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bobotech

Is the black box or the MIO still better than current upgrades?

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I think that the black box or the MIO were the upgrades to have if you had an 8bit atari. My atari hobby goes in spurts. I will pay attention and collect for a while then put it away, a few years later, pull it out and play, then put it back and so on. I have been actively collecting atari 8bit since the late nineties. In the early 2000's, I think I remember hearing that the blackbox or the MIO were the devices to have so you could upgrade your atari 8bit system to its fullest extent.

 

I think I might have even posted this topic a bunch of years ago but can't remember.

 

But things change as time marches on so its still a viable question. Have modern 8bit upgrades finally surpassed the usability/desirability of those original upgrades EXCLUDING any collector intrinsic value! Of course I would love to have some of those original upgrades just because they were cool but that isn't the question here. I am mainly wondering if the old hardware still has functions that can't be emulated by modern upgrades?

 

Also is the SIO2USB still the goto upgrade for connecting your A8 to a modern computer?

 

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I absolutely like my blackbox but i have to admit it is rather slow compared to myide and ide+

 

It has one of the best rs232 ports and a great 6502 ML monitor which is excellent.

 

I dislike the physical size of it and the external psu.

 

I prefer in daily use the myide 2 and/or the ide+ 2.0 but I would never part with my blackbox.

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As far as HDDs go, the new devices (SIDE2, IDE Plus 2.0, MyIDE II) are a fraction of the size of the vintage ones, use less power, use readily available and inexpensive media, run much faster and use widely compatible partitioning standards and tools (APT; except MyIDE II).

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I have 3 MIOs... one is always set up on my main system.

 

Yes, but is that a nostalgic choice or a practical one. For my part, I have a MyIDE II, an IDE Plus 2.0, an SIO2IDE, an SIO2SD, and an SIO2USB, but I still long for a real ICD MIO. Nostalgia. It is the driver behind the whole discussion.

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I have a Side 2, an IDE Plus 2 and 3 black boxes. Which get used the most? My black boxes. This is mostly because I have used them longer and I am more comfortable using them. My favorite feature is swapping ANY drive to ANY other drive number, even when a program is running. This works great for multi disk games.

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LOL, I specifically stated excluding any collector value and I should have also said excluding any nostalgia value. That is my key question, is there any reason why having something like the black box or mio is more desirable than a modern drive interface besides collector value or nostalgia.

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Yes, but is that a nostalgic choice or a practical one.

It's a personal choice...

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LOL, I specifically stated excluding any collector value and I should have also said excluding any nostalgia value. That is my key question, is there any reason why having something like the black box or mio is more desirable than a modern drive interface besides collector value or nostalgia.

I think modern 'solutions' do most of the MIO/BB, boot from, much larger storage for gigabytes of stuff. The only advantage to a MIO/BB I can think of, other than I have it and don't need to buy something else,

are the serial and parallel ports on them. There's been a lot of talk about BBSes here lately. I don't think the MyIDE/SIO2SD or whatever have those ports, but I don't know much about modern extension hardware.

(I've been playing with my old BBS Express!. I had 151 users and only had it up a few months.) Also, they live off the PBI / XE port and don't require opening and installing and soldering.

I think the modern devices sometimes use the cart port, and don't have pass thru port, so I guess you can't have, say a RT8 and a SIO2SD. It is fairly complicated, I don't know the particulars

about MyIDE/SIO2SD, etc

I think MyIDE/SIO2SD require a custom OS..

Thinking a little. SIO2SD, from the name, doesn't use the cart or PBI, it connects to the SIO port. I don't think it has a pass thru port, so I don't think you could connect a 1050, probably wrong.

Edited by russg

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It seems to me that the MIO and BB both use SCSI drives. Not a good choice considering the solid-state drives that you can get now. PBI compatibility is a big plus, however.

 

Bob

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It seems to me that the MIO and BB both use SCSI drives. Not a good choice considering the solid-state drives that you can get now. PBI compatibility is a big plus, however.

 

Bob

I have 25 meg MFM hard drives with an Adaptec 4070(I think that's the number) SCSI to MFM. To set that up, it is a lot of space. I just use APE interface and PC now, I recently used

my MIO and hyperspeed R: handler to test Itay's IceTea (about 2.75). The APE interface and PC serial port give me all the hard drive space. Use 'makeatr' to put things

into .ATR and APE to extract programs from .ATRs. That hyperseed handler for the MIO, I could do really fast modeming, seems like full speed on a 56k baud modem,

but I think the Atari PBI max is 19,200, so I'm not sure.

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I have 25 meg MFM hard drives with an Adaptec 4070(I think that's the number) SCSI to MFM. To set that up, it is a lot of space. I just use APE interface and PC now, I recently used

my MIO and hyperspeed R: handler to test Itay's IceTea (about 2.75). The APE interface and PC serial port give me all the hard drive space. Use 'makeatr' to put things

into .ATR and APE to extract programs from .ATRs. That hyperseed handler for the MIO, I could do really fast modeming, seems like full speed on a 56k baud modem,

but I think the Atari PBI max is 19,200, so I'm not sure.

IIRC the Adaptec 4070 is a SCSI to RLL controller, while the Adaptec 4000/4000A is SCSI to MFM.

RLL is a slightly more advanced encoding technology that allowed increasing storage density 50% for the same media versus MFM, but it did require a very accurate drive mechanism.

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IIRC the Adaptec 4070 is a SCSI to RLL controller, while the Adaptec 4000/4000A is SCSI to MFM.

RLL is a slightly more advanced encoding technology that allowed increasing storage density 50% for the same media versus MFM, but it did require a very accurate drive mechanism.

 

-begin memory dump-

 

all mfm/rll drives are rll, rll stands for run length limited iirc, if i remember right, mfm is rll 1,3 and what was called rll was rll 2,7. the main difference between the 2 is the speed/frequency (it is one or both) of the datastream. 'rll' was 50% faster and/orhigher freq it does not require any more accurate mechanism than 'mfm' it needs a read amplifier and write amplifier that can handle the datastream, i salvaged many "dead" st225's that had been run on a 'rll' controller and failed as i could remove and replace the amplifiers and add heat sinks and compound to them. then there was arll from perstore(sp) it promised 90% capacity increase on a mfm drive but was better at burning up mfm read/write amplifiers than running a mfm drive on a rll controller.

 

-end memory dump-

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I remember having an old full height 5 1/4 inch hard drive that was MFM on my old Compuadd XT compatible (my first IBM compatible that I got in 1989). I am pretty sure it was a Priam 160meg drive. Huge NOISY and hot running mother. I bought it from a computer show (MISS them!) in CT back around 1992 or so. The vendor had installed Disk Manager on the first partition, also known as Disk Mangler, LOL. Disk Manager was setup on the first 20 meg or whatever size the small partition and then it forced the rest of the MFM drive into RLL encoding. I think the controller was an RLL controller so Disk Manager was able to force the rest of the drive to work as RLL. The drive was so damned noisy. I ended up leaving the drive outside of the case on a shelf above the computer with a fan blowing on it. LOL

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I use acard 7720u and 7720uw on my blackbox to connect flash card adapters. Works perfect. I also use scsi card reader.

 

I have these reasons for not using my blackbox a lot lately:

 

It's huge... Too much space used on my desk.

 

It's slow compared to modern storage devices

 

It's not easy to take away when you travel around with your atari

 

It's sensitive to less stable (upgraded) Ataris

 

It's not fully compatible with ultimate 1mb (which is not a fault of the blackbox or the u1mb. But an unfortunate coincidence (you can't use your built in basic)

 

These are the features that I miss from time to time:

 

Real time access to every partition and disk swapping while software is running. Ide+ could have this too but firmware isn't updated yet. It's a real must have feature for me. Myide has this feature but it doesn't work when running software doesn't allow you to break in.

 

Excellent 6502 monitor ... Break in while running. Superb feature which I have now with the freezer, although I still appreciate the BB 6502 monitor

 

Hardware flow control on Rs232 port

 

Always access to very handy disk tools (built in BB Firmware (newer firmware also known as the black box enhancer)

 

And last but not least: socketed general available (well almost) chips. It's very easy to repair a blackbox. I have spares enough.

 

I need more space and then I'll start using my blackbox probably again....

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Each has it's own "personality," doesn't it. While the MIO and BB are clearly slower than their more recent competitors, they really aren't "slouches." But they are BIG! The original MIO with its MFM drives is pretty slow compared to a modern direct SCSI connections (or IDE converters). But the big ramdisk of the MIO (which can be used as a MyDos ramdisk) is still a nice feature. I always missed the ramdisk when I moved to the BB. But time marches on -- and I seldom hook either up anymore, except for compatibility testing.

 

I really like the MyIDE's -- both the MyIDE-II cart with it's "Swiss Army Knife" of features and the Internal MyIDE with it's flash OS (sadly only one). But I also like the IDE+2. All three are good, modern solutions.

 

-Larry

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I've wanted an MIO to hook up a ZIP drive (Mathy(?) or somebody has plans) I have a bunch of ZIP drives and disks, and figured it would be fun.

I started a thread about that once and got chastised because it would not be "practical". That amused me as we were discussing an almost 40 year old computer and practical at the same time.

So there are some things modern devices can't do that MIO can, just might not be practical.

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Do you have an internal SCSI ZIP? For years I used the BB with a regular SCSI HD + an internal ZIP to back up the HD once a month or so. The ZIP was almost as fast as the regular HD.

-Larry

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Hello guys

 

I also used an external SCSI ZIP drive. With my BlackBox. Did yours click as much as mine did? I never could find out if this was because of the relative small amounts of data the Atari sends to and receives from the ZIP drive, or the "click of death".

 

BTW the ZIP drive was what brought me to the idea of how you could make the Atari boot off a CD. I did that too. Read all about it!

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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I also had zipdrives on my BB. Even the external with a home made hack of the BB firmware to save settings to the fixed scsi ID 5 or 6 the external Zip drives used.

 

The zipdrives acted weird on my atari's a lot of clicks and on/off switching all the time. I got rid of these as soon as possible.

 

I also used old syquest removable 5.25" drives. Those were fabulous and rock solid and quite easy to align yourself when needed.

 

Since I wanted to be able to backup my entire atari disk in a matter of minutes I switched to flash media.

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Hello Marius

 

Even the external with a home made hack of the BB firmware to save settings to the fixed scsi ID 5 or 6 the external Zip drives used.

 

Tell me more,tell me more...*

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

* quoted from "Grease" :D

Edited by Mathy

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Hello Marius

 

 

Tell me more,tell me more...*

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

* quoted from "Grease" :D

 

What do you want to know? Years ago I hacked the firmware of the blackbox. That was a rather complicated job, but I managed (THEN!) to find out where the byte is stored which decided what SCSI ID is used for read/write config. As you know this is always SCSI #0 Lun #0 on the blackbox. I hacked this into another value. I also did that for that SCSI Card reader, which I wanted to use with the CF-card slot by default. This was SCSI 0, Lun #1... So I had to changed that in the firmware.

 

Unfortunately it is been a LOOOONG time ago, and I have no idea anymore how I did it; i might have made a document about it, but I am not sure...

If I find that, I'll let you know.

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Hello Marius

 

So you just changed one byte in the BB firmware?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Hello Marius

 

So you just changed one byte in the BB firmware?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

Could be a few more. I can not remember exactly anymore.

 

I believe (IIRC) that there was something with the START-Sector value. Since this was max. a (24?)bit value, the other 8 bits (32 bits in total) could be used to trick the firmware/SCSI protocol.

 

I am on a vacation in Zeeland (part of NL) and I don't have the stuff here, and I have a very slow internet connection on my phone here, so I can't browse the internet or my files in the cloud.

 

But let's face it simple.

 

Let's say (this is theory) that the start sector could only be sector 0-99 max; and that would mean: sector 0-99 on SCSI 0

Then Sector 100-99 would mean sector 0-99 on SCSI 1, or something like that.

 

that's the idea how it worked.

 

In face: when you use (on the real blackbox) a start-sector that is high enough the device tried to load from SCSI 1 in stead of SCSI 0.

 

But again: as said: It's too long ago, and I don't have my references here.

And since I don't use this anymore, I'm not so interested in it anymore.

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