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HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
01-20-2018, 12:38 PM
Post: #1
HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
In another thread

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-9855.html

I note some disparaging remarks concerning the 49G.

Here some plus points:

1. Genuine Saturn chip, no emulation layers;

2. 255 KB ERAM;

3. Low power consumption;

4. Longevity: My serial number ID947***** still functions as new, keys show no wear, as legible as new, no wobbly or unreactive keys - this unit was my most used calculator for c 10 years;

5. Hard cover;

6. Very fast (compared with 48G);

That'll do for starters.

Anyone have other plus points for 49G?
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01-20-2018, 01:51 PM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2018 01:52 PM by Massimo Gnerucci.)
Post: #2
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
I have 3 of them, my first one ID944*, bought new, still looks like so (not that I used it so much during the last years). Also the other two, bought used, don't show degradation. Quite fast for their age. I still don't like the ENTER position, color combination and keys material, but letters and symbols are all still there, and visible.

An underrated model in my view.

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01-20-2018, 03:55 PM
Post: #3
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Anyone have other plus points for 49G?

Alarms actually work as designed on the 49g.

Also, I seem to recall the pitch of the sound using the BEEP command is more accurate on the 49g. I haven't tested this, though. Would love to hear if someone else can confirm this or provide a reference.
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01-20-2018, 04:04 PM
Post: #4
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 03:55 PM)DavidM Wrote:  Alarms actually work as designed on the 49g.

Pity that was never fixed in the Kinpo OEM jobs such as the 50g. Proof that older tech (41CX, 48GX) is sometime more reliable than newer!
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01-20-2018, 05:52 PM (This post was last modified: 01-20-2018 05:54 PM by jebem.)
Post: #5
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
It seems the HP 49G is the last calculator to use a native Saturn processor (last generation 4MHz Yorke 1LT8 processor, made by NEC until ceasing the production in 2003 and setting the end of the 49G model).

Another plus points according to Finseth:
"CAS, rubber keys, use of flash, use of field upgradability, CUT/COPY/PASTE/FIND-REPLACE, TOOL, downloadable fonts"

Also we can read about Easter Eggs in the HP-49G FAQ at the hpcalc.org site among other goodies.

Concerning the alleged bad reputation related to the initial production batches (keyboard and screen lens issues), it seems that it is safe to buy those made after mid 2000.
Can anyone confirm this?

BTW, anyone knows what is the meaning of IREM and ERAM in the context of the HP calculators?

I see several remarks posted for HP 49 series, like this one, where references are made to:
- Port 0 (IRAM): Volatile static RAM shared with "System RAM", cleared by a memory clear operation.
- Port 1 (ERAM): Static RAM, but it's not shared with "system RAM", and is not cleared by a memory clear operation.
- Port 2 (FLASH): Non-volatile Flash memory.
- Port 3 (SD): Flash memory on SD Card (Not present on 49G).

Could it be that IREM means Internal RAM (located inside the Yorke 1LT8 processor), and ERAM means External RAM (an additional SRAM chip)?

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01-23-2018, 03:28 PM
Post: #6
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 05:52 PM)jebem Wrote:  BTW, anyone knows what is the meaning of IREM and ERAM in the context of the HP calculators?

Anyone?
I'm really curious to find out... and yes, I did research before I asked here...
Thank you in advance.

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01-23-2018, 04:11 PM
Post: #7
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
My mint condition 49G cost very little and came with a set of printed manuals.

Win-win.

I don't much like the buttons but the display is very clear and the calc. has a nice heft to it. They sure spoiled a good ship for a hap'orth of tar with this model.
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01-23-2018, 04:12 PM
Post: #8
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 03:28 PM)jebem Wrote:  
(01-20-2018 05:52 PM)jebem Wrote:  BTW, anyone knows what is the meaning of IREM and ERAM in the context of the HP calculators?

Anyone?
I'm really curious to find out... and yes, I did research before I asked here...
Thank you in advance.

I have a very faint recollection that the I and E stand for internal and external respectively. Note that these are recollections from around the time the 49G was released, so it's possible that's entirely a fabrication from my subconscious. If there's some truth to it, then I probably read it on comp.sys.hp48, though.

And the 49G is really nice, apart from the absolutely rubbish keyboard. They should have just gone with plastic soft-touch keys along the lines of a Casio, because those stiff rubber things are awful to use.
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01-23-2018, 06:13 PM
Post: #9
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  In another thread

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-9855.html

I note some disparaging remarks concerning the 49G.

Here some plus points:

1. Genuine Saturn chip, no emulation layers;

2. 255 KB ERAM;

3. Low power consumption;

4. Longevity: My serial number ID947***** still functions as new, keys show no wear, as legible as new, no wobbly or unreactive keys - this unit was my most used calculator for c 10 years;

5. Hard cover;

6. Very fast (compared with 48G);

That'll do for starters.

Anyone have other plus points for 49G?

The legends on some of the keys chipped off mine within a month of moderate use. HP later coated the keys to make them more durable.

Tom L

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01-23-2018, 07:38 PM
Post: #10
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Here some plus points:

1. Genuine Saturn chip, no emulation layers;
I'm confused as to what's the advantage. Even with the emulation layer you get a 2x speedup factor, and the virtual Saturn gets many new opcodes that further accelerate common functions bypassing the emulation. In the end you get a faster Saturn with extra features, so how is not the virtual Saturn better than the real one?

(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  4. Longevity: My serial number ID947***** still functions as new, keys show no wear, as legible as new, no wobbly or unreactive keys - this unit was my most used calculator for c 10 years;
My 50g has 12 years of heavy use and you couldn't distinguish it from the new spare I bought last year, if it wasn't for one rubber foot that got lost.

(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  6. Very fast (compared with 48G);
The subject of the thread was advantages against the 49g+/50g, so this should actually go in the disadvantages list.


Once you scratch off those 3 items, the list doesn't have any strong advantages, but some of those are good, like the hard cover vs the imitation leather that falls apart 2 months after you buy.
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01-23-2018, 08:20 PM
Post: #11
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 06:13 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  In another thread

http://www.hpmuseum.org/forum/thread-9855.html

I note some disparaging remarks concerning the 49G.

Here some plus points:

1. Genuine Saturn chip, no emulation layers;

2. 255 KB ERAM;

3. Low power consumption;

4. Longevity: My serial number ID947***** still functions as new, keys show no wear, as legible as new, no wobbly or unreactive keys - this unit was my most used calculator for c 10 years;

5. Hard cover;

6. Very fast (compared with 48G);

That'll do for starters.

Anyone have other plus points for 49G?

The legends on some of the keys chipped off mine within a month of moderate use. HP later coated the keys to make them more durable.

Do you know the serial number?
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01-23-2018, 08:38 PM (This post was last modified: 01-23-2018 08:42 PM by toml_12953.)
Post: #12
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 08:20 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  
(01-23-2018 06:13 PM)toml_12953 Wrote:  The legends on some of the keys chipped off mine within a month of moderate use. HP later coated the keys to make them more durable.

Do you know the serial number?

Sorry, I don't have that calculator any more. I have since upgraded to a 49g+ then from there to a 50g, not keeping the old ones. In addition to flaky (literally) keys, the early 49g had a bug in the serial port. You should be able to find old reviews online to see what problems early adopters had. Edit: I found one for you! Father Joe Horn had a review at:
http://holyjoe.org/hp/HP49.htm#crummy

Tom L

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01-23-2018, 10:06 PM
Post: #13
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
Yes, I've seen those photos of flaking keys before but haven't experienced it myself, now using 49G for c 17 years.

The polarizing screen cover was corrected when China took over production. The polarization was something of a plus occasionally in physics classes.
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01-24-2018, 12:26 AM
Post: #14
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Anyone have other plus points for 49G?

Genuine RS232 serial port. Useful for controlling devices when a USB<->serial converter won't work.

[*] For some values of genuine: e.g. voltage is only +-5V.
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01-24-2018, 04:06 AM
Post: #15
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-24-2018 12:26 AM)BruceH Wrote:  
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Anyone have other plus points for 49G?

Genuine RS232 serial port. Useful for controlling devices when a USB<->serial converter won't work.

[*] For some values of genuine: e.g. voltage is only +-5V.

Technically, the 50g has a UART port, and also the voltages are not right but a small dongle (or Eric's cable) can fix that. In that regards both machines are quite similar.
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01-24-2018, 11:37 AM (This post was last modified: 01-24-2018 02:31 PM by jebem.)
Post: #16
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 10:06 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Yes, I've seen those photos of flaking keys before but haven't experienced it myself, now using 49G for c 17 years.

The polarizing screen cover was corrected when China took over production. The polarization was something of a plus occasionally in physics classes.

Yes, depending on the light on the display lens, the nice rainbow will show up.
Because most people have replaced those early models, I guess there will be few of these specimens remaining, and that is why I will never get apart with my 49G, s/n: ID93406767 (Indonesia, 1999, week 34).

[Image: SAM_4152.JPG]



And since this thread is about PLUS points, another nice touch would the blue colored annunciators:

[Image: SAM_4188.JPG]

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01-24-2018, 12:20 PM (This post was last modified: 01-25-2018 09:15 AM by jebem.)
Post: #17
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 07:38 PM)Claudio L. Wrote:  
(01-20-2018 12:38 PM)Gerald H Wrote:  Here some plus points:

1. Genuine Saturn chip, no emulation layers;

I'm confused as to what's the advantage. Even with the emulation layer you get a 2x speedup factor, and the virtual Saturn gets many new opcodes that further accelerate common functions bypassing the emulation. In the end you get a faster Saturn with extra features, so how is not the virtual Saturn better than the real one?

IMHO, the native Saturn benefit is related to the amount of SRAM memory available on the 49G when compared to the 49G+/50G models running on Saturn emulators, as shown on the File Manager for official firmware versions and after a full memory reset:

1) Model 50G:
VERSION: HP50-C Revision #2.15 HP 2009
Port 0: IRAM 240KB
Port 1: ERAM 127KB
Port 2: FLASH 655KB
Home 240KB (that's the shared Port 0 from above)
CASDIR

2) Model 49G (ID93406767, Indonesia, 1999, week 34)
VERSION: HP49-C Revision #1.18 HP 2000
Port 0: IRAM 241KB
Port 1: ERAM 255KB
Port 2: FLASH 1079KB
Home 241KB (that's the shared Port 0 from above)

So it is a trade off. The 50G loses user memory but gives more features compared to the 49G.
Hence the less amount of both ERAM and Flash ROM available to the user on the 50G.

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01-24-2018, 12:32 PM (This post was last modified: 01-25-2018 09:16 AM by jebem.)
Post: #18
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
(01-23-2018 04:12 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  
(01-23-2018 03:28 PM)jebem Wrote:  <Question on what ERAM and IRAM means>
Anyone?
I'm really curious to find out... and yes, I did research before I asked here...
Thank you in advance.

I have a very faint recollection that the I and E stand for internal and external respectively. Note that these are recollections from around the time the 49G was released, so it's possible that's entirely a fabrication from my subconscious. If there's some truth to it, then I probably read it on comp.sys.hp48, though.

I thought the same way, but it seems that this is not the case.
Meanwhile I have been doing further reading here and there, and:

- I have learn that IRAM means "Independent RAM", as found on several HP-71 documents available elsewhere. The 71B was the first machine to use the Saturn processor.

- I also learned that the Saturn processor does NOT have internal RAM to store programs. Its internal SRAM is dedicated to support the CPU Registers.

- So, all the SRAM (static RAM), FLASH ROM, or SD Cards, must be External to the Saturn processor.

- The internal PCB pictures I found at HPCALC shows, among other chips:
- One TE28F160 16Mbit FLASH ROM;
- One KM684000BLT-5 512KByte SRAM.

This makes sense with what we see on the 49G File Manager information:
Model 49G (ID93406767, Indonesia, 1999, week 34)
VERSION: HP49-C Revision #1.18 HP 2000
Port 0: IRAM 241KB
Port 1: ERAM 255KB
Port 2: FLASH 1079KB
Home 241KB (that's the shared Port 0 from above)

Also, as I mentioned above in another post, while the IRAM is Volatile static RAM shared with "System RAM" and cleared by a memory clear operation, the ERAM it's not shared with "system RAM" and is not cleared by a memory clear operation.

So, it seems that despite using one single 512KByte SRAM chip shared among ports 0 and 1, each segment is handled in a different way by the calculator kernel.


And the question remains: What the ERAM acronym means?
I'm hoping that one of the HP gurus read this and give me an answer, any answer at all will be good Smile

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01-24-2018, 09:04 PM
Post: #19
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
As (I believe) the original disparager, I wanted to thank Gerald for starting this thread; as usual it has brought out some interesting and useful facts.

In my humble opinion, these are indeed advantages:

Hard Cover Provided (though I dislike them...)

Low-power consumption - if indeed a 49G has longer effective battery life than a 50g under same load (anyone tested this?)

Alarms always work.

5V Serial Port (closer to real RS-232 - at least it won't get damaged).

I forgot that the 49G had twice as much ERAM (255 vs. 127); helpful for storing lots of stuff. There were some issues with storing very large objects (it was comprised of 2 x 127KB modules, seemingly bank-switched as no object could cross the boundary) so they may have dropped it to 127 in later machines to avoid these issues and confusion.

Interestingly, on my 49G (CN148... w/same ROM version as Jose's) after reset, my memory values are slightly different:

Port 0: IRAM 241KB
Port 1: ERAM 255KB
Port 2: FLASH 1085KB (Filer shows 980KB + 49g demo library installed (108133 Bytes, so 980+105 => 1085) )
Home 241KB (default CAS variables after reset present)

So my view of the 49G has been improved!

That said, I think my original statement is fundamentally correct: "The 49g is infamous for being about the worst high-end machine HP ever made".

If you disagree, which other high-end machine was worse?

I guess what I had in mind for the meaning of "worst" was how it met the user communities expectations upon announcement and shortly afterwards.

And of course, we are looking at these machines through the thickest filter of all: time. The 28C was incredibly advanced when it came out; now it seems childish and crude...

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01-24-2018, 09:41 PM
Post: #20
RE: HP 49G Advantages over 49g+ & 50g
I remember the 49G as a dream come true - Infinite precision integer arithmetic built in, loads of number theory functions, MetaKernel & futuristic look (compare with 48GX).

Detractions abound but the pluses were enough to shelve the 48GX (Plus MetaKernel, plus memory cards at exorbitant prices).

All (most) User heritage software worked OK.
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