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displaced

VBXE/SIDE2 Firmware Upgrades without a U1MB

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

I've read a load of threads here on this subject - just wanted to coalesce it here to make sure I've got the right end of the stick...

 

The Aim

  • Upgrade my SIDE2 firmware to the latest version on my 64K XEGS with VBXE

 

The Problem

  • SIDE2 firmware is supplied as an .ATR file.  SIDELoader or SIDE2's SDX mode cannot work with ATR files/APT partitions because 64K isn't enough.

 

A Solution?

  • The VBXE can be flashed so that it provides 320K additional 'RAMBO' memory.

 

So, my questions are:

 

  1. Is the above even vaguely correct, or utter nonsense?
  2. Could I switch the VBXE to provide RAM by upgrading it with an ATR via an SIO2PC cable?
  3. After doing that, would the SIDE2/SDX be able to use that RAM and allow ATR support?
  4. If so, could I then simply upgrade SIDE2 to the latest firmware using its own ATR support, or would that need loading via SIO2PC as well?

 

Thanks for your help - I'm totally new to A8's beyond having a read through the SpartaDOS X manual and a little fiddling in BASIC (and my brain works on BBC Basic at that, not Atari Basic!)

Edited by displaced

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Posted (edited)

Happily there is no need for extra memory when updating the SIDE2 ROM. Both components of the SIDE2 (SDX and the loader) can be flashed using the DLT flasher which works on 64K machines:

 

SDX ROMs

 

SIDE Loader and full (SDX and loader) ROMs

 

To update the loader, for example: boot SDX from the SIDE2, mount the ATR and type FLASH_S2 at the command prompt.

 

As for the 'R' core for VBXE: this provides a perfectly usable 256K of extended PORTB memory, at the expense of half of the VBXE VRAM. Yes: you can run the VBXE core flasher by mounting the ATR via SIO2PC/RespeQt.

 

SIDE ATR support does not depend on extended memory, unfortunately, but on the presence of U1MB (which provides a PBI device driver, allowing augmentation of the OS's low-level disk driver in ROM).

 

If you do install an U1MB, you can indeed then use the ATR mounting facilities of U1MB/SIDE to perform firmware updates on the two devices. Likewise one can perform updates direct from FAT16/32 partitions (also possible without U1MB, providing the more recent loader is already on the SIDE cart and the host machine has sufficient extended RAM).

Edited by flashjazzcat
Typos/clarity
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Ah, superb -- thanks very much indeed!

 

Didn't realise the ATR support depended on a driver supplied by U1MB - that bit of info makes what I'd been reading make more sense now.  Knew I was missing something...

 

At the moment I can't quite justify a U1MB purchase, even though it's objectively a very nifty bit of kit - especially after having just bought the XEGS and VBXE!  Perhaps after some future payday.

 

Cheers!

 

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1 hour ago, displaced said:

At the moment I can't quite justify a U1MB purchase, even though it's objectively a very nifty bit of kit - especially after having just bought the XEGS and VBXE!  Perhaps after some future payday.

Perhaps the imminent firmware update (also for SIDE2) will make it even more enticing. I will be uploading new files to my website over the next 24 hours. :)

 

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I *HIGHLY* recommend a U1M. After you have it, you won't be able to believe how you ever lived without it.

:)

 

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