Jump to content
scotty

The Ultimate A8 Computer

Recommended Posts

As we all know, The 8-bit guy is building his own dream computer.  Got me to thinking, Besides the 1450XLD what would the ultimate A8 computer be?   I must admit, I am pretty happy with mine now, but about the only thing I would change would be the body from an 800XL to a 1200XL, as I love the looks and keyboard of the 1200XL so much better.

 

My current setup:

800XL

Ultimate1MB w/ OS-B, 1200XL,  XEGS and OS Rev.3.   Basic C, Assembler Editor, Altira Basic and SynAssembler.

USB power cord to power the computer

Sophia video upgrade

Ultimate Cart

SIO2PC to load floppies (XL is right next to my PC, and I have a HUGE collection of A8 software)

S-Drive Max (gets more use than the SIO2PC)

SIDE2 Cart (coming soon)

 

What would I change?   

As mentioned, I would love to put this setup in a 1200XL.   Always have loved the looks of it.  I really like the 32-in-1 OS switcher from Steve at AtariMax.  Yes, it is overkill, but I love having all those options.  I thought about the Antonia, but do I really need 4MB?   Not really.   65816>  I am fine with the 6502.   I do like that it has eight slots for OS's and Basic roms, but I like the interface of the Ultimate1MB better.  Jonathan (FlashJazzCat) made such a beautiful firmware for that and the SIDE2 Card.  The **Ultimate** would be the best of both worlds...  Ultimate4MB with 4MB Ram and 8 (or MORE!!) slots for OS and Basic.

 

I would add stereo pokey.  I know I am going to open up a can of worms with this one, but hear me out.   Atari always has been, and always will be my first love.   That being said, I LOVE the SID chip.   I would LOVE to have stereo SID on the A8.   Of course it is not practical, as none of the games would be able to take advantage of it, but that is just a fantasy.   

 

I do not use the built in screen on the S-Drive max, I use the on-screen navigation.  I would LOVE to see that in 80 columns, or at least make the longer file names scroll to make them easier to read like they do on the SIDE2 cart.

 

I absolutely LOVE the interface on RespeQt and the other similar programs, as I use Altira a lot, and I know exactly where to find my A8 stuff on my Windows machine in a hurry.  I just wish RespeQt could handle cartridge images as well.

 

And finally, I LOVE the USB power connector.   I LOVE being able to power my XL with an Android phone charger instead of a honking big Atari power supply.  This coming from someone who lost an 800XL to an ingot power supply in the past.

 

OK, I am going to wrap it up here....  Thoughts?  Opinions?

 

 

 

Edited by scotty
typo
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, scotty said:

I would add stereo pokey.  I know I am going to open up a can of worms with this one, but hear me out.   Atari always has been, and always will be my first love.   That being said, I LOVE the SID chip.   I would LOVE to have stereo SID on the A8.   Of course it is not practical, as none of the games would be able to take advantage of it, but that is just a fantasy.   

 

 

I think a great machine would have both a SID chip and POKEY.  SID for music, POKEY for sound effects.  I think it would be amazing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, scotty said:

I would LOVE to see that in 80 columns, or at least make the longer file names scroll

They do scroll on the bottom of the touch screen. That was added in one of the more recent firmware updates. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Gavin1968 said:

That was added in one of the more recent firmware updates. 

It's been there since the original SDrive. It's documented in Rasters 2008 manual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Atari 800 with an Incognito is almost the ultimate Atari. It needs a stereo upgrade, 80 columns, and HDMI out. Add those and you would have the ultimate Atari 8-bit computer.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past. I’m torn between a reality based machine that would’ve fit in with the launch of the ST and the Tramiel’s frugal ways, as well as not to steal the focus from the ST, or my personal dream machine.

To fit in with the launch of the ST and with the mega frugal Tramiels at the steering wheel, we could of still had a very nice, albeit neutered machine (e.g. Apple IIGS): 65c816, 256KB of RAM, upgraded ANTIC, upgraded GTIA with some blitter type functions for lots of sprites in extended mode, dual POKEY, and inbuilt BASIC XE and Action! It would’ve been pretty highly compatible, had the familiar feature set for the old stuff, and the upgraded ANTIC/GTIA/dual POKEYs would’ve wiped the floor with the C128 and IIGS (sound notwithstanding).

If I were to happen upon a winning PowerBall lottery ticket, we could settle in on an ultimate A8 compatible with very significant upgrades and I will commission the build and give away a couple hundred of them :)

As far as accessible dream A8 machine, I hope to start collecting the stuff this winter for a spring build. I’m torn between using a 1200XL or 800XL. I really, really dig the look of the 1200XL over the 800XL. I want a VBXL/XE, Ultimate 1MB, dual POKEY with TKII PS/2, SIDE2, and Rapidus.

In the meantime I would like to get the absolute cheapest RAM upgrade for an 800XL. I got a USB serial cable in the mail today and will hack together an SIO2PC-USB cable in a day or two. I have a monitor cable for my 1702 coming in a few days. That and Altirra will do many plenty until I can build a modern ultimate machine.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, 777ismyname said:

As far as accessible dream A8 machine, I hope to start collecting the stuff this winter for a spring build. I’m torn between using a 1200XL or 800XL. I really, really dig the look of the 1200XL over the 800XL. I want a VBXL/XE, Ultimate 1MB, dual POKEY with TKII PS/2, SIDE2, and Rapidus.

You can fit all of that into an 800XL with careful work and precise cable management (pretty sure @flashjazzcat has YouTube videos covering most of those in an 800XL), but a 1200XL has more internal room by far and it has the benefit that you’re going to be starting with a completely-socketed board in every instance (not true of the 800XL - some are fully socketed, some are not).

 

The 1200XL has a couple minor caveats for this kind of work. First, not all of them have 28-pin OS ROM sockets. Two of mine do, one of mine has 24-pin sockets. So for the Ultimate 1MB installation, if you have 24-pin sockets you have to address that either by replacing the socket or the low-rent approach of using a pair of 2 x 1 SIP machine pin female headers soldered into the cleaned-out vias for the additional pins. Second, you need to modify the 1200XL for a single-OS chip installation. That involves removing and reinstalling a pair of 1-ohm resistor jumpers on the motherboard to new locations and removing a third one entirely, then running a single wire between a pin on the CPU (pin 23 IIRC) to one vacated via from the jumper you removed entirely. This allows the entire 16K address space for an OS ROM to be addressed from a single socket rather than the stock 1200XL dual-socket arrangement. Third, you should remove the current-limiting resistor on the +5V line to the SIO port on the 1200XL and replace it with a 1-ohm jumper or a wire to allow unpowered peripherals to run properly when they need 5 volts from the Atari. Finally, stock 1200XL video is really a mess. You should either do something like a Super Video upgrade or simply install a UAV video board in place of the stock circuit (which is what I did). 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have an 800XL with an Ultimate 1MB board, an 800XL with a 32-in-1 and a tf_hh 512K RAM board (and an uninstalled UAV waiting to go in it), and a 600XL with a SOPHIA and ANTONIA board.  

 

I don't know if I'd want one "ultimate" A8 machine though.  What I really like is modifying each machine in slightly different ways.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...