[REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

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BzzBR
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[REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by BzzBR »

[UPDATE 1 - APR/25/2015]

You can use SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator Software to convert from/to ".SCP" format
Direct link : http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... r_soft.zip
WebPage : http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emu ... pyemulator

Using the SDC Disk Archiver v1.51 software requires some tricks when you are dumping IBM PC 5.25" disks.

1. To dump 5.25" 1.2MB floppy disks , you need to select 3.5" 1.44MB format on SDC Disk Archiver v.151 GUI.
2. You can't use a 1.2MB disk drive to dump a 360kb floppy disk - Although no errors will show on SDC Disk Archiver , the .SDC file/image will be corrupted above cluster > 176. ( reported bug )

[END UPDATE]


Yesterday I received a SuperCard Pro board. This is an alternative to the KryoFlux board to help you dump your floppy disks in a modern HW.
As far I know, these are the only 2 cards you can use to dump any floppy and still on sale today. (DiscFerret looks abandoned - http://discferret.com/wiki/DiscFerret )

As I have both cards, I did a very "basic" review on both cards. Disclaimer : This is not the "ultimate" or the "best" review. Is just from a regular user.

You can find KryoFlux here : http://kryoflux.com/ and the SuperCard Pro here http://www.cbmstuff.com/

As you can see on the pictures below, the boards are very similar in size.
<- SuperCard Pro on left / KryoFlux on right ->

Image

Here some things about the boards :

SuperCard Pro

1. There is a MicroSD slot on the card. There is no function for it now, but the developer is promising 2 new functionalities

a. A floppy drive emulator
b. A Commodore low-level, cycle exact 1541 disk drive emulator

My assumption is : You will be able to access ( write/save ) the dumps directly from/to the MicroSD and as a floppy emulator, the host will also see/emulate the card as a real floppy drive. There is no additional information about it.

2. There is a 6 pin expansion port that is for an adapter to use a standard Commodore IEC connector when using it plugged to a Commodore 64/128 ( not available yet, and only useful when the drive emulator firmware is available )

3. Power supply for 3.5" disk drives if your USB is powered.

4. A bi-directional floppy bus. Only useful after drive emulator firmware release.

On KryoFlux board there are no expansions or other connections interfaces that can be used on a firmware upgrade

1. You have a "reset" switch on the board
2. You have a JUMP to block the "write" command to prevent any unauthorized write to the floppy disk.
3. a Molex power supply and a 3.5 disk power connector ( not exactly useful for me, as you need to add a supply the power to the board with a +7V power adapter )
4. Jtag - for development
5. You have the regular flopply disk data connector and the USB port ( "printer" type )

From functional perspective there are also some differences.

What you can and can't do with the software provided ( not all functionalities, of course, just the useful ones ):

SuperCard Pro

1. You can have a setup with 2 disk drives and duplicate a floppy disk directly from a disk to another disk
2. You can dump the disk to a .SCP file "stream" format ( one file )
3. You can dump the disk to a limited images formats : G64, ADF. There are no support for IMG or other formats for now. ( see [update 1] above )
4. No-Flip Mod. This function allows you to read the backside of disk without having to remove it from the drive, flip it over, and re-insert it into the drive. You need a MOD disk drive.
5. Disable Index Sensor : This is very useful when dumping disks with no index hole on both sides ( you can read and write disks this way ).
6. You can analyze the disk ( or images ) and write changes at track level
7. You can perform some basic tests ( Max Track, Media, Drive Speed )
8. You can erase a disk
9. You can wipe no used tracks during a dump/copy, Copy Half Tracks, and verify a write operation.
10. Weakbits RAW or Fixed. This is more useful now for commodore users to dump images with copy protections. Does not impact the disk copy/duplication functionality. Only the dump for a .g64 image.
11. No command line. You must use the GUI.
12. You can use the SCP format as input to create the .g64 or .ADF disk image
13. No logs
14. The SCP format is not yet very well supported on emulators.
15. SCP format is documented and open ( you can download the specification )

KryoFlux
1. You can dump the disk in a KF raw format ( preservation streams ) and for several images format at the same time. ( .img, .dsk, .g64, etc. )
2. You can use the KF raw format as input to create the image files
3. KF raw format are "several files" based on the disk size.
4. The KF software ( DTC) is very flexible, and the command line options give you freedom to create your scripts/batch files to dump the disks
5. The "log" file can be done in several ways and it is very detailed
6. There is a "intermediary" format, named IPF. You cannot generate a IPF format using KF available tools ( there are some third-party tools ). But you can send them the KF raw files and if the file is a "original" and "unmodified" dump of your disk, you will receive back the .IPF file. The IPF file is supported by several emulators.
7. Write back to disk is supported since Oct/2014 via command line or with a Windows GUI. You first need to dump the disk to a KF raw format and them write it back
8. IPF format can be implemented by any emulator using a decode library provided by KF team


So, my conclusion is that today, KF provides for ME more options to dump the disks I need. There are more third-party ( not covered here ) software to convert KF raw files to other formats ( including formats that support copy protections ) than the SCP format ( may be this can change in future ). I couldn't find for example a way to covert a SCP file to IMG on windows ( on Linux I believe there is one option ). So for IBM PC dumps, I can dump, but I can't use the .SCP file. ( well I can write it back to another floppy disk )
If you find something wrong, please let me know and I will update.

BzzBr
Last edited by BzzBR on Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don't have a Kyroflux Board? PM me. I can dump the floppies for you (US only).
Want to buy a vintage software on ebay but don't have a mail address in US? PM me. I can re-ship the software for you. (vintage software only/you pay the cost for re-ship)

mrpijey
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by mrpijey »

One other advantage to the KF I see is that it has a much more lively community, despite its lower sampling resolution and lack of fully open sourced format. I considered getting a SCP for myself but decided against it as I can't see any intermediate way of using the generated files in any decent matter. But with the KF I can directly use their CAPS library and get support not only for the STREAM format, but also for IPF, CTRAW and other formats they directly support. What point is there to preserve stuff in a format that no one uses? I like the virtual floppy idea of SCP, but it would be a matter of a new firmware and software for the KF team to implement that, as well as the drive2drive copy feature if wanted. But I believe these are not features that are highly requested, but rather more features when it comes to properly preserve and use the generated images. The KF team is also working on a new format that will be fully open sourced, replace both STREAM and CTRAW and have all the benefits of both and none of the disadvantages. And it will be easily supported in their libraries for us to include in our emulators...

And as we all know, the best hardware doesn't always win, but the hardware that is mostly used, supported and adopted... there are several examples of this in history (VHS vs BetaMAX, BD vs HDDVD, vintage MacOS vs Windows, ISA vs MCA etc) where one format/system is superior to the other but failed due to bad acceptance or market penetration. In this case the KF has a brighter future as it adopted a larger user base, expanded with the right features and thus gained a better foothold against SCP.
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keropi
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by keropi »

I am sorry to resurrect this old topic but I am considering getting one of these devices.
Since 2015 has anything changed? What is the most easy to use when it comes to reading and writting PC-format floppies?

Thanks in advance for any info/help!!!

JustZisGuy
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by JustZisGuy »

Not much has changed.

That problem with the SCP reading 360k disks in a 1.2mb drive was finally fixed. Although anyone doing lots of archiving would want to have both drive types.

Since then, the HxC software has grown and become a popular intermediate analysis tool and converter for both KF and SCP.

Neither is really "easy to use". Both require some detailed knowledge of how the floppy disk systems work. It is not like just dragging and dropping a file to a built in floppy drive.

The KF still has a more comprehensive toolset and a command line tool. But in practice, one might only use the KF or SCP just for making a flux dump and then using HxC and other tools for further processing.

keropi
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by keropi »

thanks for the reply JustZisGuy !

I will go the KF way since it's EU based and no taxes on it

Strummer
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by Strummer »

Has anyone figured out a way (perhaps through converting KF streams?) to make a working .IMG file for copy protected games that require a key disk? Specifically Sierra’s AGI games with the CPC check on track 6? I really hope for an image file (not bound to PCE) that is .img or universal, something that can be written from the stream correctly so that the image will work as a key disk. If Supercard can do this I’d happily switch over from KF.

Thraka
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by Thraka »

Strummer wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:31 pm
Has anyone figured out a way (perhaps through converting KF streams?) to make a working .IMG file for copy protected games that require a key disk? Specifically Sierra’s AGI games with the CPC check on track 6? I really hope for an image file (not bound to PCE) that is .img or universal, something that can be written from the stream correctly so that the image will work as a key disk. If Supercard can do this I’d happily switch over from KF.
The problem is that the IMG file format that doesn't support this type of copy protection. It's a very simple format that is just about files, not disk structure which a lot of copy protection was based on.

JustZisGuy
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Re: [REVIEW] KryoFlux vs. SuperCard Pro

Post by JustZisGuy »

The bigger problem is it is not really possible to define a "lowest common denominator" image format for all copy protected disks.

Simplistic IBM PC protection schemes can sometimes be represented as ImageDisk format. Others with mixed sector size or duplicate sectors might require Teledisk format. If you were just sticking with IBM PC copy protections, most protections could be represented with decoded MFM sort of like a Transcopy image.

But the moment you step outside of IBM PC it gets even more hairy. Odd encoding schemes that should not theoretically work, half tracks, spiral tracks, non index aligned tracks, and more.

Then there are things like "laser hole" protections, where even a flux dump has no way to know you should not be able to write back to that area.

The Kryoflux folks do have their own proprietary format for such use, but they do not make creation tools publicly available because reducing a flux dump to this format is an art that can require very in depth knowledge of any given protection scheme.

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