Jump to content
82-T/A

Looking to upgrade the VCS... storage / RAM...

Recommended Posts

I've noticed a couple of times the VCS skips here and there, and it tends to take a longer than expected time to load certain games... although it could be that it was because I tried playing them immediately after buying, downloading, and installing them.

 

I bought mine with the backer kit, so I THINK mine has 8 gigs of ram? I didn't check. What is the maximum ram that I can install that will actually be used by the games? I heard someone said that 16 gigs is the maximum that actually does anything, but the system supports 32 gigs. Why would 16 gigs be the maximum? It's a 64-bit system so it should be able to effectively use more of the ram, correct?

 

Second, if I upgrade the storage, will it wipe / ruin AtariOs that's already installed on the existing MMC SSD? I want to upgrade it to the fastest MMC I can possibly find... and I think 256gb is probably all that I'll need. If I do this, what do I need to do to get AtariOS back on, and all my games re-installed?

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the collective wisdom in PC land is that more than 16 gigs of ram "just for gaming" is where you start getting into diminishing returns, but that is starting to sound a bit dated as games like cyberpunk will suck down quite a bit of my 16 gigs while playing it. For what the VCS can pull off I think spending on more ram may not be the return one might expects... its a bit of a shame its limited to 2400mhz ram, ryzen LOVES fast ram and that's not it. (I mean you can put faster ram in it but from what I read its hardware limited) 

Edited by Osgeld
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Osgeld said:

the collective wisdom in PC land is that more than 16 gigs of ram "just for gaming" is where you start getting into diminishing returns, but that is starting to sound a bit dated as games like cyberpunk will suck down quite a bit of my 16 gigs while playing it. For what the VCS can pull off I think spending on more ram may not be the return one might expects... its a bit of a shame its limited to 2400mhz ram, ryzen LOVES fast ram and that's not it. (I mean you can put faster ram in it but from what I read its hardware limited) 

 

Hey! I just remembered, you're the guy who made that monochrome to composite converter for me several years ago! I just want to say, I still really appreciate it! I use it all the time for pulling old video off my 8088, I can't thank you enough!!!

 

But point taken, so 16gigs would be a good upgrade for this system, and at least for the games I buy for the VCS, probably not too much worth the extra effort. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve tried both 16gb of 3200 ram and 32gb of 3200 ram. I’m able to overclock the 16gb of ram to its 1600MHz (x2 = 3200) but I’ve been unsuccessful at doing the same with the 32gb of ram. Upon tying to overclock the 32gb ram I get a black screen/high fan/no boot issue. Only way to restore is to reinstall the stock ram and try again. I’ve given up on the 32gb ram, for even after adjusting the timings I have not been successful, as a matter of fact I came close to bricking my Atari. I’ll stick with 16gb overclocked ram, and raise the VRAM to 8gb. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, livingonwheels said:

I’ve tried both 16gb of 3200 ram and 32gb of 3200 ram. I’m able to overclock the 16gb of ram to its 1600MHz (x2 = 3200) but I’ve been unsuccessful at doing the same with the 32gb of ram. Upon tying to overclock the 32gb ram I get a black screen/high fan/no boot issue. Only way to restore is to reinstall the stock ram and try again. I’ve given up on the 32gb ram, for even after adjusting the timings I have not been successful, as a matter of fact I came close to bricking my Atari. I’ll stick with 16gb overclocked ram, and raise the VRAM to 8gb. 

There's the diminishing return factor and also a bottleneck issue. 

 

I updated to 32Gb Ram on my PC, more "because I can", and there was a promo on it then. Hasn't changed much of the Cyberpunk experience, except that maybe now I can leave Chrome running with 50 open tabs in the background ... (need to check if MS flight sim 2020 sees any gain, but even there, doubt it would be much)

So, for gaming, debatable return on a strong computer with dedicated graphic card.

 

On a low end computer like the VCS, what would be the point, gaming performance is limited by the GPU (or lack thereof), not by lack of RAM once you hit 16...
(Except again if you really want to leave mutliple applications open in the background)
 

Edited by Zor
typo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen a video where someone put in 32Gb and overclocked it, but also he set aside dedicated memory for the GPU.

 

Would setting off VRAM in the BIOS really improve GPU performace like having a seperate video card?  (I never used interrgrated GPUs before.)

Share this post


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

I've seen a video where someone put in 32Gb and overclocked it, but also he set aside dedicated memory for the GPU.

 

Would setting off VRAM in the BIOS really improve GPU performace like having a seperate video card?  (I never used interrgrated GPUs before.)

No, it's really NOT going to make much of a noticeable difference as it is still far below a dedicated GPU in both terms of memory AND Graphical power (IE: Bells and Whistles) as mentioned the biggest factors are the lack of dedicated quality GPU and it's just not even much of a CPU/APU in terms of speed or power. Again, beyond 16 gb you are just not going to notice much, bring it up to 16 gb, add an internal M.2 to load off of and those will be the biggest gains. This is general knowledge from a PC builder / gamer for many years now. You just cannot expect too much from that APU for big commercial retail games or even higher emulation expectations, it is simply the nature of the beast. You need only search and research the exact APU used in the AtariVCS and how it stacks up when comparing recommended specs for a given title. 

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MrMaddog said:

I've seen a video where someone put in 32Gb and overclocked it, but also he set aside dedicated memory for the GPU.

 

Would setting off VRAM in the BIOS really improve GPU performace like having a seperate video card?  (I never used interrgrated GPUs before.)

Are you referring to the ETA Prime video? If so, he installed 16gb. If not ETA Prime’s video please link me to the video your referring to, because I’d like to give it another try.

Share this post


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

No, it's really NOT going to make much of a noticeable difference as it is still far below a dedicated GPU in both terms of memory AND Graphical power (IE: Bells and Whistles) as mentioned the biggest factors are the lack of dedicated quality GPU and it's just not even much of a CPU/APU in terms of speed or power. Again, beyond 16 gb you are just not going to notice much, bring it up to 16 gb, add an internal M.2 to load off of and those will be the biggest gains. This is general knowledge from a PC builder / gamer for many years now. You just cannot expect too much from that APU for big commercial retail games or even higher emulation expectations, it is simply the nature of the beast. You need only search and research the exact APU used in the AtariVCS and how it stacks up when comparing recommended specs for a given title. 

 

 

Do you mind telling me what kind of ram I need so I only have to open up my VCS once?

 

Do I need to get two 8gb chips, or four 4gb chips? What is it... DDR3? DDR4? And what are the fastest speeds that I can get that it'll support?

 

Really appreciate the help! Thanks!!!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

 

 

Do you mind telling me what kind of ram I need so I only have to open up my VCS once?

 

Do I need to get two 8gb chips, or four 4gb chips? What is it... DDR3? DDR4? And what are the fastest speeds that I can get that it'll support?

 

Really appreciate the help! Thanks!!!

I don't own one and my comments were strictly PC related which is what it is. You only have TWO slots and so you would want two 8 gb SODIMM DDR4 modules. You will want to use both slots as Ryzen chips work best with memory in Dual Channel config which just means you want to fill up both slots totaling your desired amount as opposed to say using a single 16 gb module in one slot. Basically, it is the modern RAM used in LAPTOPS as opposed to a typical Desktop. That said a quick GOOGLE search of - atari vcs recommended ram - gave me THIS result right at the top (Googling can be magic with the right search terms for just about anything 😜 ) and the very FIRST result entry is right of the AtariVCS support page 😉 CLICK THIS LINK FOR ATARI VCS RECOMMENDED RAM INFO

 

As stated in the link above - 

Always mount the RAM in pairs, so to achieve the maximum capacity of 32GB you would add two 16GB modules. Please note, SODIMM DDR4 RAM is a different format than RAM used in desktop computers. Desktop memory will not fit in the Atari VCS. 

ram.png

* Time and effort -- Installing RAM in your Atari VCS is an advanced project and requires extreme care to ensure that you do not damage your VCS during the installation process. Installing the RAM itself is easy, but accessing it is much more difficult as the RAM is located on the bottom of the motherboard. To reach it you will need to remove the heat shield and unscrew the motherboard from the chassis. Both written and video installation guides are available to guide you through the process.  You may find this task to be challenging if you do not have experience assembling or upgrading computers. Do not attempt the upgrade if you have any uncertainty about the project. Atari is not responsible for any damage you do to your device.

 

AS FOR SPEED, YOU WANT NO LESS THAN 2400Mhz but as demonstrated by ETA Prime in this video that processor will improve performance with faster speed ram such as the 3200Mhz that he has installed (See the 4 min 25 sec mark of the video) 😎 !!!! KEEP IN MIND YOU WILL ONLY GET 2400 Mhz Stick speeds even with faster RAM installed unless you set the speed higher in the BIOS settings. Highly advise you just watch the entire 12 min video as it is concise, detailed and informative ;) 

 

 

 

Lastly, this person seems to be maintaining and regularly updating this blog as he learns more about upgrading the AtariVCS firsthand - 

https://doolin-digital.com/an-atari-vcs-hardware-lesson-upgrades-and-peripherals/

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, OldSchoolRetroGamer said:

I don't own one and my comments were strictly PC related which is what it is. You only have TWO slots and so you would want two 8 gb SODIMM DDR4 modules. You will want to use both slots as Ryzen chips work best with memory in Dual Channel config which just means you want to fill up both slots totaling your desired amount as opposed to say using a single 16 gb module in one slot. Basically, it is the modern RAM used in LAPTOPS as opposed to a typical Desktop. That said a quick GOOGLE search of - atari vcs recommended ram - gave me THIS result right at the top (Googling can be magic with the right search terms for just about anything 😜 ) and the very FIRST result entry is right of the AtariVCS support page 😉 CLICK THIS LINK FOR ATARI VCS RECOMMENDED RAM INFO

 

As stated in the link above - 

Always mount the RAM in pairs, so to achieve the maximum capacity of 32GB you would add two 16GB modules. Please note, SODIMM DDR4 RAM is a different format than RAM used in desktop computers. Desktop memory will not fit in the Atari VCS. 

ram.png

* Time and effort -- Installing RAM in your Atari VCS is an advanced project and requires extreme care to ensure that you do not damage your VCS during the installation process. Installing the RAM itself is easy, but accessing it is much more difficult as the RAM is located on the bottom of the motherboard. To reach it you will need to remove the heat shield and unscrew the motherboard from the chassis. Both written and video installation guides are available to guide you through the process.  You may find this task to be challenging if you do not have experience assembling or upgrading computers. Do not attempt the upgrade if you have any uncertainty about the project. Atari is not responsible for any damage you do to your device.

 

AS FOR SPEED, YOU WANT NO LESS THAN 2400Mhz but as demonstrated by ETA Prime in this video that processor will improve performance with faster speed ram such as the 3200Mhz that he has installed (See the 4 min 25 sec mark of the video) 😎 !!!! KEEP IN MIND YOU WILL ONLY GET 2400 Mhz Stick speeds even with faster RAM installed unless you set the speed higher in the BIOS settings. Highly advise you just watch the entire 12 min video as it is concise, detailed and informative ;) 

 

 

 

Lastly, this person seems to be maintaining and regularly updating this blog as he learns more about upgrading the AtariVCS firsthand - 

https://doolin-digital.com/an-atari-vcs-hardware-lesson-upgrades-and-peripherals/

 

Thank you so much for the comprehensive and thoughtful reply. I really appreciate this! I'm going to order some ram today!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/14/2021 at 6:13 PM, 82-T/A said:

Second, if I upgrade the storage, will it wipe / ruin AtariOs that's already installed on the existing MMC SSD? I want to upgrade it to the fastest MMC I can possibly find... and I think 256gb is probably all that I'll need. If I do this, what do I need to do to get AtariOS back on, and all my games re-installed?

There was a youtube video that demonstrated how to back up and restore the AtariOS.   I think it was one of RetroAxis's maybe?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, OldSchoolRetroGamer said:

Highly advise you just watch the entire 12 min video as it is concise, detailed and informative ;)

 

The video was pretty good. I ended up buying G.Skill ram... I also went with a lower / faster CAS speed of 18... which was the fastest I could find for 3200 speed ram in two 8gb chips. Total shipped was like $107, and I'll get it next week... which is pretty great.

 

Thought it was interesting, when you compare numbers, he saw a minimum of a 10% increase in performance across the board, which is QUITE good...

Edited by 82-T/A
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats good you can use the faster ram. It's always good to use the fastest you can but the way ryzen is setup you can see much more noticeable improvement going to faster speeds 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and yea I made that adapter cause I got tired of playing lemmings on my XT laptop screen that blurred more than a gameboy, glad its still in service

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Installed the faster / larger ram (16 gigs) this afternoon. Although I can no longer get into the BIOS to change the speeds, the Atari VCS definitely runs faster with the 16 gigs of ram instead of just with the 8 gigs. I'm definitely happier with the more ram... but would love to now actually take advantage of the faster CAS speeds... lol.

 

Definitely worth the upgrade though.

 

I'm also using it in 4k now, and no slow down, skipping or anything. I didn't see much of that anyway with the 8 gigs, but it did happen a few times. I was playing GunStar or whatever it's called... and it would occasionally pause for a second. Now, it's perfect.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about storage?  Is the fastest/easiest route just the get like a 256GB USB stick and throw it in the back?

 

The M.2 SSD would just be for Windows memory right, not the Atari OS. 

 

Was thinking of grabbing something like this; 256GB should be plenty for a good long while (and it's only $30!):

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07857Y17V/ref=wl_mb_wl_huc_mrai_1_dp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Rick Dangerous said:

What about storage?  Is the fastest/easiest route just the get like a 256GB USB stick and throw it in the back?

 

The M.2 SSD would just be for Windows memory right, not the Atari OS. 

 

Was thinking of grabbing something like this; 256GB should be plenty for a good long while (and it's only $30!):

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07857Y17V/ref=wl_mb_wl_huc_mrai_1_dp

The quickest and easiest route would be to put a USB stick in the back.  But you are limited to the speed of USB 3.1.

 

You can use the M.2 SSD to store Atari OS, games, Windows, Linux etc.  I have a 500GB SSD and I store all my games on it.  The OS reads it without any trouble, pulls the games I purchased from the store without any trouble.  You can also partition the SSD and have a Windows partition or Linux etc.  I am only using it for Atari store games though.

 

Just make sure that you are EXTREMELY CAREFUL if you decide to open the case and install an M.2.  The WiFi card antennas are taped to the top of the case and the card is on the board... If you do it wrong, you can detach the antenna wires.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You partition the SSD once it's installed right?

 

I'd like to put windows 10 on as well for Steam/GOG.

 

I need to find a good windows install guide for VCS. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don’t mind installing the M.2... I’d suggest a 1tb if you want to use it for windows and run some emulators, steam, epic etc. you can get away with less if you used Linux but my thinking is who’d want to open the thing all the time. The other thing it it seems larger capacity SATA M.2s are nowhere near as common as nvme these days. I’d almost suggest it just in case they become less available and more expensive. 


Some of the cheaper options I’ve found are:

 

This teamgroup. It’s available direct from newegg too but newegg isn’t always the greatest for returns, eBay would give more flexibility. It’s $89.99.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Team-Group-MS30-M-2-2280-1TB-SATA-III-TLC-Internal-Solid-State-Drive-SSD-TM8PS/302890625012?epid=3026119320&hash=item4685b027f4:g:mmkAAOSwRCBc5OR2

 

This Micron it’s $84.99

https://www.ebay.com/itm/960GB-Cisco-Micron-5100-PRO-3D-eTLC-SATA-3-6Gb-s-80mm-2280-M-2-SED-SSD-REFURB/373428421642?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

Supoosedly a “refurb” I bought one of these and these are just some sort of pro drive, pulled from something that was never deployed. I think it had 7 hours on it. It’s much better made than the team.


These are cheaper options than the WD and Samsung options, those two usually run around $100 and $130 respectively.


RAM if you don’t plan on overclocking (either by jumper if into the bios, waiting, cracking the password) pretty much anything on the market would work. 
 

I didn’t end up doing the usual install procedures I’ve seen, I installed windows on an old laptop drive in an external case then used Macrium reflect to clone that to the SSD I put in the VCS. That worked perfectly fine. 
 

If you damage the internal wifi antennas or merely wish to get ones with longer leads you can get something like these. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/2pcs-Internal-WiFi-Network-Antenna-5-Cable-for-Laptop-Mini-PCI-e-Wireless-Card/224017153134?hash=item3428767c6e:g:xx4AAOSweKRexVZ9

 

 

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay guys; think i'm going to go WD for the M.2 SSD:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073SB2MXT/?coliid=I32LMLOFN79RSV&colid=3C9JYID8UW0H3&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

And Samsung for the RAM:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DL8FKS8/?coliid=I1U31O1Q85Z11T&colid=3C9JYID8UW0H3&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

Anything wrong with the RAM pick?  @82-T/A What was the CAS speed you were mentioning?  Would you be up to share the link of the G.Skill RAM you bought?

 

So why can the RAM not be overclocked anymore?  The BIOS password was updated and Atari hasn't shared it yet or doesn't want people to know it?  I guess i'll go read that thread...lol

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thoughts on this claim: 

 

"Features Auto-Overclocking which allows qualified systems to detect the highest available speed and automatically adjust BIOS settings to match"

 

https://www.amazon.com/G-SKILL-Ripjaws-PC4-25600-SO-DIMM-F4-3200C18D-32GRS/dp/B07CGY75VT/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=G.Skill+SODIMM+DDR4+RAM+3200mhz&qid=1614700103&sr=8-3

 

Can't seem to find these sticks in 16GB (2 x 8gb); which is what i'd want to buy. 

Screen Shot 2021-03-02 at 10.54.32 AM.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


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

Okay guys; think i'm going to go WD for the M.2 SSD:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073SB2MXT/?coliid=I32LMLOFN79RSV&colid=3C9JYID8UW0H3&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

And Samsung for the RAM:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08DL8FKS8/?coliid=I1U31O1Q85Z11T&colid=3C9JYID8UW0H3&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

Anything wrong with the RAM pick?  @82-T/A What was the CAS speed you were mentioning?  Would you be up to share the link of the G.Skill RAM you bought?

 

So why can the RAM not be overclocked anymore?  The BIOS password was updated and Atari hasn't shared it yet or doesn't want people to know it?  I guess i'll go read that thread...lol


Hi! The G.Skill I got is just like the one you posted above, but they were 2x 8gb sticks. I don’t really buy that kind of stuff from Amazon. I recommend going to NewEgg, that’s where I got it from.

 

CAS latency I can’t really explain, but the one thing you don’t want in a computer is latency. The lower the CAS, the better. Good is 21, really good is 18, but you can also get 16... but it just didn’t make sense to pay that much more.

 

Yes on the bios. It’s still faster with the new RAM... by far. But I can no longer configure the BiOS to properly set for those speeds.

 

When ordering the SSD, also order for speed... there are different throughputs.

 

sorry... responding on a phone.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/2/2021 at 5:30 AM, yrly said:

 

This Micron it’s $84.99

https://www.ebay.com/itm/960GB-Cisco-Micron-5100-PRO-3D-eTLC-SATA-3-6Gb-s-80mm-2280-M-2-SED-SSD-REFURB/373428421642?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

Supoosedly a “refurb” I bought one of these and these are just some sort of pro drive, pulled from something that was never deployed. I think it had 7 hours on it. It’s much better made than the team.

Thank you; wound up going this route for the SSD.

 

Found the G.Skill Ripjaws 3200 with the 18 CAS speed:

 

https://www.newegg.com/g-skill-16gb-260-pin-ddr4-so-dimm/p/N82E16820232724?&quicklink=true

 

I think i'm all set; thanks again folks! 

  • 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...