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Atari 8bit machines thread...

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by flu!d, May 22, 2021.

  1. flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    I don't know how popular this will be, but if you don't have an A8, you should get one - Simplz.

    I Thought I'd start a thread on the 8 bit Atari line of computers and see where it leads. To start things off, here's mine.

    It's a 600XL, upgraded to 64k using a Lotharek upgrade. It runs the Ultimate 1MB board to give the machine a true PBI BIOS as well as native support for HSIO (High Speed SIO) and the ability to configure the device with a number of different kernel ROM's as well as BASIC revisions - Effectively I can configure the machine to be identical to an XE for compatibility reasons and I can save my configurations to four slots for easy selection.

    It also has a SIDE3 cartridge, which when combined with the U1MB acts as a true PBI hard drive using SD card storage, it uses DMA so speeds are pretty damn impressive. SIDE3 also has it's own graphical loader for mounting and loading titles directly, that's accessible by holding 'L' on boot. Images can be assigned to drive numbers or loaded directly from the loader.

    As an operating system, it runs SpartaDOS-X, which is literally identical to MS-DOS, if not better. As far as 8bit operating systems go, it's definitely one of the most powerful single user operating systems I've ever used.

    The RF modulator has been removed in preparation for the Sophia 2 DVI upgrade board. However I modded the machine to have separate chroma and luma out which when running into my Sharp Aquos TV via svideo results in a picture that's so good I'm struggling to justify the purchase of Sophia 2, but I've gone this far - I may as well get one.

    I also have a home made SIO2PC cable that connects to my Pi400 with RespeQt software allowing for virtual HDD's/floppies in a variety of formats and configurations at speeds as fast as divisor 0, allowing for ~8000bps running a 512 bytes per sector HDD image. My Pi400 also runs FujiNet-PC allowing me to mount and load software images directly off a number of internet based servers. I also use FujiNet-PC's built in R: handler (RS232 driver) as a virtual modem to connect to my favorite BBS's - And there's an awesome community out there! I always find the BBS based communities are friendlier and more helpful than the web based forums where every purist just wants to bag out Commodore 64's as a result of some unhealthy 30yo grudge from back in the day, or frown upon those that upgrade their devices using modern components.

    Lastly, it's one of the fairly rare examples with a mechanical keyboard, which feels lovely - Very similar to Cherry black switches.

    Here's some pics. Anyone with an A8, feel free to post your own, I'd love to see it:

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    I just love drilling holes for mounting posts in rare retro motherboards...

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the yellow PHI2 connection is stupidly close to the mounting post!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
    Zee, Vanne, JSmithDTV and 4 others like this.
  2. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    Atari - Tick
    8-Bit - Tick

    Can I join the club? :D

    20210523_101408.jpg
     
    elvis, Vanne, JSmithDTV and 2 others like this.
  3. hutts24

    hutts24 Member

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    Some love units there, especially the top left unit in Flamin Joe's picture. If I could 'like' these posts three times, I would. I'm not a retro purist. I love modern upgrades for old computers. For me it's about the core platform and compatibility with old software. If I can replace an old dodgy floppy disk drive with an SD card reader, sure I'll do it.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Mazzspeeed Sophia 2 payment.
    That is impressive!

    Not only have I never actually even seen these devices in person 'ever', those devices are absolutely pristine! Awesome job.
     
    Flamin Joe likes this.
  5. Mayfield

    Mayfield Member

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    Interesting stuff I loved Atari as a kid, my folks wouldn't buy one no matter how many times I asked so always went to the neighbors house to play theirs lol The cartridge slot on the 600XL is that compatible with the 2600 cartridges?
     
    flu!d likes this.
  6. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    Thanks! The two on the left, Atari PC (aka PC1) and Atari PC2 as far as I'm aware never made it to Australia so no surprises if you've never seen one before. The PC3 to the right was the best seller of all the Atari PC's so did it make it down under probably in an attempt to replicate the "success" it had in Europe but they were still pretty relatively unknown. I only knew of their existance as the PC3 was my very first IBM PC.

    Not pictured is my Atari PC4 (286) and two Atari PC5's (386) but they don't make the cut since they are 16 bit and 32 bit. :p Nothing special externally as they use the exact same chassis as the PC3 with a few minor modifications.

    Anyway enough about the Atari PC's don't want to derail the thread too much.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    As far as I'm aware you can't use 2600 carts in an A8.

    I remember, as a kid, my parents wouldn't buy a 2600. As it turns out my mate won one at McDonalds, we played the hell out of that thing!
     
    GumbyNoTalent likes this.
  8. ohayes

    ohayes Member

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    Awesome thread - i've always wanted an Atari 8-bit as it seems like an awesome platform but they seem so hard to find them in Australia.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    I scored mine from a seller in WA. Keep your eyes peeled on eBay, they do turn up from time to time.
     
  10. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Flu¡d , absolutely love this thread.. the pics you put up of your 600 make me bloody foam at the mouth..

    I’ve been on the lookout for a nice 800, but every time I get close I start going Kookoo about desk real estate and where the hell I am going to setup another desktop...

    But.. this may have just put me over the edge....

    Absolutely awesomely done setup mate. Beautiful.
     
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  11. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Cheers Vanne!

    I actually ran out of space, I carefully packed the A1200 into a pillow case and stored it away to make space for the 600XL.

    If you're looking for an A8, try to get a PAL machine, they're more compatible. Also, once the PAL 600XL is upgraded to 64k it's identical to an 800XL, the difference is they sell for less as people that don't know what they've got think they're less desirable.

    I love the smaller footprint of the 600XL, especially where space is at a premium.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    My Sophia 2 arrived today, a well packaged quality bit of kit that was picked up by the latest U1MB firmware update with the Sophia 2 plugin immediately. Software 80 columns is quite clear now, in fact everything is clear now. Mounted the DVI daughterboard using standoffs soldered into the holes left behind by the RF modulator.

    Looks almost factory.

    [​IMG]

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  13. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    A bit of night time relaxation with the 600XL. Just logged off my final BBS for the evening and found this interesting benchmark among all the stuff on my HDD:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Also made a bit of a perspex baseplate for my home made SIO2PC adapter:

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    I like-ie... :) Very nice indeed
     
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  16. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    You need to get one Vanne! The best thing about Atari's is the fact that due to the PLN exchange rate, upgrades are so cheap!

    An U1MB, SIDE3 and 64k ram upgrade cost only a little more than the 1541 UII+ fitted to my C64.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Trying out the Atari Prince Of Persia port.

    Impressive graphics, it's a shame the community is so toxic and actively codes in a way that users of modern upgrades can't use their enhancements because it's not "pure". Loading at standard SIO speeds reminds me of waiting for Frogger to load on the C64 Datasette and the .CRT file doesn't work on my SIDE3 even though it should work perfectly.

    Atari users attacking Atari users, fucking crazy.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Keen to know a bit more about this. Is there some discussion on it somewhere?
     
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  19. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    It's on the Atari Age forums, I'll see if I can find it for you. Absolutely unbelievable. To make matters worse, when other AA members figured a workaround and then dug deeper and figured out what had been done and confronted the particular 'coder' (who is apparently an awesome coder), he denied it as long as he could until he let it slip under duress that his actions were, in fact, deliberate.

    Naturally, in this case, using xbios software created by this particular individual, I smell a Rat. Furthermore, he's posting mocking comments regarding SIDE3 thinking he's funny...Makes the stench even stronger.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    flu!d

    flu!d Never perfect, always genuine

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    Here's the result loading the .CAR image. I'd show a video of the ATR image loading, but at standard SIO speeds I might need a bigger SD card.

     

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