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Article #71 (74 is last):
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: 1088K / hardware
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Date: Sat Oct 24 17:46:53 1992

Reprinted from Z*Magazine #208

     The Newell 1088K
     Review by Jeff McWilliams
     Before acquiring a 1 meg plus 800XL, with memory busting out of the
     seams everywhere, my 800XL had a RAMBO XL 256K upgrade in it.  I was
     happy with it because along with that I owned an ICD 1 meg MIO board. 
     My main storage media are 720K 3.5" disks, via the Innovative Concepts
     modification for my single XF551 disk drive.  The 1 meg RAMdisk in the
     MIO was important to me, because without it, it was very difficult to
     back up those 720K disks with only one drive.  A special sector copier
     would have been okay if I had wanted to do sector copies, but such was
     usually not the case.  By backing up the disks file by file, not only
     would I get an emergency back up of the disk, but the new disk was
     also unsegmented.  That meant that unlike the original which could
     have files scattered in pieces all over the disk, the backup has each
     file stored one right after the other.  This helps to increase the
     disk access speed, because the disk drive doesn't spend all its time
     searching the different sections of the disk looking for the file. 
     Some people wouldn't bother with worrying about disk segmentation
     unless it were on hard disk where things can really get messed up. 
     Call me finicky.  Onto the Newell 1088K...  When I deciced to install
     the Turbo816 16 bit card into my 800XL, I discovered my 800XL no
     longer liked talking to the MIO.  There are some problems with the
     Parallel Bus after wiring in the T816 upgrade.  Determined to stick
     with the new 16 bit processor, I decided to dump the MIO, and sent my
     800XL to Newell  Industries to have them install the 1088K upgrade
     they offer.
     The board measures approximately 3.5" by 2 3/4".  A little smaller
     than those 720K floppies.  The board holds the 8 1 meg RAM chips, plus
     8 logic chips.  There is a small cable attached to the board that
     plugs into the first 64K RAM chip socket on the computer.  The 64K RAM
     chip is moved onto a socket on the Newell board.  In addition are two
     14 conductor ribbon cables connected to the Newell board.  These
     attach to various sites on the 800XL motherboard as well.  That's
     about 28 connections to wire.  I'm not the greatest on keeping my
     wiring straight, which is why I had Newell Industries wire in the
     upgrade for me.  There are three variations to the wiring that will
     give you different degrees of compatibility with the 130XE.  Mine is
     wired so that both the CPU and ANTIC chip can see the extra memory. 
     In exchange, my internal BASIC is now wired to a toggle switch; it's
     no longer software selectable.
     The Newell 1088K package comes with a modified version of MYDOS,
     version 4.5 M1.  This version allows the access of 1 full megabyte of
     RAMDISK.  It also contains a sector copying program that utilizes all
     that memory to copy up a 720K disk in a single pass.
     If you're a SpartaDOS fan, you'll be pleased to know that there is 1
     meg ramdisk driver on GEnie that will work with SpartaDOS 3.2d and the
     Newell 1088K upgrade.  SpartaDOS X automatically recognizes the extra
     memory, and will report 64 banks free when the "MEM" command is
     entered at the DOS prompt.

     There are a few problems that I've encountered using the Newell 1088K.
     Most seem to center around the use of the SpartaDOS X cartridge.  The
     first problem occurs upon booting up the computer.  Often it will fail
     to boot properly, and you have to power down and try again.  I've also
     encountered frequent lock-ups when trying to format a disk using the
     "FORMAT" commmand of SpartaDOS X.  Let me just repeat what I said
     earlier about my 800XL though.  It has a Turbo816 board installed into
     it.  In addition, it also has a Transkey keyboard interface which
     allows me to type on this really nice Northgate keyboard.  That's
     quite a bit of hardware wired into one computer.  I can't prove the
     Newell 1088K is causing the problems, although they didn't happen when
     the RAMBO XL was in its place.  It could be a mixture of the Turbo816
     and the Newell 1088K that is causing the problem.  Remember the MIO
     that didn't like the T816?  Currently, I'm not willing to try removing
     the Turbo816 to find out which upgrade may be the culprit.  I'd have
     more luck fixing a wristwatch with a cutting torch than I would
     digging into my computer with a soldering iron.  I do plan on talking
     to both Newell Industries and Dataque Software, maker of the T816
     board, to see if there may be a conflict between the two upgrades I
     have in the computer.
     I am glad I have the 1088K.  There are a few kinks here and there; 
     otherwise it works as promised.  Just after I got the computer up and
     running I decided to back up my main SpartaDOS X work disk, which
     contains that endless list of .COM files half of which I hardly ever
     use.  I found six files which were bad due to errors on the disk. 
     Luckily those were on an older backup, so I restored them promptly
     after fixing the bad disk.
     The Newell 1088K is available for the 130XE, the 1200XL, the 800XL,
     and 65XE.  To my knowledge, it is the only commercially available
     1088K upgrade for the Atari 8 bits.  I also believe it is the only
     upgrade that will take a 1200XL beyond 256K.  If you're still not
     satisfied with 1088K, with slight modification you can install 4 meg
     RAMS into the Newell 1088K and have a 4096K monster.  For the price of
     the 4 meg DRAM chips though, you'd be better off purchasing a hard
     drive setup if possible on your system.  That would depend on which
     model computer you have.  The 1088K cost me $49.95.  Installation cost
     $40.00.  You can supply your own 1 meg DRAMS or have Newell Industries
     supply them.  Call for current prices on the RAM chips.  Newell
     Industries, P.O. Box 253, Wylie, TX, 75098.  Phone 214-442-6612.

Press  !
         Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp
Carleton College, Northfield, MN, USA / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
      Internet: / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700

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