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Article #59 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: Ultra Speed Plus / Operating System / commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Date: Fri Jun  5 22:01:39 1992


Reprinted from Atari Interface, Vol. 4, May 1992


A-T-A-R-I
Answers, Tips and Relevent Information


Ultra Speed Plus
----------------

Paul Alhart (AFED)

     One of the most cherished things we have is time.  It 
seems we never have enough of it, so whenever something 
comes along that promises to helps us save time we jump at 
it.  Be truthful now, why else would you have bought that 
super-duper dicer/slicer Veg-O-Matic that is stored over the 
refrigerator?  OK, but that microwave oven sure is a time 
saver.
     Well, in the computer world where time is measured in 
microseconds, faster is definitely better.  After all, a big 
selling point of any computer is how it will help you get 
organized and save you lots of time.
     Sooner or later though, time seems to lose its 
relevency.  Two minutes to do a former 30 minute job seems 
much too long if the same task can be done in one minute.  
This is the main reason I was anxious to try out the Ultra 
Speed Plus from CSS.
     US+ is designed to be installed in an 800XL or 130XE 
computer and gives you three different operating systems 
(O/S) that are switch selectable.  (More on those later.)
     Installation requires some soldering, but the 
instructions and diagrams are clear and easy to follow.  
Installation takes about an hour from start to system 
checkout.  If you don't feel at ease inside your computer, 
CSS offers free installation for this, as well as any of 
their other products.
     As mentioned above, the US+ has three switch-selectable 
operating systems.  Following is a description of each.
     XL-FIX Plus--This O/S makes your XL think it is a 
400/800.  This eliminates need for Translator programs and 
still allows you to use a RAMdisk on machines with extended 
memory.  A Binary file loader is built in, the key repeat 
rate has been speeded up, and the effect of the Option key 
has been reversed when booting.  (Hold down the Option key 
to enable BASIC.)
     Standard XL/XE--This O/S is the same as what is in your 
computer now.
     Ultra Speed Plus--This O/S gives your computer more 
speed in several ways.  Disk I/O is about three times faster 
than normal when used with XF551 drives or modified drives 
like Happy (810/1050) or Super Archiver, US Doubler, Klone, 
Duplicator or Density Doubler (all 1050 mods).  The key 
repeat rate has been increased for faster editing.  The 
Fastchip math routines have also been included for faster 
and more accurate floating point math which increases 
program execution speed.
     Although the speed is what sold me, US+ has many more 
great virtues.  Any one of them could be a good enough 
reason to purchase US+.  Some of them are:
     
     A built-in RAMdisk handler allows a RAMdisk to be used
         with any DOS
     Several functions such as key click, background color,
         screen DMA, I/O sound and more can be toggled via
         the keyboard
     Drive numbers can be reassigned using a drive
         configuration menu, so you can boot from any
         floppy, or even from your RAMdisk
     Cold Boot without losing RAMdisk contents, even if the
         system is locked up
     A sector copier is included that uses no program memory
     The OPTION key is reversed during boot.  (Hold down
         OPTION to enable BASIC)
     
     So what do I think of US+?  I couldn't live without it.  
I get this warm feeling whenever I hear my programs loading 
in at Hyper-Speed.  My wife thought the faster I/O sound was 
the phone ringing.  Although it's still not as fast as hard 
disk, it sure is a lot more affordable.
     I have used the drive configuration menu to make my 
RAMdisk Drive #1.  That way, I can run programs out of 
RAMdisk that only support one or two drives.  You may not 
associate this with speed, but it is a real time saver.  I 
copied AtariWriter's dictionary to RAMdisk, made the RAMdisk 
Drive #2, and watched it _fly_ through documents as it 
checked my spelling.
     another time saving use is with disk/sector editors.  I 
can search or scan a whole disk in seconds if it is first 
copied to RAMdisk.  Making the RAMdisk Drive #1 allows me to 
cold boot from the RAMdisk to verify my changes.  I then can 
set any other drive to be Drive #1. reboot any DOS with my 
RAMdisk still intact, and copy the RAMdisk back to floppy.  
All this copying may sound time consuming, but it isn't with 
US+ fast I/O.
     I have found no compatibility problems with any XL/XE 
software using US+.  However, the original XL/XE operating 
system is always just a switch click away just in case.
     CSS claims that, with US+, powering down to recover 
from a lock up is a thing of the past.  So far, I have 
proved tham right.  No matter how bad I freeze up my system, 
pressing HELP/RESET always initiates a cold boot without 
erasing my RAMdisk or clearing any extended program memory.
     Is there anything I would change?  Sure, but only out 
of personal preference.  both the XL-FIX and US+ operating 
systems reverse the effect of the OPTION key at boot up, 
while the standard XL/XE O/S does not.  To avoid confusion, 
I would make them all the same.  Since I will probably spend 
99 percent of my time using only the US+ O/S with all its 
neat features and speed anyway, forget I mentioned it.
     Try it, you'll like it.
     
     Ultra Speed Plus $69.95
     Computer Software Systems
     PO Box 17660
     Rochester, NY 14617
     (716) 429-5639
     
-- 
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
     BITNET: currentm%carleton.edu@{interbit} / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700





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