800XL memory upgrade options in UK

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PeteW
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800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by PeteW » Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:57 pm

Now the 800xl is up and running and I've been able to play a few of the games I remember from my childhood, I'm tempted to look at upgrading to allow for running the 128k games I never got to try back then.

There seem to be a few options out there, from Rambo boards to upgrade to 256k to full on 1meg upgrades.

To be honest, I'm not much bothered about 1meg and multiple OS' etc - I just don't think I'd use it.

Mainly I want to play 128k enabled games and possibly the odd demo.

What have people used on here? Ideally I'd want to go for a UK supplied solution just to keep shipping and customs costs down. I don't want to spend much more than 30 quid if I can help it!

All ideas welcome!

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rubber_jonnie
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by rubber_jonnie » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:32 pm

IMHO unless you can find a specific upgrade, or schematics to do one, the Ultimate 1MB from Lotharek is the best option. It gives you the option to use it like a RAMBO or other upgrade, all the way to 1MB and when combined with the SIDE cart really makes using your machine a lot easier.

You might want to have a look here, even though it's 65XE based: viewtopic.php?f=44&t=160&hilit=65xe and maybe give a shout to @tfhh as he seems to have a lot of knowledge in that area. Otherwise I don't know of any other upgrades about these days, unless you can find a schematic and instructions.

Yes it is expensive, but it is worth it, and I liked the one in my 800XL so much, my XE is getting the same. As for not using the other OSes, I get that, but just sometimes all the choice doe let you run something you might not have been able to run before.

It is also less of a risk to your computer, since the U1MB is pretty easy to install.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ultimate 1MB, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k +APE Warp) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg), 1040STF long button floppy, 2x 1040 STFMs + Gotek, 2x 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher, Mega ST1, Mega ST4, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

PeteW
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by PeteW » Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:19 pm

Thanks @rubber_jonnie - certainly worth considering then. I'm always a little wary about upgrade cards that do a lot of extra things for very old machines - before you know it, the original hardware is not really needed at all and it starts to defeat the object (for me at least). I'll definitely give the 1mb board some thought though.

For you, what is it in particular that makes it worthwhile as an upgrade? I'm aware I've only started scratching the surface of what's out there for the machine

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rubber_jonnie
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by rubber_jonnie » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:09 pm

PeteW wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 3:19 pm
Thanks @rubber_jonnie - certainly worth considering then. I'm always a little wary about upgrade cards that do a lot of extra things for very old machines - before you know it, the original hardware is not really needed at all and it starts to defeat the object (for me at least). I'll definitely give the 1mb board some thought though.

For you, what is it in particular that makes it worthwhile as an upgrade? I'm aware I've only started scratching the surface of what's out there for the machine
For me it was really the RAM to begin with, because I had a load of demos etc that needed 128KB or more. I did upgrade my 65XE successfully to 128KB, but stuff like Numen, which is a fab demo, needed at least 320KB. I figured that trying to get a specific 256KB or 320KB upgrade, whilst feasible, was impractical, when the U1MB does so much more, and with the SIDE3 card (SIDE2 is also still around, but needs CF cards, 3 is SD) you get a lot more functionality.

It isn't cheap, granted, but it also does do a lot and with 4 flashable OS slots you do really get the ability to make almost any software work.

I am still figuring out a lot, as only just got the SIDE3 and haven't spent as much time with the U1MB as I'd like, but for me it's worth it for the RAM options alone.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ultimate 1MB, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k +APE Warp) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg), 1040STF long button floppy, 2x 1040 STFMs + Gotek, 2x 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher, Mega ST1, Mega ST4, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

tzok
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by tzok » Sat Oct 10, 2020 8:15 pm

There's actually a little war on the Polish Atari scene about the U1MB. The point is, it replaces the MMU, but the U1MB re-implementation of the original MMU in the CPLD is not exact, and there are subtle differences in behavior. Up to the official specs it is ok, but some undocumented addresses doesn't work like on the original MMU. The fun thing is, U1MB replaces the base memory mapper chip, but doesn't replace the onboard 64kB of base RAM... so I have no idea, why they decided to throw away the original MMU.

RAMBO 256kB is IMHO the worst option, as it is not fully 130XE compatible, and is not enough for most of the demos requiring memory expansion. The trick is, RAMBO 256kB gives 256kB in total, while in most cases it is required to have 256kB of additional memory (so 320kB in total).

I found the optimal solution is Compy Shop 512kB. There are many DIY variants of SIMM 1MB memory extension (and most of them don't use SIMMs), which can work as Compy Shop 512kB or RAMBO 1024kB. Bad thing is - they are mostly DIY things, so you have to order PCB in China ($5 for 5 pcs.), buy required parts in a local electronics warehouse, and solder it together.

PeteW
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by PeteW » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:17 pm

Thanks @tzok

Is the expansion that this person is selling the same thing? If so, looks like he/she already has some built up for not much money (23 Euros)

https://atariage.com/forums/topic/27720 ... e-by-tfhh/

Will try contacting and seeing if they still make them

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rubber_jonnie
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Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by rubber_jonnie » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:49 am

Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ultimate 1MB, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k +APE Warp) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg), 1040STF long button floppy, 2x 1040 STFMs + Gotek, 2x 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher, Mega ST1, Mega ST4, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

tzok
Posts: 226
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:27 pm

Re: 800XL memory upgrade options in UK

Post by tzok » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:13 pm

This first memory expansion is SRAM based, so it is different project. Second one is the old Rambo XL, which I said to be worst possible option in therms of compatibility.

I was thinking about this kind of DRAM based extensions (1MB SIMMexp by Mq "without wires"):
http://www.atari.org.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?id=15710

800XL:
800XL.jpg
800XL
800XL.jpg (224.7 KiB) Viewed 381 times
130XE:
130XE.jpg
130XE
130XE.jpg (221.24 KiB) Viewed 381 times
Earlier version of these was using some wires for connection, but was more universal:
http://www.atari.org.pl/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16589
800XE.jpg
800XE
800XE.jpg (221.29 KiB) Viewed 381 times
NOTE
I do not sell these, don't know if the author sells abroad, yet he published the source files, so it is possible to order the PCB in China and make own modules.

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