Task: Purchase an SDrive-Max Floppy Emulator
Time: 15-30 minutes
The ability to boot software from SD card devices makes using Atari computers a breeze. These devices allow you to load up lots of executables and ATR files on an SD card and then choose the one you want use from a menu. I previously did a post about the Atarimax Maxflash device that accomplishes this in cartridge form. Another option is the SDrive-Max device that plugs into the Atari via the SIO port thus emulating a floppy drive. I purchased one recently and have been very impressed.
The unit comes with a 16GB microSD card that you can plug into your PC to load files. Once your files are loaded you plug it into the SDrive and then power it on. One of the really cool features of the SDrive is that is comes with a nice touch screen that allows you to load files from a menu into different drive slots. Alternatively, you can boot the Atari from drive 0 which loads a menu on your computer that you can use to select files in the different drive slots. This multiple drive feature would allow you to easily use software that required multiple disks or disk sides. The device also comes in a nice 3D-printed case that roughly matches the style of the Atari XL series. It is just a bit bigger than an Atari 800 cartridge and a bit smaller than an Atari 2600 cartridge.
Purchase an SDrive-Max from the Vintage Computer Center. These are made in limited batches so they may not be available when you are ready to order one. As of September 2020 these were available for $65.00. They are also available from The Brewing Academy for $54.95.
My order included:
The SDrive-MAX, 16GB microSD card, 3′ cable with black SIO plug, Touchscreen, Stylus, White Case, and an External U.S. power supply.
This is a nice option for emulating a floppy drive and can be used to boot ATR and CAS files. However, these are not mass produced and are thus in limited supply. Also, I found the documentation to be lacking. However, the device is easy to use and very intuitive so the documentation isn’t really needed. I am very happy I got one and have been considering getting a second.