What to put in a fully-loaded ST(E)

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beeka
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What to put in a fully-loaded ST(E)

Postby beeka » Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:43 pm

I have a spare STE that I won't mind taking a soldering iron and a saw to and was wondering what people feel are the the current essentials in a fully-loaded STE?

My current thoughts:
* 4mb RAM (a no-brainer).
* Fitted mono VGA socket (although selectively enabling the mono detect pin could be "interesting").
* High-density floppy?
* An internal satandisk (is the ST PSU usable as a power source). Dunno if there is anything special in the satandisk pass-thru cable, or would I have to disable the external port.
* Maybe fit an Effiel / PeST interface. Can they be made switchable (i.e. select legacy or PS2 interfaces?[/list]

Space in the case might be an issue - does anything use the analog joystick ports... might be a nice place to put PS2 ports :-) ... although that would probably count as "unloading" ;-).

What is missing from the list (or shouldn't be there)? Gold-plated keyboard? Switchable TOS? Are there any internal battery-backed clocks?

Cheers,

Steve.

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Postby Shockwav3 » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:33 pm

As seen in my signature:
PAK68/3 @ 48MHz
FRAK/2 @ 64 MB
Panther/2 - ATI Mach32 2MB
HD floppy
TOS 2.06
Detached keyboard
Internal SCSI controller
DDD desktop case
ATX compatible mini PSU (picoPSU)
12MHz bus modification (no idea if I'm gonna do that)

Can I haz hardware?

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Postby Zenichiro » Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:51 pm

It's at the back of my mind to do a similar project. Essentials for me are a quad TOS switcher, PS/2 ports, internal HD, internal CF or SD reader, built in network port. 14 meg would be great too if anyone can come up with a way to do it.

There certainly was internal RTC boards available, but I don't know of any homebrew projects.

Would it be possible to use a floptical drive as an alternative to a High-density floppy? Would there be any way to make this accessible as drive A?

In a similar vein I'd like to build a mini-ITX based PC into an STE case running Aranym and emulators.

ppera

Postby ppera » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:07 pm

For CF (and many other - CD, hard disks) you may build internal IDE interface. I
After it you probably will not want/need other mass storage IF...

I can dig you out scheme for internal RTC what I made long time ago - with compatible chip, so TOS will recognise it without any external program.

http://www.ppest.org/atari/astams.php

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Postby PaulB » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:12 pm

A quad TOS switcher is a great idea. Compatible to every game ever made for the ST series.

SD or CF in my opinion is more a personal choice but with me, I'm happy using a 6gb 2.5" hard drive that makes hardly any noise. People haven't been using them with Atari's that long but I can't help but wonder about the long term complications with solid state rewritable media.

I have an Apple compatible Localtalk port in my MegaSTe but unfortunately nothing seems to have been adapted for it so a proper network adapter with rj45 connector would be excellent.

An easy way (as in just plug it in) to upgrade to 14mb would be great too.

ppera

Postby ppera » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:24 pm

PaulB wrote:A quad TOS switcher is a great idea. Compatible to every game ever made for the ST series.
SD or CF in my opinion is more a personal choice but with me, I'm happy using a 6gb 2.5" hard drive that makes hardly any noise. People haven't been using them with Atari's that long but I can't help but wonder about the long term complications with solid state rewritable media.
...
An easy way (as in just plug it in) to upgrade to 14mb would be great too.


Are there TOS 1.xx versions relocated to run from address $E00000 ? Cos' we have ROM at that address in STE - otherwise additional electronic is required to map ROM on $FC0000.

CF has advantage that is IDE compatible - as I said, may use many more than CF with its IF. SD is only cheaper (and slower).
Long term complications? I had 'short term complications' with many hard disks. Lack of mechanical parts may be good not only for less noise :D
Btw. for some better cards they give 5 years warranty.

I don't think that there is easy way for 14MB upgrade.

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Postby PaulB » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:42 pm

ppera wrote:Are there TOS 1.xx versions relocated to run from address $E00000 ? Cos' we have ROM at that address in STE - otherwise additional electronic is required to map ROM on $FC0000.


I have no idea mate. I just specified that I would like that kind of thing. If it won't work on a MegaSTE then obviously I can't use one. However I have an STF, STFM and a few normal STE's so maybe it will work on one of them.

With SD I've heard that they are good for 1000 writes. As no-one has had their Satandisk for too long, who knows what problems may arise next year when their SD cards are older and well used. I think CF is better. As you say, it is IDE compatible pin for pin but as it's early days yet no-one knows what the long-term problems may be as no-one has used them long-term yet.

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Postby Zenichiro » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:53 pm

The reason I wanted a hard drive and a CF/SD reader is I understand any kind of flash memory is going to be fairly slow compared to a hard drive, so I was going to use a large capacity card as a permanent image/software repository that I could copy to the hard drive as required.

I also thought TOS 1.4 was ok for an STE? I was thinking 1.4/Kaos, 1.62, 2.06 and MagiC.

Also, it would be great if there was a way to replace TOS with a flashable board so you didn't have to open up the STE to try out a different version.

If it was possible to get all the colours on screen at once, it would be nice to add the 32K colour hack from the hardware hacks site too. Would there be any way to do that in the same way that Spectrum 512 works?

Integrating some hardware like the ultimate ripper would be useful on the dream list too.

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Postby Zenichiro » Wed Oct 24, 2007 5:57 pm

Oh, a couple of other things I wanted - I'll buy a set of those replacement rubber parts that go under the keyboard contacts. Supposed to really improve the responce.

I'm sure it's impossible but I'd really love to get a replacement case made too. The original ST shape, just a transparent 'crystal' type.

Couldn't see that ever being remotely economical though.

ppera

Postby ppera » Thu Oct 25, 2007 12:11 pm

Actually, there is a simple way to make TOS 1.xx to run on STE from ROM.
Since we already have programs for load different TOS versions into RAM, where relocation is also requred, it can be done fast. At least for TOS 1.00 and 1.04 (with my SelTOS). I asked just because expected that someone maybe did it already.

Additionally, I think that all it has not much sense - as I saw, on STE TOS 1.00 and TOS 1.04 work not (so may expect that TOS 1.02 will not too.
Only 1.06 and 2.05/6 will work on STE.

I bought 4 pieces of 4Mbit Flash EPROMS, what means that I can have Quad TOS versions in 2 STE machine. But had no time to put it in machines with required top address switches. Maybe in next couple weeks... Just to be sure in incompability 100%. I planned some experimenting and patching TOS 2.06 in fact, not to force game compability.

Flash cards: modern cards are more than enough fast for Atari machines:

1GB SD card (Kingston) has speed over 3 Mbytes/sec in read and write (with cheap card reader on PC). Compact Flash Sandisk of 2 GB has 12 MBytes/sec on PC in read and over 5 MB/sec in write. Such high speeds aren't possible on ST(E) machines. But near 1.8 MB/sec is possible, and I have it on ST(E), even with 128 MB CF card.
Don't be confused with Satandisks low speed - it is it's designs failure.
Actually, Flash cards are faster on ST than any hard disk - because of lower access time (no moving parts). Look speed tests on my site, and will see that access time by Flash may be under 1msec, while by hard disks it is over 10 msec. Higher transfer rates of hard drives (up to 100MBytes/sec) mean nothing by ST, which is limited to 2MB/sec because of slow bus.

It is true that Flash has limited count of write cycles, but value of 1000 stays for cheap cards. Since we mostly do read of datas, and much less writing, I expect that for many years I will not go close to 1000 writes on (some areas of) card.

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Postby beeka » Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:10 pm

PaulB wrote:With SD I've heard that they are good for 1000 writes. As no-one has had their Satandisk for too long, who knows what problems may arise next year when their SD cards are older and well used. I think CF is better. As you say, it is IDE compatible pin for pin but as it's early days yet no-one knows what the long-term problems may be as no-one has used them long-term yet.


I thought 1000 writes was for media like CD-RW and that flash was several orders of magnatude higher. Still, it's not a like-for-like replacement for hard drives. I would probably resort to a RAM disk for temporary storage if I was re-writing a lot (e.g. compilation).

Fitting both HDD and SD/CF internally would be ideal, but I think space would be tight in an ST case. Unless the floppy is ditched :-) - or maybe replace with one of those floppy drives with built in card reader? Wiring one of those ports to a satandisk is probably beyond my soldering skillz.

Maybe if I go for Plan B and recase an ST... I would then have room and could fit Zip / CDROM too.

Zenichiro wrote:Would it be possible to use a floptical drive as an alternative to a High-density floppy? Would there be any way to make this accessible as drive A?


Finding such a device would be tricky and seems overkill just to read high-density disks. Using the 21mb floptical disks for transfer to a PC would require two drives and sourcing several disks. :-) Also, it somehow feels too retro - even for a twenty-year old machine.

I like the crystal case idea... :idea: chrome plate the internal sheilding and submit it to the Turner prize for art.

Steve.

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Postby ijor » Tue Dec 11, 2007 5:41 pm

beeka wrote:
PaulB wrote:With SD I've heard that they are good for 1000 writes. As no-one has had their Satandisk for too long, who knows what problems may arise next year when their SD cards are older and well used...

I thought 1000 writes was for media like CD-RW and that flash was several orders of magnatude higher.


Of course!

Paul, where you got the idea that a SD is limited to 1000 writes ??? Could you imagine how many digital camera users already wrote much more than 1000 writes!

Flash cards are as reliable or more, than magnetic media. You are likely to hit the lifetime dead of your hard disk long before you reach the write/erase limit of your flash card.

Since long ago that flash cards are extremely smart. They have a feature called "wear-leveling". They don't write always to the same flash sector even if you try. Otherwise the FAT sectors would wear out much sooner. So they keep records on how many times you wrote to a specific sector (or group of sectors), and "move" it to a different flash area as needed.

Some people made a test writing constantly to the same sector using different data on each pass. They kept writing and verifying for days using an ad-hoc software. I don't know hay many writes that would be, but certainly a lot. Verification never failed.

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Postby Desty » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:11 am

Even on a crappy old USB stick I got about 4 years ago, the docs specified minimum "guaranteed" writes before failure would be more in the millions or higher.

I dunno where you got 1,000 from... if that was the case, the directory entry table writes would soon destroy the thing. People seem to misunderstand the technology - it isn't really so fragile.
tá'n poc ar buile!

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Postby Shockwav3 » Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:56 am

1000 is definitely way too low.
Numbers I've seen range between 100.000 and a few millions. Combined with what Ijor said, I have doubts you're ever gonna hit that ammount when you use the media for data storage (RAMDisks might be another thing).

Can I haz hardware?

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Postby PaulB » Wed Dec 12, 2007 4:07 pm

As I said, I read it in an article somewhere on the web. Who knows where it was now as I was just surfing one day and stumbled upon it.


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