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Article #220 (376 is last):
>Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.news
From: aj205@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Kevin Steele)
Subject: Quick ST 2.1 News
Date: Sun May 27 17:25:08 1990



Quick ST 2.1 and Quick ST 2.1G
==============================

Price: $19.95 US, $22.95 Cnd, some dealers may sell for less.

By Darek Mihocka. Copyright (C) 1990 Branch Always Software.

Release date: May 25, 1990.

    Branch Always Software
    Box 2624, Station B     \
    Kitchener, Ontario      - new address this summer!
    Canada    N2H 6N2       /

    Compuserve: 73657,2714
    GEnie: DAREKM

Quick ST 2.1 is the latest upgrade to the Quick ST II screen accelerator.
The utility has only one purpose in life, and that is to make your ST
run as fast as possible without requiring any hardware modifications.
This is done by replacing those parts of TOS that draw text and graphics
to the screen with machine language code that is many times faster. The
result is that most text and GEM based programs run noticably faster.
Some screen drawing functions are made so efficient with Quick ST, that
they are even faster than on a hardware accelerated ST, or even a TT!

So after investing $1000 or more in your ST system doesn't it make sense
to invest another $20 to exploit the full power of the 68000 chip?

Features
--------

Quick ST 2.1 is functionally identical to Quick ST 2.0, providing such
features as:

    - acceleration of GEM text, window updates, zoom boxes, rectangle fills,
      and other VDI functions of GEM

    - acceleration of VT52 text output and scrolling

    - support of custom desktop backgrounds and fonts

    - built-in Moniterm and Overscan support

It is fully compatible with the Desktop Customizer program (that comes
bundled with Quick ST 2.0) for editing the desktop background.

Quick ST 2.0 has received some great reviews and praise after less than
3 months on the market. Just read through any recent ST magazine. But
Quick ST 2.0 had room for improvement, and so Quick ST 2.1 was developed.

One of the things that was totally rewritten in Quick ST 2.1 was GEM text
support. This is the type of text that appears in desktop windows,
menu bars, dialog boxes, file selectors, and almost any other GEM objects.
This text is drawn using a function in GEM called "v_gtext". Just about
every GEM based application uses v_gtext, usually a lot. Word processors,
spreadsheets, custom file selectors, terminal programs, editors, are just
some GEM applications that use v_gtext.

v_gtext draws not only the standard desktop font, but also the small 6x6
font, and GDOS fonts. (Contrary to popular belief, it is not GDOS itself
that draws GDOS fonts to the screen). Unfortunately, Quick ST 2.0 and all
earlier versions only supported the desktop font and no other. Therefore,
Quick ST 2.0 was not very effective with programs that used other sizes
of fonts. Our users complained about that, so..... (guess what folks!)

Here are new features of Quick ST 2.1:

    - faster GEM text support, including 6x6 font, system font, and GDOS
      fonts. All calls to v_gtext are now significantly faster. Programs
      that use GDOS fonts, such as Microsoft Write or Word Flair, will
      have much faster screen updates. Fonts such as 10 point Dutch or
      Swiss are drawn up to 5 times faster, so GDOS based word processors
      will now run as fast as non-GDOS based word processors such as
      First Word or Word Writer. But those weren't forgotten either.
      Drawing of the standard font was also sped up, so that non-GDOS based
      applications like First Word or Word Writer will also run quite a
      bit faster than with Quick ST 2.0, even if your machine already has
      a blitter chip. The 6x6 font support is now many times faster, so
      programs like Universal Item Selector III or C-Breeze, which use the
      6x6 font, will now have much faster screen updates.

    - fast text attributes, such as bold, italic, outline, etc. Not all
      software draws plain text. A lot of word processors support text
      effects, and GEM usually chokes on these. Quick ST 2.1 makes bold,
      underlined, and italic text almost as fast as plain text. Without
      Quick ST 2.1, GEM becomes 2 or 3 times slower when doing text effects.

    - faster VT52 text (Bconout and Cconws functions). These are the
      plain and simple text routines used by .TOS and .TTP programs.

    - faster overall performance, including a smaller speed drop when using
      other AUTO folder programs and desk accessories. So pile up those
      custom file selectors and RAM disks and mouse accelerators, because
      the performance of Quick ST 2.1 will not be affected as much.

    - faster low resolution GEM support. 

    - improved use of the blitter chip. On the Mega ST and STe, GEM text
      and rectangles will be drawn up to twice as fast, on top of the
      already fast speed of Quick ST 2.1.

Some minor bugs from version 2.0 are also fixed:

    - the Hotwire 2.0 menu was not being redrawn properly

    - crossed out objects in resource files were missing the white 'X'

    - Pagestream displayed phantom characters on screen when printing

Quick ST 2.1 is still compatible with other AUTO folder programs that
install custom desktop backgrounds. By default, Quick ST 2.1 now uses the
normal desktop background, which can be changed with the Desktop Customizer.
Quick ST 2.0 came configured with a tiled desktop pattern, and this blew
away many people's minds, which is why we've gone back to the normal
desktop.

Memory requirements
-------------------

All these new features cannot be put in without increasing the memory
requirements of Quick ST.  While Quick ST 2.0 required only 20K of RAM
in either color or monochrome, Quick ST 2.1 requires 24K.

That is why a special version of Quick ST was created called Quick ST 2.1G.
The G means that it is primarily meant to speed up GDOS and GEM, and not
VT52 text. The G version is also a "no frills" version, not having support
for the Moniterm or custom backgrounds. As a result, it requires only
16K of RAM. 2.1G still runs faster than Quick ST 2.0 and uses less memory.

Availability
------------

So how does one get a hold of Quick ST 2.1 or 2.1G? Easy. If you already
own Quick ST 2.0, call Compuserve or GEnie and download the patch program
for updating your Quick ST 2.0 disk to a Quick ST 2.1 disk. The files that
are up in the Atari ST download libraries of Compuserve and GEnie are as
follows:

    on Compuserve:

        QST21.ARC  - this file

        QST21U.ARC - patch program to convert Quick ST 2.0 to 2.1/2.1G

    on GEnie:

        QST21NEW.ARC - this file

        QST21UPD.ARC - patch program to convert Quick ST 2.0 to 2.1/2.1G

In addition to these two files, other files containing various benchmark
results of Quick ST 2.1 will be posted. The benchmark results were
compiled by several beta testers who tested it with all sorts of hardware
configurations and application programs, and some of the results are
shocking! Standard Quick Index results are also included.

If you do not have access to Compuserve or GEnie, these patch programs
will become available on bulletin boards and will also appear on some
magazine disks (such as Atari Interface Magazine's disk of the month).

If you do not yet own Quick ST 2.0, it is available for $19.95 or less
from almost all Atari ST dealers in the United States. If your dealer
does not have it or is sold out, there are a number of mail order dealers
that advertize in magazines such as START or ST Informer who do carry
Quick ST 2.0. Usually they also have toll free 1-800 order lines and can
have the product to you in a few days. Then simply download the patch
programs. Flipping through the latest Current Notes, I see one dealer
carrying Quick ST 2.0 for $14.

If you live in Canada, Quick ST 2.0 is available at dealers everywhere,
for about $22.95 or less. The first shipments of Quick ST 2.1 have
started going out to dealers in Canada and the U.S. The new packages are
clearly labeled with "2.1" on the front and back.

Whether you buy 2.0 and patch it to 2.1, or if you wait until you can buy
Quick ST 2.1, you will get the exact same files, so don't wait!

As always, I will continue my never ending visits of Atari user groups.
This Monday, May 28, 1990, I will be at one of my favorite user groups, the
Toronto Atari Federation (the guys that put on that amazing show last month)
and Quick ST 2.1 will be on sale at Users Convention prices!

We're moving!
-------------

Summer is approaching, and that means vacation time. It also means moving
time. Please do not attempt to place orders directly with Branch Always
Software during the month of July, because Branch Always Software is
moving. A new business address and telephone number will be posted as soon
as it is available. The old mailing address will be valid until October,
when the lease on the current post office box expires, and mail will be
forwarded to the new address.

More updates
------------

Except in the case of someone discovering a really bad problem with
Quick ST 2.1, there will be no updates of Quick ST during the summer.
Some of the features that will be worked on in that time will be things
like 68020/68030 support (for TT compatibility and comptibility with any
68030 accelerator boards that may appear), improved low resolution
speed (which is not quite up to par with the medium resolution speed),
and making Quick ST faster overall. That's right. Quick ST can still be
made to run a lot faster if it were to use more memory. We have tried to
limit the size of Quick ST to below 25K, but many users have indicated that
they would be willing to give up another 20K or 50K or even 100K of memory
to get the maximum possible speed out of Quick ST. With the price of RAM
dropping and more and more people upgrading their ST to 2 meg or 4 meg, this
is now something that is being seriously considered.

When such updates are available, they will be announced on Compuserve and
GEnie. We invite GEnie users to drop by the Quick ST II topic in Category
2 Topic 13, and give us your comments or questions about Quick ST.

Branch Always Software will have a booth at this year's WAACE show, and it
would not be all too surprising if the next Quick ST update was released
at the show. See you all in October!

-- 


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