talking to a friend earlier today about data transfer rate of the Commodore and Atari tape recorders and disk drives both in native mode (i.e. no turbo, software or hardware added, etc.), I thought I could find technical information about the several peripherals transfer rates in order to make a slight comparison between the two systems.
Here's what I've found so far. Of course the real objective here is to calculate how much time Commodore users used to have (reading magazines, preparing a tea/coffee/chocolate cups, etc.) MORE than Atari users WHEN loading an average 30-40KB game from tape or disk drive). ;-)
We're not considering multi-load games, intros, outros, cracking loaders, modified loaders and software/hardware mods. Only factory data rates for each peripheral type or model.
Atari Tape: 600 bps (bits per second) - valid for 410, 1010, XC12 models Atari Disk Drive: 19200 bps (Atari 1050), 38400 (Atari XF551 only with SpartaDOS X, SuperDOS 5.1, TurboDOS, DOS XE, and "patched" SpartaDOS 3.2)
CBM Tape: 300 bps (Datassette and compatibles) - or was it really 150 bps because of the program being stored two times on a tape? CBM Disk Drive: 2400 bps (C1541, C1541-II)
I'm pretty sure that Brenski, Baktra, 8BitBaz and many others here in Atari Sector can help me getting more precise figures and average realistic rates. As many of you, I only recall that the time to load a game was a bit like "eternity" and sometimes you can even get a terrific "?LOAD ERROR" at the end instead of the starting screen of your beloved game... Of course I'm talking about the C64, which was my first computer. What about you as kids loading from Atari tape and/or disk drive?
This can also be expanded to "turbo" modes for tapes and disk drives. It could be also interesting to extend this little research to other micros (Oric, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, etc.).
I knew the Commodore disk drive was slow, in fact I just commented on it on AA in a Xenophobe thread because there is a C64 video linked there that apparently has you wait through all the disk loading, and I almost felt like it was loading from Atari tape drive! But I had no idea! only 2400bps!!! Don't T2000 and Rambit Atari tape drive upgrades even destroy that speed? Equally surprising is that C64 tape drives are half the baud rate of Atari tape drives! I'd always heard Atari tapes were the slowest!
I would definitely be interested in seeing speed comparison between different tape and disk drive upgrades between both systems and among themselves. I'm curious to see if C64 upgrades and stuff like Fastloader cart speed upgrades even reach the bottom Atari speeds?
I'm sorry to true C64 fans, but the more all-around details and spec figures I learn about the C64, the more and more it seems the Atari 8-bits are way out of it's league, over all, like a next generation even though it came out the generation before!!! (compared to C64). And that's saying something to me personally since after researching most of the other 8-bit systems to see what else I might like to own and start collecting for, I came to the conclusion that only the C64 and *maybe* Adam computers were the only other 8-bits out there that could even begin to come close to what I expect from my Atari 8-bits!
It's strange that it's taken 33 years and an active Atari community long after the 8-bit era for me to begin to see in just how many ways (tons) the 8-bit Atari just destroyed all other 8-bit computers in capabilities over-all with only minor exceptions to the rule from other 8-bits. With all the great ports we are continuing to get from the home-brew community over software from other 8-bits, namely C64, BBC and Spectrum, any desire for me to delve into owning any other 8-bit computer becomes less and less and less...What a bloody brilliant decision I made 33 years ago choosing my first Atari over all other brands, so brilliant it's taken me 33 years to slowly discover just how brilliant I was with my choice!