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Xebec

What did you use CPU accelerators for with your STf? (back in the day)

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Just curious - For those of you that had accelerators (faster 68000s, 68020s, etc) in the late 80s on STf's or up to 1991 or so,  what did you primarily use them for?

 

Was it because they allowed more RAM?   Did you use them for compiling code?  etc..

 

Also a side question - did a faster 68000 allow the stock ST serial port to run reliably at 38400 baud or higher?  

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Posted (edited)

16mhz Adspeed - couldnt afford anything else but it did work well.  I used my ST for games, DTP, school programming in Alice Pascal.  I also had an ATSpeed which was a 286 upgrade and Specter 128 so a faster 68000 helped with those emulated systems.

Edited by Goochman
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Same here - AdSpeed with my Mega ST4.

 

Specifically, it allowed my BBS software to become much more responsive.
 

Generally, everything became more responsive, up to and including games.

 

As far as the serial ports speeds go, yes, it allowed the RSVE mod to work

at the higher speeds. But you did have to install this mod - a stock serial

port still wouldn't work reliably with the higher speeds.

 

HTH's.  :)

 

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1 hour ago, Goochman said:

16mhz Adspeed - couldnt afford anything else but it did work well.  I used my ST for games, DTP, school programming in Alice Pascal.  I also had an ATSpeed which was a 286 upgrade and Specter 128 so a faster 68000 helped with those emulated systems.

This is pretty cool!  I did use PCDitto back in the day on my STf to run a few DOS applications in parallel that my Dad was using on his PC..  while retaining the other advantages of the ST :).  

 

I bet that helped with emulation a lot..  thanks for sharing! 

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58 minutes ago, DarkLord said:

Same here - AdSpeed with my Mega ST4.

 

Specifically, it allowed my BBS software to become much more responsive.
 

Generally, everything became more responsive, up to and including games.

 

As far as the serial ports speeds go, yes, it allowed the RSVE mod to work

at the higher speeds. But you did have to install this mod - a stock serial

port still wouldn't work reliably with the higher speeds.

 

HTH's.  :)

 

Definitely and thanks DarkLord!   You're fortunate the Mega ST4 also already had the blitter.  TOS was very (relatively - it was OK at the time) slow on a TOS 1.02 / 520STf, stock speeds and without blitter :).  BBS sounds like a good (but expensive?) use of the accelerator.  I guess for faster modems in the 1990s that would probably end up being a requirement.  

 

I see your other posts on the RSVE mod;  I'm being a little lazy here - but a few questions - Did you end up getting it to work pretty well?  Did it require an accelerated ST to work at higher baud rates?   Did RSVE basically add additional buffer to allow more bytes to be received to allow the CPU more time to 'come back' and get the data?  (like faster UART chips on PC).  

 

Thanks! 

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Desktop Publishing was not very fast back in the day. Pagestream and printing to an Atari Laser printer could use all your computer resources.

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Doing the nightly scan/compact of the Fidonet message bases as well as tossing the incoming packets on the BBS was way better on the Mega STE (and even faster when I temporarily had the BBS on the TT with the CaTTamaran!) 

 

Now I have it on a standard Mega 4 ST and I can see the lights dim during the midnight maintenance.

 

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I bought an AdSpeed too, but only because ICD was clearing them out for $99. (Gotta love a bargain 🤑 ) I don't remember exactly when this was, but I would guess around 1991/92 when the MegaSTE and TT were released and the Falcon was waiting in the wings. I'm guessing that the Atari market was shrinking down to only hardcore users who probably had the funds to upgrade to the higher powered machines. Thus, sales of the accelerators like the AdSpeed were slowing down. My MegaST4 was still generally meeting all my needs, but the Falcon had me drooling, and then reality set in that I was poor college student. 🥺

 

It did speed things up a bit for document processing and other general computing I did stuff like telecommunications. I never saw a need to go above the max 19200 bps as most systems that I recall didn't go above 9600 baud like GEnie. Even BBSes near me, most maxed out at 14.4k at the time.

 

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13 hours ago, Forrest said:

Desktop Publishing was not very fast back in the day. Pagestream and printing to an Atari Laser printer could use all your computer resources.

 

If I recall correctly, an 8.5"x11" page required about one megabyte of RAM to drive the image to the printer .The Atari Laser had no RAM.  One could buy a Mega ST2 and a laser for less than the price of an HP Laserjet.  A local newspaper here printed using a Mega2 and Atari Laser for years.

 

Timeworks Desktop Publisher was very popular here, and worked well with a 520ST.  Atari had a promo in '88 with a 520STfm and an additional single sided floppy drive for less than the newer dual sided STfm's.  Timeworks Desktop Publisher worked quite well with that dual drive set up.

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The Timeworks complete package was a great value in the day - first WP I used with inline spell checker, 25000 words!  Between Timeworks DTP, Pagestream and Calamus the ST competed pretty well in this area, esp on price.

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8 hours ago, atarian1 said:

It did speed things up a bit for document processing and other general computing I did stuff like telecommunications. I never saw a need to go above the max 19200 bps as most systems that I recall didn't go above 9600 baud like GEnie. Even BBSes near me, most maxed out at 14.4k at the time.

19200 was a bigger nuisance when I wanted to transfer files with another system via null modem.    Especially when the other system could handle 115,200 but the ST was stuck at 19,200

 

It was fine for an ST BBSing with 14.4 modem, by the time I got a 28.8 modem I was on PC doing dial-up internet and BBS days were behind me.

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20 hours ago, Xebec said:

Definitely and thanks DarkLord!   You're fortunate the Mega ST4 also already had the blitter.  TOS was very (relatively - it was OK at the time) slow on a TOS 1.02 / 520STf, stock speeds and without blitter :).  BBS sounds like a good (but expensive?) use of the accelerator.  I guess for faster modems in the 1990s that would probably end up being a requirement.  

 

I see your other posts on the RSVE mod;  I'm being a little lazy here - but a few questions - Did you end up getting it to work pretty well?  Did it require an accelerated ST to work at higher baud rates?   Did RSVE basically add additional buffer to allow more bytes to be received to allow the CPU more time to 'come back' and get the data?  (like faster UART chips on PC).  

 

Thanks! 

 

I wound up not using it. I never could get my BBS software (BBS Express! ST v1.98a) to work with it.  :(

 

So basically, to sum things up:

 

 A stock 8mhz ST can reliably go up to 19.2k.

 

An accelerated ST can still only reliably go up to 19.2k.

 

A stock 8mhz ST with the RSVE mod can utilize the higher speeds.

 

An accelerated ST with the RSVE mod is even better (responsiveness).

 

Any later model Atari (Mega STe, TT030, Falcon030) can utilize higher speeds

by their additional high speed serial ports.

 

The HSModem software that goes in your AUTO folder allows you to

control/set buffers and other settings.

 

Hope this helps.  :)

 

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