Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

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Symoon
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Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:40 am

Hi all,

I'm requesting your help on a few things, here's the (long) story.
About 10-12 years ago I bought a secondhand Mega STE (4MB, hard drive), hoping to use it to transfer disks faster than my good old ST, thanks to the faster serial port (I was using MSA / Ghostlink then).
Reality is that I never had time for this, so the Mega STE remained on a shelf.
Then came SaTanDisk (eternal respect), which made the Ghostlink and need for a fast serial port thing a bit obsolete.

I recently decided to sell the Mega STE, and plugged it back to check it was still working. 1st reaction was "oh yes I'll sell it, how noisy it is!".
But by trying to restore the system CPX for the next owner, I found that some games were adapted for 16mHz option (Damocles runs faster!), that it was possible to change the fan for a silent one and so on... And found it interesing again... Knowing that I got hooked only because for the 1st time in 10 years I could spend a day off to play with it!

So now, I wonder again if I should sell it (and keep the 520 STE with 4MB / UltraSaTan)... As I'm the only person that can answer this in the end, all I'm not going to ask you is a list of questions that maybe you can help me answering. Thanks!

1/ new programs
I saw two websites with patched games for Mega STE:
http://atari.8bitchip.info/fromhd.php
http://d-bug.mooo.com/
=> it's already amazing, but are there other websites with specific Mega STE content like these ones?

2/ usage compared to 520 STE
I mainly keep my STEs because I hope some day to use Cubase / Synthworks M1 (got the originals) with my M3-R expander. Would such programs run significantly better on Mega STE than a 4MB Atari 520 STE, or is it more or less the same? (had no time to test/compare)

3/ fan noise
Anyone actually replaced the Mega STE fan by a new silent one? Was it easy for a non-soldering guy? (seems so according to a website, but any feedback welcome)

4/ fan
Can it be simply removed or is it hazardous? What is it there for: a chip, the hard drive, power supply? (I hate noisy computers but I don't want to kill any machine ;) )

5/ SaTanDisk
Can the Mega STE hard drive be removed for an internal SaTanDisk / UltraSaTan? This question includes: can the required items (UltraSaTan, adapters, ...) be easily bought nowadays? (I already bought HDDriver)

6/ Disk transfer to PC
What's today's best tools for this (software/hardware), can the be easily found/bought, is a Mega STE better than a simple STE for this?

7/ opinion
knowing that I'll probably at best only use it once or twice a year, do you think I should sell the Mega STE?

Phew, thanks for reading all this! :coffe:
I know many of the questions are probably already answered here or there, I'll keep searching but if you guys can provide fast pointers, answers or experience feedback, that would be much appreciated ;)
Thanks! :cheers:

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby jvas » Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:51 am

1. Games, that work on an STE will work on the MegaSTE too (99%, you can swith it to 8Mhz and can turn the caches off. The only difference is in the tos 1.6 vs 2.6).
2. Cubase welcomes the extra speed.
3-4. Replacing the fan is a pita. I wouldn't remove it completely. I don't like heat :) And depending on its type, the HDD can produce heat too.
5. The internal HDD can be removed completely. Ultrasatan has an internal version. Go for UltraSatan rather than Satan
6. With an ultrasatan it is solved: you can use the sdcard to transfer data
7. If I were you, I would keep the MegaSTE

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:38 am

Thanks for the reply!
Regarding 6/ I was wondering if MSA transfers is still the norm. I read people are using special hardware (kryoflux?) and wondered if it's a new standard (seomthing that could handle special protected formats), and could be easily bought?

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby joska » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:19 am

jvas wrote:1. Games, that work on an STE will work on the MegaSTE too (99%, you can swith it to 8Mhz and can turn the caches off. The only difference is in the tos 1.6 vs 2.6).


If you're playing originals and/or old cracks, TOS 2.06 will cause problems for a lot more than 1% of games.
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby 1st1 » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:15 am

For data transfer between your Mega STE (and any ST, TT, Falcon, etc) towards a modern machine running Windows, OSX (x86), Linux (x86, RaPi) you can use also parcp usb. It's quite fast and very simple to use (if you are familar using norton commander or one of it's clones).

https://joy.sophics.cz/parcp/parcp-usb.html
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:49 pm

Thanks for the pointers and replies guys ;)

Game compatibility is not a problem for me as I'll keep my 520 STE anyway. I was more looking for a maximum of Mega-STE enhanced / specific programs, or any advantage I could get wth the Mega STE compared to the 520/4MB.
And great, ParcpUSB, I had the special parallel cable long ago... I forgot they went USB, glad to see it's still updated!

Back to my question, I guess the main test will be using Cubase and Synthworks, and see if there's a real difference between the two machines.

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Frank B » Fri Mar 24, 2017 4:40 pm

The only real difference is the lack of extended joystick ports on the Mega. Very few games use them though!

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby leonard » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:00 pm

STe or MegaSTE, the "We Were @" demo ( http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=66702 ) will run the same, so you could do whatever you want :)
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby troed » Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:28 pm

Symoon wrote:3/ fan noise
Anyone actually replaced the Mega STE fan by a new silent one? Was it easy for a non-soldering guy? (seems so according to a website, but any feedback welcome)

4/ fan
Can it be simply removed or is it hazardous? What is it there for: a chip, the hard drive, power supply? (I hate noisy computers but I don't want to kill any machine ;) )


The Mega STE PSU needs its fan. Replacing it with a silent one is easy.

https://blog.troed.se/2016/07/14/mega-s ... -upgrades/

/Troed

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:44 am

Thanks once more for the feedback !
About the fan replacement, funny thing: links lead me to Dbug's Defence-Force pages, and I know Dbug, for about 20 years now... I totally forgot he had a Mega STE ;)

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby wongck » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:47 am

MegaSTE :thumbs:
I sold mine back in the 90s and now I wish I did not. :cry:
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Stefanken » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:29 pm

Hi,
For question number 5 I suggest to consider the scsi2sd option since ultrasatan with adapter for internal usage won't allow you to use the external acsi port animore (as I learnt from lotharek). My scsi2sd works great inside my mega ste and I still have the opportunity to use an external ultrasatan or cosmosex for transferring data from my pc
Cheers

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:26 pm

I replaced the fan in my TT with a same sized Noctua (famous for quiet fans) and used their included inline resistor pack to slow it down 50%.
It's virtually silent now. If I dremmeled out the hole to remove the thick grill bars it could be silent but that's irreversible so I won't.

The internal hard drive was louder than the fan though.
I replaced it with an internal Gigafile
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Estrayk » Thu Apr 13, 2017 4:01 pm

Hello, I changed time ago the noisy original fan by Noctua NF-A6x25. No more noise!

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby leech » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:34 pm

Nice, I have both a Mega STe and a TT030 (though the TT's fan doesn't seem all that noisy). I should swap out the fans there.

My original ST was a Mega STe, and it sadly is currently on it's deathbed, so I bought another one. It mostly just sits there though, since I have my UltraSatan hooked up to the TT and a lot of the patched games work on it (I've had better luck with it than my 1040STe I picked up a while back, weird, eh?)

For the first time the other night, I saw it in TT High as well, what a thing of beauty...

Back to the Mega STe. I had really good compatibility with it back in the day. Either I'd run a floppy based loader for TOS 1.4 for some of the stubborn games, or by default it boots with 8mhz and no cache, so the compatibility off the disk is really rather good.

I'd say probably 80% of everything will run fine, and probably a good 20% of software will take advantage of the 16mhz. I also would recommend getting one of the CPU boosters. I was going to do that, but since I already have a TT030 and Falcon, I haven't found the need.

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Mon May 01, 2017 9:18 am

Thanks all for the replies. It's good to read various experiences!

I just changed the fan, thanks to D-Bug's and Troed's excellent blogs. Amazing difference ;)

Thanks to Eero Tamminen, I now know I got a TOS 2.05. Stupid question: what's the difference with TOS 2.06?
So far I mainly found 2.06 fixes some serial speed bugs, and a Hi-res bug. Though it already seems interesting, is there more?

So next step will be TOS change I guess.
I'd love to get a 1.44 floppy drive but it seems more complicated (and parts hard to find).

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Mon May 01, 2017 11:43 am

Stefanken wrote:Hi,
For question number 5 I suggest to consider the scsi2sd option since ultrasatan with adapter for internal usage won't allow you to use the external acsi port animore (as I learnt from lotharek). My scsi2sd works great inside my mega ste and I still have the opportunity to use an external ultrasatan or cosmosex for transferring data from my pc
Cheers


Thanks. Actually something I should consider, as now the fan is almost silent, the internal hard drive is terribly noisy! (and I do have an external UltraSatan).
Is this the right one: http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/cat ... rrency=EUR

Did you manage to make it run easily, and with the UltraSatan? (read there are some conflicts)
Thanks!

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby AtariZoll » Mon May 01, 2017 12:26 pm

I don't see why someone would need beside UltraSatan (which has 2 SD card slots) some SCSItoSD adapter. You really need 3rd SD card slot ?
Not to mention that internal ACSI-SCSI adapter in Mega STE is limited to 1GB, and it may be even that will not work with that SCSItoSD adapter.
Yes, internal SCSI is noisy. But I removed mine mostly because it was no need for it. And I have modded adapter which can over 1GB. Have some working SCSI drives too, but they are just obsolete now. I mean they can serve, but just have no chance against some modern, Flash card based solution.
I'm here to discuss. To say what I think, share my experiences. That means not that I will not complain when someone claims that Moon is square. Will complain when someone jumps in without reading carefully what is written. Ah, and don't ask from me something you can self do easily - like search :D

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Mon May 01, 2017 1:09 pm

AtariZoll wrote:I don't see why someone would need beside UltraSatan (which has 2 SD card slots) some SCSItoSD adapter. You really need 3rd SD card slot ?

Two reasons here:
- I have both a 520STE and a Mega STE, and these machines could end up being distant from 130km.
- internal solution avoids an extra power supply

Ideally I would like to have the Mega STE with an internal, slient solution, that would allow me to bring from time to time the external Ultrasatan if I ever need to swap data with another machine (distant 520 STE or PC). Whatever the solution is.
Of course, if there is none, I'll have to forget the reason #2 and buy another external UltraSatan.

AtariZoll wrote:Not to mention that internal ACSI-SCSI adapter in Mega STE is limited to 1GB, and it may be even that will not work with that SCSItoSD adapter.
Yes, internal SCSI is noisy. But I removed mine mostly because it was no need for it. And I have modded adapter which can over 1GB. Have some working SCSI drives too, but they are just obsolete now. I mean they can serve, but just have no chance against some modern, Flash card based solution.

Ok thanks, so SCSItoSD is a risky alternative and limited in size... A bit discouraging indeed!
Last edited by Symoon on Mon May 01, 2017 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby leech » Mon May 01, 2017 2:45 pm

It is nice learning this now... way back when, I had boufht a 1.6gb SCSI drive, and try as I might, I could never get the thing to work in my Mega STe. It ended up being the beginning of me building my first Wintel box.

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby AtariZoll » Sat May 06, 2017 8:01 am

Symoon wrote:...
Ideally I would like to have the Mega STE with an internal, slient solution, that would allow me to bring from time to time the external Ultrasatan if I ever need to swap data with another machine (distant 520 STE or PC). Whatever the solution is.
Of course, if there is none, I'll have to forget the reason #2 and buy another external UltraSatan. ...
!

You can go on internal UltraSatan. With proper ID settings it can work together with another, external UtraSatan.
There are threads about how to solve internal UltraSatan. SCSI2SD will be not cheaper, and as said limited, + may be compatibility problems.
I'm here to discuss. To say what I think, share my experiences. That means not that I will not complain when someone claims that Moon is square. Will complain when someone jumps in without reading carefully what is written. Ah, and don't ask from me something you can self do easily - like search :D

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Symoon » Sat May 06, 2017 11:56 am

Thanks, I'll look in that direction then!

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Bama » Sat May 06, 2017 1:46 pm

FWIW, I have a SCSI2SD version 5, installed via internal Atari SCSI host adapter in my STacy. I believe it's the same as the MSTE. It is limited to 999meg. Set Parity to off and ID to 0. (And maybe remove the resistors???)

Anyhow, flawless and trouble free for more than a year. Firmware upgrades via USB.
:-)
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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Stefanken » Sun May 14, 2017 4:30 pm

Symoon wrote:
Stefanken wrote:Hi,
For question number 5 I suggest to consider the scsi2sd option since ultrasatan with adapter for internal usage won't allow you to use the external acsi port animore (as I learnt from lotharek). My scsi2sd works great inside my mega ste and I still have the opportunity to use an external ultrasatan or cosmosex for transferring data from my pc
Cheers


Thanks. Actually something I should consider, as now the fan is almost silent, the internal hard drive is terribly noisy! (and I do have an external UltraSatan).
Is this the right one: http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/cat ... rrency=EUR

Did you manage to make it run easily, and with the UltraSatan? (read there are some conflicts)
Thanks!


Yes that's it! I actually own the previous version but it definitely works with ultarastan (I use both drives to transfer file from ultrasatan to the internal scai2sd) with hddriver.

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Re: Dilemma: Mega STE or not Mega STE?

Postby Fujiyama » Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:55 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:I replaced the fan in my TT with a same sized Noctua (famous for quiet fans) and used their included inline resistor pack to slow it down 50%.
It's virtually silent now. If I dremmeled out the hole to remove the thick grill bars it could be silent but that's irreversible so I won't.

The internal hard drive was louder than the fan though.
I replaced it with an internal Gigafile


I've just changed the noisy PSU fan in my Mega STe with the said Noctua NF-A6x25 FLX and I virtually have a new machine now! It's a lot quieter, but of course not totally silent (like an ST/STe/SF/STFM). Then again I suppose the power supply (PSU) is a bigger one than in the ST series so the fan is there for a purpose.
Regarding those supplied resistor cables (NA-RC10 and NA-RC12) which slows down the fan -does anyone know just much cooling the MSTe PSU actually needs (as opposed to just guessing, or just trying to find the most silent option)?

One mistake I made was to exchange the 2-pin plug header from the Atari over to the fan, which I later found out wasn't needed (because the +/- pins were aligned correctly to begin with if you just shift the Noctua connector to the right (looking down and from above the PSU) so the yellow wire won't connect to anything. It didn't specifically say in the Dbug article on replacing the Mega STe fan but if I hadn't been so impatient and instead clicked on one of the photos to see it enlarged I would have seen he used the original black connector already attached to its fan cable :oops:
Oh well, I changed it back, and now I can plug in the resistor cables if needed as well.

Another thing: the fan came with silicone rubber mounts for a vibration-free attachement (instead of screws), but I had to give up using those -perhaps there's a special trick in order to get them through the screw-holes without damaging them with a screwdriver etc. There doesn't seem to be much of a vibration problem in any case, but out of curiosity has anyone here managed to mount them instead of using the screws that the original fan was mounted with?


The previous owner of my Mega STe had already cut away the plastic slits on the rear of the machine, which I suppose is good for the airflow, but I personally like to keep things in their original state and would never have done anything irreversable like that. Each to their own liking I suppose.
In any case, changing the fan proves to be a great investment! And together with the MonSTer board together with a Compact Flash card adapter I have inside the machine I have no longer any need for the internal (noisy/slower) SCSI hard drive which of course helps even further regarding noise levels!
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