Commodore 64 Cartridges and 1541 Disk Drive

Comparison of Commodore 64 Speed Loaders

Here’s a central location for the disk data transfer rates I have personally measured using CBM Disk Transfer Benchmark. I’ll include a table of results for both load and save transfer rates and bar graphs below those.

Unless otherwise noted, testing was done on a real NTSC Commodore 64 with stock KERNAL and a 1541 disk drive. Disk Transfer Benchmark measures the time it takes for the call to the LOAD or SAVE routine (via KERNAL vector) to return, using the CIA’s real-time clock. For more details, see the DTB info page.

These tables are obviously not exhaustive, as there are many more cartridges, KERNAL replacements, disk drive models, and software IRQ loaders, etc., than what I have tested here. However, these scores were all made using the same testing methodology and personally done by me.


LOADING

The baseline DTB Load Score of 1x is the average time it takes to load a 177 block file with a vanilla Commodore 64 and 1541 Disk Drive.

System Load Bytes per Second Load Time DTB Load Score
1541 403 01:51.5 1x
SD2IEC 502 01:29.5 1x
1581 507 01:28.6 1x
1541 w/ KCS Power 1303 00:34.5 3x
1541 w/ Better Working TURBO 2101 00:21.4 5x
1541 w/ Epyx Fastload 2121 00:21.2 5x
1541 w/ Mach 5 2121 00:21.2 5x
1541 w/ Warp Speed 3017 00:14.9 8x
1541 w/ Final Cartridge III 3406 00:13.2 9x
1541-II w/ JiffyDOS 3746 00:12.0 9x
1541 w/ Super Snapshot 5 4163 00:10.8 10x
1541 w/ Action Replay 5 5352 00:08.4 13x
1541 w/ Retro Replay PAL 3.8q 5352 00:08.4 13x
1581 w/ JiffyDOS 6515 00:06.9 16x
SD2IEC w/ Epyx Fastload 7136 00:06.3 18x
SD2IEC w/ JiffyDOS 9175 00:04.9 23x
1541 w/ DolphinDOS (U64)* 9366 00:04.8 23x
1541 w/ Transwarp 0.84 16056 00:02.8 40x
1541 U2+ Hyperspeed (USB) 64223 00:00.7 161x
1541 U2+ Hyperspeed (RAM Disk) 89912 00:00.5 225x
U64 Hyperspeed (USB) 224780 00:00.2 562x
U64 Hyperspeed (RAM Disk) 449560 00:00.1 1124x

Loading Comparison Graphs

*Notes

  • Transwarp speeds were measured after using cc1541 to create encoded files, including the data binary stream DTB loads.
  • U64 Hyperspeed was measured on the 1541 Ultimate-II+ connected to an NTSC C64, and also on a Ultimate 64 Elite. In both cases, speeds were measured for attached USB storage and also the internal RAM disk.
  • Retro Replay was tested on a PAL Commodore 64, because the NTSC version failed the tests on my computers.
  • SD2IEC scores were tested with an SD2IEC from TFW8b.
  • DolphinDOS was tested using an Ultimate 64 Elite, not real hardware.

SAVING

The baseline DTB Save Score of 1x is the average time it takes to save a 177 block file with a vanilla Commodore 64 and 1541 Disk Drive.

System Save Bytes per Second Save Time DTB Save Score
1541 w/ Epyx Fastload 342 02:11.5 1x
1541 370 02:01.5 1x
1541 w/ Mach 5 371 02:01.3 1x
1541 w/ KCS Power 371 02:01.2 1x
1541 w/ Better Working TURBO 371 02:01.1 1x
1581 749 01:00.0 1x
SD2IEC w/ Epyx Fastload 870 00:51.7 2x
SD2IEC 871 00:51.6 2x
1541-II w/ JiffyDOS 925 00:48.6 3x
1541 w/ Super Snapshot 5 1170 00:25.4 5x
1581 w/ JiffyDOS 1905 00:23.6 5x
1541 w/ Final Cartridge III 2007 00:22.4 5x
1541 w/ Action Replay 5 2443 00:18.4 7x
1541 w/ Retro Replay PAL 3.8q 2470 00:18.2 7x
SD2IEC w/ JiffyDOS 2775 00:16.2 8x
1541 w/ Warp Speed 2900 00:15.5 8x
1541 U2+ Hyperspeed (USB) 3978 00:11.3 11x
1541 U2+ Hyperspeed (RAM Disk) 4683 00:09.6 13x
1541 w/ DolphinDOS (U64) 5352 00:08.4 15x
U64 Hyperspeed (USB) 9565 00:04.7 26x
U64 Hyperspeed (RAM Disk) 37463 00:01.2 102x
1541 w/ Transwarp 0.84 FAIL FAIL FAIL

Saving Comparison Graphs

*Notes

  • Transwarp¬†failed the save benchmark because the drive entered an error state after jumping to the SAVE routine.
  • U64 Hyperspeed was measured on the 1541 Ultimate-II+ connected to an NTSC C64, and also on a Ultimate 64 Elite. In both cases, speeds were measured for attached USB storage and also the internal RAM disk.
  • Retro Replay was tested on a PAL Commodore 64, because the NTSC version failed the tests on my computers.
  • SD2IEC scores were tested with an SD2IEC from TFW8b.
  • DolphinDOS was tested using an Ultimate 64 Elite, not real hardware.