Atari ST line
The Atari ST was a microcomputer developed by Atari Corporation in the mid 1980's. It was announced in January of 1985, and released in June of that year. It runs on the Motorola 68000 CPU. "ST" stands for sixteen/thirty-two, in reference to the 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals of the 68000 chip. It ran Digital Research's GEM (Graphical Environment Manager) on Atari's proprietary TOS (The Operating System).
The computer primarily competed with the Macintosh and the Amiga in most markets. At the time, Macs were solely monochrome, and Amigas were solely color. The ST straddled the two worlds, offering separate color and monochrome screens, auto-detected by the computer's display circuitry. The monochrome screen was excellent and high-resolution for the era, giving a non-interlaced output of 640x400 at 70Hz and providing credible competition for the Macintosh at a much lower price point. It gained a strong foothold in the business and CAD fields.
It was the first major home computer to include MIDI in/out ports as standard equipment, which prompted the development of a wide variety of music composition programs. STs became very popular in the music industry, and some are still being used in production today.
One popular game, MIDI Maze, used the ports as an early networking device, allowing multi-machine multiplayer in a simplistic, but a vaguely Doom-like game. ST owners had "LAN parties" long before Ethernet became ubiquitous.
It was a reasonably competent gaming computer; the color graphics weren't exciting, but the simple architecture and relatively quick CPU gave it a fair bit of muscle. It came nowhere near the overall power of the Amiga, but was perfectly straightforward to program, where dealing with the Amiga's multiple independent co-processors was famously difficult.
Some of the most notable Atari ST games were Dungeon Master, Oids, Sundog, and Star Glider, as well as the aforementioned MIDI Maze.
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The Atari 520ST was released in January of 1985 and was retailed for $599.99 and had a Motorola 68000 at 8 MHz with 512K of RAM.
The Atari 260ST had a limited release in Europe which was a 520ST but with 256KB of RAM.
The Atari 520STM was released in late 1985 and added RF output.
The Atari STf had the floppy drive built in, hence the, "f" in ,"STf".
The Atari 520STE was released in late '89 and had the OS burned onto the ROM and had enhanced joystick ports. It came with 512KB of RAM.
The Atari 1040STE was a 520STE but with 1MB of RAM.
The Atari MEGA ST was the professional version of the Atari STf.
The Atari MEGA STE was released in March of 1991 and had an M68000 CPU at 8 or 16 MHz with 1MB of RAM.
The Atari TT030 was released in 1990 and had a Motorola 68030 at 32 MHz with 2MB of RAM.
The Atari Falcon came out in 1992 and had a Motorola 68030 at 16 MHz with MMU and 1MB of RAM. Its standout feature was a powerful Motorola 56001 DSP at 32MHz, often used for accelerating sound and geometry.
- 20 Games That Defined the Atari ST (May 9, 2012. By applemctom.)
- The Computer Chronicles - Atari ST (1989) (Nov 8, 2012. The Computer Chronicles.)
- AMIGA vs Atari ST: The GAMES - Which machine was the best? Atari ST/Amiga/Dos/Megadrive (Mar 19, 2018. NX Gamer.)