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saunders104

Is there a 'best' 800xl version?

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I've done some research and still can't decide.  I have 6 800xls (along with a small mountain of peripherals, books, magazines) and I'd like to just have 1 800xl.  I'm going to use it for the next 5-8 years for gaming with my son and then I expect he'll either take it or I'll sell it.

 

My questions are:

 

1.  Are the Hong Kong made ones better in terms of quality/longevity than the Taiwan ones?

2.  Keyboard versions.  I have no intention of using the keyboard other than mashing keys in Star Raiders.  I have a Type 2 that I prefer but it's on a Rev. D motherboard with non-socketed chips.  Any issues with swapping keyboards?

3.  I've noticed that there are different labels on the motherboard chips.  Are the video and audio chips all basically the same or is there preferred versions?  I noticed during some testing that keyboard strokes (audio) in Basic were significantly louder on one 800xl than another.. 

4.  I'm quite certain I'm going to do the quick and easy video mod or buy the Sophia.  Are there any audio upgrades available?  I intend to run audio and video through an AV receiver.

 

Thanks for your replies.

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All 800xl’s made in Hong Kong are socketed. 

Every 600xl was made in Hong Kong, never Taiwan.

 

No real difference in main chips, however you could swap out rev b basic for revision c..

 

Japanese ram is preferred over MT ( micron technology) ram . 

MT ram has the propensity to not reset. Later 800xl’s and the XE line use these, mostly. 

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All NTSC machines.  I think they are all run of the mill.  I've only disassembled 2 of them.  Is this the only way to tell?  On 11/2/2018 at 6:24 PM, Rybags said:
It looks like it uses Freddie (clue = 6 40 pin slots which equates to CPU, 3 custom, PIA and Freddie)  

2020-01-04 17.22.20.jpg

2020-01-04 17.30.19.jpg

2020-01-04 19.56.08.jpg

2020-01-05 17.20.27.jpg

2020-01-05 17.34.38.jpg

2020-01-05 17.35.01.jpg

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800XLFs can be identified from the outside as they have a small cover (like the parallel port cover) between the power and monitor ports.

altho this may only apply to PAL variants, as i havent seen an NTSC one

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The XL keyboard I liked most is the stepped one with firm action.  My first 600XL which I sold around 1984 had that one.

Current 800XL owned since 1984 from new has the flat one with OK action.

Current 600XL owned about 8 years has the mushy variant of the stepped keyboard.

 

OK, I guess they have "types" as referred to in the old XL keyboard thread, but my familiarity of the variants isn't great since I've not owned or used a lot of XLs.

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I have a Hong Kong made NTSC 800XL with an ALPS keyboard.  It is fully socketed and came in a 1984 Olympics box.  I went searching for this very model and, let me tell you, it takes a bit of looking around to find one.  To my mind, it is the best XL model that you can get.  

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+1 (or 2 or 3 or whatever) on the Chelco-manufactured Hong Kong 800XL. Not only is it incredibly well-made, but even all the secondary logic chips are fully socketed. It's fully as well-made as my 1200XLs and my 400/800 machines. 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/5/2020 at 9:44 PM, saunders104 said:

I've done some research and still can't decide.  I have 6 800xls (along with a small mountain of peripherals, books, magazines) and I'd like to just have 1 800xl.  I'm going to use it for the next 5-8 years for gaming with my son and then I expect he'll either take it or I'll sell it.

 

My questions are:

 

1.  Are the Hong Kong made ones better in terms of quality/longevity than the Taiwan ones?

2.  Keyboard versions.  I have no intention of using the keyboard other than mashing keys in Star Raiders.  I have a Type 2 that I prefer but it's on a Rev. D motherboard with non-socketed chips.  Any issues with swapping keyboards?

3.  I've noticed that there are different labels on the motherboard chips.  Are the video and audio chips all basically the same or is there preferred versions?  I noticed during some testing that keyboard strokes (audio) in Basic were significantly louder on one 800xl than another.. 

4.  I'm quite certain I'm going to do the quick and easy video mod or buy the Sophia.  Are there any audio upgrades available?  I intend to run audio and video through an AV receiver.

 

Thanks for your replies.

 

The rare 128K 800XL is coveted, I believe. The mech keyboards are often but not always preferred. Some love the SCCO stackpole.

 

1 - Sort of. Socketed chips are easier to swap. That's about it. The uncommon MT ram sucks.

2 - Keyboards are interchangeable.   There are no significant differences between the chips. I think some Antics do 7 bit refresh vs 8 bit refresh or something along those lines (pun). Might be a RAM compatibility issue to check on.

3 - depends on the chip. Some are off the shelf and used in other devices of the day. Sound issue you note might be something to fix. Using RF or monitor plug? Maybe a bad cap (rather rare issue).

4 - You'll need to do a custom audio mod if you want to clean/improve the audio. SCCC for the 800 improves audio iirc.  Ask tf_hh for tips. Yes sometimes audio interference hum is a thing, depending on the monitor or speaker etc. Too much filtering will degrade the authentic sound.

 

 

Edited by Sugarland

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Thanks to all!  I ended up deciding to keep a Hong Kong/Chelco version with a short-throw keyboard I liked the best.

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