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Old 20 August 2017, 20:51   #1
kirk_m
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Supercard vs Kryoflux

What are the benefits and negatives of one of these flux level disk backup solutions versus the other's?
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Old 20 August 2017, 23:29   #2
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I own both. Neither is perfect and it's difficult or impossible to choose which of the two to recommend.

Buy one or the other and join the appropriate forum for support

Supercard Pro: http://www.cbmstuff.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=3

KryoFlux: https://forum.kryoflux.com/

In your location, I would probably go for the Supercard Pro.
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Old 21 August 2017, 07:38   #3
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Hi,
just curious: what impact does the location have??
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Old 21 August 2017, 17:48   #4
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Hi,
just curious: what impact does the location have??
Probably because the Supercard is made here in the USA where I live, while the Kryoflux is made/sold through a company in Europe. Faster shipping to USA from somewhere else in the USA than from Europe.
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Old 21 August 2017, 20:01   #5
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Faster shipping to USA from somewhere else in the USA than from Europe.
...and no Customs Duty to worry about.
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Old 21 August 2017, 21:21   #6
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True, but fortunately, we don't have to deal with that in North America. Duties, at least. Items shipped from other countries pass through customs, and everything has to be declared on forms, but thankfully we don't have VAT and import taxes to deal with for personal item purchases.
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Old 21 August 2017, 22:05   #7
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Sorry customs and speed of shipping is lowest priority if one product has an advantage.
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Old 21 August 2017, 22:28   #8
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Sorry customs and speed of shipping is lowest priority if one product has an advantage.
If, in your opinion, the Kryoflux has an advantage over the Supercard Pro, then I guess the OP would rather hear about that.
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Old 21 August 2017, 22:30   #9
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Indeed...do tell.
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Old 21 August 2017, 22:55   #10
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I don't have as I don't have a Supercard pro.

Prowler owns both. I'd be really interested in actual differences.

In any case my point was just that the decision should be based on product features.

So it's Prowlers turn now .
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Old 21 August 2017, 23:13   #11
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Okay, my position is this:

One of my interests is data recovery and, since I own both a Supercard Pro and Kryoflux, I am free to use one or other or both whenever I encounter a difficult floppy.

But first, I tend to use my Catweasel Mk4, because I have owned it for longer than either of the others and I have most experience with it. Indeed, very often it yields a complete image which obviates the need to use the others at all.

But there are times when the Catweasel has difficulty and I will then try one or other of the two solutions we are discussing, though most often in these cases the final solution results from a combination of images obtained from all three.

I will have a think about summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of both the Supercard and Kryoflux, but my experiences are not exhaustive and my opinions may well be disputed by both Jim Drew and Christian Bartsch.
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Old 28 August 2017, 19:57   #12
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I would like to hear your opinions on SuperCard Pro.

From a technical standpoint, SuperCard Pro is superior to the Kryoflux because it uses a higher capture resolution (25ns per bitcell vs. 41.666ns that the Kryoflux uses). The image file format and controlling of the hardware is all open for everyone to use, and as a result there are numerous programs that take advantage of that, including SAMDisk, a8rawconv, Keir's Disk Utils, Aufit, Hxc Floppy Drive Emulator software, and a bunch of different emulators (like UAE/WinUAE, Steem, Sugarbox, etc.) The SuperCard Pro can be a stand alone device, and does not require a PC to actually copy disks. You can control it through either of it's two serial ports at baud rates of 300 baud to 1Mbaud.

SuperCard Pro is a fluxi copier/imager. With the exception of Amiga disks (with the .adf converter) it does not do any type of checking of the disk format. There are a variety of programs that support the .scp image format that can do that already so it doesn't make sense to re-invent the wheel. For the Amiga, Keir's Disk Utils is great because it can control the hardware directly and do the analyzing. For Atari 400/800 and Mac disks, a8rawconv does the same thing using direct control of the SuperCard Pro hardware.

For those that want to manipulate flux directly, I provide an analyzer/editor that lets you do that. Using this util, you can view the data in flux, fm/mfm/gcr, or decode hex levels. You can also graphically see the flux data, which gives you an immediate clue as to how the track is laid out and if the disk is dirty/corrupted.

I am always looking for comments for improvements.
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Old 29 August 2017, 09:49   #13
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Anyone considering these products should consider their use case.

Preservation?
-> KryoFlux. The dtc tool analyses the disk format and ensures you get a good dump. This naturally only works, if you have a format that dtc supports. If not, then you can still read the disks blind and begin the arduous manual analysis process.

Duplicating originals to blank disks at home?
-> SuperCard Pro. As Jim explained above, the tools don't analyse anything, they just read and write whatever they can pick up from the disk. If you wish to analyse something, you are again in for manual work.

Both products are precise enough for reading floppy disks accurately. No matter how much you increase the resolution, you can't CSI enhance a coarse data source. A high resolution sample of a noisy source can even make it more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
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Old 29 August 2017, 09:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jope View Post
Anyone considering these products should consider their use case.

Preservation?
-> KryoFlux. The dtc tool analyses the disk format and ensures you get a good dump. This naturally only works, if you have a format that dtc supports. If not, then you can still read the disks blind and begin the arduous manual analysis process.

Duplicating originals to blank disks at home?
-> SuperCard Pro. As Jim explained above, the tools don't analyse anything, they just read and write whatever they can pick up from the disk. If you wish to analyse something, you are again in for manual work.

Both products are precise enough for reading floppy disks accurately. No matter how much you increase the resolution, you can't CSI enhance a coarse data source. A high resolution sample of a noisy source can even make it more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
I think that this is quite accurate and describe well the philosophy between both products
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Old 29 August 2017, 20:40   #15
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The higher the resolution, the easier it is to extract valid data. Disk drives can provide down to about 10ns changes. I have a new design that has 10ns capture resolution for even better preservation capabilities that I might release at some point.

With the various utilities that control the SuperCard Pro hardware directly and do the analyzing in realtime, there is really no need for me to create the same thing within the the SCP software. So, SCP with the various free utilities available for it can handle everything, making it the best option for both preservation and basic archiving.
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Old 30 August 2017, 02:58   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDrew View Post
The higher the resolution, the easier it is to extract valid data. Disk drives can provide down to about 10ns changes. I have a new design that has 10ns capture resolution for even better preservation capabilities that I might release at some point.

With the various utilities that control the SuperCard Pro hardware directly and do the analyzing in realtime, there is really no need for me to create the same thing within the the SCP software. So, SCP with the various free utilities available for it can handle everything, making it the best option for both preservation and basic archiving.
There is a problem however : we all know that the floppy disks are currently rotting away (basically i'd say 30% of them in 3.5" encountered are bad).

I had at one moment imaged with my supercard pro all my disk originals, just to discover that quite a number of them had errors on them, and the supercard pro just had let them pass without shouting a warning.

Just after that, i have checked many SCP disk dumps made by users/people/call them what you want. Quite a big number of SCP disk images are defective and the "contributors" who did them were not even aware of this.

Basically, the supercard should issue a no go on crap disks, and it does not.

And then, when you examine and analyse the disk images (a thing that most eople just don't give a toss about, or can do/doesn't know how to proceed), you discover with horror that even with the higher resolution the supercard is up to, the errors are passing thru !

I think that the supercard pro is basically a PCB that would have been great back in the day, but you would had the copyright owners on your back.

The main problem in the supercard pro "philosophy/idea" is that you can't preserve without analysing the data you're sampling.

It requires a human manual intervention. Otherwise, you're not doing preservation, but simply making a flux copy, exactly like when back in the day you were doing a disk copy with x-copy. Anyone could do one, but there was no analysis behind, which could led to a faulty destination copy.

It's more or less the same problem with the supercard pro today. It's not normal that people have to discover after doing their flux copy that it has faulty tracks and that the supercard pro did not even see them and let them pass.

If i schematize, the whole process look like this :

with supercard pro:

- Read the disk
- save the SCP image
- Disk flux copy done
- if there are errors in the SCP image, the user is not aware of them
- preservation is impossible since preservation means data with no errors, analysed and checked

with the kryoflux :

-Read the disk
-if an error is encountered during the disk reading, the user is immediately warned, knowing that the further dump ensuing can be wrong
-Disk flux dumping done
-The image saved can be now analysed, checked in every possible way
-the final IPF is fully working (100% working either in emulation (if no emu error stands in the middle) and on the real hardware).

Just to note that in the french national Library (BNF) in Paris, people engaged in preservation must verify what they are doing, blind disk imaging or any other material without ensuring that everything is perfect and verified is forbidden, because it's not preservation, it's making blind copies.

So in my book, if you're sure to own still fully own working disks without any defects, you can use the supercard pro in order to make to make flux copies.

If you're unsure of your disks status, and want to go to "preservation mode",
the kryoflux board is the only solution on the market. It won't let pass any errors if there is a serious one on a disk.
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Old 30 August 2017, 08:35   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimDrew View Post
The higher the resolution, the easier it is to extract valid data.
The higher the resolution, the more clever your decoding algorithm must be to separate the noise from the data.. Or alternatively you will have to start calculating averages of adjacent samples to get something to work with, which you got without calculation already if you had a sufficent resolution previously.

It's easy to say bigger/more is better, but sometimes it is just bigger/more, if the earlier amount was already enough.

Also, if we consider an ideal imaginary perfect signal path situation and the source signal has a very high signal to noise ratio, increasing the sample resolution a bit like taking a bitmap and scaling it 2x or 4x. You get bigger pixels, but you don't get any additional information.
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Old 31 August 2017, 00:51   #18
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There is a problem however : we all know that the floppy disks are currently rotting away (basically I'd say 30% of them in 3.5" encountered are bad).
I've heard this type of thing mentioned before, but I've had really good luck with my floppies.. Much lower than 30% bad...
And I seem to have even better luck with my older 5 1/4" floppies...
(knocking on wood)

That said, I would recommend Kryoflux for me...
Because I bought one (before there was a Supercard).

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Old 31 August 2017, 01:30   #19
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I have had pretty good results reading Amiga 880k disks in to .scp images with my Supercard. I have almost NO luck writing the .scp images back out to Amiga disks though. Has anyone written any Amiga readable disks with the Supercard? I finally gave up on writing back to Amiga disks with mine. Perhaps a Kryoflux would be a better option for writing back to new disks?
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Old 31 August 2017, 02:13   #20
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Originally Posted by Magic View Post
I have had pretty good results reading Amiga 880k disks in to .scp images with my Supercard. I have almost NO luck writing the .scp images back out to Amiga disks though. Has anyone written any Amiga readable disks with the Supercard? I finally gave up on writing back to Amiga disks with mine. Perhaps a Kryoflux would be a better option for writing back to new disks?
Check your images with Aufit.
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