Well, BBS sysops hosting Bulletin Boards definitely used that extra memory and speed. No doubt. But also folks who used programs like GEOS had a very strong advantage. And this was especially true for C128 users who were using GEOS 128 in 80-column mode. "What are you doing in there, junior?" "I'm being highly productive, mom!"
One of my local friends uses his C128 and REU like this:
He went on:The GEOS KERNAL supports Commodore’s RAM Expansion Unit (REU) via the 128 configure file. Specifically, the KERNAL allows up to 512K of RAM to be configured to provide 1541 or 1571 RAM disks, the shadowing of a real 1541 disk drive, fast movement of data, and fast rebooting of GEOS from BASIC.”
So in other words it's a RAM disk that can survive a warm reboot. A cold reboot would wipe it out. Though he’s persisting the RAM to disk via a shadow function.The drive shadowing is awesome, so basically I can shadow my GEOWRITE disk and then everything that’s loaded from it gets “cached” into RAM. If I close and re-open GEOWRITE, it’s all immediate.
Whatever changes you make in RAM get written back to disk (so the disk always remains the source of truth).
It also has a RAM REBOOT mode where if I flash-restart the 128, it boots most of GEOS back from RAM.
Folks, that's pretty danged coolio!
And like the C128, which has an empty ROM socket for a adding an optional function ROM, the 1750 has a spot for one, too. However, it's not quite as cut and dry as the 128, which I'll demonstrate below. After opening the REU for the first time (and voiding the warranty!) I was stunned to discover that the function ROM bay was not only un-socketed, but the holes for a socket were filled. This leaves me with a few questions.
1. Should I de-solder the plugged holes and solder in a socket for a function ROM? I wouldn't ever want to solder in a function ROM as there'd be no way to disable it. If I installed a socket for a function ROM, would I need to remove a section of the heat shield for it to fit?
2. And look at that area above the ROM bay. It looks like it's made for a jumper - for adding an on/off switch, perhaps? Does anyone reading this know if that's for enabling/disabling the function ROM when it is installed? I found the schematics if you're skilled in reading those.
My original plan was to install a GEOS ROM into that empty spot and make this REU a GEOS Cart-on-Steroids. The GEOS ROM speeds up the boot times a bit, which is nice. But adding the GEOS function ROM has other benefits, too.
When GEOS first came out every application boot disk had a serial number. The GEOS Boot ROM solves the “disk serialization problem” so you don't have to worry about your GEOS programs matching your GEOS serial number anymore, which is very cool.
Things to ponder and figure out in the coming weeks... If you have a personal favorite way of doing things, I'd love to know.
For what it's worth, back in the 1990s some folks figured out how to push the Commodore REUs to 1mb and even 2mb of RAM, which is just insane. From what I've read, you have to remove all of the heat shielding as the case will barely fit after modding it like that. But holy smoke... 2mb must have been very cool. (I don't need that much - I'm just saying.)