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New Apple II Accelerator board


rpiguy9907
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I saw an article about a new accelerator to boost the Apple II to 16mhz. What would you do with a 16mhz Apple II?

 

It is not like the Amiga where faster models were introduced over time and applications were written to take advantage of them.

 

I personally find projects like these cool, and I want one even though I have no reason to have it, but still what can you do with it?

 

http://finapple.hho.fi/finapple/index.php/2017/06/15/im-going-fast-with-fastchip-e/

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An accelerator doesn't make tons of sense in a gaming context. Unless you're playing Akalabeth and you want to speed up the maddeningly slow drawing. :-) Jorma makes an interesting point in his article that you can actually use it to slow a game down that is moving too fast for you (though that would also slow down the controls, which might be just as maddening). Otherwise, for any other compute-intensive operation under the sun - it makes tons of sense. I/O on the Apple II is famously tied to 1MHz CPU speed, but any other task benefits: word processing, database, whatever. Even disk transfers are zippier because data still has to move around internally... it'll be 1MHz coming off the floppy and out the serial port, but it'll be 16MHz for any other thing going on (compression/decompression, screen updates, ...).

 

BITD, folks used AppleWorks to get real work done on an Apple II. It drove tons of sales of memory expansion cards and accelerators because it gave you more room to do your work and made that work go faster.

 

Plus, the dial is so cool.

Edited by david__schmidt
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The IIc+ was clocked at 4MHz, and the IIgs was clocked at about 3MHz, so it's not like Apple didn't sell machines faster than 1MHz.

There have even been 16MHz accelerators for the IIgs, but those were user modded and they didn't come from the factory that fast.

It doesn't seem very practical when you compare it to modern PCs or even vs machines like the Raspberry Pi.
But someone wanting to use the previously mentioned applications would certainly benefit from it.
If you want to write a custom application yourself, there's a lot less to learn on an Apple II that a modern machine.
At 16MHz, BASIC runs about as fast as assembly language does at 1MHz.
Apple Pascal would run even faster.

The dial has a certain gee whiz factor, but I think you'd be running it at 1MHz or 16MHz almost all the time.
For the games they mention on that page, I can see the need, even if it's only on rare occasions.

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The dial has a certain gee whiz factor, but I think you'd be running it at 1MHz or 16MHz almost all the time.

 

 

I know in applewin its got a slider for emulation speed, its either at stock speed, or full damn blast for me (depening on if I want to run a game or crunch something) never even looked in between

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I know in applewin its got a slider for emulation speed, its either at stock speed, or full damn blast for me (depening on if I want to run a game or crunch something) never even looked in between

The only time I use a speed other than standard or max on any emulator, is when I'm comparing relative performance between my code on different CPUs/machines.

That's a pretty unique situation and I certainly don't need it on actual hardware.

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I have a number of 2, 5, and 10 line basic graphic animations. Spirals, swirlies, bessel curve ripples, lissajous patterns, demo style if you will. The faster and more precise I can tune them the cooler they look. So a variable accelerator'd be awesome. Applewin has this to an extent with the slider.

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There are definitely even 8 bit games on the II that run maddeningly slowly. It always seemed that way even at the time.

 

That said, I usually keep my IIGS set to 1mhz by default, because the number of games helped by acceleration is a lot smaller than the number of games that go nuts and become too fast to be playable. So having a 16mhz 8 bit CPU would be kind of a specialized thing these days. You'd really need to be using some kind of application that needs all the speed you can get, or one of the few games that would benefit from that speed.

 

I've been waiting for a new 16 bit accelerator card for the IIGS, because that would be a useful thing even for IIGS games. But I guess the market's too small for that.

 

I'd honestly still consider buying this. $150 isn't that much even for something to just play around with. I mean, it'd probably finally make Flight Simulator II run acceptably!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a Laser 128EX back around late 1987 and remember how it had a 3-speed processor - 1,2 & 3 MHz. John Elway's Quarterback was nearly unplayable in 1MHz mode (the mode it was programmed for), but in 3MHz mode it played nearly like the arcade game. However, I also remember I had to adjust the trim on the joystick anytime I put it into an accelerated mode. For some reason, the acceleration messed up the way the analog dials were read by the hardware. If the joystick was centered in 1MHz mode (127,127 for x,y) it would end up jumping to 255,255 or 0,0, - not sure which way - which I'd compensate for using the Joystick ]['s trim dials... although I think I may have use a Suncom stick - it's been 30 years. Don't know if that's the case on a real Apple ][, but it's something I distinctly remember from the good ol' days.

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