Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 17th Jul 2011 12:01 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems "Back in the 80s, the Commodore C-64 had an intelligent floppy drive, the 1541, i.e. an external unit that had its own CPU and everything. The C-64 would send commands to the drive which in turn would then execute them on its own, reading files, and such, then send the data to the C-64, all over a propriatory serial cable. The manual for the 1541 mentioned, besides the commands for reading and writing files, that one would read and write to its internal memory space. Even more exciting was that one could download 6502 code into the drive's memory and have it executed there. This got me hooked and I wanted to play with that - execute code on the drive. Of course, there was no documention on what code could be executed there, and which functions it could use." Very interesting. I'm most interested in how he describes others taking his work, and making it better. This would be impossible today, thanks to Microsoft, Apple, and other patent trolls.
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RE[5]: Slow?
by JLF65 on Mon 18th Jul 2011 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Slow?"
JLF65
Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, the Atari was VERY robust with their cassette. It used FSK for the data, and was immune to almost any problem. I could pound my A410 on a wall during loading and it wouldn't miss a bit. ;) The REALLY cool thing about the Atari cassette is they used a stereo cassette, where one channel carried data (in FSK format as mentioned), while the other channel was mixing with the computer audio. This allowed educational cassettes to talk to the user while loading data from the cassette.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Slow?
by zima on Tue 19th Jul 2011 02:26 in reply to "RE[5]: Slow?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Hm, weird. It's not merely something what I remember, "do not breathe" is the stuff of legends :p (maybe largely due to how this was happening with cheap late small Atari models and their peripherals, the ones which were fairly standard in "lesser" markets at the time when few places were already basically waaay post-A500; it seems that such markets were possibly served even by sub-standard machines, judging from few snippets at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_8-bit_family#Tramiel_era:_XE_ser... )

And my buddy who had both (small Atari and c64, no case of "holy war" ;p ) seems to remember the c64 tapes as faster (though not being sure of it; plus, "turbo" cartridges and tapes were standard for c64 while I don't think it was the case with Atari). Floppy would be obviously faster than that.

Edited 2011-07-19 02:33 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Slow?
by JLF65 on Wed 20th Jul 2011 21:31 in reply to "RE[6]: Slow?"
JLF65 Member since:
2005-07-06

That's possible - the later hardware wasn't as good as the earlier stuff. My A410 was and still is a rock. The ONLY problem I've ever heard with the early cassette is the motor belt eventually wears out... like on all cassettes that use a belt. However, those early cassettes could use almost anything to replace the belt. I've seen people who used a rubber band as a replacement belt.

Atari might have skimped on the XL or XE model of the cassette, probably because they felt everyone would be using the floppy drive by that point. Unless you have some of those old cassettes, there certainly wasn't a financial reason to go with a cassette over a floppy. Back when I first got my A400, there was - a cassette was cheap while the floppies were more than the computer itself!

As to speed, I could load 16KB off my cassette in less than half the time my C64 (yes, I have a couple) could load 8KB from floppy (normal loader). The fast loader did load faster than the Atari cassette, but not by much, and couldn't begin to approach the normal speed of the Atari floppy. It was the ONE biggest complaint I had about the C64.

Edited 2011-07-20 21:34 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2