks for your input folks - more things I didn't know about the 8-bits. Out of curiosity I decided to have a look inside my XE to see how easy it would be to stick the DRAM and EMMU in, but after lifting the keyboard and discovering the big metal shield that appears to be attached to the motherboard and blocks access to the chips, I decided to heed orpheuswaking's advice and leave it be for now. I don't want two dead Ataris on my hands!
Welcome to AA, it's simple task to update the 65XE to 130XE and in the process you can update to 320k. The shield just has some metal tangs that twist on/off with plyers. As mentioned above the 65XE's are basically 130XE's without the mmu and dram, you just need to be extra careful soldering and desoldering with the XE's as you can lift traces easily. Desolder the existing ram and install sockets, install 41256's into the sockets (£1 each at Grandata mail order from London) install the missing mmu (I forget the Atari CO#) then look up the Peterson method here to utilise the extra banks of the 41256's to then have an XE with 320k.

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