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bluejay

Is the Atari 400 Bad to Use?

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1 hour ago, bluejay said:

I decided to make the right choice and I bought a VIC 20. What are some good games for the vic 20?

Bahhhah!  Try Jupiter Lander and Clown Attack! :)  I grew up with VIC 20, not a bad unit.  All this mess and then a VIC 20 in the end, I love it!

Edited by Trellot

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22 minutes ago, Trellot said:

Bahhhah!  Try Jupiter Lander and Clown Attack! :)  I grew up with VIC 20, not a bad unit.  All this mess and then a VIC 20 in the end, I love it!

Thanks!

I got it for almost $100 for a unit in excellent condition plus a manual, video cable, and an original adapter. I thought a few extra dollars is worth the better keyboard and(hopefully) 32k ram. The seller didn't tell me exactly how much ram it had. I'll need to invest more money on a tape drive, but my temporary solution will have to be .tap files.

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42 minutes ago, bluejay said:

Thanks!

I got it for almost $100 for a unit in excellent condition plus a manual, video cable, and an original adapter. I thought a few extra dollars is worth the better keyboard and(hopefully) 32k ram. The seller didn't tell me exactly how much ram it had. I'll need to invest more money on a tape drive, but my temporary solution will have to be .tap files.

 

VIC-20s come with 5K of RAM standard..

As well as a 22-column text display and vastly inferior graphics and sound to a 400.

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20 minutes ago, adam242 said:

 

 VIC-20s come with 5K of RAM standard..

How much RAM do I have in my 600XL?  Oh yeah, 4096K.  

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Reading through this thread makes me want to get my Atari 400 sooner than later - though I like to get it with 48K and maybe a video upgrade too?  I've got the flashcarts to work with it already.  The only real problem is getting one shipped out to me.

I know that if anyone makes a video of Let's Compare - the Atari 400 vs Vic-20 (and Ti99/4a) - which games look far better than the rest.  If you're after something that can deliver coin-op quality or close - the others can't deliver.

 

Harvey

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11 hours ago, SS said:

Hong Kong made 800XLs *should* have fully socketed motherboards. Taiwan made 800XLs are a mystery until you open them up.  

State side, most XLs are mostly socketed. 

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21 hours ago, kheller2 said:

State side, most XLs are mostly socketed. 

Province side too.

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23 hours ago, adam242 said:

 

VIC-20s come with 5K of RAM standard..

As well as a 22-column text display and vastly inferior graphics and sound to a 400.

It could be expanded to 32k. At least it's an actual computer, not a video game console with buttons on it.

23 hours ago, SS said:

How much RAM do I have in my 600XL?  Oh yeah, 4096K.  

4mb? What are you gonna use all that for?

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lmfao what an idiot, the 400 is a full computer with a real operating system light years ahead of the VIC... and can be expanded well beyond whatever hot mess I've seen done to or with a VIC over all these years... I thinks we gots a troll here...

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5 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

lmfao what an idiot, the 400 is a full computer with a real operating system light years ahead of the VIC... and can be expanded well beyond whatever hot mess I've seen done to or with a VIC over all these years... I thinks we gots a troll here...

IMO, a real computer has an operating system in RAM, a keyboard that's not a membrane(at least the Sinclair computers had BASIC in ram). I think that the Sinclair zx80/81 counts as 3/4 a computer, the Atari 400 half a computer, and all video game consoles like the 2600, Gameboy, Intellivision, and Famicom, that had aftermarket expansions that allowed it to function as a computer, a quarter a computer. Sometimes, there are things more important than graphics and sound. User friendlyness counts. Even better if it has good keyboards to type on. A good manual that can teach a kindergartener BASIC. Lots of peripherals and games. I think that, as an Atariage member, you should know that great graphics and sound doesn't necessarily mean a great game, and vice versa.

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My whole 8bit progression was {Atari 400+410} -> {800XL+Indus/GT}, and that's where it ended.

 

Between the two, I was very well aware of the 800 (and its ecosystem), and soon after the 1200Xl, as soon as it got released... I found the 1200XL looks to be LOVELY, but I soon learned that it was a incomplete / mismanaged product in the line-up (a real pity, though). However, the machine that I ALWAYS wanted since the very first time I saw it (and I could never have) was the 800. Somehow, it still is, even though I already completed the system I could only dream of, back then...

 

As for the 400, which I used quite a bit, it unfortunately proved to be a VERY restrictive computing experience. Not because it could not look, sound or act as any other computer of the lineup, but because its paltry 16 Kbytes, dreadful and unreliable 410, and overall architecture made things much more difficult. Like a machine for learning about the existence of computing technology, and entertaining yourself with it... until you could only look with envy all those magazine and brochure titles that you could NEVER run on it... That was bitter, to say the least... The add-on keyboards made it look frankenstein-like, never really fitting it (I actually very much preferred the original flat-keyboard look).

 

In any case, I would consider buying a mint 400, if and only if Incognito/400 existed for it... All other upgrades (some of which are REALLY good) are still a stop-gag, which do not bring you closer to the very best available today... unless, of course, playing legacy games and APX titles is all you need (in which case the 400 will do just fine).

 

YMMV, though...

 

 

Edited by Faicuai

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2 hours ago, Faicuai said:

but because its paltry 16 Kbytes

You were lucky your 400 came with 16K, my first 400 originally came with only 8K. I upgraded it with a Mosaic 64K board about 2 years later, but never got a disc drive until prices were cut in half(from C$600 to C$300) on 1050s in 1984/1985. With 64K RAM the 400 is as capable as an 800 except for the keyboard/monitor port/right cartridge slot. I later acquired a 1200XL keyboard which I was able to connect remotely via ribbon cable, in parallel with the original membrane keyboard. 

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On 10/17/2019 at 7:29 PM, bluejay said:

Thanks!

I got it for almost $100 for a unit in excellent condition plus a manual, video cable, and an original adapter. I thought a few extra dollars is worth the better keyboard and(hopefully) 32k ram. The seller didn't tell me exactly how much ram it had. I'll need to invest more money on a tape drive, but my temporary solution will have to be .tap files.

On 10/18/2019 at 7:59 PM, bluejay said:

It could be expanded to 32k. At least it's an actual computer, not a video game console with buttons on it.

4mb? What are you gonna use all that for?

 

LOL, dude... 

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21 hours ago, bluejay said:

IMO, a real computer has an operating system in RAM, a keyboard that's not a membrane(at least the Sinclair computers had BASIC in ram).

 

IMHO, it's difficult to accept your definitions of what constitutes a 'real' computer when you're evidently unclear about the distinction between RAM and ROM.

 

Look, I don't want to piss on your parade.  I don't even care which machine interests you; that's up to you to decide.  But I would like you to come back after having owned that Vic-20 for a few months and tell us how much modern add-on devices suck once you've had to, say, image a floppy disk or write out data to a cassette from a .WAV file or similar.

 

Wait, hang on.  By your criteria, you can't use a .WAV file for that; those post-date the machine's lifespan, much as would just about any PC used to dump it out to the cassette drive's microphone or line input jack for recording to tape.  Better hope that those cassette tapes are NOS from about 1986, too, or they won't be period-correct either, though they'll likely do a number on your tape heads if you do try to use them.

 

Writing images to floppy disks is left as an exercise for the reader.

Edited by x=usr(1536)
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21 hours ago, bluejay said:

IMO, a real computer has an operating system in RAM, a keyboard that's not a membrane(at least the Sinclair computers had BASIC in ram). I think that the Sinclair zx80/81 counts as 3/4 a computer, the Atari 400 half a computer, and all video game consoles like the 2600, Gameboy, Intellivision, and Famicom, that had aftermarket expansions that allowed it to function as a computer, a quarter a computer. Sometimes, there are things more important than graphics and sound. User friendlyness counts. Even better if it has good keyboards to type on. A good manual that can teach a kindergartener BASIC. Lots of peripherals and games. I think that, as an Atariage member, you should know that great graphics and sound doesn't necessarily mean a great game, and vice versa.

 

The 400 and the VIC-20 are both 'real computers' only one is much more capable than the other. Keyboards aside, the 400 wins on every level. More sophisticated OS, better sound chip, vastly more capable graphics (ANTIC is a true co-processor), 40 column text, more RAM (both stock and expandable limits), faster clock speed... the VIC-20 is a fucking joke compared to the A8s. A toy computer.

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7 hours ago, BillC said:

(...) With 64K RAM the 400 is as capable as an 800 except for the keyboard/monitor port/right cartridge slot. I later acquired a 1200XL keyboard which I was able to connect remotely via ribbon cable, in parallel with the original membrane keyboard. 

 

I also used to (firmly) believe in the equivalence trap between the two systems... however, I soon learned I was just fooling myself into believing the 400 could be the "same" with just more memory.


That, of course, was essentially wrong, as I could only dream of those large RAM expansions, Bit3 / exotic 80-cols. cards, Newell's personality board with 52+ Kbytes, and all that without mentioning built-in Y/C video output, etc.  The 400 is a small & simple system that happens to be fully equipped with the complete chip-set (Antic, Pokey, GTIA, 6502, etc.) all running at the same speed and capable of doing the same... but oppressed under a restrictive and difficult to expand package (and architecture). 

 

I understood this from early on, and I moved (a bit late) out of the 400, altogether. Nevertheless, and as I stated, I would certainly consider a 400 with Incognito and Super-Color CPU card, which would make it really, really nice and overall capable.

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19 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

 

I also used to (firmly) believe in the equivalence trap between the two systems... however, I soon learned I was just fooling myself into believing the 400 could be the "same" with just more memory.


That, of course, was essentially wrong, as I could only dream of those large RAM expansions, Bit3 / exotic 80-cols. cards, Newell's personality board with 52+ Kbytes, and all that without mentioning built-in Y/C video output, etc.  The 400 is a small & simple system that happens to be fully equipped with the complete chip-set (Antic, Pokey, GTIA, 6502, etc.) all running at the same speed and capable of doing the same... but oppressed under a restrictive and difficult to expand package (and architecture). 

 

I understood this from early on, and I moved (a bit late) out of the 400, altogether. Nevertheless, and as I stated, I would certainly consider a 400 with Incognito and Super-Color CPU card, which would make it really, really nice and overall capable.

The Mosaic 64K board I upgraded my 400 with does allow access to 52K, with 4 - 4K banks accessible thru the extra 4K window. 

 

Even with that I moved to an 800XL after I finally got a couple of 1050s, partly because of being introduced to SpartaDOS when I got a US Doubler upgrade. A lot more software is compatible with SD 2.X/3.X than with SD 1.X.

 

 

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16 hours ago, adam242 said:

 

The 400 and the VIC-20 are both 'real computers' only one is much more capable than the other. Keyboards aside, the 400 wins on every level. More sophisticated OS, better sound chip, vastly more capable graphics (ANTIC is a true co-processor), 40 column text, more RAM (both stock and expandable limits), faster clock speed... the VIC-20 is a fucking joke compared to the A8s. A toy computer.

I know how the A8s are better than the vic20. But the keyboard is a big factor to me, as I plan on typing for hours on it. Also, the 400 I found didn't come with a manual, and the vic20 did. And the vic20 manual is amazing. It can teach an effing kindergartener to program a simple app on basic. 

 

17 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

IMHO, it's difficult to accept your definitions of what constitutes a 'real' computer when you're evidently unclear about the distinction between RAM and ROM

Those were typos. I meant rom. It's difficult to type every last detail when writing a lond paragraph and have two very similar spelled words.

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I did have the choice of buying a Atari 400 versus the Vic-20 back in the day - around 1981-1982.

I was a touch typist - so the Atari 400 keyboard did not suit me.  But with the Vic-20 it had that awful font and so few words on the screen - that it was a sight for sore eyes - so I was not convinced it was suitable for wordprocessing as claimed.

But foremost I was a fan of coin-op arcade games and wanted a system capable of delivering near to coin-op quality?  The Vic-20 did not appear to provide the capability to do that?

I did end up waiting for another 6 months or so - and purchased an Atari 800 with 48K in Hammersmith, London.

 

Years later on - I did meet with an owner of a Vic-20 who showed off various Vic-20 games running - but none of the games matched up well with the same kind of games running on a Atari 400.  What are the best games for the Vic-20?  And what are the best games running on a Atari 400?  One is streets ahead of the other?

I was into graphics design - I could not see myself being happy trying to do anything on the Vic-20 in this regard.  I haven't seen any drawings on a Vic-20 - maybe you can show me links where they can be seen?

 

Harvey

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2 hours ago, kiwilove said:

I did have the choice of buying a Atari 400 versus the Vic-20 back in the day - around 1981-1982.

I was a touch typist - so the Atari 400 keyboard did not suit me.  But with the Vic-20 it had that awful font and so few words on the screen - that it was a sight for sore eyes - so I was not convinced it was suitable for wordprocessing as claimed.

But foremost I was a fan of coin-op arcade games and wanted a system capable of delivering near to coin-op quality?  The Vic-20 did not appear to provide the capability to do that?

I haven't seen any drawings on a Vic-20 - maybe you can show me links where they can be seen?

 

Harvey

I think the 800 was a good choice. The 400 fixes the VIC 20's weaknesses, and vice versa. The 800 mostly fixes both the 400's and the VIC's weaknesses. Wish I came across a decent priced one.

Here's a link to all 8 bit computer arts.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_8-bit_computer_hardware_graphics

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Since I got my VIC20, there's no going back now, anf therefore I do not need this thread anymore. Please do not reply anymore(unless you really want to)

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