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Da-Atari-Nut

upgrading a 130XE

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Hi everyone,

Along time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had several of the old atari 8 bit computers, I started with a 80 XL, then a 65XE, then XEGS and then the 130 XE

 

Those models that I had are now long gone, but I have always loved the simplicity and ease of use they offered, that's where I learned Basic.

 

So anyways I have recently purchased a 130 XE and would like to get back into the use of it again. I would like to design new 8 Bit games, to present to other Atari fans out there for sale, I would like to create a programming machine.

 

Here is my thoughts and I would love to get some input from everyone, so I would like to upgrade it to 320K, upgrade the CPU to a 65C816, a Side Cart for HD storage, get an XF 551 disk drive, (now that they seem to be popping up more frequently on ebay now!) a two cartridge adapter for possibly for Sparta DOS and still have a cartridge slot for any other cartridge I want to use. I know lofty goals, but highly possible with the great hardware creators out there!

I would use I'm think Mac65 assembler, and maybe turbo basic.

 

my questions are these, and maybe you guys/gals can help me with the answers?

 

1st if I upgrade to the 320K ram, can I still use less memory to fit the non modified memory of un-modifed units? i.e could I create software targeted for say a 65XE/130XE or 800XL units with less memory?

2nd if I upgrade the CPU to a 65C816 at 14mhz, I believe it is backward compatible with the 6502C CPU, but has a 24bit address path. can I install this directly without using say a ultra 1MB upgrade unit?

3rd i see their are also pokey stereo upgrades, again can that be used to be backward compatible with un-modified systems as well?

 

I would appreciate any help or advice, then any one has..

 

Thanks  

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...and you can "kill two birds with one stone" - by adding a VBXE - greatly improved video, with onboard ram that can be assigned (upto 320k) to your XE.

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19 hours ago, Da-Atari-Nut said:

1st if I upgrade to the 320K ram, can I still use less memory to fit the non modified memory of un-modifed units? i.e could I create software targeted for say a 65XE/130XE or 800XL units with less memory?

Software is not obligated to use all available RAM, but for best compatibility you want a memory upgrade which models various popular RAM sizes. Antonia (linked by xrbrevin above since it perfectly fits the 65C816 CPU and extended memory requirements, although the CPU runs at stock Atari speed) emulates many different varieties of RAM upgrade, while Ultimate 1MB emulates three (320K, 576K and 1088K, as well as 'stock').

 

The rub here is that if you want to use SIDE2 as an HDD, its ideal mate is U1MB inside of the machine, since that pairing provides a fully OS-compliant PBI hard disk host adapter from which you can boot hard disk partitions and disk images. You also get multiple OS slots (also provided by Antonia), a resident firmware setup menu and XEX loader/image manager, built-in OS-independent high-speed SIO, and various other goodies. But since you don't really need two RAM upgrades in the same machine (and since no good would come of that), the 65C816 would have to be provided by 'Rapidus', which is a bit of a 'considered' purchase, but which is extremely powerful.

19 hours ago, Da-Atari-Nut said:

And if I upgrade the CPU to a 65C816 at 14mhz, I believe it is backward compatible with the 6502C CPU, but has a 24bit address path. can I install this directly without using say a ultra 1MB upgrade unit?

You can install Rapidus which provides 65C816 @20MHz with ~14MHz of linear RAM, and which preserves the original 6502C CPU in legacy mode for maximum compatibility (you may still run software which exploits 6502 'illegal' opcodes on the same machine by reverting to SALLY). Rapidus does not (to the best of my knowledge) provide any 'PORTB' RAM, however, so the only way to access the massive amount of extended memory is via native 65C816 applications. The only way to get PORTB RAM is via U1MB or some other discreet RAM upgrade (or - as Brenski points out - installing VBXE and using the 'R' core to provide a 320K PORTB RAM upgrade); you could also go the whole hog and install Rapidus, VBXE, U1MB, and Stereo POKEY, as shown here in the first of a series of four videos:

And if the resulting machine does not spontaneously cold-start when you press the RESET key, you should go out and buy a lottery ticket too. :)

19 hours ago, Da-Atari-Nut said:

3rd i see their are also pokey stereo upgrades, again can that be used to be backward compatible with un-modified systems as well?

Yes: the second POKEY can commonly be disabled via a switch or in software. If you install Lotharek's stereo board alongside U1MB, you can turn the second POKEY on and off from the firmware setup menu.

Edited by flashjazzcat

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Thanks everyone, I like all of the suggestions,

Last time I looked for Rapidus, I couldn't them. Also the U1MB is great to but expensive.

I wanted to see if it was possible to do it all on the mainboard with out any extra cards. It seems that that wouldn't be possible, also the only chip socketed on the board is the antic so I would also like to get board fully socketed, that to is another cost to consider and then find someone who I can pay to have that done. I know software and general hardware, however I have never really learned to solder!!! I know, I know but it is one of those things I will need to learn.

 

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Rapidus and U1MB are available from the same seller. For the XE, the rapidus is $176 , more than double the cost of a U1MB that you consider expensive 

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If your main goal is programming, you might find WUDSN IDE interesting. It runs on PC/Mac and can be installed to compile and immediately launch in Altirra which gives you a lot more debugging options (and comfort and speed) than Mac/65. You can choose between different assemblers, have syntax highlighting, etc. You can also test pretty much any Atari configuration there ever was in emulation. 

 

I love the old machines but for development I‘d rather go for a modern solution. That‘s unless you deliberately go for an all-out oldschool approach. 

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3 hours ago, slx said:

If your main goal is programming, you might find WUDSN IDE interesting. It runs on PC/Mac and can be installed to compile and immediately launch in Altirra which gives you a lot more debugging options (and comfort and speed) than Mac/65. You can choose between different assemblers, have syntax highlighting, etc. You can also test pretty much any Atari configuration there ever was in emulation. 

 

I love the old machines but for development I‘d rather go for a modern solution. That‘s unless you deliberately go for an all-out oldschool approach. 

+1

 

Altirra and F1 are my Atari programming friends :)

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5 hours ago, slx said:

If your main goal is programming, you might find WUDSN IDE interesting. It runs on PC/Mac and can be installed to compile and immediately launch in Altirra which gives you a lot more debugging options (and comfort and speed) than Mac/65. You can choose between different assemblers, have syntax highlighting, etc. You can also test pretty much any Atari configuration there ever was in emulation. 

 

I love the old machines but for development I‘d rather go for a modern solution. That‘s unless you deliberately go for an all-out oldschool approach. 

Just had a look at WUDSN, looks like a load of work to get it going, big learning curve especially if your used to MAC/65

 

I generally use Notepad++ if I need to see more than is possible on Atari screen, Print your source in MAC/65 (Altirra),

copy paste to Notepad++, edit as needed, copy/paste back into MAC/65, a little slow, but it works fine.

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On 11/28/2019 at 10:34 AM, TGB1718 said:

Just had a look at WUDSN, looks like a load of work to get it going, big learning curve especially if your used to MAC/65

 

I generally use Notepad++ if I need to see more than is possible on Atari screen, Print your source in MAC/65 (Altirra),

copy paste to Notepad++, edit as needed, copy/paste back into MAC/65, a little slow, but it works fine.

Notepad++ and Altirra is an indispensable combo.
 

 

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Also note: the 130xe motherboards are not of the highest quality. They can easily be damaged by bad soldering, or too much heat. Even looking at it the wrong way might kill it ;). No joke, this happen to me once a couple years ago! I had a 130xe running. It was just the board on the worktable. I was reading email on my main PC and glanced at the board and screen. The attract mode had a nice color combo, and poofff it died!

Bad ram chips. Many XE's have very low quality ram chips.

Use caution when working on it.

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