Questions tagged [memory]

For questions about computer memory in a retrocomputing context

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20
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
123 views

How much memory in this 1040STE system

What is the total size of 1040STE with 4 of these SIMMs installed? How to check the memory using software and which one?
19
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11answers
4k views

Was it possible to write a novel on a BBC Micro 16kb/32kb memory era computer without expansions?

BBC Micro model B has 32k memory. An average book, like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, has about 350,000 characters in it. So you'd need over 10 times the memory to load it in, plus the software to edit ...
3
votes
2answers
179 views

Why was the maximum byte size of 8 bits on IBM 7030?

As far as I know, IBM 7030 used term byte. But this byte was just an imaginary term to make easier for our brain to work with bits. So it had nothing in common with a physical realization of the CPU. ...
2
votes
2answers
783 views

Why did IBM 7030 or IBM 360 use byte and word addressing simultaneously

In 1950s machines had a 36 bit words. And in this word we could pack symbols using 6 bits. And to fetch this symbols from the word programmer should do it using bit manipulations. In 1961 IBM released ...
8
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5answers
2k views

Why did raster displays require semiconductor memory

This source states that introduction of raster graphics display began in mid-1970s only after affordable semiconductor memory had become available on the market. Would it be at all possible to make a ...
4
votes
2answers
270 views

Aside from legacy systems, are there any contemporary uses for magnetic core memory?

Core has some interesting properties (nonvolatility, high reliability, resilient to radiation) that might make it useful in some situations. I know early versions of the computers on the Space ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

How was the second bank of Apple IIc ROM accessed?

The original Apple IIc had a 27128 16 KB ROM mapped into the $C100-$FFFF range (the $C000 page was decoded for I/O). According to the Apple IIc Technical Reference Manual the ROMEN1* and ROMEN2* ...
12
votes
2answers
289 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
752 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 ...
4
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7answers
454 views

Static memory partitioning

Does anyone know of any operating system that used static memory partitioning: contiguous physical memory allocation with one process per partition, one partition per process, partitions generated at ...
5
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1answer
424 views

How much memory did the PlayStation development kit have?

The PlayStation 1 had two megabytes of main memory, one megabyte of video memory and half a megabyte of audio memory. Squeezing everything to fit into these limits was one of the big challenges of ...
25
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4answers
4k views

Why was it common to reference memory locations using negative numbers on some BASICs?

If you had an Apple II, it was common in BASIC to reference memory locations above the 32K point by using a negative number. For example, if you wanted to click the speaker you would PEEK/POKE -16336 ...
4
votes
1answer
225 views

How wide were the RAM chips in the PlayStation 1?

In earlier years, it was common for DRAM chips to be one bit wide, so that an 8-bit machine would use eight of them to form one memory bank. Occasionally, 4-bit-wide chips would be used, e.g. the ...
2
votes
1answer
207 views

What were the wholesale costs of 256kbit vs 1Mbit DRAM chips in 1994?

In the early eighties, 64kbit DRAM chips replaced 16kbit ones by being cheaper per bit. Around 1987, 256kbit replaced 64kbit in turn, so computers like the Commodore 64 started using two of them for ...
10
votes
1answer
891 views

What sort of RAM chips did the Commodore 64 use in 1994?

For the first few years after its release in 1982, the Commodore 64 used eight RAM chips of 64kbit each. In the late eighties, it became cheaper to use a pair of 256kbit chips of the 4-bit-wide ...
8
votes
2answers
245 views

In an Apple IIc, how is memory beyond 128K addressed?

I always thought than in a memory-expanded Apple IIc fitted with firmware version 3 or 4 and an Apple-built memory expansion, the extra memory above and beyond the first 128K is connected in a way ...
9
votes
3answers
800 views

Cost of dynamic versus static RAM in the early days

Early pioneers building memory cards for personal computers, tended to use static RAM, because it's quite a bit easier to get to work. Later, dynamic RAM became de rigueur, for the simple and ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Did multiplexed address/data lines make memory access slower?

Looking at the pinout of e.g. the 8088, it multiplexes the data lines onto eight of the address lines; presumably the designers judged that being able to squeeze the chip into a 40-pin package, would ...
-1
votes
1answer
484 views

Get himem.sys working on a 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: ...
3
votes
1answer
125 views

How long would a 41256 take to do 4 accesses in fast page mode?

I have been surprised at how little use eighties computers made of fast page mode access to RAM. (A notable exception being the Sinclair Spectrum, which used it to get the necessary bandwidth to video ...
1
vote
4answers
135 views

Will any modern EEPROM programmer work with the IP3604/КР556РТ5?

Just to say I'm completely new to the world of PROM and I'm a bit bewildered. My ultimate aim is to be able to program these Russian 4k bipolar PROM chips, which are the equivalent of Epson IP3604, ...
8
votes
2answers
250 views

When was the first 3 state IC produced?

This was prompted by a question on the electronics site (which was asking why only an open collector variant of a particularly old part existed and how it could be part of a data bus). This was a ...
5
votes
9answers
563 views

Were there any games/software that used memory beyond what was advertised available to BASIC on the machine?

Were there any games/software that used memory beyond what was advertised as available to BASIC on the machine ? On home / personal computers any time up to 1984 . Without needing to plug in any ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a dropfile?

After reading Charles Duffy's comment on Was there a clearly identifiable "first computer" to use or demonstrate the use of virtual memory?: I had a computer science professor around 1999 ...
8
votes
1answer
336 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, ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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....
8
votes
3answers
443 views

what is DMA and how does it work?

I've heard the term 'DMA' being used a lot in reference to older consoles. My very basic understanding is that it's a way for the console to access memory directly. But directly as apposed to what? ...
4
votes
1answer
668 views

How did “RAM” cartridges for the C64 work?

Section 7.1.1.2 of the VICE manual mentions that cartridge slot 1 (of the four slots 0, 1, Main and I/O) in the emulator is special in that it's designed to support "mostly RAM-based cartridges" (of ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Why does my Amgia 3000 show no Fast RAM even though the ZIP sockets are populated?

I am trying to get an Amiga 3000T up and running, all seems good but there's no Fast RAM. All Zips ard populated. Is there any (easy) way to test the ZIPs? Also, could something like a bad cap kill ...
15
votes
1answer
639 views

Under what circumstances would RAM locations 0 and 1 be written and/or read on the C64?

To be clear, I'm talking about the actual memory cells at addresses $0000 and $0001 in the DRAM chips. Devices can of course initiate read or write requests to these address on the address/data buses ...
39
votes
4answers
8k views

When did computers stop checking memory on boot?

I remember my old 8088 used to do this (640K OK) but can't remember seeing anything like this since. Does this still happen and it's just not visible? If not, when did it stop, and why? (Imagining ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Did DOS zero out the BSS area when it loaded a program?

As an example, say we have a DOS MZ EXE file that's around 20 KiB in size. The EXE header contains the value 0x1400 at offset 0x0A indicating that the program is requesting 5,120 paragraphs (or 80 KiB)...
13
votes
1answer
358 views

How did restarts resolve parity errors triggered by broken core-rope wires?

In his account of the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer, Don Eyles describes the role of a parity bit as follows (p. 80): ... if one of those hair thin wires in our woven core-rope memory ...
4
votes
1answer
243 views

Was there any VIC-20 expansion to bring memory beyond the default maximum of 40 KiB?

The Commodore 64 was very flexible in terms of how RAM could be controlled. ROMs and I/O devices could easily be swapped out by setting bits in the first two addresses of memory. The VIC-20's ROMs and ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

On a Gameboy, what happens when attempting to read/write external RAM while RAM is disabled?

According to the GBdevwiki: 0000-1FFF - RAM Enable (Write Only) Before external RAM can be read or written, it must be enabled by writing to this address space. It is recommended to disable ...
1
vote
1answer
217 views

How does the Gameboy address external hardware?

Where in the memory map ($0000-$ffff) does the Gameboy address the memory of these accessories? (for example, the battery or the Gameboy Printer). Is this something I should implement in an emulator?
21
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Details of video memory access arbitration in Space Invaders

I am working on an FPGA implementation of the original Space Invaders arcade machine and I'd like to implement access arbitration between the CPU and the video system. I can imagine several ways of ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Largest memory peripheral for Sinclair ZX81?

Back in the early to mid 1980s, I vaguely recall seeing an advert in a (I think) UK based computer periodical monthly (Your Computer, or Computer and Video Games), for a memory peripheral that offered ...
8
votes
2answers
897 views

How do I allocate more memory to an app on Sheepshaver running Mac OS 9?

I'm trying to play Taskmaker on Mac OS 9 in Sheepshaver on OSX. Taskmaker tells me that it doesn't have enough memory to run in color. Within technical support it says that I have 512 megabytes total ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

What was the design of the Macintosh II's MMU replacement?

I am in the process of repairing a Macintosh II and trying to understand the design rationale behind Apple's MMU replacement part installed in this machine. As you can see in the picture, there is a ...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

What were wait-states, and why was it only an issue for PCs?

PC compatibles in the 1980s were often advertised as having zero, one, two, or sometimes more "wait states". Zero wait states was the best. Basically, the wait-states I am asking about are due to the ...
13
votes
2answers
579 views

Protected/virtual memory support in classic AmigaOS

It is a well-known fact that AmigaOS is a single address space, totally unprotected memory operating system. The original implementation ran on a Motorola 68000, that did not support virtual memory if ...
3
votes
1answer
274 views

How much RAM did the first version of Oregon Trail on the Apple II require?

The later iterations of the series could have hundreds of kilobytes of RAM, but the original Apple II had 4K in the minimum configuration and 48K maximum (the latter using 16kbit chips which were ...
5
votes
5answers
438 views

Did the PC/AT-bus use its expanded address space?

The system bus of the IBM PC had 8 data lines and 20 address lines, in a logical correspondence to the 8088 CPU. The AT added a second inline edge connector to expand this to 16 data lines and 24 ...
7
votes
1answer
249 views

Which Amiga systems did access RAM with fast page access?

I'm pretty sure Chip and Fast RAM access on an Amiga 1000 does not support FPM access. Which Amiga system, chipset or motherboard "glue logic" first introduced FPM access to Fast RAM? Which one to ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Why did the Cray-1 have 8 parity bits per word?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cray-1 The Cray-1 was built as a 64-bit system, a departure from the 7600/6600, which were 60-bit machines (a change was also planned for the 8600). ...
1
vote
1answer
284 views

How much time does a Mac SE/30 with 128 MB of memory take for its power-on memory test?

I've read that it should be possible to push the SE/30 to its maximum RAM capacity with eight pieces of 16 MByte, 30-Pin SIMMs. I've never seen such a machine in the wild. Neither with 64 or 80 MB. ...
1
vote
1answer
310 views

'Swap file' on early time sharing machines

In the Wikipedia article for time sharing, it says The "state" of each user and their programs would have to be kept in the machine, and then switched between quickly. This would take up computer ...