The WARP SPEED cartridge from Cinemaware is nice!

“Why limp along on impulse power when you can jump to Warpspeed?”

The Warp Speed cartridge was Cinemaware’s answer to the Epyx Fastload. I can vividly recall reading the advertisements for this cart but I never knew anyone who had one. I finally picked one up and figured it might make an interesting video to explore it.

Of particular interest are the fast I/O benchmarks. Here are the charts from my video. The benchmarking was done with the CBM Disk Transfer Benchmark tool. I’ll update the benchmarks on that page after I finish posting this.

The load speed is a decent showing, but, note the save speed. I think this is the fastest speeder cartridge for saving files that I know of. In order to get faster than this (for save speed), you need to use DolphinDOS.

Warp Speed SAVE speed comparison

Warp Speed LOAD speed comparison

You can see where the Warp Speed cart fits in with other speed loaders here.

Here’s the video:

Please excuse the slight hiss in the audio during the demonstration. I’m using a super-cheap USB adapter for a pretty good mic. I’ll not make that mistake again.

Some more details follow:

The Warp Speed was designed by Alien Technology group, also responsible for the V-MAX! copy protection system, which you have probably seen if you loaded original copies of games from companies like Cinemaware, Activision, Origin, etc.

It’s got a good feature list:

  • DOS Wedge
  • Fast I/O (speed save and load) [we’ll get timings and compare them to other carts]
  • Utility menu
  • ML Monitor
  • ML Monitor that assembles, executes, and disassembles in the 1541 drive.
  • Has modes for C64 and C128 (hardware switch selection)
Cinemaware Warp Speed magazine advertisement

Cinemaware Warp Speed magazine advertisement (RUN Magazine, January 1989)

The advertisement above uses “Warpspeed” while the manual and pretty much everything else says “Warp Speed.” It claims “up to 10x faster.” My testing shows it is 8x faster on save and load. I am not sure how they count “55 features” but I am sure if you included the monitor commands you could get there. 🙂

External links of interest:

World of Jani’s page on Warp Speed
OpenC64WarpSpeed on GitHub
WarpSpeed on ReplayResources (has manual and ROMs)
Multi-Easy for EasyFlash has a Warp Speed option

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