The Falcon's confusing history

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dhedberg
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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby dhedberg » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:33 pm

calimero wrote:From Zarchos link (http://www.obsolete-tears.com/anecdotes ... er-67.html) Google translated:
Thierry about a discussion between Duval (Mr. en dev atari), Thierry and Rudolph ... to end the show Microphone & Co of 92 (or 91);
---------------------------
He spoke especially us a detail that I thought hype at the time and that proved true after several overlapping: the first version of sparrow / FX1 were equipped with a chip video much better than the crap which ended on falcon, including a chunk mode 256 colors, it was still too inconsistent with the old modes video and mostly incompatible with the atari habits (plans instead of chunk), so it was replaced with a super 8 mode unusable plans.
Notice we fared well, one could also have a true color fashion
16 shots! He also talked about the microbox which was to be full 32bit finally he talked about so much good stuff ... to sort

so there was once a 8bit chunk mode, no wonder than there are trace of it in TOS! :)

Unbelievable! They had an 8-bit chunky mode and replaced it with an 8-bit planar mode? 8O
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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby mikro » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:11 pm

Btw, TOS4 source code is a nice read as well. There used to be an ST+ machine, hardware-wise very similar to the STPad. In the beginning of 1992, ST+ had became Sparrow. What is interesting is that this ST+ wasn't meant to be Sparrow, its _MCH was 0x00010001, i.e. better than the STE, worse then the ST Book/Mega STE.

The code also explicitly mentions the Dallas team working on the Sparrow.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby Gaiyan » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:51 pm

The ST+ did exist as a normal ST model though: http://www.heimcomputer.de/english/comp/520stplus.html
Image

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby czietz » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:58 pm

Let me expand on this:

  • The _MCH cookie 0x00010001 was meant for the never released STPAD.
  • In internal Atari documents, the term STPLUS is sometimes used as a synonym for everything better than an ST, e.g. STe, MegaSTe.
  • There was however an STe-PLUS -- unreleased, though prototypes were built -- with a _MCH cookie of 0x00010008. This had an internal IDE interface and an additional 286 CPU to be able to run MS-DOS as well. I recovered its PCB layout sometime ago.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby mikro » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:11 pm

czietz wrote:In internal Atari documents, the term STPLUS is sometimes used as a synonym for everything better than an ST, e.g. STe, MegaSTe.

According to the code, only to some extent. There are various explicit comments about differentiating Mega STE and STPLUS for instance, same goes for STE vs. STPLUS. So at one point STPLUS used to be just an ST followup. Then later in the 90s they had unified most of the code base, perhaps when STPAD and STPLUS became equal. For instance the STPLUS covered in the source has IDE, colour capabilities similar to TT and yet it's not TT.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby czietz » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:30 pm

mikro wrote:For instance the STPLUS covered in the source has IDE, colour capabilities similar to TT and yet it's not TT.


Could you please point me to the file (and line of code) where you found this? I remember this differently.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby mikro » Thu Aug 24, 2017 1:55 pm

czietz wrote:Could you please point me to the file (and line of code) where you found this? I remember this differently.

I guess the most useful is BIOS/STARTUP.S but re-reading it again makes me think that maybe you're right.

Code: Select all

* Revision 2.88  1992/02/12  01:31:40  apratt
* ci -u '-mAdded SPARROW, removed STPLUS.'

Hinting that the STPLUS had became the Sparrow.

Code: Select all

Revision 2.64  91/03/27  12:37:43  apratt
* Added STPAD: mostly, this is STPLUS

Hinting that the STPLUS used be an ST becoming the STPAD

STARTUP.S:2309:

Code: Select all

* distinguish STPLUS from Mega STe by using ttscu1: if bus error,
* it's STPLUS, else it's Mega STe.


STARTUP.S:2320:

Code: Select all

* Get here on bus error touching ttscu1 -- we're not a Mega STe.
* Probe for the IDE bus; if there, we're STe-PLUS, else STe.

This could actually hint what you have said -- that STPLUS is just a future ST, in this case STE or STE+ (the one with IDE and PC emulator, yes)

STARTUP.S:2343

Code: Select all

* OK, the CPU, VDO, and MCH cookies are set.  TT and STPLUS have
* configuration switches.  Set that cookie and use the high bit to set _SND
* and _FDC cookies.

What STE has DIP switches? Only MegaSTE and TT which are treated separately.

STARTUP.S:3281

Code: Select all

* Begin code which checks the ROM CRC's for consistency.  STPLUS has two
* one-megabit (128K) chips, and TT has four one-megabit chips.

256K ROM hinting an STE, yes.

STARTUP.S:5115

Code: Select all

ffmask:   and.w   #$0fff,d0      ; STPLUS/TT have other dirty bits

Can relate to either STE-like graphics or TT-like graphics.

My conclusion from all of this is therefore that STPLUS used to be STE, then STPAD and at last Sparrow. The great unification means that all TOS ROMs contained code for IDE, hard to say whether there was a machine other than STE+ with IDE support until the Sparrow.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby troed » Thu Aug 24, 2017 3:59 pm

mikro wrote:What STE has DIP switches?


All of them. Atari just didn't populate the pads with an actual physical switch.

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby dhedberg » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:27 pm

Interesting. Where can I find more info on these switches/pads for the different models? Anyone who knows?
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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby troed » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:37 pm

dhedberg wrote:Interesting. Where can I find more info on these switches/pads for the different models? Anyone who knows?


E6 = 1.44MB format option in GEM

High res motherboard image: https://troed.ddns.net/f/bb991575ab6c42c4b074/

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Re: The Falcon's confusing history

Postby mikro » Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:27 am

As found on the Facebook, it seems this "real" TT-based Falcon was supposed to have support for CD-I and get released in mid-1992:

21740332_10214493637717384_2264448479430442212_n.jpg

21740101_10214493637757385_6170953992080449354_n.jpg

Perhaps somewhere around 1992 they realised that CD-I is dead and went ahead with the Sparrow.
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