A few weeks ago (in another thread) I enquired about compatibility of the Pi1541 & Epyx Fastload cartridge with the MEGA65, as I thought it'd be a good idea to get such a thing to make access to existing software easier.
However, for various reasons I haven't yet got one. This is partly because of availability: I want one in a plastic case, and they're currently unavailable, with the only options seemingly being bare circuit boards.
In the meantime, I've also discovered the existence of the Ultimate II+ cartridge. Although it's a lot more expensive than the Pi1541 options, it appears to be a really good product. It comes in a nice plastic cartridge case and appears to do all that I want, and a great deal more too. I've a good mind to get myself one, as it seems like a very futureproof option, even if I don't need all its facilities.
Anyway, it again leaves me a with a couple of questions…
1. Will the Ultimate II+ cartridge work OK in the MEGA65, at least in C64 mode? I appreciate that there may be some features that won't work, but I'm primarily interested in it as a 1541 drive emulator. I've been in touch with the guy who designed the Ultimate II+ and he believes it will work OK, but he doesn't have direct experience of the MEGA65, so it'd be useful to know if anyone has any experience, and/or whether there are any problems I should know about. Again, the Ultimate II+ does a great deal and I won't need all of its facilities, but I'd like to use the 1541 drive emulation at the very least, and I'd like to be sure that attempting to use the Ultimate II+ with my MEGA65 won't do any damage to my MEGA65.
2. The Ultimate II+ offers some form of tape compatibility, and this raises a whole new area of uncertainty! The only time I've used tapes with a Commodore machine, personally, was on the very first computer I ever used, a PET 2001 Series with inbuilt tape drive. As far as I know, the MEGA65 doesn't even have a port to connect a physical tape drive. Is that right? As I understand it, the tape drive needs its own dedicated port and doesn't use the serial port that other peripherals (like the 1541, I think) use. Is that correct? Or is there some way that I'm unaware of to connect a Commodore tape drive to a MEGA65?
3. If it's true that the MEGA65 can't interface to a cassette drive, does it still contain the necessary software support to load tapes? I.e. the Ultimate II+ also contains a tape emulator, and can therefore play .tap/.t64 files into the machine as though it were loading from tape. Would this work on the MEGA65 (even if only in C64 mode)?
Point 2 isn't very important to me as I don't particularly wish to connect a physical cassette drive to the MEGA65. However, the ability to load virtual tapes (point 3) would be desirable.
Sorry for the 'noob' questions, but my experience of Commodore hardware is pretty limited, so matters of cartridges, tapes etc. are completely outside my direct experience.