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[7]: Slow?
by JLF65 on Wed 20th Jul 2011 21:31 UTC 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

RE[8]: Slow?
by zima on Fri 22nd Jul 2011 23:58 in reply to "RE[7]: Slow?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Cassettes never really ceased to be a standard till the very end of the 8-bit machines, in the few "lesser" markets I'm familiar with (so probably at least in most of them); much more expensive than the computers, hence hardly available (I've never even seen, life, a C64 floppy drive of any kind, my only sort of contact was with a desktop C128 my cousin got cheaply only after 95, I believe; I remember how one kid out of our bunch once found a mysterious looking 5.25" floppy somewhere, and boasted about finding a "hard disk", how HDDs are literally virtually always called in my language). Floppies, in 3.5" form, arrived en masse only with the popularity of Amiga (most typically A600 BTW)

Think of it as a bit distinct world. For another example: there was essentially no 16-bit era of consoles. Dendy / Pegasus NES clones were the standard way into the times when PS1 became viable, closer to the PS2 premiere than to its own.

But it seems we essentially say the same, and it's possible that C64 was sort of "better" long term with cassettes in practice, in such circumstances. "Turbo cartridge" was essentially always bundled with the C64, and software (games mostly, obviously) was available virtually only in the form of cracked "mixtapes" in the format of turbo cartridges (copyright didn't even apply at my place to software until 93, I believe). As I said, not so with Ataris for some reason - maybe partly due to their fragmentation? (vs. strong monolithic "ecosystem" of C64 for quite a few years, well into the 90s; heck, I bought mine only in the 90s...)

In fact, I managed to dig out just now a PL turbo cartridge, it was still almost under my desk ;) (and the tapes; with c64 in tha garage, it was probably irreperably destroyed by failing power supply; though I intend to try hooking it up to PC PSU one day)

The buddy I mentioned got rid of Atari earlier, so supposedly C64 was the better keeper, one way or another... probably one of "early" examples of (regional at the time, without internet) network effects / "ecosystem"

Edited 2011-07-23 00:05 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1