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Contended memory

1 byte removed, 19:07, 24 October 2010
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'''Contended memory''' is a quirk of the ZX Spectrum's hardware design which means that it is on average slower to access those memory areas which are shared with the ULA than it is to access other memory areas. This occurs because the RAM cannot be read by two devices (the ULA and the processor) at once, and the ULA is given higher priority so it can drawn the screen correctly. Therefore, programs which access this "contended memory" (which is from 0x4000 to 0x7fff on the 48K machine, which is the actual 16k version) or try to read from an IO port where the result is provided by the ULA (any port with the low bit reset on the 48K machine) will be slowed if the ULA is reading the screen. This effect occurs only when the actual screen is being drawn; when the border is being drawn or the TV is in either horizontal or vertical refresh, the ULA does not need to access memory and therefore no delays occur.

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