Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 43 / DECEMBER 1983 / PAGE 10

Atari 800 Software For The 1400XL/1450XLD

I was thinking of trading my Atari 800 for the 1400XL or the 1450XLD, but would all the software for the 800 work in the 1400XL and/or in the 1450XLD? Or, would it be easier to just buy the CP/M module and the Atari expansion box for my 800?

I am looking for a disk drive for my Atari 800. I have seen the Atari 810 and the 1050, the RANA 1000, and the Percom disk drives. Which one would be the least expensive and still be a good choice?

Also, I would like to know if the Commodore 1701 Video Monitor would hook up to my Atari 800 through the monitor jack.

Shane McWilliams

Almost all BASIC programs and the majority of other programs will run just fine on the new XL computers. The Atari Operating System in ROM was designed so that future upgrades would be transparent to previous software, as long as that software followed certain rules. Some programs shortcut these rules, so they end up accessing routines that have moved elsewhere in the new XL computers. Atari has published a list of Atari programs that do not work properly on the new machines.

If you are only interested in CP/M, you do not need an XL computer (the CP/M module attaches via the serial port), but many future expansion cards will not work with non-XL Ataris (or the 1200XL).

All the third-party disk drive manufacturers offer certain features over the 810 disk drive, most noticeably price. The new so-called double-density Atari 1050 drive reduces the price gap, but some third-party drives offer twice the 90K storage of the 810, along with dual drives, LED consoles, and printer ports. As with computers, the decision is up to you.

Look at the drives critically and decide what features you want and need. You should make sure the drive offers total compatibility with Atari drives, so you can boot, read, and write disks prepared on an 810, such as commercial programs or a friend's disk. Most third-party drives deviate slightly from the 810 drives, but so do individual 810's from each other. Borrow several copies of disks prepared with an 810 and try them out on the unit in question. Warranties and service options are also crucial with this type of equipment. You cannot count on your authorized Atari service center to repair a third-party drive.

And, yes, you can use the Commodore 1701 Video Monitor with your Atari. As a matter of fact, you can even use the proprietary video enhancement circuit via the rear connections of the monitor. Just buy or wire a cable to correspond to the RCA jacks and the Atari monitor pinout (the Commodore 64 and the Atari monitor jacks are almost identical). You can also connect your Atari and 1701 with the cable that comes with the monitor. The monitor can also be used via the front connections with any computer that has composite video output, such as the TI-99/4A.