Newbie - Disk interface

Helpful tips and guides, also new users can ask for help here.
Jornaclaude
ROM Dongle
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:29 pm

Newbie - Disk interface

Postby Jornaclaude » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:57 pm

Greetings to all,
I open this topic to ask for your opinions on a disk interface for my QL.

I have recently owned one of these units and wanted to provide it with a disk interface.
My QL has the two microdrives that seem to work, but I don't have cartridge to test them.
I understand, however, that they are not at all reliable (they were not even new) and so I'm looking for something better.
In my research, I'm evaluating two units: the Tetroid disk Interface with CF and the Qbide (wich I'll complete with a ide2CF module), both for sale on SellMyRetro.
The first one would be the most complete but, it has a slightly high cost.
The second is cheap and comes in a kit to be mounted (which would also give me more fun).

I would like to hear your opinions to help me with this choice.
Thank you

Jornaclaude


User avatar
dilwyn
Mr QL
Posts: 1324
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 10:39 pm
Location: Wales
Contact:

Re: Newbie - Disk interface

Postby dilwyn » Thu Mar 01, 2018 9:54 am

Jornaclaude wrote:Greetings to all,
I open this topic to ask for your opinions on a disk interface for my QL.

I have recently owned one of these units and wanted to provide it with a disk interface.
My QL has the two microdrives that seem to work, but I don't have cartridge to test them.
I understand, however, that they are not at all reliable (they were not even new) and so I'm looking for something better.
In my research, I'm evaluating two units: the Tetroid disk Interface with CF and the Qbide (wich I'll complete with a ide2CF module), both for sale on SellMyRetro.
The first one would be the most complete but, it has a slightly high cost.
The second is cheap and comes in a kit to be mounted (which would also give me more fun).

I would like to hear your opinions to help me with this choice.
Thank you

Jornaclaude

Either add-on will improve your QL considerably.

One thing to bear in mind is expansion RAM. Without more RAM than the 128KB built in, storage interfaces will take some of that RAM for its own data structures and reduce even further the 128KB, especially if you configure several partitions on the storage media.

The QL-SD manual says, for example:

If you are tight on memory, do not be tempted to choose a file system too large - you may end up with an unusable system because all your precious memory might be used up by the QL-SD driver for copies of the drive map and buffers.

For an unexpanded QL, the manual suggests that a file system size of 3MB seems to be the optimum working setup leaving just about enough free memory to be able to do at least some sensible work with it.

There was a variant of the Qubide interface with RAM expansion on board, anyone know if this is still available?

There are users who use Qubide and QL-SD with unexpanded memory systems, it would be interesting and helpful to hear of their experiences.


Dilwyn
All things QL: see www.dilwyn.me.uk
Jornaclaude
ROM Dongle
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:29 pm

Re: Newbie - Disk interface

Postby Jornaclaude » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:53 am

dilwyn wrote:Either add-on will improve your QL considerably.

One thing to bear in mind is expansion RAM. Without more RAM than the 128KB built in, storage interfaces will take some of that RAM for its own data structures and reduce even further the 128KB, especially if you configure several partitions on the storage media.


You are right!
And I forgot to mention that the two interfaces are inclusive of ram expansion.
The QubIDE has an additional 512k, while the Tetroid has 768K.

I am very oriented for the QubIDE maybe in conjunction with an IDE2CF adapter (which I already have).
However, I would like to know some opinions of use by other users.
Thank you

Jornaclaude


RWAP
RWAP Master
Posts: 2461
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: Stone, United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Newbie - Disk interface

Postby RWAP » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:01 pm

Personally, I prefer the Tetroid interface, because of three main reasons:

a) The built in floppy disk interface helps to make it much easier to transfer programs across on floppy disk. I have never used the tools to write directly to the QubIDE formatted SD cards so can't comment on how good these are. I know someone in Spain wrote a good PC utility to do this, but am not sure how well it copes with the headers on executable files. I also have most of my programs stored ready for use in q-emulator, which can write to QL floppy disks; and of course I still sell software on floppy disk, so I need access to a QL floppy disk drive.

b) The 768K memory - as Dilwyn said, any amount of extra memory for the QL is good - the more the better in my opinion, depending on how you intend using the QL. If you are going to only use one 128K program at a time, then because of the slave blocks used for accessing files; you may still need at least 128K extra memory on your QL in order to have enough to run the programs. I have only ever come across one program (an early Frogger by T Day) which did not work with any extended memory.

c) Toolkit II is built in. This is essential for a wide number of programs. You can however, also put it onto an EPROM cartidge, or might have it bundled with your QL ROM, or even load it in from disk / SD card. The only difference between loading it from disk or having it built into a chip, is the network improvements (File server mainly) do not work if loaded from disk, because of timing issues.

Choice also depends upon your budget and whether you might consider at some point getting extra memory and/or an "accelerator" - eg, a Gold Card (with 2MB+68000 chip), Super Gold Card (4Mb + 68020 chip), or Dave Park's recently announced 4MB memory interface. If you are considering these, then you also have to think about the availablility of a through connector - which some QubIDEs have but not others.

Dave Park's forthcoming memory interface will have a through connector (I understand) and should also work with either QubIDE or the Tetroid interface (because Tetroid added a jumper to disable its extra memory).


User avatar
Pr0f
Gold Card
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:54 am

Re: Newbie - Disk interface

Postby Pr0f » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:03 pm

I built one of the Qubide diy boards recently - was quite straightforward and a nice kit. It came with a very recent ROM version (Qubata drivers) and the upgraded GAL's so all in all a good unit.

Have only limted experience of it in use...



Return to “Help for New Users”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests