Questions tagged [memory]

For questions about computer memory in a retrocomputing context

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24
votes
3answers
8k views

How does the Gameboy's memory bank switching work?

I'm writing a Game Boy emulator, but I don't completely understand how its memory mapping works. Here is what I (think) I know (and don't know). The CPU can address up to 0x10000 memory locations ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do drives occupy memory on Amigas

I was reading this question, and it sparked an old memory. I had an Amiga 600 a long time ago. And I used to play Secrets of Monkey Island on it, great game. But then I upgraded the computer and ...
10
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3answers
2k views

Why are the PPU registers on the NES mirrored?

[Please see answers to this related question as well] The NES Picture Processing Unit has eight memory-mapped registers to the CPU in registers $2000 to $2007. The are incompletely decoded, so they ...
16
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3answers
4k views

What happened to ZIP RAM?

I have several retro machines and add-on cards for the Amiga that use ZIP RAM. This vertically mounted chip design enjoyed a brief popularity in the early 1990s, in between the original DIP DRAM and ...
24
votes
2answers
3k views

Why do old computers perform a long memory test on every boot?

Basically any computers from the mid 90s and earlier perform a slow memory check on every single boot. The more memory there is present, the slower that process becomes, for example: https://www....
5
votes
5answers
515 views

Save state systems

With an Amiga A500, Action Replay cartridge (v1.5 or later) and memory expansion, it was possible to save a copy of the state of memory, much like a save state in an emulator. Were there any other ...
8
votes
1answer
777 views

Why was the Nintendo 64 bad at textures?

The Nintendo 64 had a reputation for being great at drawing triangles, but not so good at texturing them, so that many games fell back on heavy use of untextured (though Gouraud shaded) triangles, ...
18
votes
10answers
4k views

Why did BASIC programs tend to READ a redundant copy of DATA?

Take for example this BASIC version of ELIZA which starts out (in lines 50–170) by a number of READ loops which copy DATA (lines 1340 and following) into a handful of arrays. Isn't this rather ...
2
votes
1answer
266 views

CDTV Diagrom 1.2 Extended Memory Test AddressError Detected

I've picked up this CDTV some time ago, but didn't have DiagROM to test it properly. It is running perfectly fine, all features. My diag chip arrived this morning, and when I get to Extended Memory ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

How does stack size affect functioning of AmigaOS and programs?

A few weeks back I had an issue with a Python script resetting my Amiga on execution. Someone suggested to change stack size in startup-sequence to 4096. I just read that it can be set up to 2500000. ...
15
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8answers
3k views

Could a Z80 address a total of 128 KB of ROM and RAM?

In a nutshell, could the Z80 address 64 KB of ROM and 64 KB of RAM, or just 64 KB for both RAM and ROM? Unfortunately, I couldn't find an exact and a direct answer to my question while searching. ...
17
votes
5answers
808 views

Did any computers use automatically-operated mechanical storage as electronically-read-addressable memory

From what I understand of ENIAC, it had a very large number of manually-operated rotary switches which behaved as ROM. While programming ENIAC in the early days required a plugboard, the machine was ...
1
vote
2answers
163 views

How many kinds of mass-producible ROM is avaliable before 1970? [duplicate]

Back in the days before mask ROM (when invented?) we got core rope memories, or Little Old Ladies memories, which required lots of human labor to build. Were there any kinds of ROMs which were ...
4
votes
2answers
270 views

How many 6SN7 tubes did it take to store a bit?

One of the most important components of a computer is a circuit called a flip-flop, which has two stable states (that it can flip-flop between, hence the name); it is used for temporary storage of a ...
18
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2answers
4k views

Did any notable product use Intel's first RAM?

The 3101 SRAM was Intel's first product. At $99.50 for 64 bits, it had enough memory to store the characters expensiv. (Sorry, the final e costs extra.) Is there a record of any product using it?
6
votes
2answers
245 views

Can fast page mode depend on the first data retrieved?

As early as the seventies, some computers used RAM in page mode, in which you can read two or more words from sequential locations in rapid succession by only supplying the column address once, and ...
39
votes
8answers
11k views

Why is EEPROM called ROM if it can be written to?

Is there a historical reason? Since it is rewritable it isn't read only by definition, so why call it so?
41
votes
11answers
8k views

How did early laser printers get by with so little memory?

The first HP Laserjet only had 128K of memory. To print an area of 7.5 by 10 inches at 300 DPI requires 844K if it's kept as a single bitmapped image. Obviously they were doing something clever to ...
4
votes
1answer
348 views

Building a Memory Management Unit to expand the 16Bit Address space [closed]

I'm in the middle of making an 8Bit computer, I've selected Z80, the 20Mhz version, which is cheap and readily available. Since Z80 has a 16bit address line it can only address 64KB of memory location....
6
votes
1answer
681 views

Why does the VICE "load" command skip the first two bytes?

I am studying assembly of the C64, and of course using VICE to do so. VICE has the load command to load data straight into the C64 RAM. I reckoned I could use that to put machine code into RAM and run ...
6
votes
1answer
217 views

What were the different RAM refresh techniques in the 80s

I've looked at some techniques that were used at the beginning of the eighties to refresh the RAM (CPU-based refresh for the Z80, or the use of the video circuit for computers that shared the bus ...
13
votes
4answers
3k views

CPU frequency / memory wait states at end of the 80s

According to the advertisements of the late eighties, you could find RAM having an access time ranging from 120 to 80 ns (150 to 210 cycle times). A 386SX-25 could execute a typical register to ...
14
votes
3answers
525 views

Was the Commodore 128 movable zero page / stack and second block of color RAM actually used?

The Commodore 128 hardware allowed two things that weren't possible on the C64: Moving the 6502 zero page and 6502 stack to another place in RAM besides pages 0 and 1, and switching the CPU and/or the ...
2
votes
0answers
93 views

How to get back from RAM1 to ROM after setting the bank bit to 1 [closed]

Mapping more than 64kb of address space regarding cjs answer: How to get back from RAM1 to ROM after setting the bank bit to 1? the next instruction from the program counter would be read from RAM1 ...
5
votes
4answers
383 views

Cheapest type of Read-Only Memory allowing Random access before Year 1970

Back in the 50s and 60s people had: random access, read-write memories like Magnetic Cores. sequential access, read-write memories like Delay Lines and Magnetic Tapes. And: sequential access, write ...
0
votes
1answer
605 views

Get himem.sys working on an AMI 1.06.09 bios (not on VM)

I tried many 98SE boot disks online, they all boot successfully on my mobile workstation from USB (C:\>), but all can't run the Windows 98SE Installer because of XMS Memory, giving an error like: ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How does the Apple II address more than 128KB of RAM?

For the Apple //e, it was very common to have an extended 80-column card installed which brought the machine up to 128KB of RAM via 2 banks of 64KB each. There are soft switches in the $C0xx space ...
4
votes
2answers
446 views

How much memory does this SYM-1 have?

I have a SYM-1 with the following memory configuration: How much memory is that? Those all appear to be L2114UCE chips, which are described as "Static 1024x4 NMOS RAM", but I'm not sure how ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Historical price of ROM

Historical price charts for RAM are quite readily available, e.g. in the mid-seventies a ballpark figure was a penny a byte. What was the price of ROM (assuming you were getting the chips produced in ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I access/use memory outside of the standard 1 MB address range of MS-DOS?

How do you access more memory (above the 1MB) in DOS if the 640KB of conventional memory are not enough? I have read a lot about this, but I couldn't figure out how to do this in actual code. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
367 views

What high nibble values can you get when you read the 4 bit color memory on a C64/C128?

The C64 and the C128 have a memory for storing the color values of a character. The size of this memory is 1k x 4bit (2k x 4bit for the C128 which can do a double buffering), thus reading the value at ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

What manages Upper Memory Blocks (UMBs) in MS-DOS?

I had always assumed that EMM386.EXE was responsible for managing the Upper Memory Blocks - UMBs - the memory space between 640KiB and 1MiB in real mode x86. For example, on MS-DOS 6.22, help emm386....
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Do you need to allocate memory before you use it in MS-DOS?

In modern operating systems (for example: Windows), you can't access a memory location before you allocate that memory location to your program (or else a segmentation fault will occur). I am ...
4
votes
2answers
575 views

How fast was Rambus compared to regular EDO RAM?

The Nintendo 64 used Rambus RDRAM. This was an unusual choice, e.g. the PlayStation used regular EDO RAM which I gather most consoles and computers did at the time. As I understand it, Nintendo chose ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Could any computers use 16k or 64k RAM chips?

An interesting feature of the Apple II was that it had three rows of sockets for RAM chips, each of which could take either 4k or 16k chips. That meant the minimum configuration was 4K (cheap) but it ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the difference between the DOS HIMEM.SYS and the Windows 3.x version?

An installation of DOS (e.g. MS-DOS 5.0) will typically include a statement in its CONFIG.SYS such as DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS. When installing Windows 3.1, it's setup comments (REMs) that line out, ...
5
votes
3answers
995 views

Allocate 64 KiB in Watcom C 16-bit DOS

I'm trying to allocate a 64 KiB buffer in Watcom C 16-bit DOS. I'm using the "compact" memory model which defines the code segment to be limited to 64 KiB and addressed by near pointers (...
6
votes
2answers
853 views

Does the 6800 always handle unaligned access correctly?

I asked a similar question about the Intel 8080 to which I guessed the answer would probably be yes, because later Intel CPUs did fully handle unaligned access. I am less sure about the Motorola 6800, ...
3
votes
2answers
875 views

Does the 8080 always handle unaligned access correctly?

The 8080 is referred to as an 8-bit CPU because it has an 8-bit data bus, but there are a number of cases where it must perform 16-bit memory access, for example when reading or writing a 16-bit ...
6
votes
2answers
390 views

VAX 11/780 16MB memory board - what was the physical size?

I'm trying to get a feel for what it looked like when you designed a computer to have a lot of memory chips stuffed into it. To that end, I found this: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Amiga memory bandwidth

Looking at a timing diagram for the various kinds of memory access occurring on the Amiga http://amigadev.elowar.com/read/ADCD_2.1/Hardware_Manual_guide/node02D4.html it seems to be saying that video ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this the reason why fread/fwrite has 2 `size_t` arguments?

It just came to me that, the C standard I/O functions fread and fwrite are having 2 size_t arguments because of I guess possibly, that on some systems, there may be more memory of which whose size can ...
7
votes
5answers
961 views

RAM contention and what counts as different banks

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZX_Spectrum_Contended_Memory "Contended memory space, on the other hand, is shared between the ULA and the Z80 and the ULA has higher priority. Contended memory ...
2
votes
2answers
143 views

How to limit RAM available to Workbench

Is there a way to limit Fast RAM used by Amiga OS 3.1, i.e. if A500 with 030 MMU detects full 64MB in address ranges 0x40000000 to 0x44000000. Instead, can I choose to map only 8MB in lower ranges at ...
-3
votes
2answers
397 views

How can 8bits = 1byte but also = 255 bytes at the same time? [closed]

I don't understand why 8bits is defined as being equal to 1byte or 1octet but at the same time the maximum capacity of an 8bit bus or 8bit databus would be 255 bytes because 128 64 32 16 8 4 2 1 1 1 ...
6
votes
1answer
291 views

Could the Apple IIGS play any and all Amiga MOD files?

The Apple IIGS has a wavetable synthesis sound chip with dedicated 64 kilobytes of RAM. I assume the sound architecture dictates that samples have to be loaded into that dedicated RAM to be able to be ...
2
votes
2answers
229 views

Why isn't this invocation of XMS function Move EMB 0Bh in Turbo C correct?

Following on from my last question, I cannot get Move Extended Memory Block (Function 0Bh) working in Turbo C 2.01. The following main.c contains only the minimum functions: get the XMS driver pointer,...
28
votes
6answers
22k views

Windows 98 with 2GB of RAM

I have assembled a retro-gaming PC out of an old Shuttle SN45G with a Windows 98/Windows XP dual boot. The motherboard can handle 2GB of RAM, but apparently Windows 98 can only handle 1 GiB. Windows ...
3
votes
1answer
266 views

How does the GameBoy's Memory Controller MBC1 Work in Mode 1?

In short, are banks 20h/40h/60h accessible in mode 1? The Pan Docs state that when in mode 1, those banks become accessible. "...on large carts (using the secondary banking register to specify ...
21
votes
8answers
5k views

Which CPUs, if any, had an 8-bit address space?

Even the Intel 4004, which had a 4-bit word size, had a 12-bit address space. I'm wondering if any commercial CPUs had an 8-bit or similar address-space for programs, data, or both. I'm particularly ...