AntiX in one sentence
AntiX is a small PCB that allows you to have a PAL ANTIC and a NTSC ANTIC chip inside your Atari 8 bit computer at the same time, and switch between the two.
Legacy of AntiX
In the past, people have installed NTSC ANTIC chips in PAL machines and the other way around to create a “hybrid” machine. The biggest disadvantages of doing that is that it is a permanent one-way solution. And you would need two machines to “have” both worlds…. AntiX makes it possible to switch between the two ANTICs.
How to install AntiX
AntiX is completely solder-less if you have a socketed ANTIC on your machine (most XLs).
Remove ANTIC, put it in pos. 1 on the AntiX PCB, put the second ANTIC on pos. 2 and put AntiX PCB in the ANTIC socket. Then connect the included connector which runs to a switch and done. Naturally, on XE’s and other machines without sockets you will need to desolder the ANTIC and solder in a socket.
Why would I want AntiX
AntiX provides advantages for both PAL and NTSC users:
PAL users benefit from three important things:
Speed: Finally it is possible to play the (older) games at the speed as they were designed for. It’s not like everything is in turbo mode, but the difference in speed between games being played in PAL and NTSC is definitely quite noticeable. Games like Donkey Kong, Ms.Pac Man etc. etc. jut get that extra smoothness that adds so much to the playability of those games.
Better aspect ratio: the PAL screen was always “squashed down” because PAL uses more TV lines. No more, your TV/monitor will fill up vertically very nicely now !
60Hz: the frame rate increased from 50 to 60Hz, which definitely gives a much more stable and nicer picture on CRTs. This is also a big advantage when the computer is used for programming, word processing etc. There is much less flicker ing on the screen which is a lot easier on the eyes.
NTSC users will be able to run the more recent PAL demo’s and games that were written for PAL machines, and yet they can still switch back to the original NTSC configuration at will.
NTSC territory users please note:
Like when you simply swap an NTSC ANTIC for a PAL one, AntiX does not create a normal NTSC signal. A good monitor or TV is required to get color pictures from the PAL ANTIC mode through the original composite or S-video output. This requires a TV that can handle NTSC-50 OR you can use a professional grade CRT monitor like the Sony PVM series. Alt
The best option however, is to add both AntiX and Sophia to your A8. For more about this see the AntiX and Sophia section below.
How does AntiX work
In short: there is a “mulitplexer”chip on AntiX that switches about 10 signals that need to be switched, controlled by the single included switch.
So, you can see this like you are “remote controlling” a large number of switches at the same time, from ANTIC 1 to ANTIC 2 and back…
There are also 2 extra switches in the chip used to keep the deselected ANTIC asleep and to control the two LEDs on the PCB. All the remaining signals are simply connected together on the AntiX PCB
AntiX and Sophia
Sophia is a video upgrade PCB created by Simius. It provides any Atari 8 bit computer with RGB/YPbPr output or DVI output, depending on which Sophia version you order.
Getting an AntiX and Sophia to work together in your machine is a excellent choice if you are in NTSC area. This will free you from the trouble of finding a TV/monitor that can handle the PAL-M signal that is output by AntiX from an NTSC machine in “PAL” setting. Effectively, Sophia “removes” the NTSC/PAL troubles because both versions of Sophia simply output signals that are not related to NTSC or PAL color encoding
You can choose a Sophia with RGB or YPbPr connection to a (CRT) monitor or TV or choose the DVI version of Sophia if you want to connect digitally to your modern TV or monitor.
This will give you best possible picture AND have the advantages of having NTSC and PAL ANTICs in one machine.
PAL users can also benefit from installing both AntiX and Sophia: you can now hook-up your beloved Philips CM8833/Commodore 1084 through RGB and STILL play at NTSC speed in color 🙂 However the issue is less urgent in PAL territory because almost all more recently built TVs (let’s say, from about the mid 90’s) will display the PAL-60 signal coming from the composite video or S-video output from a standard A8 with AntiX only…