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Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info
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Author:  classics [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:07 am ]
Post subject:  Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info

Development of an Atari 5200 version of the popular Ultimate SD Cartridge for ColecoVision is well under way.

Here is a video showing the state of the device as of about a month ago:

Here are the basic hardware specs, which are pretty similar to the Colecovision version:

Basic Hardware

  • 50 MIPS CPU with high speed SD Interface, internal ram and flash memory for cartridge settings.
  • FAT32, FAT16, SD and SDHC Support, no practical limits on number of games stored on each card.
  • 512KBytes of SRAM (Expands 5200 available RAM from 16k to 512k)
  • 128KBytes of Non-Volatile Block Flash for Diagnostic/Boot ROM/Additional Storage/etc
  • Cartridge boot time, from power on to FAT32 display is less than two seconds, with plain English diagnostic messages in case of boot failures.
  • Cartridge load time for most ROM images is less than one second.
  • Read/Write access to all 512KB+ of memory for games using the new Hybrid bank switching mode.
  • CPU firmware, cartridge boot rom, cartridge hardware logic and menu software are all fully upgradable from the SD card.

Basic Menu Operation

  • Cartridge is able to automatically read and display files present on your FAT or FAT32 formatted SD card.
  • Menus are created 'on the fly' from the directory structure with optional full or limited long filename sorting.
  • No special menu creation or other PC loading software required.
  • This means no dependence on Windows drivers or software, you can create and load your card from any operating system that can read/write a FAT32 or FAT16 formatted SD or MMC memory card.
  • Menu software (and 5200 programs, using the API) can read and parse plain text INI files for specifying advanced ROM settings or for storing user data in plain text.

Media Compatibility

  • SD, SDHC, and MMC Card Media
  • FAT16 and FAT32 Filesystem (with full long filename support)

More Device Specs

  • Supports all currently active cartridge formats, including BBSB, and Mega-Cart games (MULE).
  • BIOS bypass mode, start any game without the title delay. This is on by default, but can be disabled in the configuration menu.
  • One button display of manuals and images from menu for game under cursor.
  • Manual display supports ASCII text, image display currently supports Micro-Illustrator and Koala (Micro-Painter) images.
  • New 512KB Hybrid Bank Switching mode allowing new games/applications full Read/Write access to 512KB of RAM. Even the largest 8-bit computer games can now be ported to the 5200.
  • Programmer API for accessing cartridge services at run time. Easy fopen/fclose type API for reading/writing files, or use block load/save operations. All API functions have C wrappers for use with CC65.
  • Programmer API will effectively allow creation of games of true unlimited size, as game banks, level data, save game data, etc can all be dynamically loaded from and saved to SD card in microseconds while the game is running.
  • Cartridge system software loaded dynamically from SD card at power on.

Author:  classics [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info

Status as of 12/23/2010

Beta testers have the current prototype in hand for play testing.

If everything continues to go well a final prototype, another round of final testing, and then a production run will follow in the next month or two.

There is a thread at AtariAge about this as well: ... ct-update/


Author:  Stephen [ Thu Dec 23, 2010 4:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info

This looks great!

Author:  CRTGAMER [ Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info

Just bought the Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cart. I have owned my Atari 5200 for decades having bought the four port brand new back in the day. Looking forward to trying out all the Atari 8 bit computer conversions!

Author:  CRTGAMER [ Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Atari 5200 Ultimate SD Cartridge - Development Info

The Cart came in back in September, finally posted this Reply.

All games easily installed to SD Card without need of any specialty PC drivers; a much better route vs a flash cart. I set the games to multiple folders keeping the original names that include info such as XL conversion and dates game produced. I created another folder for all games verified working renaming them to just the actual game title. The SD Cart Manual recommended keeping a folder under 100 files and turn off directory alphabetical sorting if a huge list. I saw no issue, my directory is at 135 files and loads quick with the directory sort enabled. Perhaps the shortened file names to just game titles speeded up the sort process?

Thank you for still supporting the Atari Max 5200 Ultimate SD cart! Though a niche customer base, the cart is the best way to discover so many obscure homebrews and converted from Atari computer games. Anyone who owns or might eventually buy an Atari 5200 console really should buy this cart today!

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