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1088XEL U1MB Firmware Released

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I'm pleased to announce the release of the finalised U1MB firmware for the Atari 1088XEL, which may be downloaded from the 1088XEL firmware page:

 

https://atari8.co.uk/firmware/1088xel/

 

The page will be populated with additional material in the coming days, including links to Michael's project site, etc. Please use this thread to discuss any operational or installation issues.

 

Meanwhile, the U1MB firmware update of which the 1088XEL firmware is a derivative will be coming next, along with the Incognito firmware update and updated loaders for SIDE/SIDE2.

 

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Hopefully some donations will roll in. Been a long year of refinements. Thanks for all the work on this, it was fun helping (in the tiniest of ways) test this.

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Thanks, Jon! After a quick test in Altirra, I updated my 1088XEL and ran it through basic functionality tests. I had previously purchased one of those cheap SD-to-CF adapters on eBay and in the prior test builds for the 1088XEL, it didn't work at all. The new version reads the microSD card from my UNO Cart perfectly. I tested loading both large XEX files and mounting and loading some simple ATR files as well. Works great!

 

Further, the ancient 512MB CF card I usually use in my SIDE2 cart, which prior wasn't even recognized by the loader, now works at least a little bit. The 1088XEL Loader now recognizes the FAT32 and APT partitions, though it doesn't recognize the contents of the FAT partition. However, SDX can read the contents of the APT hard disk partitions, read and write files, etc. In the prior build, SDX didn't recognize that a card was there at all. And this is still using my original XEL-CF-II card reader hardware, not Michael's updated XEL-CF-3 design, which I have yet to buy and build.

 

So, great performance tweaks and improvements all around. Bravo!

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Just a quick hats off to Jon for not only taking on this project, but for making the 1088XEL a truly unique experience thanks to all his machine specific tweaks in the firmware. I dare say if Jon hadn't created this unique flavor of the U1MB Bios for the 1088XEL, it would not be as cool as it is now. For those that haven't experienced it, you're truly missing out on a next gen A8, or what we always dreamed that it should've, could've been if only all this great stuff had been around in the 90's.

 

Hey the firmware download link works on my site now :grin: .

 

And in the immortal words of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, the 1088XEL has this to say to the new Bios "You complete me".

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Thanks, Jon! After a quick test in Altirra, I updated my 1088XEL and ran it through basic functionality tests. I had previously purchased one of those cheap SD-to-CF adapters on eBay and in the prior test builds for the 1088XEL, it didn't work at all. The new version reads the microSD card from my UNO Cart perfectly. I tested loading both large XEX files and mounting and loading some simple ATR files as well. Works great!

 

Further, the ancient 512MB CF card I usually use in my SIDE2 cart, which prior wasn't even recognized by the loader, now works at least a little bit. The 1088XEL Loader now recognizes the FAT32 and APT partitions, though it doesn't recognize the contents of the FAT partition. However, SDX can read the contents of the APT hard disk partitions, read and write files, etc. In the prior build, SDX didn't recognize that a card was there at all. And this is still using my original XEL-CF-II card reader hardware, not Michael's updated XEL-CF-3 design, which I have yet to buy and build.

 

So, great performance tweaks and improvements all around. Bravo!

 

 

 

DrV, you will find that with the full release firmware from FJC in conjunction with the CF3 works with a LOT of cards and does it just swimmingly. In fact, if you put in F series chips (as opposed to HCT), things hum along without a care in the world.

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Further, the ancient 512MB CF card I usually use in my SIDE2 cart, which prior wasn't even recognized by the loader, now works at least a little bit. The 1088XEL Loader now recognizes the FAT32 and APT partitions, though it doesn't recognize the contents of the FAT partition. However, SDX can read the contents of the APT hard disk partitions, read and write files, etc. In the prior build, SDX didn't recognize that a card was there at all.

I'm surprised that PBI BIOS (i.e. SDX) behaviour has changed at all, although this may be caused by corrections to the device reset code which occurred a while back. The discrepant behaviour between the PBI BIOS and the loader is caused by the fact the PBI BIOS has the ability to mask instability by retrying sector transfers if it detects skipped or repeated reads. I was often tempted to remove that retry logic entirely since it creates the impression that the loader has some issues, when in fact the IO errors in the loader simply signify that the computer cannot reliably communicate with the card. At the end of the day, however, I suppose it's better to have one thing work reliably than neither, although if the PBI BIOS is having to issue retries (which is likely if the loader can't read a partition), it would be worth running RWCRC. The DRQ checks are not guaranteed to catch every transfer error and if the hardware doesn't work 100 per cent reliably in the loader, it's possible that the PBI BIOS will eventually encounter a double read and a skipped read in the same transfer, meaning DRQ will still be deasserted at the correct time despite the fact there's a bogus byte in the sector buffer.

 

And in the immortal words of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, the 1088XEL has this to say to the new Bios "You complete me".

Concidentally the same film in which he says "Show me the money!". :)

 

Thanks all for the positive feedback, and sincerest thanks to Stephen for his kind and quite unexpected donation.

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Hopefully some donations will roll in. Been a long year of refinements. Thanks for all the work on this, it was fun helping (in the tiniest of ways) test this.

Ditto this :)

 

Donation sent.

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This release has two SDX roms and both are to big to FLASH..

 

They're not SDX ROMs Roy. I had to keep the naming short, but (as written in the README) these are complete 512KB ROMs containing 320K and 192K SDX ROMs respectively. You flash these to the top entry in UFLASH. I'll be uploading SDX ROMs on a separate page later on since those DLT published have non-working versions of FDISK on them (hidden attribute not set on the OVL files).

 

In the meantime, if you just want to update SDX on its own, download the ROMs from the SpartaDOS X upgrade site. ;)

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FJC,

 

It might be a cool diagnostic tool to write both as you stated with out all the retry logic in them (within reason) to be used in ironing out transfer/interface problems... and of course leaving the everyday use versions with the checks in so as to have the most stable and safe experience as a result.

 

Nice tools like that can be hard to find... many people do one offs for private use but it can benefit all far more than can be readily realized when as a diagnostic tool kit addition.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Such a tool already exists: I wrote it for the beta testers six months or so back and it will appear on the toolkit disk I'm currently putting together. ;)

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