I'm looking for a z80 card for apple II
do I need to buy card + software...
(software are specific to each card, so I need to find the software exactly matching the board)
or I can buy a card alone then I find the software on internet ?
(card more or less compatible and using the same software)
Is there anything I should buy / not buy ? (I'm looking for something cheap, not for performance)
Handy, but not required. There are only a couple of Z80 cards of consequence... the Microsoft Softcard and its many clones, and the Applicard and its few clones (i.e. Franklin Ace-80). Software is readily available online for both.
MS Softcard clones are cheap and plentiful (relatively speaking... this is 30-year-old tech...).
Many z80 cards for the apple II were clones of the Microsoft softcard. I have at least half a dozen and the software that ran on one has run on all of them.
Get a card, download the software from asimov (or wherever) and you should be fine.
I have personally tested the Microsoft softcard software, Microsoft v2.2.3 60k, DBase II and the training disk image as well (from asimov) Wordstar 3.0, Supercalc v1.1.2, Microsoft v2.2.0 44k version and all have worked on every z80 card I have (at least 4 different manufacturers, including Microsoft)
Obviously the Softcard IIe software wont work unless you have a Softcard IIe (the 2.2.5 version at least has not run on any card I have, and I don't have a softcard IIe but figured I would try just for the hell of it!)
Just to complete the explenations:
using a Z80 Card enables the Apple II series to use the CPM Operation System,
either the 44k or 56 k version with release no. 2.20 or 2.20B ...
the releases with vers. 3.0 or 3.01 require special cards with own 64 kb RAM on Card
and the 60k version requires special RAMcards with special switching .....
so i recommend to keep an eye to the versions and releases marked here in bold.
They will work with all general ( i.e. simple ) Z80 card versions.
After loading the CPM operation system there is a wide range of commercial software availiable at asimov
and a huge bunch of different programing software ( compilers and interpreters ) availiable...
Just a reminder at the end that is so common to former users, that they often forget to mention it:
using the Z80 card: the default slot for this card is slot 4 and regardless of the modell of Apple
you want to use with it - it should have a 80 column card availiable....
while booting CPM the opration system hunts for such card and prefers to switch to 80 column mode...
some software does not work well in 40 column mode because then the commandlines is split to 2 rows...
and another remark: of course the commands in CPM are not same or similar to proDOS or DOS or UCSD
so its surely quite usefull to become familiar with at least the basic commands of CPM by
reading a intro manual to CPM......
some z80 card don't play nice on IIGS. if you're on 8bit boxes, any card would do, but finding OS is easier for M$ and clone cards.
Thanks to all, now I can buy a board without any problems...
That's usually just a matter of setting the slot to slow and/or running the IIGS in 'slow' mode.