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Garbled graphics on a 520ST / Satandisk

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 8:56 pm
by icecreamjonsey
Hi everybody,

I’m a total newb with the Atari ST. I bought a 520ST last year and a Satandisk shortly thereafter. I finally had a chance to plug them in and take a look.

I grabbed that “1GB.rar” image and wrote the image file. The 520ST booted up just fine with the Satandisk. Aces!

I tried three games on the HD from the Satandisk: Another World, Arkanoid and Lode Runner. All three started, but displayed garbled graphics. As if they were trying to display a resolution my monitor couldn’t do. (It’s an 80s-era monitor…. don’t have it in front of me, but seems pretty standard.)

Being that I am coming from a point of pure ignorance with the ST, I guess my questions are:

1) I know the 520ST has 512KB of RAM. So it’s possible that it simply can’t run those games or many others. Is that what’s going on here?

2) Is there any sort of list of compatibility out there for the 520ST?

3) For all I know this is common with ST games in certain configs.

Has anyone else encountered this?

Re: Garbled graphics on a 520ST / Satandisk

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:21 pm
by CiH
To start the ball rolling.

Lack of RAM may be a factor. If you're using a base machine with 512 KB, you've only really got something like 384 KB when booting to a GEM desktop. A lot of these games autobooted from floppy drive back in the day which bypassed that particular overhead.

Also, what hard disk driver are you using, as that will almost certainly be taking an additional chunk of memory.

So in conclusion, your 512 KB compatible game may be coming up short on memory.

I think the general advice is for a hard drive, Satandisk, or UltraSatan to be useful, you're looking at a minimum of 1 MB, so it looks like a RAM upgrade might be needed.

Re: Garbled graphics on a 520ST / Satandisk

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:43 pm
by icecreamjonsey
Thanks, CiH! I really appreciate it. I grew up with a PCjr and have acquired various old computers, like an Amiga and Atari 800, but I'm a blank slate when it comes to the ST. :)

Re: Garbled graphics on a 520ST / Satandisk

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:43 am
by AtariZoll
There are many ways to check how much RAM your machine really have. You should see it even at start of mentioned games.
I guess that your Atari has 1MB min, otherwise games wouldn't even start. Here talking about hard disk fixed games, where 1MB is minimum normally.
It may be some failure in machine, appearing at specific conditions. or that monitor can not 50 or 60 Hz refresh rate. Most of games there will run at 50 Hz refresh rate. Are you from USA ?
I suggest to you that try more games from that 1GB.img , look what writes right after start - then will see your RAM size.

Re: Garbled graphics on a 520ST / Satandisk

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 2:02 pm
by icecreamjonsey
AtariZoll wrote:There are many ways to check how much RAM your machine really have. You should see it even at start of mentioned games.
I guess that your Atari has 1MB min, otherwise games wouldn't even start. Here talking about hard disk fixed games, where 1MB is minimum normally.
It may be some failure in machine, appearing at specific conditions. or that monitor can not 50 or 60 Hz refresh rate. Most of games there will run at 50 Hz refresh rate. Are you from USA ?
I suggest to you that try more games from that 1GB.img , look what writes right after start - then will see your RAM size.


Hi, AtariZoll! Thank you so much for your reply.

Yeah, I am from the US. I tried a few other games last night. I saw that when clicking on various TOSs to start games, I would be told that the game needed 512KB and the ST had 1MB of RAM. I did get the title screen for one game, Annihilator, to come up. But then, after hitting the space bar, everything turned black, which is the behavior I saw with the other games. (The difference being that there would be garbled graphics initially for the others.)

I'll keep investigating, looks like from a hardware perspective, everything is working correctly. :)