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Lauren Tyler

Just ordered an Atari 800XL, was wondering about those multicart things.

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I've ordered my first ever Atari 800XL, and I'm really excited.  Unfortunately, I didn't order a disk drive.  I was thinking of ordering one of those multicart things that you can insert SD Cards into.

 

The question I have, though, is if they'll run disk based games at all?

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The UNO and AVG cartridges will run some but not all ATR images.  If you are looking for a floppy drive type of experience, then you might want to consider a SDrive-MAX instead.  The SDrive-MAX cannot run cartridge images (.CAR or .ROM) but it can run .XEX format files and most cartridge images have been converted to that format by now.  

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I agree with @SS the SDrive-MAX is the way to go. You can build them yourself, or get one of mine, I have a standard drive as well as a really cool 1050 and 810 model.  They work just like four floppy drives and the SDCard holds thousands of disk images.  Love mine and have been making them for other people for almost two years now.  

 

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1 hour ago, Lauren Tyler said:

I've ordered my first ever Atari 800XL, and I'm really excited.  Unfortunately, I didn't order a disk drive.  I was thinking of ordering one of those multicart things that you can insert SD Cards into.

 

The question I have, though, is if they'll run disk based games at all?

Congratulations on your A8 purchase! For best floppy disk use I suggest an SIO based device.  SIO2PC-USB is cheap and very functional.  You then use your PC as a virtual disk drive host for up to 15 disk drives.  As SS suggested the SDrive-MAX (never used it personally) is very nice but keep in mind it is a build project taking time and expense. According to their web page the SDrive-MAX will not easily allow concurrent use of another SIO device at the same time. Another popular device is SIO2SD.

 

Another more difficult/advanced method to use ATR disk images is with Ultimate 1MB+SIDE2 where the PBI bios function can be used to mount ATR's. SIDE3 will be available before too long we hope.

 

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23 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

According to their web page the SDrive-MAX will not easily allow concurrent use of another SIO device at the same time. Another popular device is SIO2SD.

There is a fix for that now.  The one that Gavin built for me communicates well with both my 1050 and SIO2SD. 

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8 minutes ago, SS said:

There is a fix for that now.  The one that Gavin built for me communicates well with both my 1050 and SIO2SD. 

Seems I'd need a soldering iron for that.  Never was too keen with those.

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I have a Lotharek SIO2SD in an XL-style case. Works well, looks great. I don't know what advantages (if any) the SDrive MAX has over it. But, I would definitely say get some kind of floppy emulator. Most Atari 8 bit games came on floppy disk rather than cartridge.

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3 hours ago, Lauren Tyler said:

Seems I'd need a soldering iron for that.  Never was too keen with those.

Some people sell them complete with Atari-styled cases. 
 

2 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I have a Lotharek SIO2SD in an XL-style case. Works well, looks great. I don't know what advantages (if any) the SDrive MAX has over it. But, I would definitely say get some kind of floppy emulator. Most Atari 8 bit games came on floppy disk rather than cartridge.

The SDrive Max has a bigger screen with stylus touch control (as opposed to five buttons with varying functions on the SIO2SD). Remembering which button does what may be a challenge for occasional users. Both are probably easier to use via the Atari utility than via their own user interface. 

 

SDrive Max afaik can emulate tapes. If you can solder it‘s easier to build than the SIO2SD as it requires a few connections only as it‘s based on off-the-(Alibaba-)shelf Arduino hardware. I have not used it beyond cursory testing, though. 
 

 

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5 hours ago, slx said:

The SDrive Max has a bigger screen with stylus touch control (as opposed to five buttons with varying functions on the SIO2SD). Remembering which button does what may be a challenge for occasional users.

Do you need to actually remember? I've been moving around and my SIO2SD has been boxed up for a while, but I seem to recall that either the screen tells you which button to push or there's some indication on the case I have of what does what. I'm probably what you'd call an occasional user and I don't remember ever having trouble with the buttons, even from the start.

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Check out comparison table in Topic for newbies.

 

Here's the short answer, for average users, without special needs or hardware add-ons:

  • If you need to load ATR only games (download Homesoft collection with "Download all" button to find out which of the best games are ATR only) or applications, buy a SIO device (SIO2PC-USB if you have a nearby PC or an external SIO device if you want a stand-alone solution: SDrive-Max at the moment seems the best solution).
  • If games on ATR format only aren't important for you, if you like fast or instant load, if you like to play some cartridge format games that otherwise would need a memory expansion, buy a multicart (AVGCart at the moment seems the best solution: cheaper, has a limited ATR compatibility and disk swap button - developer is working on adding full ATR compatibility).

 

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