Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby 1st1 » Wed Nov 09, 2016 6:44 pm

Yes, many peoples jumped from their ATARI (amd Amiga) to a Mac these days in the first half of the 90's. Biut the real dead of the ATARI computers, Amaiga and a bit later the allmost dead of the Macs was the MHz race of the Intel/AMD based PCs. These three 68k computer makers could not compete against to about 100 taiwanese mainboard manufacturers, soundblasters and Voodoos. And there was Wing Commander, Doom, Quake, ... and TOSBOX (for me)
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Sun Nov 13, 2016 3:17 pm

Mac LC II finally booted ! :) I leave it turned on for hour or so and it booted suddenly ! :) (he definitely have problem with capacitors...)

anyway, I quick try to play with Mac OS in 256 color and I must say that Falcon feel quite faster in 256 color mode (in GEM) even without NVDI.
With NVDI, Falcon is quite faster than Mac OS and LC II at drawing/redrawing windows, widgets, menus...

I need to recap LC II and that I will try e.g. word processing on both machine...
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:55 am

Interesting!

Bear in mind the LC II runs a 16 bit data bus vs the LC III that I use which has a 32bit bus and of course a much faster clocked 030.
I wonder what the reason is behind the screen drawing routines being so much slower on the LC II?
I forget the Falcons Gem windows, is there as much eye candy (ie complexity to the design of the Macs windows?).

As they both use the CPU vs a GPU for drawing and are broadly the same I'm curious as to the reason behind any speed difference. :shrug:
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:00 am

The MHz race for the PC (or rather Intel/AMD) wasn't won until the beginning of the Macs G5 era.
The PowerPC Macs of the mid 90's blew the Pentium and Pentium II into next week!
I have a PowerPC G3 400 in an old beige Powermac tower, and I also have a 400MHz Pentium II box.
On benchmarks the G3 is more than twice as fast as the Pentium II at the same clock speed. In real world apps like Photoshop it's about 40% faster.
You could run a Voodoo card in a Mac back then btw.

But yes, competition between AMD and Intel drove prices down and speeds up, and of course there is a huge base of cheap hardware on the PC.

Then again, I'm sure Toyota sell more Camry's than Jaguar do XJ's, but I'd much rather the XJ... ;)
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby Ragstaff » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:11 am

PC hardware was cheap, it was modular, and it ran Windows and DOS which had the most support.
For that software support side, think about Android with Google Playstore today, vs Microsoft/Nokia app support, or these even smaller operating systems like the Firefox one, or Samsungs Tizen. Even if they run faster, are nicer to use, competitive on price, you just can't go past the huge software library and support available for Android. And there are so many Android phones, from cheap to expensive. This gets people entering that ecosystem on all budgets, then they are invested in and familiar with the ecosystem.
It was the same with Windows / DOS PC's in the 80's and 90's.

The PowerPC Mac's were faster, Mac OS was perfectly usable but hardware platform was homogenous, slow moving, and not much variation in the price for entry points into the ecosystem (by which I mean, only one hardware option: expensive, high-end platform entry).

It's a complex feedback loop between hardware and software support. The reason there is so much PC software support is because there are so many PC's out there, and the reason there are so many PC's is largely because of software support.

But I think the foundation was the hardware ecosystem of the PC. Open or well documented hardware standards, modular designs. So many options to upgrade and build, fast and exciting lifecycle with new versions of video cards, sound cards, other stuff coming out every few months. You could make a cheap one or an expensive one, but all price points were good value for money. And so it captured users on various budgets, and once you got one PC, you were more likely to get another PC in a few years rather than change OS and software.

To me, we have seen this play out again with mobile phones, and the same principles get proved.
iOS on the iPhone had a massive head start, but they still do things the "Apple way". There is a better model, which Android follows. Android phones are not modular like PC's (except for a few attempts, like Atrix), but the important thing is lots of options across so many budgets, and some extremely good value for money options. There is always new stuff, new options.
iOS will continue to lose ground despite its head-start with apps, huge customer loyalty, and marketing budgets. It's a slow, long battle, but the variety and diversity of hardware options for Android, the exciting, fast lifecycles are slowly but surely winning the battle. Windows / DOS had the same advantages in the 80's and 90's, and had far weaker opponents than Apple iPhones and iOS.
Atari was, unfortunately, just one of those weaker competitors. For home users there were only 2 hardware updates in 8 years. ST and Falcon. The STE was a minor revision (less difference than between, for example, iPhone 6 and 6S). TT and MegaSTE were aimed at different markets, not home user.

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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:24 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:As they both use the CPU vs a GPU for drawing and are broadly the same I'm curious as to the reason behind any speed difference. :shrug:

completely different OS? ;)
I did not test by my self but Amiga 1200 Workbench should be also terrible slow in 256 colors... I have also A1200 so I could test all of them :)

btw is there any software accelerator for graphics on Mac OS like NVDI on Atari?
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby christos » Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:34 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:Interesting!

Bear in mind the LC II runs a 16 bit data bus vs the LC III that I use which has a 32bit bus and of course a much faster clocked 030.
I wonder what the reason is behind the screen drawing routines being so much slower on the LC II?
I forget the Falcons Gem windows, is there as much eye candy (ie complexity to the design of the Macs windows?).

As they both use the CPU vs a GPU for drawing and are broadly the same I'm curious as to the reason behind any speed difference. :shrug:


So the LC II is exactly like the falcon then. However the videos I saw of the LC III showed that the desktop is slower to that of the falcon. Anyway, here is a video I took a long long time ago of my standard 030 falcon which loads mint and xaaes with lots of eye candy at 640x480 256 colours vga. The desktop is much slower than that of TOS but much nicer looking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bgu-oh7_x8&t=2s

And the second video is at a 16-bit colour depth 768x576 (overscan) from composite (interlaced) output.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJANuSJI7nQ

I don't have a video of standard TOS or multitos but I can tell you that it is quite a bit more responsive than what you will see in these videos. I will eventually set it all up with some new capture hardware which will provide much better quality (hopefully by the end of the year). Anything you'd like to compare, let me know.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby Mindthreat » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:16 pm

Atari seemed very weak in regards to software/games for basically all of their devices in the 90s, while on paper their hardware seemed very powerful. The Falcon also doesn't seem to have had a fair chance in fighting any battle. They had no future roadmap or plan for ensuring or expecting the Falcon to be a success outside of prototyping a few 040 Microboxes from what I've seen.

I don't think Atari was out of their league as much as they just ultimately didn't know which direction they should take the company until it was far too late and even then, couldn't manage to manage making and acquiring amazing games for their console. It seems a lot more of the more quality titles happened our of sheer luck than anything and after reading through conversation history between Atari and Developers with Atari seeming to be a bunch of assholes about everything, who would want to work with a company like that?

Even though, they refused to adapt. It was evidently clear by 95 that they couldn't compete with Mac and definitely not PC machines with Windows95 in terms of software, they just didn't have the resources. After the Tramiels took over Atari, it just seemed to be a technical powerhouse but always lost out on the software side of things, which always proves to be the most important aspect of it all or at least if you don't have it hand-in-hand, you'll certainly fail.

I know they had a brief running with the PC or x86 line but I feel like had they re-focused going in both directions of PC compatibles alongside their Jaguar console, that they could potentially still be in business today -- because even though the Jaguar failed, PC sales were obviously increasing and I still can't help but feel Atari would have been a better option than the various available and trendy PCs available at the time like Acer, Dell, Tandy, Packard Bell, etc. but then again, you still had quite a bit of competition with that even.

Despite all of that, in 1995, I still wanted a Falcon but just couldn't afford one (at least, not until about 1999). Toad Computers really made my imagination run wild with what I could do with that computer, even though the reality of it would have been not very much and especially in comparison to the PC counterparts. God I miss those days... the feeling of this American company producing all these interesting or fascinating machines (Jaguar, Lynx and Falcon) with so much hope or promise only to fall short entirely across the board, mostly due to management and lack of quality software negotiations really.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:25 pm

I wpuld never say that Atari lack of quality software (not talking about games).
Falcon had audio software far more advanced than you could find on UNSTABLE wintel boxes.
3D deparment laged maybe to other platforms but there also was quality titles in 90s.
Beside half of programs that you use today on Windows have start their life on TOS, Amiga OS or Mac OS. All these software come to PC only after releasing Windows 95 (or was unusable on Windows 3.x).
I hope I will document all this ASAP - to test my memories from 80s and 90s... ;) chiwriter vs signum for example. Or Ventura vs Calamus...
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby Mindthreat » Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:09 pm

calimero wrote:I wpuld never say that Atari lack of quality software (not talking about games).
Falcon had audio software far more advanced than you could find on UNSTABLE wintel boxes.
3D deparment laged maybe to other platforms but there also was quality titles in 90s.
Beside half of programs that you use today on Windows have start their life on TOS, Amiga OS or Mac OS. All these software come to PC only after releasing Windows 95 (or was unusable on Windows 3.x).
I hope I will document all this ASAP - to test my memories from 80s and 90s... ;) chiwriter vs signum for example. Or Ventura vs Calamus...


Sounds like a good read, looking forward to it!

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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:18 pm

In the video the Falcon screen drawing does seem faster, although the windows are much simpler in terms of design.
I wonder if there is a difference between what language the OS was written in on the Falcon vs the Mac?

The Mac and PC thing may as well come down to the PC really, the Mac was suffering by the early-mid 90's.
If you look at how PC prices were dropping, Atari didn't stand a chance. You could get a PC with it's huge software catalogue and "same as I use at work) experience for Falcon money. I still say the Falcon was over priced, at least initially.

I think Mindthreat sums it up well. Lack of direction and poor support from developers.
There was good stuff, mostly for Germany, but that was either despite Atari, or due to Atari Germany.

By the mid 90's the prices of PC's had fallen enough, and their OS had improved enough in ease of use that it was really game over for everyone else.

Even today though, powering up an old Compaq from 94 (I had a Compaq in 94 also), there's something very clunky and impersonal about it compared to my old Macs or my TT or ST. I feel no connection to any PC, even the ones I built from the ground up. But I enjoy using my Atari's.

If I could only have 1 machine forever, to actually use, it would probably be my late 90's Powermac G3 on OS9.
But only because of it's horsepower and more modern browser etc.

My TT, 7 years older, especially if I can get the Cyrel Sunrise going, comes in a close second. Just due to character.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby christos » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:12 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:In the video the Falcon screen drawing does seem faster, although the windows are much simpler in terms of design.
I wonder if there is a difference between what language the OS was written in on the Falcon vs the Mac?



GEM is mostly written in C, with the x86 in mind. How do you think the windows are simpler? Especially something like the file selector (like I said it's XaAES and MiNT).
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby christos » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:13 pm

Delete pls
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:19 pm

Hehe... I played today with Papyrus on Falcon and M$ Word on Mac LC II and I can say that Mac is USELESS!!!

I will make video in next days but LC II simple is not in same league as Falcon!
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby Frank B » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:21 pm

calimero wrote:Hehe... I played today with Papyrus on Falcon and M$ Word on Mac LC II and I can say that Mac is USELESS!!!

I will make video in next days but LC II simple is not in same league as Falcon!


Not useless. Run Magic on it ;)

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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:17 pm

Hmm...

While I personally like using my Atari's I don't think the comparisons above are necessarily fair (this is always a problem on cross platform comparisons).
The hardware of an LCII to a Falcon is a good comparison I think, but comparing Papyrus to MS Word says more about those apps, not the platform.
Frankly MS Word was not that popular back then but more to the point it's a completely different package.
You should compare Microsoft Write on the ST with MS Word 1.05 as that's what Microsoft Write is based on.

As for the windows being simpler, I'm referring to regular Gem vs regular Mac.
xAeS is the screenshots above is waaaay newer and non standard. This is how comparisons get loaded. It's not exactly scientific.

I use my TT a lot , but it's basic MiNT and the standard desktop with NVDI.
I also use my LC III a lot which hardware wise is slower than my TT, but isn't too far behind (25 vs 32MHz) if I switch off my Catamaran.
Personally I find the experience more polished and more rounded. Practically speaking my brain would tell me to pick the LC if I had to only have 1 old machine, but my heart would choose my beloved Atari.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:59 pm

^
it is not only Papyrus vs Word - it is simple entire system! Today I spend few hours preparing documents for video and entire user experience on these two machines simple is not comparable: Mac LC is slow as dead horse - you simple know that you must buy FASTER Mac. On other hand, Falcon is fast and snappy as fastest Atari :) really - Mac is terrible slow at anything. Drawing window of control panel is slow, finder windows are slow... Virtual Memory is turned off but Mac OS non-stop do something with harddrive (I can hear head as he read/write)...

What else software for word processing could I use on Mac from 90s? Something from Claris?

I plan to install MagiC with Jinnee on Falcon so it would be nice as Mac OS for video.

If I had to do any work back in 90s I would never choose Mac LC 2 but video will show the difference :)
If I need to see a GIF - Mac will load juggernaut of software for 10 seconds while Atari will do it with 20KB app in a sec.
- Mac was preparing for faster computers and standardized applications while Atari had right here and right now solutions :) Mac LC 2 and Mac OS 6 simple screams for faster hardware. I do prefer Atari.

btw http://lowendmac.com/1993/mac-lc-iii/ say that "LC III offers nearly the same performance as the Mac IIci and twice the performance of the LC and LC II." and LC 3 support 16bit color in 640x400...

Question: what is addressing: 24-bit or 32-bit? I can chose between these in control panel.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:10 pm

In system 7 onwards they moved from 24 to 32 bit addressing.
So to access all your memory (for example if you have a machine with 36MB as I do) it must be set to 32bit.

The LC III is quite different to the LC II, which is why I bought it. <grin>
The LC and LC II are considered crippled Macs as they were deliberately slowed down to justify the price difference to higher models.
But not so the LC III.

However bear in mind the LC means Low-cost Color, they were not meant to be powerhouses, rather sold into education markets.

Maybe I should video mine as it's nothing like what you describe. However it depends what I run on it. If I run the latest versions of everything that it could run, it will be slower than earlier versions of software due to bloat etc.

Most people used Claris back in the day, so I'd compare that, however MS Word 5.1 was highly regarded too.

But neither would be a fair comparison to a Falcon as it doesn't run Claris, so it's not exactly Apples to, well, Apples, lol!

I'd compare an older OS on the LC II (it came with 6.0.7) and the versions of Word I mentioned in my previous post and Write on the Atari as they're the same code base.

Frankly the only difference between the Falcon (on its original OS) doing these things and the LC II is how the OS was written, i.e. efficiently or not. But I know for a fact that TOS 4 and OS 6 or 7 don't compare in feature sets. TOS has no TCP stack for a start so again, it's hard to compare.

To use as a word processor or whatever, I'd say the fastest, cleanest system would be best, in which case, Atari.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/16MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:35 pm

Some further research suggests:

Original Mac OS through System 7(?) was written in Pascal with assembly language bits for speed here and there.
Official Apple developer docs were for Pascal too as far as I can tell so that would be PAscal OS and PAscel Apps for the most part.
Would explain why similar hardware in the Falcon feels (and is) a lot slower to the LC on whatever OS you were running (7 or earlier I assume)

They allegedly transitioned to C++ for the PowerPC machines and re-wrote huge chunks (but not all of it) by Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9 is largely C++.

OS-X moved to Objective C.

This is what my research tells me so far. I'll re-check some of the books I have written by original Apple developers to see if they mention anytihng as otherwise the internet is just a huge echo chamber for rumor...
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/16MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:03 am

I made video but I am not satisfied... :/ - I should do exactly same things on both computer in same time but I fail.

you can look it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pNKojIjU3k

btw
Mac LC 2 CRT screen have terrible flashing while recording it by iPhone. Atari VGA monitor is almost rockstable. Why is that? I try to reduce flashing in FinalCut (those oranges lines are from unregistered plugin :D) but than image get blured... can I do something to reduce Mac CRT flickering?
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby christos » Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:37 am

It probably has to do with the refresh rate. Are you using something like blow up etc to increase refresh rate on the falcon?
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Fri Dec 23, 2016 9:22 am

^ no.

On Falcon I use default VGA screen mode (60Hz). iPhone SE is set to 1080p 30 fps so it is quite in sync with Falcon VGA but
it seems that Mac LC has some very odd refresh rate. I upload original movie clip, without filter, just to see flickering:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2XiyYB ... e=youtu.be - terrible!
using Atari since 1986.http://wet.atari.orghttp://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/ ・ Atari Falcon030/CT63/SV ・ Atari STe ・ Atari Mega4/MegaFile30/SM124 ・ Amiga 1200/PPC ・ Amiga 500 ・ C64 ・ ZX Spectrum ・ RPi ・ MagiC! ・ MiNT 1.18 ・ OS X

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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby mlynn1974 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 1:39 pm

In the 70s (Nolan Bushnell era) Atari were the biggest Arcade Games\Home Console\Home Computer maker in the world (Modern analogy: think FaceBook\Google size!). On the front of Time magazine and everything. By the 80s (The Warner\Tramiel era) arcade machines were less important for their core business and computers like the Atari 8-bit machines and the ST were their main products.

The ST sold well in Europe because of the good exchange rate at that time.
A $1000 computer in the US could be bought for £350 here. Commodore were the same with the Amiga.
Apple "always overpriced" were way more expensive and niche for schools\colleges that could afford them.

In the end Atari were unable to keep pace with other manufacturers, particularly PCs with Intel churning out new chips every 18 months and previously unknown manufactures like MIPS being able to supply chips for new consoles like the PlayStation.

Also Motorola were not in a hurry to release new chips. I once went for a student placement interview at their factory in East Kilbride in 1994. I didn't get the job because I didn't calculate the gain of an op-amp correctly! They seemed in disarray. They couldn't find me a clock cycle sheet for the 68020 for instance. Then they laid off everybody and closed the factory.
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sat Dec 24, 2016 4:37 am

Cool video!

The Falcon does seem faster (as already said, it's different WP software so...) but from the video it looks like the Mac might have font smoothing turned on? Check it in your control panel. If on and depending on settings that can tax my LC III too...

Also the photo loaded in on the Mac is a much higher colour depth TIF vs a 256 colour GIF on the Falcon...
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1991 Atari TT030, 2/16MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: Were Atari just out of their league in the end?

Postby calimero » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:09 am

1) Mac screen has very flickering on video so I apply some effect in FinalCut remove it but effect also blur entire image
2) but I will check if fotn smoothing is turned on (where is that option? I have German Mac OS so I am not sure which on it is...?)
3) TIF on Mac is made from GIF on Atari and it is 8bit (Since Word do not recognize any format except TIF). I will try same TIF on Papyrus but I believe result will be same.

you have another video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2XiyYB ... e=youtu.be whwre you can see GUI redraw on Mac. It is terrible slow in 256 color. AtaryCrypt suggested to install SpeedDoubler - should it really speed up things? Do you maybe have it? (I vaguely remember that I used it in 1998. on PowerBook...)
using Atari since 1986.http://wet.atari.orghttp://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/ ・ Atari Falcon030/CT63/SV ・ Atari STe ・ Atari Mega4/MegaFile30/SM124 ・ Amiga 1200/PPC ・ Amiga 500 ・ C64 ・ ZX Spectrum ・ RPi ・ MagiC! ・ MiNT 1.18 ・ OS X


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