TURBO ST by Richard Karsmakers
Since several weeks now, I have had the honour of tasting the
pleasures of harddisk use: Yes, I have bought one of those
amazingly fast pieces of machinery myself recently ('only' an
SH204, but what the heck)! My room is now not only filled by some
excellent CD music, but also by the constant whirr of the
harddisk drive. This soft vacuum cleaning noise sounds a lot
better when it's connected to your own system rather than to
someone else's, I can assure you!
An additional advantage of having a harddisk is that I can now
finally store my monochrome monitor at the right altitude - on
the harddisk housing (it is almost advisable to buy one for that
After having actually installed the harddisk, I immediately
copied everything on it that I regularly use: "GfA Basic"
(versions 2 and 3, as well as the compiler), "1st Word Plus 3.0",
"Michtron Disk Utilities", "VDU", "K-Roget" (beware, English
freaks!), "DB Master One" (yeah...some people - of which I am,
sad to say, one - still work with this retarded piece of
software) and an adapted (and bug-free) file selector. Most
source material is located in some obscure folders, too.
One of the desk accessories that is constantly present in my
system now is "Turbo ST" by Softrek. I had already heard people
talking about this product about four or five months ago. It was
supposed to be a 'software blitter', which would mean that all
screen operations would be much faster now without having to
install a blitter chip!
Of course, if this stuff would work properly, it would be ideal.
I have worked with "Turbo ST" turned on in my system since the
first moment I installed my harddisk (did you know I bought one?
Yes you did. Sorry. I forgot...), and have not had any problems
with it at all. What I did notice was that screen build-up
(especially in windows) was really faster now, that "1st Word
Plus" now built up its screens faster and that "GfA Basic v2.0"
now scrolled much faster. OK. I was impressed. And I still am. It
seems that "Turbo ST" lives up to all the promises it made and is
in fact a 'software blitter' with comparable performances.
According to the manual, the re-written routines (basically,
"Turbo ST" just merges some optimized graphics routines to your
operating system) are two to six times as fast. But, in real
life, everything's a bit more realistic and down to earth.
Some benchmarks (taken from a "Turbo ST" review in the Dutch
magazine "Atari ST Nieuws") are therefore supplied here:
1st Word Plus 22% faster
VIP 6% faster
SBase 39% faster
K-Data 28% faster
DB-Man 37% faster
TDI Modula 2 Editor 42% faster
Tempus Editor 0% faster
ST NEWS Page-view mode 0% faster
Display file on desktop ±50% faster
Craft editor May crash!
It is quite interesting to note that some programs have bigger
speed increases with "Turbo ST" than with the real blitter chip!
Some programs, that have adapted screen output routines (like
"Tempus" and ST NEWS) will have no speed increase. And other
programs (like the Craft editor) might crash. To prevent the
latter case, "Turbo ST" can also be turned off. Very handy,
I have not yet tried to work with the blitter and "Turbo ST"
(and I doubt if I ever will), but I don't think there's going to
be a DOUBLED speed bonus then. Someone will just have to try it
Altogether, I think "Turbo ST" is an excellent product that
should be used by every serious computer user (especially the
ones that do lots of word processing or data base keeping). Price
and dealer in Holland are not yet known, but for info you can
P.O. Box 5257
Winter Park, Florida 32794
United States of America
Tel. (407) 657-4611