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YSG2020

800XL RAM Upg to 128kB?

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I’m sure this has likely been covered infinite times before somewhere in these forums, but I searched and couldn’t find a straightforward answer. :( 

What is the simplest way to upgrade my 800XL to 128kB of RAM?  Something tells me it’s likely not just as simple as replacing my eight RAM chips with ones twice their capacity. Thx. 
 

Also, why was the XL’s Parallel Expansion Bus Port on the back of the machine rarely utilized for things such as RAM, 80 col, and peripheral expansions?  I can’t recall ever seeing anything made to plug into this seemingly very potentially capable expansion port. 
 

Seems like Commodore 3rd party vendors made much better use of this port in their machines back in the day for a multitude of cool expansion accessories and upgrades. 
 

I guess everyone just used SIO, cart,  and joystick game ports on the Ataris instead? A plug in RAM expander seems like an ideal no-brainer cart for this port if possible. 

Edited by YSG2020

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I don't think there is an easy way. Best way to upgrade RAM today is to install a U1MB.  You might find an old RAM upgrade on ebay but they're usually untested and expensive.

 

Yes when the XL's came out Atari was in a very bad state (due to the 2600 collapsing) and five or so months later the Tramiels bought the consumer division and very quickly eliminated the R&D staff. Dropping the 7800 for two years was a really, really bad move, too.  Even under the Tramiels an A8 PBI/ECI  (XL/XE) expansion never materialized. :( :( There are a handful of hard-to-find PBI upgrades but nothing in quantity.  But we did get the XE's and XEGS and several XE peripherals.

 

I think there is a Dragonnet PBI expansion currently in the works.

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I was thinking something more simple and elegant like the Commodore had with the RAM Expander cart, to just plug into the PBI on the back of an XL. That Syscheck looks like a fugly convoluted contraption and the Rambo requires soldering.  No wonder the Commodores outsold our Ataris so immensely - The 3rd party hardware support for the Commodores was much better and more available. :( 

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the 600XL had a memory expansion that used the PIO port - so the address and data lines are present

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If only we had known in 1983 that the XL line was obsolete and effectively cancelled by the time we bought them.  :(  It explains a lot about why so little after 1984 was produced for them and virtually nothing from Atari.  Atari did develop a lot of great stuff for the XLs, all of which went into the trash. 

Edited by YSG2020

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6 hours ago, YSG2020 said:

Also, why was the XL’s Parallel Expansion Bus Port on the back of the machine rarely utilized for things such as RAM, 80 col, and peripheral expansions?  I can’t recall ever seeing anything made to plug into this seemingly very potentially capable expansion port. 

The ICD MIO has 256KB or 1MB RAMdisk, serial and parallel ports, and a SCSI HDD interface. There was also supposed to be an 80 column video add-on that was never delivered.

The CSS Black Box has similar features minus the RAMdisk, it has serial and parallel ports, a SCSI HDD interface, plus an add-on floppy drive interface board that is able to handle up to 1.2MB 5.25"/1.44MB 3.5" drives.

There were SCSI HDD interfaces by other companies, Supra/KP being one I am aware of.

There is also the more recent IDE+ 2.0, which has SpartaDOS_X, real time clock, and an interface for a 2.5" IDE HDD(or flash drive with adapter).

 

 

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4 hours ago, YSG2020 said:

I was thinking something more simple and elegant like the Commodore had with the RAM Expander cart, to just plug into the PBI on the back of an XL. That Syscheck looks like a fugly convoluted contraption and the Rambo requires soldering.  No wonder the Commodores outsold our Ataris so immensely - The 3rd party hardware support for the Commodores was much better and more available. :( 

C= was able to far outproduce /|\ at cheaper prices while throwing quality control out the window. Atari made mistakes as well, especially missing the '83 holiday season with the updated XL's. By '84 they had new machines but by then it was too late to challenge C= who had skyrocketed up.

 

Both platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. Unfortunately PBI expansions are not a strong point for the platform.  A8 offers excellent hardware reliability and build quality, wide color palette, CPU and graphics speed, good sound, fast disk IO, great DOS, better early 80's games, overall better keyboards (with some exceptions), much better cartridge selection and much more.  I feel your frustration, but installing a U1MB isn't too difficult.

 

 

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6 hours ago, YSG2020 said:

If only we had known in 1983 that the XL line was obsolete and effectively cancelled by the time we bought them.  :(  It explains a lot about why so little after 1984 was produced for them and virtually nothing from Atari.  Atari did develop a lot of great stuff for the XLs, all of which went into the trash. 

a lot of expansions/developments were planned for the XLs but Atari got sold to Jack Tramiel who immediately axed lots of projects despite their advanced progress. (Check out Curt's Atari Museum for further info)

His motivation was to reduce costs and increase profit margins so the XE line came out soon after with its reduced manufacturing costs. Atari had previously been run with heart but Tramiel now made the decisions with his head.

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If you are serious about memory upgrades, do *not* go for a DRAM, TTL based solution like RAMBO or other types like that. They are (compared to the other available solutions) not as reliable as you want. Especially not when you have plans adding harddisk or other stuff to your atari. 

 

 

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Not exactly a classic upgrade but I have a RAM320XL external RAM upgrade that can be slapped on the PBI on an 800XL.  It doesn't have passthrough though.  I haven't used it much lately after I bought a IDEPlus PBI IDE controller that is quite possibly the coolest HDD controller ever released for these machines.  If either one of these devices had PBI passthrough or someone made a PBI backplane it would be beyond awesome.

 

There were some really cool 3rd party devices made but Atari never did anything noteworthy with the expansion bus which is a shame.  

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24 minutes ago, kogden said:

but Atari never did anything noteworthy with the expansion bus which is a shame.  

 

Hmm not entirely true. The Atari 1090 was a very noteworthy project/device-to-be. Unfortunately it did not get finished. I am not too depressed about no atari branded equipment (except for the 1064) for the PBI. I loved my BlackBox and other people probably loved their MIO. I wished the IDE+ had a button that would show a menu, just like the BlackBox where the user could mount/unmount partitions on-the-fly. I am a huge fan of IDE+, but this is one of the features I miss most. The only harddisk solution these days that has this feature is MyIDE in combination with MyBIOS. You can jump into the MyBIOS menu during the operation of almost any program. It's a killer feature. 

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Anybody have a working RAM320XL they would sell?  That is exactly what I’m looking for. Thx. 

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1 minute ago, YSG2020 said:

Anybody have a working RAM320XL they would sell?  That is exactly what I’m looking for. Thx. 

Not here, but like some people suggested here... the SysCheck II will give you also a XE compatible ram expansion, just by connecting the SysCheck II PCB to your XL/XE computer. The only thing you'll need (but that is also the case with the RAM320XL) is a +5V wire connection to joystick port 2, or a very small modification of the 800XL PCB (one wire). On a 600XL you won't need to do anything, although I am not sure the SysCheck will turn a 16K computer into a 576K XL or that you might need to upgrade base ram first.  (on 600XL the +5V mod is not needed)

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Adding the +5V is easy and quick. Syscheck is a messy piece of hardware. I like the 320xl - Simple, easy, and small. Perfect solution. If anybody would like to sell theirs, I’ll buy it. Thx. 

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1 minute ago, YSG2020 said:

Syscheck is a messy piece of hardware

That is the second time you say negative things about Syscheck.

What is the difference for you between 320XL and Syscheck?

Is it that Syscheck is not in a box?

I can understand that the fact that there's no box is a show-stopper.

But I'm not comfortable with the way criticisms of Syscheck are made.

You give your opinion in a very assertive way.

No offense but I think this is a little rough.

This is not very cool for the author @tf_hh who delivers high quality hardware for the Atari.

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It’s clunky, not elegant and poor aesthetic design. Does that clarify for you? Lol. The ENTIRE reason for the computer and video game crash of the mid 80s was because of a lack of quality and control in the flood of 3rd party software and hardware that hit the market.  I’m not saying the Syscheck is junk - It probably works great.  It’s just poorly designed and engineered from a visual standpoint. 

Edited by YSG2020

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6 minutes ago, YSG2020 said:

It’s just poorly designed and engineered from a visual standpoint.

SysCheck's primary purpose is not as an aesthetically pleasing, discreet RAM upgrade. While it can serve as a RAM upgrade and external OS ROM, its primary function is as a diagnostic tool, and it completes that mission objective with aplomb. 'Poor quality control' and 'SysCheck' are not two entities which sit well in the same sentence. I'm sure requests for a smaller PCB, some form-factor change, or a casing would be well-received, but the analogy with the video game crash does not hit the target well, IMO.

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9 minutes ago, YSG2020 said:

It’s clunky, not elegant and poor aesthetic design. Does that clarify for you? Lol. The ENTIRE reason for the computer and video game crash of the mid 80s was because of a lack of quality and control in the flood of 3rd party software and hardware that hit the market.  I’m not saying the Syscheck is junk - It probably works great.  It’s just poorly designed and engineered from a visual standpoint. 

Well never discuss taste. Syscheck is designed I the first place as a device to check your system. It does do a very good job in that. Meanwhile it also gives xe compatible extended ram and external replacement OS's. Indeed the device is  not designed to match xl or xe style. You have a pretty sharp way of telling that it is poorly designed from a visual standpoint. It simply is NOT designed from that standpoint, just like many other stuff and things in the world around us. 

 

Well it was a suggestion.

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For lack of local Atari meetings I very occasionally attend a Commodore-heavy meeting and many of the C64s have all their main chips replaced with modern replacements because the originals have died. So much for C64 superiority. 
 

The RAM320XL would indeed fit your bill perfectly. It‘s a pity they‘re not available new any more. 
 

I‘d assume that the majority of C64 and Atari users didn‘t care for more memory as there was little software requiring it beyond Ramdisks and some productivity stuff. Games would always cater to the majority of the installed base and that remained 48K/SD floppy for long. 

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Hello slx

 

9 hours ago, slx said:

I‘d assume that the majority of C64 and Atari users didn‘t care for more memory as there was little software requiring it beyond Ramdisks and some productivity stuff.

 

And those who wrote the software said: "Nobody has a memory expansion..."

 

I've always hated that kind of thinking.  It never gets you anywhere.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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