M-Disk For Atari ST
George Miller, Assistant Technical Editor
Requirements: Atari ST computer with at least 512K RAM; extra RAM recommended.
Do you often find yourself wishing for extremely fast, temporary storage to supplement the floppy disk drive on your Atari ST? M-Disk, by MichTron, lets you set aside a portion of Random Access Memory (RAM) as a RAM disk. This area of memory is used like a disk drive, except it's much faster. By moving small, frequently used programs or data files into the RAM disk, you can speed up access and make disk-intensive programs run more efficiently. (Of course, you still have to copy the programs or files you want to save onto a real disk before ending the session because the RAM disk disappears when power is shut off.)
M-Disk is easy to use. Michtron's user manual, although small, is well-written. Installing the RAM disk is no problem. And since the ST's operating system (TOS) sees the RAM disk as just another floppy disk drive, transferring files from memory or floppy disk to the RAM disk is a snap.
With M-Disk, you can specify the size of the RAM disk in 12K blocks up to a maximum of 800K, if your ST has this much memory available. Using the standard 520ST with 512K RAM, you can set up a RAM disk of 84K, or 111K if no GEM desktop accessories are loaded.
However, some larger application programs can't be used with a 512K machine and M-Disk due to memory limitations. For instance, it was almost impossible to use M-Disk with ST BASIC because BASIC normally leaves only about 5K free to begin with. If Atari carries through with plans to put TOS in Read Only Memory (ROM), more than 200K RAM will be freed up for such purposes.
When TOS is available in ROM, or when you add more memory, M-Disk will become an indispensible accessory for your Atari ST.
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