Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hello there,

 

I  used to be a C64 and Amiga owner but having recently purchased a C64 mini and never having tried the Atari 8 bit micros (used to have VCS back in the day)

 

I have been playing a lot of emulation (Altirra) of the 8 bit Atari Micros and have pretty much decided to go and secure an 800XL from Ebay.

 

I haven't purchased the machine yet but have purchased a CX24 joystick and Sdrive Max with Sd card setup.

 

Am I right in thinking that I won't need to purchase a machine that comes with a tape or disk drive as the Sdrive max can emulate both?

 

Do I also need to get some kind of cartridge solution as well for playing cartridge backups? (whats the difference between Uno cart/ Ultimate cart etc)

and which is the best one to get?

 

I am no use with a soldering iron( I have arthritis ) so is there a memory solution for 800XL which is just plug and play? to allow me to play newer demos etc?

 

Forgive all the questions but just want to make sure getting the right things without spending heaps of money.

 

Thanks for any help you guys can give

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, TomDarth5 said:

Am I right in thinking that I won't need to purchase a machine that comes with a tape or disk drive as the Sdrive max can emulate both?

 

Do I also need to get some kind of cartridge solution as well for playing cartridge backups? (whats the difference between Uno cart/ Ultimate cart etc)

and which is the best one to get?

 

You are right, you don't need a data recorder or disk-drive when you have the sdrive max.

 

I don't have any experience with cartridge solutions, so I cannot help you choose. But I think 99% of all cartridge games are also available as disk/tape images, so getting one is not a must buy in my opinion ;-) 

 

I never heard of a plug and play memory expansion for the 64k machines which does not need soldering. But you can choose to buy a 130XE in stead (which has 128k). And in my opinion this is the same as your previous question. Having a larger memory than 64k is not a must have when you want to play games and demos.

Edited by Fred_M
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are multiple upgrades out there as you are finding. 

As you've already selected the SDrive Max, I'd start there.  As @Fred_M pointed out, most cartridge games were 'ripped' to disk and are available as .atr, .xex, etc.

 

With time and experience you will have more experience with your Atari to better decied what, if any, upgrade you want to do next.

 

For more memory, the Ultimate 1MB is very popular, and even more powerful when coupled with SIDE2 (or soon, SIDE3) cart.  But it is not solderless (especially if you have an 800XL that doesn't have the necessary chips socketed to begin with.  There are a few wires to solder, and if your system is not socketed then even more desoldering.  There are members here who do installs.

 

There may be (or have been) a memory upgrade via PBI which the 800XL has.  Maybe someone else can common if there is a PBI solution for memory expansion that is compatible with modern demos/etc.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Syscheck does not need soldering and has 512K on board, on the XL it just needs the supplied blue wire to go on pin 7 (?, think I'm right on the pin number..) of Joystick 2

 

Edit for Tom, Syscheck is indeed a system checker but it also has other OS's on the card and the ram that it has can be allowed to be used by the XL / XE but setting some dip switches..No soldering, just plugs in the port at the back..

 

Will work happily with the SD-Max..

 

Here's his PDF which tells you if its in stock etc

 

http://www.van-radecke.de/STUFF/tfhh_HW_info.pdf

Edited by Mclaneinc
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An 800xl and an SDrive-max is pretty much all you need. I would add a video cable to get away from RF.

As already suggested, the syscheck from tf_hh would be an excellent choice for a ram upgrade.

You could also look at the AVG cart instead of the SDrive if you can get someone to make you an AVG 2SIO cable 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, Syscheck is not only a diagnostic tool, but also an external (PBI/ECI based) memory expansion (I guess 512KB ) which does not need any modification to the Atari computer.

I've used it for running Stunt Car Racing in a stock 800XL. Still you won't be able to run Atari blast! or Space Harrier which need 1MB (unless you get a cartridge emulation solution like ultimate cart or AVG).

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations! Glad to hear you've been enjoying A8 on Altirra. The 800XL is probably the best starter machine but know it's video output quality is the lowest of machines with a dedicated video output. You might consider the upcoming Sophia 2 as a video upgrade. I don't think Sophia 2 will require any soldering.  I answer some/most of your questions in my A8 tutorial video:

 

 

Intend to remake and improve upon that tutorial once things settle down here.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Many thanks to everyone who took the time to reply it has made things a little bit clearer for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Sugarland said:

Congratulations! Glad to hear you've been enjoying A8 on Altirra. The 800XL is probably the best starter machine but know it's video output quality is the lowest of machines with a dedicated video output. You might consider the upcoming Sophia 2 as a video upgrade. I don't think Sophia 2 will require any soldering.  I answer some/most of your questions in my A8 tutorial video:

 

 

Intend to remake and improve upon that tutorial once things settle down here.

 

Brilliant video although I knew some of it it was very informative especially the disk operation commands which I knew nothing of.

 

When playing disk games in Altirra I always wondered why when pressing the key to get a directory nothing happened not realizing you had to press return/enter a second time.

Its the little idiosyncrasies like that I need to brush up on.

Also just how to load from disk and tape etc.

 

Again congrats brilliant video

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have fun Tom, you are not alone with arthritis, as I almost hit 60 its now very much part of my life but we struggle on, I'm young at heart...

 

I'm also a C64 and Amiga person, can't but recommend the 1541 Ultimate plus cart for the c64, simply the best upgrade for that machine..

 

Only thing I would love but they are silly money is a 68030 card for my Amiga 1200, still its got a HD and 8mb and still a lovely computer...

 

An Ultimate 1mb for the atari would be the normal way to go but it does need a lot of soldering, add an avg cart with lead and its a thing of beauty but sadly another item that needs soldering (for the super accurate disk IO side and tape only, works without soldering as well) as said previously..

Edited by Mclaneinc
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

Have fun Tom, you are not alone with arthritis, as I almost hit 60 its now very much part of my life but we struggle on, I'm young at heart...

 

I'm also a C64 and Amiga person, can't but recommend the 1541 Ultimate plus cart for the c64, simply the best upgrade for that machine..

Yeah time flies lol.

 

I was eight years old in 1977 when the VCS first released bloomin 51 now.

 

One thing which drew me to the Commodore machines was their fantastic sound capabilities over nearly every other machine on the market.

 

Am I right in thinking the Atari 800 isn't as capable sound wise as the C64? (correct me if wrong)

Although the graphics do seem slightly better on the Atari as the C64 had that kind of weird double width thing it has to do.

 

I still fire up some of my old Amiga demos to this day for the brilliant music they had especially Budbrain / Crusaders demos etc although unfortunately only on emulators as I stupidly got rid of my machines.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Atari 800 is very capable soundwise, sure it does not have the in built filters that the SID chip has but the same chip is in all the Atari machines and with a talented person doing the music its a thing of audible beauty..

 

But yeah, I was drawn to the C64 for the music I heard, Sanxion, Last Ninja, Warhawk (brilliant version on the Atai tho) and Monty on the run just blew me away and at the time the poor old Atari had been left behind in the UK, the one thing that I don't like on the C64 is the colour pallette, its bland compared to the Atari (in my opinion) but I forgive it for having the extra sprites etc.

 

Don't worry, many of us including me got rid of our kit, I sold my Amiga but lost all my C64 and Atari stuff as it was stored in my mothers house, sadly she died and they cleared her flat out including all my gear. Its only through kindness and luck I got most of my old kit back. The prices on Ebay just make you want to give up.

 

Thankfully like Altirra, WinUAE is a fantastic emulator, with stunningly good emulation and the bonus as with Altirra, you can set it up to be any combination of machine, many you never owned..

 

I still use Altirra, Hoxs64 and Winuae all the time, I do have an Atari 800XL with U1MB and a C64 with the cart I mentioned set up by where I'm typing but my Amiga is close by but I don't have the room to have it connected all the time so often I use emulators. A quick play of Cannon Fodder and yeah, a listen to all the wonderful mods and demo's...They can turn a bad day in to a an ok day just by the noise and graphics..

 

Good times...

 

Hopefully you have found the places for all the great demo's, if not you are more than welcome to a set of stuff from me...

 

Keep safe, keep enjoying..

 

Paul..

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Philsan said:

Please read Topic for newbies (see my signature)

I so wish that title could change...Add "Returners or" to it...

 

It's a great thread but the name is a bit rude in a demeaning way..It's so close to saying LaMeRZ (old amiga days parlance) 

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

I so wish that title could change...Add "Returners or" to it...

 

It's a great thread but the name is a bit rude in a demeaning way..It's so close to saying LaMeRZ (old amiga days parlance) 

That's what I thought a little bit but didn't want to say although it's a great thread it didn't fully answer all the questions I had.

 

I had already read it before posting my questions at any rate.

 

Cheers 

sorry to hear about your mum btw .

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK here is the machine that I have went ahead and purchased (looks very clean BTW)

Along with the other various bits and bobs.

s-l1600 (1).jpg

s-l1600 (2).jpg

s-l1600.jpg

s-l500.jpg

s-l1600 (3).jpg

s-l1600 (4).jpg

s-l1600 (5).jpg

s-l1600 (6).jpg

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks good, but you might want to replace that pro-line pain-line joystick 

Edited by mimo
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mimo said:

Looks good, but you might want to replace that pro-line pain-line joystick 

I take it it's not very comfortable to use after a while then lol.😄

 

Any you would particularly recommend?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very much a personal choice thing but the pro-line causes horrible cramp when using them.

I like the cx-40, tac-2, and competition pro

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mclaneinc said:

Competition Pro if you can find a cheap used one..

Also, Monster Joysticks sells a retro stick with Sanwa parts and the second button mapped to UP, which is great for jump-and-shoot games.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, TomDarth5 said:

OK here is the machine that I have went ahead and purchased (looks very clean BTW)

Along with the other various bits and bobs.

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

Looks good! I would not use that PSU even if it is tested. No need to buy an expensive one but a decent modern replacement is in order. USB phone chargers work with a custom cable but unfortunately cause some video interference due to how they work. Your 800XL has the mechanical 'type 2' AWC keyboard which is good.  No fragile mylar in there. Hopefully it still has the full RF shield which provides great rigidity to the computer.

 

As far as 800 sound (pokey) vs C64.. Pokey is a game sound effects chip, not a synthesizer. Some call it a square wave but that's not true either. There is some saw shape to the waveform. So sometimes it's better and sometimes worse than SID. Compare Blue Max between the platforms. Pokey has great effects there and one more channel with which to work. Gyruss on A8 has great music that's missing on C64 but that's due to the developer not the chip. My first SID experience was Spy vs Spy's music and it sounded worse than A8 to me. The C64 port removed the levity and percussion. I think Spy vs Spy is native to A8 which often matters which is the game's native platform.  As @Mclaneinc said it's often more how talented the coder/musician is than the chip. SID can do a lot of musical waveform manipulation that pokey can not do.  The opposite is also true but less so. Purely from a musical synthesizer point of view, SID is more capable. Many games (or music players like AMS) use all four pokey channels and that makes a positive difference in the experience. SID can sound overly bassey or muffled (?) while pokey can sound metalic or off pitch. Depends on how well each was used.  There are times when pokey amazes, too.

 

Must go. Cheers!! Congrats on the new machine.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Atari! You will be glad you came. :) 

 

I maintain a website with over 125 fun hardware, software, and programming projects for the Atari 8-bit computers. Most of the projects can be completed in less than an hour, and each comes with step-by-step instructions. It is called Atari Projects. I hope you find it useful!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...