Sunday 8 July 2018

TFW8b Value - VIC20 MAX RAM Cartridge

This is an old post, preserved for reference.
The products and services mentioned within are no longer available.

We have recently released the Penultimate+ cartridge, an update to the popular Penultimate Cartridge, adding more ROM titles and a graphical user interface. As with any release, there is an inevitable small number of comments that it is too expensive, or doesn't need feature X or has too much Y etc.
In answer to that, we have created the TFW8b everyday value, no frills, basics range. This will be a range of products that feature none of the usual TFW8b bells and whistles, just a plain product to do the job, at a discount price, for people who like that sort of thing.
To kick off the range, I have designed a simple RAM cartridge for the VIC20. That's it, a RAM cartridge. No buttons, no DIP switches, no LEDs, no game ROMs, no graphical menu. Just a RAM cartridge, but a nice one.
Plug it into your VIC20 and switch on, and you will see a menu (very much in the style of the original Penultimate Cartridge). From this you can select how much RAM to add to your VIC20. The four unshifted function keys give the most popular RAM configurations.

  • f1 - 0K, unexpanded VIC20
  • f3 - 3K, 3K RAM in block 0
  • f5 - 8K, 8K RAM in block 1
  • f7 - 35K, 3K RAM in block 0, 4x8K RAM in blocks 1,2,3 and 5

The shifted function keys give a further four RAM configurations

  • f2 - 16K, 2x8K RAM in blocks 1 and 2
  • f4 - 24K, 3x8K RAM in blocks 1, 2 and 3
  • f6 - 27K, 3K RAM in block 0, 3x8K RAM in blocks 1,2 and 3
  • f8 - 32K, 4x8K RAM in blocks 1,2,3 and 5

Once the RAM is selected, the VIC20 will be booted and will continue with the amount of RAM selected until the power is removed. As ever, BASIC does not count all the RAM, so the maximum you should ever see is 28159 bytes free, but the RAM in block 5 (and block 0 when there is RAM elsewhere) can be used for assembler programs or ROM images etc.
At this stage we are not planning to include a printed sleeve, but you can download and print your own. Here is an artist's impression of how it could look.
The VIC Max RAM cartridge is available to order now from The Future Was 8 bit webstore.