THE FRIENLY PLATFORM FOR C64 MAKER
- Here we are tinkering with the future of the C64 -
   
MATTHIAS
Matthias



The ATX64 Story (Article)
6/25/21

It all started with a user request that I wasn't averse to, but I wasn't quite convinced of the idea of an ATX board, partly because there were no card slots being discussed at the time. For me, the added value for a new board has to be right, and at first a C64 only in large and wide was not so attractive to me.  

The beginning was also quite difficult, because although there seems to be a lot of space on the board, you have to think carefully about which elements you "can" place where, so that you don't have any problems later when routing the tracks.

First of all, it had to be clarified which of the ATX form factors should be used. In the end, I decided on a medium variant, the Micro ATX variant. Not too huge, not too small.

After numerous attempts, however, I put the project on ice again. A lot of things didn't work as I had planned, and then there were the 4 slots I had taken over from the Modular64 + Userport, as offered by the Micro ATX form factor, which made everything even more difficult to realise, because that was a lot of additional tracks. Too many 

Only when I had completed other projects did I try again. I turned everything upside down and tried different constellations for a very long time, but it didn't work. However, I am not the guy who gives up then.   If something is to work, it must work 

Everyone knows the result, but finally I found a way - rather by chance - and suddenly it went forward. I did have to route a few tracks around the outside, but at least that was no longer a showstopper.

But the next problem was already waiting. The rear stackable connections for the Tape- and Userports, as well as the Video and Audio connections. At first, the Game Ports were also on an extra stackable board, but then everything became too high for the ATX case cut-out at the back of the case. This meant that I had to completely rebuild the ATX64 board at the back. The Game Ports had to be moved to the ATX64 board so that in the end only 2 of 3 stackable boards remained. 

When the first version was finally finished and I took another close look at the 4 slots, it slowly became clear to me that the ATX64 would be something special. The 4 slots simply make the difference and offer undreamt-of possibilities. I had to realise that first of all  From then on, I was fascinated by the board myself. Because before it was just a kind of puzzle for me, a task that had to be solved. 

Soon I started working on some ATX64 cards. Among other things, a finished ATX64 Sampler Card has been waiting for a long time, but I haven't tested it yet, because I wanted to wait until I had finished my graphics tools to program a graphically attractive C64 Sampler program, and a music program to go with it. 

So there are still interesting things waiting...

I only realised this later when I received numerous letters praising the design. And really, if you look at the board from above, you notice the homogeneous arrangement of the components. Everything is neatly arranged pointing upwards and to the left.







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