With 4KB of Random-Access Memory (RAM), the Apple 2 had a rough start. True, this was comfy in 1977. For example, my SHAPR PC-1211, once powered up, had only 1.2 KB of memory to store programs and data. Of course, over time, the amount of standard memory shipped with the Apples increased. My Platinum has 128KB of RAM, which is enough to run most of the applications. But, since I am pimping the machine, I decided to go all-in and built a 4MB expansion card.
I choose the ReActiveMicro RAMWorks III v1.2. I used this same kit in the past with my Apple //e enhanced, so I am in known territory. RAM expansion was a profitable business, and over the years, many manufacturers proposed various models and capacities. Besides Apple itself, Applied Engineering, AST, Microsoft, Omega Microware, or Q-RAMS are just a few of them. I attached a few press clipping from the era. So, what can you do with all this memory?
First, write software that uses the memory, generally in assembler, a nontrivial task reserved for the hardcore nerds. Although, in the ‘80s, it was expected that the user writes its SW. Thus, the extra memory was used via applications and utilities. For example, the ProDOS or Pascal OSes, applications like AppleWorks, used the memory as RAM disk or printer buffers. It is really with the Apple 2GS that these cards shined, especially with the nascent graphic environments. Pimping checklist: Memory … check. Next item on the list: graphics! Stay tuned.
3 thoughts on “Pimp my Apple II – Memory”
I’m actually somewhat surprised to see an FPGA on a memory board. Wouldn’t some 74xxx logic or dedicated address decoder be still cheaper?
It is great to read you again Norbert, hope you are doing well. Yeah, that would certainly work. I think that for simplicity – maybe upgradability – and by modern standards, this approach is cheaper than the classic 74xxx based one. Also, this card is supposed to support all existing AE daughterboards such as RGB, etc.
Yes, still alive (and still enjoying your blog). 🙂
Regarding universal support of AE daughterboards – now this makes sense.