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What is the best single peripheral made for the Atari (past and present)?


ACML
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Back in the day, to me the ATR-8000 was the best peripheral I ever had.

1) Ran up to four drives DSDD 5.25" and DSHD (a1.2Mb 5.25" formatted as a 77 track 8").

2) Parallel printer interface.

3) RS-232 interface for modems

4) Printer buffer

5) Ran CP/M

 

Today for me its the SIO2SD.

1) Every piece of software under the sun in box a little bigger than a pack of cigarettes.

2) Can emulate 4-8 drives

3) Any density up 16Mb

4) No 8lb disk drive and 4lb power brick.

5) No 5.25" floppies. Saves a lot on money.

6) Connects to any stock machine

 

 

 

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Atari 1050. While it's certainly not perfect (and outclassed by many 3rd party drives -- I now use my Rana 1000s when I use a physical drive) -- it was the peripheral that changed my use of my 800 from a cartridge-based game machine to a multi-use system.

 

Runner-up: SX-212. The best and cheapest telecommunications package (with SX Express) for the A8 in the late 80s.

 

Now: SIO2SD, of course!

Edited by davidcalgary29
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IDE Plus 2.

 

SIO2SD is all well and good but the best you can expect with turbo SIO speeds is in the order of about 10K/second. And the problem with turbo SIO is you need a custom OS or Dos or loader.

 

IDE+2 speed is mainly constrained by what the CPU is otherwise doing, what DMA demands are going on. So on a bad day you might get 23 K/second, on a good one over 50.

 

And thanks to the architecture of the XL OS it can be almost seamlessly integrated into the sytem with no program support needed beyond the firmware on the device which is resident and has no clash with existing firmware.

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When I got my Atari 800XL in 1984 it was just the computer without any peripherals. My brother typed in several listings and we played them, but as soon as the computer was switched off, everything was gone...

 

Best peripheral for me in the 80s: Atari 1010 data-recorder (made in Japan, orange sticker) - better than no save option at all.

Best peripheral for me in the 90s: Atari 1050 floppy drive with Turbo 1050 or Speedy 1050 enhancement.

Best peripheral for me in the 2ks: SIO2PC on a DOS-PC, connected to the A8 (still use it very often)

 

Best peripheral for me nowadays: The Ultimate Cart for ROM/CAR and XEX files, SIO2SD/PC for ATR images. Both peripherals work with SD cards instead of disks. (SIO2USB by Abbuc-RAF is also very good for ATR images and works with USB-stick.)

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I'm with Mathy on the BlackBox!. It's so amazing that CSS had to put an exclamation point in the name. Of course they did that with all their products. Still...

 

The only modern equipment I have is the SIO2USB, so my favorite by default. I do like it, though.

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1) APE with Atarimax USB interface -- so multi-faceted.

2) IDE+2

3) 1050 w/Happy or Super Archiver

 

Edit: I really need to add a number 4) MyIde-II -- does so many things very well; the "Swiss army knife" of cartridges.

 

-Larry

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There was no "best" single peripheral. At a minimum most people needed a good disk drive and a printer -- plus joysticks -- and you wouldn't want to live without any of them. It also doesn't make much sense to say, "my joystick is better than your disk drive", does it?

 

These days it's even more difficult to define -- at least for those who are still into the older peripherals too -- because not only is there all the old stuff you could afford back in the day, but now everything that was unaffordable is now typically, entirely affordable (except for a selection of more rare items). If you add in all the new great gadgets, that's one big slew of devices.

 

I'd also wager that way fewer Ataris were hooked up to real monitors back in the day -- simply because using your TV with RF was good enough. These days I'd say the majority are hooked up to either a good CRT monitor or an LCD (with something greater than RF). So... another item...

Edited by MrFish
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I guess my response should be clarified as "most life changing peripheral" would have to be the XM301 modem combined with 1030 express.. The SX212 didn't come till MUCH later.. But I can honestly say that being given a modem to use with my atari and the exploration and trouble i got in as a result defined my profession and I owe everything about what I do professionally to that simple purchase/gift and the years ramping up knowledge thereafter..

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I

 

Back in the day, to me the ATR-8000 was the best peripheral I ever had.

1) Ran up to four drives DSDD 5.25" and DSHD (a1.2Mb 5.25" formatted as a 77 track 8").

2) Parallel printer interface.

3) RS-232 interface for modems

4) Printer buffer

5) Ran CP/M

 

Today for me its the SIO2SD.

1) Every piece of software under the sun in box a little bigger than a pack of cigarettes.

2) Can emulate 4-8 drives

3) Any density up 16Mb

4) No 8lb disk drive and 4lb power brick.

5) No 5.25" floppies. Saves a lot on money.

6) Connects to any stock machine

 

 

 

don't know about the "best" but the SIO2PC/USB I think is the most important Peripheral we've gotten post 8-bit era. And subsequently the SIO2SD or cartridge port only IDE devices that use memory cards. All enable the easiest transfer of all those 8-bit titles from Internet download to copy to SD or CF card and into your SIO or IDE device of choice for mass storage and near instant access on a real Atari. Before I got my first SIO2PC device about 10 years ago, I was still installing 5.25" floppy drives into my PC's, just so I could use some special software to write ATR's back to disk, one floppy at a time. And by the same token, I never could afford an ICD MIO board or Black Box back in the day to get HDD, or today as they are still rare and expensive. Plus, now I have a 1200XL anyway, so no PBI/ECI and the SiDE 2 or MyIDE 2.0 only need a cartridge port and a memory card!

Edited by Gunstar
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I'd have to agree that SIO2PC was the best peripheral for the Atari past or present.

 

Today we take for granted that we can download disk images from an online repository, copy them to an SD card or mount them via APE, and load them into a real Atari, but when Nick Kennedy introduced SIO2PC in the early 90s it was a revelation, and I believe had a major impact on the Atari community's ability to share abandonware and keep interest in the platform going.

 

Beyond that probably the Atari disk drives. They were fast, reliable and opened up a world of opportunities not available to tape and ROM based users. The TRS CoCo needed a quirky cartridge adapter-interface to use disks, the TI needed an expensive expansion box, the Apple was insanely expensive and the Commodore 1541 was as slow as using tape. But the Atari design, including the best of breed Indus GT, was simple, quick and plug and play.

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For me the best peripheral was easily the Multi I/O. Having a hard drive and persistent ramdisk was a game-changer. I really wish the MIO had brought the planned 80 column capability too though... this was really the one missing thing for me (XEP-80 wan't good enough).

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Well, I did make my own Nick Kennedy SIO2pc.. that I am still using today.. so I would have to +1 on that vote. I would agree that the ability to eliminate a lot of the magnetic media was huge back then - that being said.. I dont want to think of the amount of floppies I simply loaded into the tip around 94. :woozy:

 

I now have built my 8-bit back up.. and the one thing I did not have back in the 90s and we do now is APE.. which really turns an SIO2pc interface and an old useless pc that could run windows into a Blackbox or MIO.. I have my PC laptop with Teamviewer on it. The old T40 has teamviewer and APE running.. tucked away lid closed.. and I can access the desktop with my PC or the ATARI software and change and access disks. my current lazer printer, the NET, using telnet etc.. Sorry for the pitch.. but I really like APE. :thumbsup:

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