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mamejay

SIO2SD questions and comparison with SIDE2

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Hey everyone,

Looking at getting a flash cart for my XEGS system.

I am thinking of getting a SIO2SD but cannot find a strange answer to its compatibility with the XEGS. Will it work ok?

Is it easy to navigate through the different folders etc using the LCD display?

 

I also saw the SIDE2 Cart from the same seller and was interested in that one also. Do I need any expansions or anything for this to work with the XEGS? I think I need the 1mb expansion the same seller has.

 

What is everyones opinion on what the best option is? I basically want to just play compatible games for my system.

 

I have emailed the seller but have not receieved an response as of yet.

 

Thanks

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SIO2SD is completely compatible with the XEGS. As for navigation with buttons: I find it somewhat tricky with the most recent SIO2SD firmware, but there's a built-in loader menu which boots when the machine turns on, and that couldn't be easier to use. So you can use the software or the buttons.

 

SIDE2 has much faster transfer rates but will only load XEX files unless paired with an Ultimate 1MB upgrade fitted inside the machine, in which case it can handle disk images too (although there was a version of the stand-alone XEX loader being worked on which would handle ATR disk images without Ultimate 1MB, by booting a small FAT32 DOS direct from the cartridge). SIDE2 on its own can also be used as a partitioned hard disk, but only with SpartaDOS X. If you want to use the device as a PBI hard disk with another DOS, you need an Ultimate 1MB.

 

In short - if speed of operation isn't your concern and you simply need an inexpensive, plug-in-and-go device for playing games, you probably can't go far wrong with the SIO2SD. SIDE2 opens up many more advanced possibilities, but is really at its most flexible when paired with Ultimate 1MB (hence the reason Lotharek also offers both upgrades as a kit).

Edited by flashjazzcat

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SIO2SD isn't a flash cart, it's a serially attached device that emulates a disk drive - albeit with much more capability since you can do stuff like volume changes without actual media change and also have massive disk images attached.

 

SIDE isn't a flash cart in the normal sense either - SIDE uses CF cards so is effectively an IDE device in PIO mode.

 

SIDE has the advantage in that load times can be much quicker, SIO2SD will top out around 5-6 KB/sec while SIDE will beat that by a factor of 5-15 times.

 

SIDE and other IDE devices have a disadvantage in that volume changes aren't necessarily as easy, but generally you have large virtual HDD partitions in use rather than ATR images. There's still a good number of commercial games that were multi-disk and will work with little effort on SIO2SD but not at all or with some difficulty on the IDE types.

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SIDE2 has much faster transfer rates but will only load XEX files unless paired with an Ultimate 1MB upgrade fitted inside the machine...

 

Are you sure about this? I was almost positive I used the SIDE loader to play xex files without a U1MB installed.

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Are you sure about this? I was almost positive I used the SIDE loader to play xex files without a U1MB installed.

 

Read the sentence again. I am not asserting otherwise. :)

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I think this poster - who probably just wants to play lots of great games - should get SIO2SD or Sdrive.

 

SIDE is a more advanced "hard disk emulator" thing that's much more complicated to use, or am I wrong? I haven't even tried mine, but I know there are pages-upon-pages of threads I'll need to read in order to set it up, and review all the questions, software, updates, etc that have been posted here that I just skimmed over.

 

SIO2SD or Sdrive are just plug it in, turn it on, and play games.

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Side 2, format cf card copy over .xex files(can be organised in folders/sub folders).

Boot Atari, select xex file from side loader menu. Play game.

Simples

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SIDE is a more advanced "hard disk emulator" thing that's much more complicated to use, or am I wrong? I haven't even tried mine, but I know there are pages-upon-pages of threads I'll need to read in order to set it up, and review all the questions, software, updates, etc that have been posted here that I just skimmed over.

 

SIDE's easy to set up - it just looks complicated because of said pages-upon-pages of material covering the same questions and answers. I'll write a quick set-up guide this weekend if need be, although I must say it will simply be an illustrated version of what mimo just wrote.

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Awesome guys. This is exactly what I needed to know.

I think I will be going for an sio2sd. I looked at the scard option but I think I prefer sio2sd.

Just one more thing. I am still trying to source a keyboard for the unit. Can get them from eBay but shipping is a killer to Australia. Will this boot up and have some sort of control via the joystick? From the videos I have seen this looks to be possible but I could be wrong.

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sometimes you have to burn your fingers before you'll learn

otoh if you have no expectactions about any of these devices, and you'll end up with just one, you'll never know if things could be simplier with the other one

just let me know when you'll be fed up with your choice, so i could laught my head off

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sometimes you have to burn your fingers before you'll learn

otoh if you have no expectactions about any of these devices, and you'll end up with just one, you'll never know if things could be simplier with the other one

just let me know when you'll be fed up with your choice, so i could laught my head off

That is a bit dark candle. So what you are saying is that all the devices are not very good or I should buy all of them?

Seeing I only have 1 atari system I do not see the point in spending money on more than one device that will do the same thing.

What is your recommendation then or are you just trolling around here?

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i'm trolling

personally i have both, one is shelved for good, as i don't see a point of using it

but then again i don't have to buy such things, since i design them

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I did not mean that the SIDE and the SIO2SD are mutually exclusive, or one is better than the other. They're different, so hard to compare. The SIDE is - in my opinion (but I am NOT very knowledgeable) much more sophisticated and will do a lot more, for a hardcore user. But with sophistication (and no manual) comes a little bit of a learning curve, for the newbie.

 

I have SIDE and I am a newbie, I have not used it yet (I'm having time problems). I figure I need to read these threads.....

 

http://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=side+site%3Awww.atariage.com

 

....and the casual gamer might not be that interested, in which case they just want to load .ATRs from SD card with SIO2SD. I don't think they will be disappointed, if that is all they want to do.

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no you don't

all you need is to grab cf card, put it into pc, write any games you want and enjoy

i assume you know how to operate a joystick or keyboard, except that, there is no real learning curve

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I don't know where the association between SIDE and the 'hardcore user' came from - possibly from the lack of two well-written paragraphs of clear set-up instruction, although as far as the XEX loader is concerned, it's difficult to see what warrants written instruction.

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Ok. So the side will work no problems on my unexpanded xegs? As stated I do not have a keyboard yet. Can I use this without a keyboard? I am no stranger to setting up things like this.

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I don't know where the association between SIDE and the 'hardcore user' came from - possibly from the lack of two well-written paragraphs of clear set-up instruction, although as far as the XEX loader is concerned, it's difficult to see what warrants written instruction.

 

Well, I'm mistaken, then. "Hardcore" is too strong-of-a-word. As I said, I haven't had time to play with mine, yet. I've just skimmed the threads ( http://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=side+site%3Awww.atariage.com ) and there seemed like a lot of discussion. I'm not knocking anything; I have 2 of everything Candle designed or made, besides VBXE.

 

In this thread.....

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/209812-side-2-newbie-help/

 

....it sounds like it's better to have more than a 64K machine, unless I'm mistaken.

 

it has hard times if it have to work with configuration with only 64k of base ram

solution would be to automaticly preconfigure your card in such case, splitting available space in half, and creating few sdx compatible partitions

 

I was under the impression from skimming those threads that it was more than just dragging and dropping the ATRs onto the card, like with SIO2SD. I was also under the impression that someone who just wants to game (and has a 64K XEGS/etc.) might not be interested in partitioning and formatting the card, learning about SpartaDOS, etc. I think that stuff's pretty neat, personally, but I was thinking about the kind of fella who isn't that interested in the A8 beyond holding a joystick. If using SIDE is as easy as SIO2SD, then I certainly need to dig mine up and try.

 

Apologies for misinforming, then. SIO2SD/Sdrive are obsolete?

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if i would want a sio based device, it would be sdrive, unfortunatly, noone seems to sell them anymore

having a choice between side and sio2sd i would choose side, as it was designed to be as easy to use as possible

you don't have to cope with awkward buttons assigments and decipher 2x16 chars display

on side you have nice big srcreen menu you can control with joystick or keyboard and no partitioning is required

you may need to reformat your cf card under windows, but this is it - nothing else

even format you choose is not important - if it will be fat or fat32 - doesn't matter, as side handles them both

all you have to do is to put some files on the card using windows in any way you want, put that card into side and power up atari

side menu will pop up and you can play your games

if game works on 64k machine it will run, without exceptions

 

then again - since i've designed this thing and wrote software for it - i might be not objective

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Thanks is all I needed to know. Thanks candle. I will get the side.

 

So just one more thing. Can i get most games in xex format? I am just concerned about disk images that cannot run on the side

 

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Thanks is all I needed to know. Thanks candle. I will get the side.

 

So just one more thing. Can i get most games in xex format? I am just concerned about disk images that cannot run on the side

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Thanks is all I needed to know. Thanks candle. I will get the side.

 

So just one more thing. Can i get most games in xex format? I am just concerned about disk images that cannot run on the side

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most, yes

they are in xex format

sometimes you won't have additional graphics though (for 64k of ram reason)

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OK. I have now purchased a SIDE2 cart so should have it in a couple of weeks. From what I have read it looks like exactly what I am looking for.

One thing I could not find out was what is the max size for the CF cards that can be used? The manual only states minimum size and a recommended size. I brought a cheap 2GB CF card from eBay so hoping this will work OK.

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