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Posted (edited)

I'm trying to find out how many Atariage visiters actually own a 99/8. The word is there are about 150 preproduction units built.

So, how many of these did survive and are in (more or less) active use.

 

Also, I checked the 99/8 documents found on whtech. Are there more? I am especially interested in technical design documents on XBII

(I'm especially interested in the later ones, around 1984).

 

The ones I know are listed here:

 

 

It is quite a fascinating machine, so I'd like to get as much information as possible.

Also does anyone have a 99/8 revision with TI Basic (next to Extended Basic II) built-in? Or are there only XB II machines out there?

 

 

Obviously also related in 99/8 source code, especially for the Extended Basic II.

Edited by retroclouds

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The BASIC in the 99/8 came in two flavors. The earliest prototypes used Armadillo BASIC. I don't think any machines with it installed made it into the wild, although I do have to check the BASIC chips on one of my spare motherboards to verify that. All later versions came with XB-II as part of the standard configuration--there were never iterations that had plain TI BASIC as part of the mix.

 

Between the documents that Klaus and I found/scanned/put online (most of the WHT documents came from my set, Klaus found a few more), there isn't much else related to the 99/8 known to survive. I do have to check one additional binder I have to verify that I scanned everything in it (it may contain the source code to XB-II though, so I do need to do that soon).

 

I own two complete 99/8 machines, one with the card-edge side port connector and the other with the Centronics side port (there were two main revisions to the motherboard, and I have both--the card-edge type came later). I also have half a dozen loose motherboards missing a lot of the major components, only one of which is mostly complete (and which may have the early Armadillo BASIC on it).

 

Other things made for the 99/8 include:

 

128K memory card

512K memory card

RS-232 card with a 99/8 DSR

Flat Cable Armadillo Interface (for Card Edge motherboards)

Round Cable Armadillo Interface (for Centronics motherboards)

Hybrid Armadillo Interface (Round Cable version with 64K of additional CPU RAM installed)

 

I have all of these cards with the exception of the Flat Cable Armadillo Interface, although my Hybrid board is missing the memory section components (they were never installed).

 

I also built an adapter to use the Round Cable Armadillo Interface with a Card Edge console.

 

 

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I no longer have it, but I had a 99/8 for a time that had a dead-end on the side port connector (there were no actual pins there).  It did have the p-system intact (but was obviously not useful since the only peripheral I had was the cassette recorder).  Mine also had Extended BASIC II.

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1 hour ago, Ksarul said:

The BASIC in the 99/8 came in two flavors. The earliest prototypes used Armadillo BASIC. I don't think any machines with it installed made it into the wild, although I do have to check the BASIC chips on one of my spare motherboards to verify that. All later versions came with XB-II as part of the standard configuration--there were never iterations that had plain TI BASIC as part of the mix.

 

Between the documents that Klaus and I found/scanned/put online (most of the WHT documents came from my set, Klaus found a few more), there isn't much else related to the 99/8 known to survive. I do have to check one additional binder I have to verify that I scanned everything in it (it may contain the source code to XB-II though, so I do need to do that soon).

 

I own two complete 99/8 machines, one with the card-edge side port connector and the other with the Centronics side port (there were two main revisions to the motherboard, and I have both--the card-edge type came later). I also have half a dozen loose motherboards missing a lot of the major components, only one of which is mostly complete (and which may have the early Armadillo BASIC on it).

 

Other things made for the 99/8 include:

 

128K memory card

512K memory card

RS-232 card with a 99/8 DSR

Flat Cable Armadillo Interface (for Card Edge motherboards)

Round Cable Armadillo Interface (for Centronics motherboards)

Hybrid Armadillo Interface (Round Cable version with 64K of additional CPU RAM installed)

 

I have all of these cards with the exception of the Flat Cable Armadillo Interface, although my Hybrid board is missing the memory section components (they were never installed).

 

I also built an adapter to use the Round Cable Armadillo Interface with a Card Edge console.

 

 

 

Thanks for the update, that is most interesting.

 

I read the Armadillo Basic specification document again. I don't have a release date on that document, but I presume it's one of the early documents (1982?).

 

From that I understand that TI planned Armadillo Basic to be the new standard (Basic) interpreter in the 99/8. And Extended Basic (II) was meant to be a true extension of that standard interpreter and not a separate interpreter.

Perhaps it was so, that during the early design phase they planned Extended Basic (II) to be an addon (cartridge?). During a later 99/8 implementation phase, they then changed their mind and replaced Armadillo Basic with Extended Basic II ?

 

I also have the document that outlines the design of the basic/extended basic interface, with the goal of minimizing compatibility problems between the two basics.

 

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Posted (edited)

I have one 99/8, so one is in Austria.

Jens-Eike has one in Germany.

Michael Becker (Germany) might still have his 99/8.

Ciro is the one 99/8 from Italy.

Fabrice Montupet (France) has a 99/8 (or at least it is covered on his homepage ti99.com) with Advanced Home Computer on the title screen and TI Basic (must be Armadillo Basic) in the selection screen...

http://www.ti99.com/ti/index.php?article24/computer-99-8

 

Regardings Documents, this is the list I have on my website:

http://www.ti99.eu/?page_id=2742&lang=en

 

99/8 System Source code:

http://ftp.whtech.com/source/

Edited by kl99
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12 minutes ago, kl99 said:

I have one 99/8, so one is in Austria.

Jens-Eike has one in Germany.

Michael Becker (Germany) might still have his 99/8.

Ciro is the one 99/8 from Italy.

Fabrice Montupet (France) has a 99/8 (or at least it is covered on his homepage ti99.com) with Advanced Home Computer on the title screen and TI Basic (must be Armadillo Basic) in the selection screen...

http://www.ti99.com/ti/index.php?article24/computer-99-8

 

Regardings Documents, this is the list I have on my website:

http://www.ti99.eu/?page_id=2742&lang=en

 

99/8 System Source code:

http://ftp.whtech.com/source/

 

Cool, thanks for the update Klaus, appreciate it a lot. 

I'll check out the 99/8 system source code disk images in the next few days.

 

From what we have so far, it looks that close to 10 machines are out there.

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wonder if Armadillo BASIC what became Ground Squirrel BASIC on the 99/2?  would explain why they dropped it.

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7 hours ago, hloberg said:

wonder if Armadillo BASIC what became Ground Squirrel BASIC on the 99/2?  would explain why they dropped it.

Definately not. 99/2 TI Basic was developed outside of TI at a contracted university, and is kept GPL free, also explaining its speed advantages.

99/8 always had the compatibality with 99/4 software in mind, which restricted the engineers quite a bit.

Next to these there is also a not so explorerd Tomy Tutor Basic which runs without any Grom chips.

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I own a rev.1 prototype of the 99/8 Computer (number #22). I also own an earlier prototype version of the 99/2 Basic Computer (number #44) and a TI-99/5 (no serial number)

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On 7/1/2020 at 12:27 PM, hloberg said:

@FarmerPotato I 'think' said he had a 99/8 at one time. he still has a 99/2.

Since 1989, when I left for college, (Compuserve TI forum sysop) Jerry Coffey has the 99/8 I got, and a disk drive that I don't recall ever working.

 

I did write some basic programs for random walk fractals, since it has bitmap mode commands. But not much else, because no working storage.

 

 

Jerry also bought a end-of-life Myarc WDS1 that served me a lot from 1985-1988.  (the drive developed a bad starter relay, that was all. )

 

Alas, nobody bought the PDP-11/10, and my parents made it go to the scrapyard. I wish I could redo time and keep this stuff.

 

The 99/2 was too small to worry about, and lived in a box of books, for years. Until I rediscovered it.

 

Craziest thing all at once: in 85, with no modem except the one for the CC-40, I used a 4 line CC-40 Basic program to bridge the modem to the hexbus rs232 to the 4A. PC Pursuit had free weekends. I was able to download the c99 package by xmodem over that connection, to the 4A, and save it on the WDS1. 

 

 

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On 7/2/2020 at 6:11 PM, fabrice montupet said:

I own a rev.1 prototype of the 99/8 Computer (number #22). I also own an earlier prototype version of the 99/2 Basic Computer (number #44) and a TI-99/5 (no serial number)

 

@fabrice montupet It might be worthwile to dump the ROMS with the Armadillo Basic (if not already out there). There are definitely quite some differences between that one and XB II. Would make it interesting to run Armadillo Basic in MAME.

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On 7/2/2020 at 9:11 AM, fabrice montupet said:

I own a rev.1 prototype of the 99/8 Computer (number #22). I also own an earlier prototype version of the 99/2 Basic Computer (number #44) and a TI-99/5 (no serial number)

specs on 99/5 that I could find looked strangely similar to 99/8....what's the story on the 5 vs the 8 as the successor to the 4A?

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On 7/2/2020 at 6:11 PM, fabrice montupet said:

I own a rev.1 prototype of the 99/8 Computer (number #22). I also own an earlier prototype version of the 99/2 Basic Computer (number #44) and a TI-99/5 (no serial number)

Aahhhh .... They are sooo old ... You definitely don't need them anymore, do you? 😁

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On 7/19/2020 at 5:06 PM, patrickmcmichael said:

specs on 99/5 that I could find looked strangely similar to 99/8....what's the story on the 5 vs the 8 as the successor to the 4A?

It's complicated. Documents show a steady evolution through 1982-1983, from 99/4A QI, to using the TMS9995 for the 99/4B then 99/5. Constant interaction between Don Bynum, Ron Wilcox, Mike Bunyard and some others. They kept fluctuating price lists of CPU, memory, and PAL chips. There was a budget upper limit, so that manufacturing a 4B or 5 would cost the same as the 4A QI.  Components were around $100.  During 82-83 the prices of DRAM dropped rapidly, to the point that 16K more of CPU DRAM was added. I don't know when or why the engineers transitioned to a much more complex 99/8 design. Maybe it was the desire to segment the price points between 4A and 8.

 

See the Docs thread, where a lot of this is posted, or WHTECH.

 

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3 hours ago, FarmerPotato said:

It's complicated. Documents show a steady evolution through 1982-1983, from 99/4A QI, to using the TMS9995 for the 99/4B then 99/5. Constant interaction between Don Bynum, Ron Wilcox, Mike Bunyard and some others. They kept fluctuating price lists of CPU, memory, and PAL chips. There was a budget upper limit, so that manufacturing a 4B or 5 would cost the same as the 4A QI.  Components were around $100.  During 82-83 the prices of DRAM dropped rapidly, to the point that 16K more of CPU DRAM was added. I don't know when or why the engineers transitioned to a much more complex 99/8 design. Maybe it was the desire to segment the price points between 4A and 8.

 

See the Docs thread, where a lot of this is posted, or WHTECH.

 

This stuff fascinates me...it would've been so cool to see where the TI-99 lineage would've evolved. I used my original system from 6th grade through my undergrad and a little beyond. I eventually gave it up when my daughter was born and my TI playground became her nursery and had to give it all away. I've been rebuilding my setup, but feel like there's so much to learn...both things I used to know and forgot after years away, and things that are new such as TIPI. But in computer terms, the TI-99/4A has always been my first love.

 

Coming back to my first love, I have also had to figure out what to buy to bring back the system the way I had my original souped up to (HRD, PGram+, etc) vs things that don't make sense now. Things like FinalGrom and TIPI make some of that stuff irrelevant. I did manage to get my hands on a Triple Tech Card, which I wouldn't use for print buffer any longer, but the clock and speech board connector are awesome on. I also snagged one of the speech card alternatives out of Germany. I bought a TIPI, but have yet to get time to set it all up. I've moved homes, so will be carving out a TI zone in my new home office as time allows. I have a couple of different PEBs, which will be for backup and/or allowing some alternate setups. Can't wait for F18A MK2 as I once you take a TI to 80 col, it's hard going back. (My original had OPA's 9958 based setup in it.) Can't tell you how many times I've asked, why did I ever give that system up! (A baby also made me give up my first motorcycle, a mistake I'll never make again...love my ride.)

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