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Question about XEGS and Floppy Drive vs Atarimax

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Hi There,

 

This is my first post, even though I have followed this community as my interest in collecting various classic Atari consoles and computers has allowed. Right now, I am eyeing an XEGS (I have nothing Atari 8-Bit) and am also considering getting the disk drive to open up the amount of software potentially available to me. As I understand it from some research, my only option in going this route with the XEGS is the 1050 5¼ disk drive… is this correct? I’m also curious about the device called “Atarimax MyIDE-II CompactFlash Interface w/ MyBIOS.” In some posts, I see it recommended over getting one of the disk drives. Is this device comparable in functionality to the Harmony Cartridge for the 2600? Thank you for your responses.

 

--SilvaHaloOne

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Personal preference but I would look at an 800XL or a 130XE vs the XEGS. Smaller footprint and better system IMHO.

 

A 1050 would be great but if oyu have a laptop or PC close by you should look into a SIO2PC connector which will allow your PC to act as a disk drive for your Atari. Here is one:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/223019-sio2pc10502pc-dual-usb-version-30/

 

The AtariMax interfaces are cartridge based and not quite as flexible as the SIO2PC option. If you dont have a PC that you can use close to your Atari then the AtariMax option might be better.

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Personal preference but I would look at an 800XL or a 130XE vs the XEGS. Smaller footprint and better system IMHO.

 

A 1050 would be great but if oyu have a laptop or PC close by you should look into a SIO2PC connector which will allow your PC to act as a disk drive for your Atari. Here is one:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/223019-sio2pc10502pc-dual-usb-version-30/

 

The AtariMax interfaces are cartridge based and not quite as flexible as the SIO2PC option. If you dont have a PC that you can use close to your Atari then the AtariMax option might be better.

Atarimax isn't limited to cartridge based solutions, they also have SIO2PC devices designed to work with their APE/Prosystem software.

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AtariMax MyIDE ][ is a very nice solution. It runs almost all titles (a few titles won't run on MyIDE ][) ... I recently did a few conversions of games special for MyIDE ][ which increases the amount of titles that run on it even more.

 

When you have a card reader on your PC that does CF cards, then you are already ready to go with a MyIDE ][

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Thanks for the responses. The reason I am going with the XEGS is because one has been offered to me new in box for a very reasonable price by someone who had it sitting in storage. So for me, it is being considered a starting point, I may take Goochman's advice on alternate computers at a later date when I am further into the Atari ecosystem.

 

The main reason that I'm looking for a solution similar to the Harmony Cart but for the XEGS is because others in my family who love to play classic games are not quite so technically inclined, like enough so that they can use the Harmony or other similar devices without any problem, but a Windows computer running MAME confuses them if it doesn’t work exactly as expected, so I’m trying to simplify it as much as possible. When I look at the videos for the AtariMax MyIDE, it looks like something I could set up initially, give them some instruction as it does seem more complex, and then take it out as needed when I want to explore additional peripherals and software, such as the floppy drive, etc… Does this sound like a fair assertion?

 

Along that same line, I am actually looking to get a Floppy Drive for it eventually (I have serious nostalgia for the disks), is the 1050 my only choice with an XEGS?

Edited by SilvaHaloOne

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All Atari compatible floppy drives should work (810, 1050, xf551, Indus GT, other 3rd party drives) although the 1050 is probably the most common and easiest to acquire.

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Well I can confirm that when you concentrate on the basic features of MyIDE ][ it is extremely easy in use.

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If you're considering a Compact Flash device, also consider SIDE2, which has a different feature set to MyIDE II, but performs a similar task. You should compare it to MyIDE II yourself and decide which device suits your requirements.

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With the updated information here is my suggestion:

 

1. Take the XEGS since you're getting a good price and its from a friend

2. Purchase a few 8mbit Atarimax Cartidges and a SIO2PC unit (also from Atarimax)

3. On Atarimax's site there are numerous cartidge images which you can program on the 8mbit carts which will contain 15-30 fun/popular games

 

With this your family can simply plug in a cart to get a good selection of good XEGS titles and play from there. Nothing to think about.

 

You'll need the SIO2PC cable to program the 8mbit carts from a PC.

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I appreciate all the responses here. I like the idea as posed by Goochman, where I have at least a few games on one cart that they can put in and have access to with minimal configuration. That can be “their cart” while I’m doing whatever I want with other carts/disks/peripherals. I wonder about the SIO2PC unit though… do I need it + the programmer kit + the cart? It looks like I can do all this with the programmer kit and a cart alone (so a grand total of around $100 instead of $160), but I’m no longer sure enough now that I have heard what you have to say.

 

Also, randomly but also related, the guy gave me a 400 with 48k that he has been using since ‘80, so I’m going from having nothing to having two separate models. How worthwhile is that 400? Are most era games/software going to play on it? Keep it as a backup? It came with a couple games, but no OS/BASIC/other software I am aware of, and the XEGS has only what was included in the box.

 

Thanks again for you time and responses.

 

--SilvaHaloOne

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I got an XEGS before I got a 400. I now have two 400s and I like 'em a lot.

 

It's nice that your 400 has 48k. Mine only have 16k. So you should be able to run just carts on it that would need more memory, plus make use of a disk drive with it. There are some, like the Imagic titles, that only work on the original 400/800 and won't work on the later XL and XE systems as-is - there is a way to do it, but I can't recall the details as I type.

 

The 400 doesn't have BASIC or anything built in like the XL and XE do. The XEGS will boot to BASIC with its keyboard attached; Missile Command is built-in and comes up without the keyboard.

 

The XEGS keyboard is rather "spongey." If you plan on making much use of it, you may want to consider getting the silicone cups for them here: http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/130xe.htm#XE%20Touch

I haven't experienced them myself so I can't say if they're worth it.

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You might want to look at a couple of the sio2sd solutions too (such as http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=23). With PicoDOS you can set up a few 16MB disk images with the games they want to play.

 

I have several AtariMax carts, APE/SIO2USB, and SIO2SD, and use them all about equally. My APE server is an old Thinkpad I inherited. I set it to not go to sleep when the lid is closed, so it stays out of the way. To make it easier to put stuff on it I also installed Dropbox. So I can just dump things into my Atari8 folder and know they'll be on my APE server.

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Again, I really appreciate the wealth of information on the subject you all have and provide.

 

Most unfortunately, it seems like the sale isn’t going to happen, at least for now. They decided to wait on it, and his wife thought it was worth more than then I was going to pay for it, which is probably true. However, this is after a couple of weeks messing around with the 400 and Win800 plus, trying things out and stuff… basically I’m hooked and have decided that I’m going to pursue the same thing via another avenue.

 

As a bizarre coincidence, I found a 400 with 48K on Craigslist for sale earlier today and am conversing with the seller about checking it out. He may also have a 1050 that he is willing to part with too. So I’m hopeful that I have something going forward by the weekend.

--SilvaHaloOne

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Nice - if those options fall through I would look for an 800XL. Its a nice compact unit with 64k and the cart slot on the top which makes it easier to load.

 

The Atarimax carts are programmed through the computer (this might have changed), that is why you would need the SIO2PC connector.

 

Also with SIO2PC you can download a wealth of .atr's and run them right on your Atari.

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It's me he found! I'm trying to steer him towards the 800xl with NEW motherboard. The 1050 I have might be more than he needs..its a rebuilt US doubler with a new power supply. I also have a 810 with the grass valley upgrade boards.I will show him the Myide II when he gets here. If he wanted to wait until June, I could also offer a IndusGT and an 810 archiver.There are some bank switched XE carts that he can't run on a 400..I'll tell him all he needs to know, and give him all the options. WE GOT ANOTHER ONE! Welcome.

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All my 400's come with basic on cart and power supply. I might even throw in a game ;) I didn't mention the 800 I have for sale...that gets an incognito. All proceeds from this sale go to my Zero5 purchase!

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Ok so I'm just getting into this - I have a SIO2PC but it is the old serial port version and I can't get anything to work since I'm using a 64-bit OS (I tried downloading the drivers but it won't work on either my 800XL or XEGS). So I bought a MyIDE][ last week and I'm waiting for it to arrive - but if I'm reading this correctly I need the SIO2PC to program the cart? I thought the CF card was programmed on a PC then loaded up?

 

I'm confused now. Perhaps I should have just grabbed a SIO2USB and not worry about it :/

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I just want to take a second to thank Paul for hooking me up with an excellent condition 800XL and a couple of games for what I consider a killer price. He also showed me the Myide II and some of the more interesting tech demos for the system. I'm very happy about it. If you are in a position to do business with Paul (Eight Bit Fix), I would recommend it without hesitation. And thanks again for all the advice on here, I'm sure I'll talk to some of you again in the near future.

 

Hope you are able to find the answer you are looking for Shaggy.

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