Visit Atarimax Store


Free-Net Logo
The Atari SIG Historical Archive
Created and hosted by: atarimax.com
[ HOME | GO ATARI | 8-BIT | ST/TT | PORTFOLIO | LYNX | JAGUAR | LIBRARY ]


 
        ______           ______
       /      \         /      \
      /________\       /________\
      | ______ |       | ______ |
      ||Mega  ||       ||Falcon||
      ||STe/TT||      _||ST/STe||
      ||______||     | ||______||
     /|________|\    | |________|
    /____________\  /
    |_/|\_ _--_  | /  _____________
   _|____________| | |/////////////|
  |                 \|/////////////|
  \ ____________ _   |_____________|\
   |/////////// | \  | /////////___| |
   |LLLLLLLL LLL| _  |LLLLLLLLL LLL| _
   |LLLLLLLL LLL||'| |LLLLLLLLL LLL||'|
   |_[____]_____| -  |_[_____]_____| -
 
  About the Atari 16/32-bit Computers
    (ST,STe,Mega,Mega STe,Falcon030,Stacy,TT)
 
 
 
 The Older ST(fm) Series:
 
     The Atari ST and Mega computer systems are based on the
 Motorola 68000 microprocessor, 32-bit internal, 16-bit external.
 The operating system is built in TOS (The Operating System) with
 GEM (Graphics Environment Manager) Desktop.  The system clock
 runs at the speed of 8MHz.  The computers come in many different
 versions.  The 520STfm comes with 512k and can be expanded to
 1 Meg by soldering in extra RAM.  The Mega ST comes with either 2
 or 4 megs of RAM.  It also has room to add additional hardware
 internally if needed.
 
     All of these computers have a built-in 3.5" 720k double sided,
 double density, floppy disk drive.  Even though it says "720k" it
 can be pushed to format about 1 Meg.  The STs hard disk interface is DMA
 and can only handle Atari hard drives or hard drives made especially
 for the ST.  The ST computers have three separate video outputs;
 an RF modulator for normal TVs, composite and RGB color monitor
 outputs, and an extra-high-resolution monochrome display output.
 The Atari RGB color monitors are made especially for the ST
 to give very sharp output.  The Atari monochrome monitors
 are excellent and well known for use with word processing, music,
 and desktop publishing.  The ST computers have standard interfaces
 allowing you to hook up different types of equipment to it.
 The RS-232 serial communications port enables you to connect modems
 of any brand, digitizing tablets, plotters, printers and any other
 RS-232 standard equipment.  The Centronics parallel printer port
 enables you to connect all types of printers to it and does not
 restrict Atari only printers.  One of the most unique things that
 the Atari ST computers have that no other computer on the market
 has is built-in MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) ports.
 This enables the ST to be connected to musical instruments, such
 as electronic synthesizers, etc.  Musicians from all over the world
 are using STs specifically because it was made with music in mind.
 All STs have cartridge slots on the left side or back of the computer.
 This slot is being used to hook up hardware or even help emulate
 computers such as the Macintosh with the Spectre GCR.  Underneath
 the keyboard or behind the keyboard are joystick/mouse ports.
 These ports are used to either control the desktop with a mouse or
 play games with joysticks.  The STs keyboard is a standard QWERTY
 keyboard with a numerical keypad and 10 Function keys.  The 10
 Function keys are used by ST programs or even IBM programs when
 an IBM computer emulator is used.
 
     The Mega ST computers have a detached keyboard, a box housing
 the CPU with a built in 3.5" disk drive, a battery-powered real-time
 clock calendar, and a blitter chip for high speed animation.
 The Mega ST computers were designed as "open architecture"
 which in the future might be able to handle such chips as the
 Motorola 68020 and the 68881 math co-processor.  Atari's hard drives
 and removable tape drives fit comfortably on top of the CPU box
 (which is also a monitor stand).
 
 
 1040 STe Line:
 
     The 1040 STe computers are the current low end Atari machines, an
 "enhanced" version of the 520STfm and older models.  The 1040STe
 has 4,096 colors as suppose to 512 colors.  It has an 8-bit digital
 stereo sound chip which makes very high quality sound.  It contains
 a blitter chip, a hardware-based smooth scrolling addition (for
 game programmers to make some real hot games), two analog joystick
 ports (can be split into 4 more joysticks or padles to allow 6 total
 or be used for high-tech mice or robotics), and features easy to
 add SIMM memory upgrades.  The 1040 STe can be expanded to 4 Megs
 currently but some have claimed to expand it to 16 Megs.  It also
 has a new TOS and GEM desktop.  The ST has been redesigned to the
 STe so that it can compete and be expanded for years to come.
 
      The 1040STe can be found for around $400 in the 1 Meg form and
 about $600 in the expanded 4 Meg Ram form.  This is a pretty amazing
 price for atleast its time and many who have used the STe with a
 TV set claims that its RF-Modulator is so good that you don't really
 need a monitor.  Remember, this includes a disk drive, a modem port,
 a printer port, a MIDI port, and 1 Meg of memory.  An 8-bit computer
 system could not be put together similar to this for under $650.
 The 1040 STe, with double the memory of its closest competitor,
 may be a champ in the present home computer boom.
 
     The 520STfm is no longer being manufactured, however it is has
 the best compatibility with older software.  In order for Atari to
 keep up with technology, it had to change certain things within
 the 1040 STe computer.  These changes has made many entertainment
 titles incompatible with it atleast until the programmers rewrite
 the software title to make it compatible.  The MegaST production
 line has been terminated due to a new and improved similar
 computer system called the "Mega STe".
 
 
 Stacy:
 
     All of these computer systems are very powerful and the users
 of this SIG seem very happy with them.  But one computer system that
 hasn't been mentioned that deserves acknowledgment is the Atari
 Stacy portable computer.  The Stacy, is an ST portable that you can
 take on the road with you.  It is presently mainly being used by
 musicians who love to work with the ST but need the portability
 of it when they travel.  It is also used by Macintosh computer users,
 surprisingly enough as a Macintosh portable.  The Stacy, with
 David Small's Spectre GCR Macintosh emulator plugged into the
 cartridge slot acts like a regular Macintosh.  The reasons Macintosh
 users look at the Stacy as a possible portable for them is because
 many say it is better than the current portable Macintosh on the market.
 It is also about 2x less expensive with the emulator.
 
 
 MegaSTe:
 
     Now, on to the Mega STe.  The Mega STe has a new computer body
 similar to that of the TT but has a grey color rather than off-white.
 It has a pair of serial ports and a local area network (Appletalk
 compatible) port.  There is a VME bus cart slot accessible through
 a panel on the back of the machine which will allow for an additional
 serial port card.  It also has 2 Megs of RAM, and a switchable 16/8 Mhz
 acceleration with or without RAM cache, and an internal 50 megabyte
 hard drive.  The desktop is totally different from that of the
 520STfm and 1040STe for it is much better and more professional
 looking (not to say the old ST desktop isn't).  It also has just about
 everything else that the 1040 STe has including stereo sound for
 the new 15" SC1435 color monitors that are being produed for it.  The
 newer MegaSTe's are shipping with 1.44 meg floppy drives, whereas the
 the older MegaSTe's can be upgraded with a minimum of trouble.
 
 
 
 Falcon030:
 
         Atari's Falcon030 is a brand new product, not available in mass
 quantities yet.  It's style is almost exactly that of the 1040STe.  The
 only difference is that it has really dark gray keys, and Atari's name is
 in rainbow colors.  It comes with 1, 4, or 14 megs of memory, a 1.44
 megabyte 3.5" high density floppy drive, and an optional internal 84 meg
 IDE hard drive (that is only 2.5"!).  Inside the machine, is a 16 mHz 68030,
 Motorola's 32 bit chip (the 68040 is also 32bit, and even better than the
 68030).  It has a BLiTTER like in the STe's, however this BLiTTER is 16
 mHz.  It also has a chip from Motorola called the DSP chip (short for
 Digital Signal Processor).  This chip is used to add effects to sound,
 compress images, act as a modem, or do any other kind of signal processing.
  It runs at a full 32 mHz!  It also has a port on the back of the computer
 for such uses as a connector to a modular jack, so the DSP can act as a
 modem.  In terms of video, the Falcon can do almost anything you throw at
 it.  There are programs such as FalconScreen that will allow resolutions
 greater than 800x600 with 256 colors!  There are many modes available
 through the new desktop.  It allows for 40 or 80 column modes (320 or 640
 lines across), and 200 or 400 lines down.  On a ST Monitor, the 400 line
 mode is interlaced, and on a VGA, it is accually 240/480.  In terms of
 sound quality, the Falcon can beat any CD Player.  Also new is the desktop
 with 16 color icons, and 3D buttons.  It includes a MultiTasking program
 called MultiTOS also.  You can find a Falcon for $799 for 1 meg and no hard
 drive, $1299 for a 4 meg and 84 meg hard drive, and $1899 for a 14 meg and
 84 meg hard drive.
 
 
 
 TT030:
 
     Atari's TT030 is the company's new high end machine, similiar in
 body style as the MegaSTe, with a slightly lighter color.  The TT030s
 consist of a 68030 running at 32 Mhz with cache, 68882 math coprocessor,
 and a new desktop (Tos 3.06) similiar to Tos 2.06 but taking advantage of
 the TT's new resources.  The TT also includes 2 new graphics modes in
 addition to the 3 normal ST resolutions.  These are a 640x480 in 16
 colors out of 4096, and a 320x480 in 256 colors out of 4096 mode.  A
 LAN port and VME slot are also standard equipment.  The newer TT's are
 shipping with 1.44 meg drives, whereas the older models can be upgraded.
 The TT memory can be expanded to over 16 Megs of TT fast Ram.  There is
 also a beautiful 19 inch monochrome monitor out for the TT that makes it
 an excellent choice for high end DTP and CAD applications.
 
  MIDI
 
     The Atari ST computer systems have found several "niche" markets
 or are used specifically to do a certain task.  The main "niche" is
 in the music industry.  At one point in time, the Macintosh computer
 system was used to meet the needs of many musicians, but now the
 Atari ST seems to be taking over this market rapidly.  Ever since
 the January, 1985 Comsumer Electronics show, musicians have been
 talking about the possibilities of the new machine with MIDI ports
 actually built into it!  The built-in MIDI ports inspired many
 programmers to write software to take advantage of it and take
 advantage of the music capability within the ST.  The ST now has
 the most and probably the best musical software for it today.  If you
 are a musician, any computer owner, not just Atari owners will tell
 you that the ST is the best for you.  Why?  Because of several
 factors.  The first and probably most important factor to you is the
 price of the ST.  It is affordable to you, as a part-time musician
 or even a beginner musician.  You don't have to spend 3x the amount
 of money on another computer system that this computer system can do
 better.  Professional musicians who have some extra cash to spend
 are also buying the ST because it is soon becomming a standard computer
 to use with their equipment.  The computer is also being supported
 not only by many 3rd party software and hardware manufacturers but
 also by Atari itself.  No other computer company has practically
 released a portable computer for musicians alone.  Atari has also
 created the "Hotz Box" with Jimmy Hotz to help continue to show
 musicians that they are worth the effort.
 
     There is so much music software for the Atari ST that there
 is just not enough room to mention all of them.  In attempt to
 not be favorites without realizing what I am favoring, you should
 go to the MIDI section of the Atari SIG for more information on
 software provided by people who are more knowledgable in that area.
 
  Desktop Publishing
 
     The next "niche" that Atari is breaking into is the desktop
 publishing market.  Atari has shown great interest in this market
 by introducing desktop publishing systems consisting of the Mega STe
 computers and SLM804 laser printer.  Atari is continuing this interest
 by producing a newer and better laser printer.  The reason many
 desktop publishers like using the ST as a desktop publishing system
 is because it does the job, it is very comfortable to use and the
 system itself is very affordable.  Even though this may not be a
 very large market, everyone has newsletters to make, resumes to write,
 and pictures to create.  A high-end desktop publishing system that
 would cost above $10,000 on other computer systems, costs less than
 $6,000 on an Atari.
 
     The most popular desktop publishing software for the ST are:
 
     Calamas                    Desktop Publisher ST
     ISD Marketing Inc.         Timeworks Inc.
     2651 John St.,             444 Lake Cook Road
     Unit 3, Markham, Ontario   Deerfield, IL 60015
     L3R2W5 (416) 479-1880      (708) 948-9200
 
     Fleet Street Publisher     PageStream
     MichTron                   Soft-Logik Publishing Corp.
     3201 Drummond Plaza        11131 S. Towne Square, Suite F
     Newark, DE 19711           St. Louis, MO 63123
     (302) 454-7946             (314) 894-8608
 
 
  Desktop Video
 
     A niche that Atari is attempting to gain more of a market in,
 especially with the release of the 1040 STe is the Desktop Video
 market.  Although, the Amiga computers are well known for their
 production of video graphics, the STs and especially the STes can
 hold their own.  There are many Atari users who use their ST for
 video production mainly because its screen doesn't jump around when
 producing high-quality graphics like other computers.  They can
 easily connect "Video Key" to their ST from Practical Solutions and
 video record anything they wish on to their VCR or video studio.
 The only draw-back that the present STs have is when genlocking
 to an external video signal, it needs a hardware unit for high-quality
 output called "JRI Genlock" made by John Russell Innovations and has
 a whopping price tag of $650.00.  However, the newer STe computers
 are said to be more friendly to genlocking and devices for it should
 not nearly cost as much as it does for the STs.
 
     Some of the software and hardware well known for Desktop Video are:
 
     JRI Genlock                 Vidi-ST
     John Russell Innovations    Computer Games Plus
     P.O. Box 5277               Box 6144
     Pittsburg, CA 94565         Orange, CA 92667
     (415) 458-9577              (714) 639-8189
 
     Videotext                   TV Titles 2.0
     Water Fountain Software     J.P. Deziel
     13 E.17th St.               R.R. 1
     3rd Floor                   Box 6
     New York, NY 10003          Chelsea, Quebec J0X1N0
     (212) 929-6204              (819) 827-0551
 
 
  Emulation
 
     Another "niche" which isn't really a niche but since we are
 going in order of what the ST is noted for, this is certainly one
 of them.  The ST is great at emulating computers.  It can emulate
 the Macintosh, the IBM PC/XT, and many of its major competitors
 except for Amiga, but I guess that's because there seems little
 reason to.  It can also emulate old 8-bit computer systems such
 as the Atari 8-bits, Commodore 8-bits, and even the Apple IIs.
 But many of these 8-bit emulators often are restricted in emulation
 and cannot fully emulate them due to the difference in speed.
 
     Kevin Steele is a technical writer and has written an article about how
 the ST can be used to emulate the Macintosh and IBM PC.
 
 He has been kind enough to provide us with this information on some
 of the various emulators around:
 
 ========
     Emulators and the ST:
     An Operating System For Every Occasion
 
     by Kevin Steele
 
      The Atari ST has been called the "Chameleon Computer," and with good
 reason. The ST can emulate a number of different systems, including CPM
 computers, Atari 8-bit computers, and most importantly, even IBM and Apple Macin
 ps to guard against computer obsolescence, a major problem with owning an "off-b
 
      There are several IBM emulators available for the ST, but the most
 popular seems to be the SuperCharger, built by a German company known as Beta Sy
 and a 10Mhz V30 CPU. This unit emulates a "Turbo XT," and offers the unique abil
 e to run while the ST is turned off.
 
      There are two Macintosh emulators available, although only one is
 available in the US. This emulator is the Spectre GCR, which stands head
 and shoulders above the other emulator, Aladdin, which is only sold in
 Europe. The Spectre GCR is a cartridge which plugs into the ST, and which
 uses actual Macintosh ROMs to offer almost perfect compatability with the Macint
 n, it offers a screen size that is 30% larger than the
 standard Mac screen (640x400 vs. 512x342).
 
      Each of these emulators cannot pretend to maintain 100% compatability with
 even claiming an amazing 98% compatability ratio.  While these emulators cannot
 replace these computers, they can be used in situations where another
 computer would be handy.  Emulators offer the ST owner specific piece of
 software not yet available for the Atari ST.
 
 =========
 
     The 8-bit emulators are either public domain or shareware.  The
 following are a list of emulators for the ST available in the United
 States but don't be surprised if a few more show up within the year.
 Please also remember that each emulator has its strength and weakness
 and you may want to either read reviews for it or ask around to see
 which is the best for you.
 
     PC Speed                 SuperCharger
     Talon Technologies       Talon Technologies
     243 N. Highway           243 N. Highway
     101 #11                  101 #11
     Solana Beach, CA 92075   Solana Beach, CA 92075
     (619) 792-6511           (619) 792-6511
 
     Spectre GCR
     Gadgets by Small Inc.
     40 W. Littleton Blvd. #210
     Littleton, CO 80120
     (303) 791-6098
 
 
  Education
 
     As the Apple II computers are leaving the education scene, Atari
 computers are moving in.  It's true.  In the Cleveland Public High
 Schools, Atari ST computers are used to teach students and are networked
 together.  They don't only have a couple but entire rooms full and
 that is because Atari computers are great computers in the education
 scene.  The Cleveland Public schools aren't the only schools using
 Atari computers, Bob Coulter, a teacher at West Geauga Middle School
 has interested not only other teachers on what Ataris can do but has
 interested the school into purchasing more STs for their students to use.
 
     Thanks goes to Bob Coulter for writing an article on how the
 ST can be used in education.
 
 ========
 
     ST in Education
      by Bob Coulter
 A revolution is now occuring in the area of education and computers.
 Throughout the United States schools are in the process of upgrading
 their computer systems to 16 bit machines.  The 8 bit machines are a
 dying breed and everyone knows it, including Apple.  If Atari ever wants
 to make a move in education, now is the time.  The ST is an excellent
 choice for school computer labs because it's versatile, powerful,
 and above all affordable.  The purpose and goal of computer labs is
 to teach our students such programs as word processing, spreadsheets,
 data bases, desktop publishing, graphics, and other productive 16 bit
 programs.  We need to teach them what they are going to be using and
 in need of in the outside world.  All of these programs are readily
 available for the ST and at a more reasonable price than the IBM
 counterparts.  Then too, if a school really wants to run IBM or even
 Mac software, the ST can be made to emulate these at a far lower-price
 than by actuallypurchasing suchcomputers.  Yes, the ST is an excellent
 choice for education.  The ST can perform above any standards set by a
 school system for their computer labs.  It's a system that all schools
 should investigate before making any commitment.  They would really be
 impressed with the ST and what it can do for education.
 
 =======
 
  Wordprocessing
 
     As you can tell, we are leaving the "niche" scene and into
 just what the ST can do pretty well in.  The Atari ST was never
 designed to be a game computer unlike other systems, and that is why
 the ST isn't mainly noted for games.  It is really noted as a
 professional system with its desktop publishing and its word processors.
 Although Word Writer by Timeworks seems like the most popular of
 all the wordprocessors for ST owners, the ST has many more to
 choose from, each with their own special features.
 
     Some of the most popular wordprocessors are of the following:
 
     Word Writer          1st Word Plus       Script
     Timeworks, Inc.      1st Word Plus       Megamax Application Systems
     444 Lake Cook Road   P.O. Box 15008      1200 E. Collins #214
     Deerfield, IL 60015  Portland, ME 04101  Richardson, TX 75081
     (708) 948-9200       (207) 874-0702      (214) 699-7400
 
     Tempus II            Wordflair
     MichTron             Goldleaf Publishing Inc.
     3201 Drummond Plaza  700 Larkspur Landing Circle
     Newark, DE 19711     Larkspur, CA 94939
     (302) 454-7946       (415) 461-4552
 
     Word Perfect
     WordPerfect Corp.
     1555 N. Technology Way
     Orem, UT 84057
     (801) 225-5000
 
 
  Entertainment
 
     The ST is known in many European countries as not only a great
 professional computer but also a great entertainment computer.
 When we hear the name "Atari" in the United States, we think of
 games and even though that's not the entire story behind what
 the ST can do, like it or not, that sure is part of it.
 There are many entertainment software titles on the market for the
 ST and many of them are very good.  We can't possibly name them
 all and we aren't even going to try.  But just ask around and you'll
 find out that there is most likely a game that you'll love playing
 on the ST.
 
     Atari ST and TT computers are very powerful and both promise
 great success.  Atari Corporation is showing greater support for
 the machines here in the United States and with that support, there
 is new life.
 
 
 


Visit Atarimax Store