|Atari ST (family)|
|Processor||Motorola 68000 @ 8 MHz|
|Memory||512 kilobytes (512×210 bytes) or 1 megabyte (1×220 bytes)|
|Operating system||Atari TOS|
The Atari ST is a home/personal computer that was commercially popular from 1985 to the early 1990s. A personal computer ( PC) is any Computer whose original sales price size and capabilities make it useful for individuals and which is intended to be operated The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor A kilobyte (derived from the SI prefix Kilo -, meaning 1000 is a unit of Information or Computer storage equal to either 1024 A byte (pronounced "bite" baɪt is the basic unit of measurement of information storage in Computer science. A megabyte is a unit of Information or Computer storage equal to either 106 (1000000 Bytes or 220 (1048576 bytes depending on The Operating System ( TOS) is the Operating system of the Atari ST range of computers A home computer was a class of Personal computer entering the market in 1977 and becoming common during the 1980s A personal computer ( PC) is any Computer whose original sales price size and capabilities make it useful for individuals and which is intended to be operated It was released by Atari Corporation in 1985. Atari Corporation was a manufacturer of computers and video game consoles from 1984 to 1996 The "ST" officially stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", which referred to the Motorola 68000's 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals. The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor
The Atari ST was a notable home computer, based on the Motorola 68000 CPU, with 512 KB of RAM or more, and 3½" floppy disks as storage. A home computer was a class of Personal computer entering the market in 1977 and becoming common during the 1980s The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor A kilobyte (derived from the SI prefix Kilo -, meaning 1000 is a unit of Information or Computer storage equal to either 1024 A floppy disk is an increasingly Obsolete data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin flexible ("floppy" Magnetic storage medium encased It was similar to other contemporary machines which used the Motorola 68000, the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga. Macintosh, commonly nicknamed Mac is a Brand name which covers several lines of Personal computers designed developed and marketed by Apple Inc The Amiga is a family of Personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. Although the Macintosh was the first widely available computer with a graphical user interface (GUI), it was limited to a monochromatic display on a smaller built-in monitor. Preceding the Amiga's commercial release by almost two months, the Atari ST was the first computer to come with a fully bit-mapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released that February. The Amiga is a family of Personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. Digital Research Inc (aka DR or DRI; originally Intergalactic Digital Research) was the company created by Dr GEM ( G raphical E nvironment M anager was a Windowing system created by Digital Research Inc  It had an innovative single-chip graphics subsystem (designed by Shiraz Shivji) which shared the full amount of system memory, in alternating clock cycles, with the processor, similar to the earlier BBC Micro and the Unified Memory systems that have become common today. Shiraz Shivji was the primary designer of the Atari ST computer and one of the engineers behind the Commodore 64. In Computer architecture, Shared Memory Architecture (SMA refers to a design where the graphics chip does not have its own dedicated memory and instead shares the It was also the first home computer with integrated MIDI support. MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers
The ST was primarily a competitor to the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga systems. Macintosh, commonly nicknamed Mac is a Brand name which covers several lines of Personal computers designed developed and marketed by Apple Inc The Amiga is a family of Personal computers originally developed by Amiga Corporation. This platform rivalry was often reflected by the owners and was most prominent in the Demo Scene. The demoscene is a Computer art Subculture that specializes in producing demos, which are non-interactive audio-visual presentations that run in Where the Amiga had custom processors which gave it the edge in the games and video market, the ST was generally cheaper, had a slightly faster CPU, and had a high-resolution monochrome display, ideal for business and CAD. A personal computer Game (also known as a computer game or simply PC game) is a Video game played on a Personal computer, rather
Thanks to its built-in MIDI ports it enjoyed success as a music sequencer and controller of musical instruments among amateurs and professionals alike, being used in concert by bands such as Tangerine Dream, Fatboy Slim and 90s UK dance act 808 State. MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers A music sequencer (also MIDI sequencer or just sequencer) is software or hardware designed to create and manage computer-generated music A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making Music. Tangerine Dream is a German Electronic music group founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese. Fatboy Slim, also known as Norman Cook, (born Quentin Leo Cook on 31 July 1963 is a British DJ and Big beat musician 808 State are an English Electronic music outfit formed in 1988 in Manchester, taking their name from the Roland TR-808 Drum machine
In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and Desktop publishing work. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Desktop publishing (also known as DTP) combines a Personal computer and WYSIWYG page layout Software to create Publication Documents
The ST was later superseded by the Atari TT and Falcon computers. The Atari TT030 is a 32-bit version of the 16/32-bit Atari ST family The Atari Falcon was Atari Corporation 's final computer product more specifically named the Atari Falcon030 Computer System.
Since Atari pulled out of the computer market there has been a market for powerful TOS-based machines (clones). The Operating System ( TOS) is the Operating system of the Atari ST range of computers Like most "retro" computers the Atari enjoys support in the emulator scene. An emulator duplicates (provides an emulation of the functions of one System using a different system so that the second system behaves like (and appears to
At Commodore International an argument involving Commodore's chairman (and largest shareholder) Irving Gould and Commodore founder Jack Tramiel ensued over Tramiel's desire for his sons to take more active executive roles within Commodore. Commodore, the commonly used name for Commodore International, was a US-American Electronics company based in West Chester Pennsylvania Irving Gould (?-2001 was a Canadian Businessperson credited with both saving and sinking Commodore. Jack Tramiel (born 13 December 1928) is a Businessman, best known for founding Commodore International - manufacturer of the Commodore The argument resulted in Tramiel's immediate departure from Commodore in January of 1984.
Tramiel immediately formed a holding company, Tramel Technology, Ltd. A holding company is a company that owns part all or a majority of other companies' outstanding Stock. , and began to visit various US computer companies with the intention of purchasing a company. Tramiel visited Mindset (run by Roger Badersher, former head of Atari's Computer Division) and Amiga where Tramiel told Amiga staff that he was very interested in the chipset, but not the staff. Tramiel set his chief engineer - Shiraz Shivji - the task of developing a new low-cost, high-end computer system. The original design considered using the NS32032, but in talks, National Semiconductor could not supply the chip in the numbers or price that the project required. The 320xx or NS32000 is a series of Microprocessors from National Semiconductor ("NS" "Natsemi" National Semiconductor ( is a Semiconductor manufacturer specializing in analog devices and subsystems headquartered in Santa Clara, California, In retrospect this proved to be fortunate as a prototype built on the NS32032 benchmarked slower than the 16/32-bit 68000.
The project, codenamed "RBP" for 'Rock Bottom Price', began to form between April and July 1984 into a design that was almost identical to the ST that eventually shipped. The design was a combination of custom chips and commonly available parts in a highly integrated single-board design, fully equipped with standard and custom ports.
Prior to the introduction of the ST, Atari's computer division developed a line of home computers based on the 6502 CPU. The machines used a set of custom VLSI processors - ANTIC (DMA), CTIA/GTIA (Graphics), POKEY (AUDIO) and PIA (I/O) and were sold from 1979 through 1982 as the Atari 400 (16K) and Atari 800 (48k). In 1982 Atari introduced the 1200XL, which was too closed a design and was replaced with the 600XL/800XL series. Atari prepared several high-end computers for introduction in 1984, but these were cancelled when the Tramiels took over Atari. Several months prior to the release of the ST line, Atari released its 65XE (64K) and 130XE(128k) computers to replace the XL series 6502 8-bit computers.
Jay Miner, one of the original designers for the custom chips found in the Atari 2600 and Atari 8-bit machines, tried to convince Atari management to invest big money into creating a new chipset and console/computer idea. Jay Glenn Miner ( May 31, 1932 &ndash June 20, 1994) was a famous Integrated circuit designer known primarily for his work in The Atari 2600 is a Video game console released in October 1977 The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit Home computers manufactured from 1979 to 1992 When his idea was rejected, Miner left Atari to form a small think tank called Hi-Toro in 1982 and set about designing this new chipset. A think tank (also called a policy institute) is an organization institute corporation or group that conducts Research and engages in advocacy in areas such Amiga Corporation was a United States Computer company formed in the early 1980s as Hi-Toro. The company - which was later renamed Amiga - started selling various video game controllers and games while it developed its "Lorraine" computer system.
During development, Amiga had run out of capital to complete the development of its Lorraine chipset, and the "Warner owned" Atari had paid Amiga to continue development work.  In return Atari was to get one-year exclusive use of the design. Atari had plans for a 68000 based machine, code named "Mickey", that would have used custom chips, but details are sparse.
The following year, Tramiel discovered that Warner Communications wanted to sell Atari, which at that point was losing about $10,000 a day. Time Warner Inc ( is the world's largest media and entertainment conglomerate, headquartered in New York City. Interested in Atari's overseas manufacturing and world wide distribution network for his new computer, he approached Atari and entered talks. After on again/off again negotiations with Atari in May and June of 1984, Tramiel had secured his funding and bought Atari's Consumer Division (which included the console and home computer departments) that July.
As more executives and researchers left Commodore to join Tramiel's new company Atari Corp. after the announcement, Commodore followed by filing lawsuits against four former engineers for theft of trade secrets. Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. This was intended to, in effect, bar Tramiel from releasing his new computer.
One of Tramiel's first acts after forming Atari Corp. was to fire most of Atari's remaining staff and cancel almost all ongoing projects in order to review their continued viability. It was during this time in late July/early August that Tramiel representatives discovered the original Amiga contract.
It turned out that Amiga was supposed to deliver the Amiga chipset to Atari on June 30, 1984. Events 350 - Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, is defeated and killed by troops of the Usurper The Amiga crew, having continuing serious financial problems, had sought more monetary support from investors that Spring (one of which had been Tramel Technology, which ended quickly given his desire to replace nearly everyone at Amiga). Having heard rumors that Tramiel was in closed negotiations to complete the purchase of Atari in several days - at around the same time that Tramiel was in negotiations with Atari - Amiga entered in to discussions with Commodore. The discussions ultimately led to Commodore wanting to purchase Amiga outright, which would (from Commodore's viewpoint) cancel any outstanding contracts - including Atari Inc. 's. So instead of Amiga delivering the chipset, Commodore delivered a check of $500,000 to Atari on Amiga's behalf, in effect returning the funds invested into Amiga for completion of the Lorraine chipset. Seeing a chance to gain some leverage Tramiel immediately used the situation to countersue Commodore through its new (pending) subsidiary, Amiga, which was done on August 13, 1984. Events 3114 BC - According to the Lounsbury correlation the start of the Maya calendar. He sought damages and an injunction to bar Amiga (and effectively Commodore) from producing anything with that technology. The suit tried to render Commodore's new acquisition (and the source for its next generation of computers) useless and do to Commodore what they were trying to do to him.
Meanwhile at Commodore, the Amiga team (according to conversations by Curt Vendel of Atarimuseum. com directly with Dave Needles of Amiga and also with Joe Decuir of Amiga) was sitting in limbo for nearly the entire summer because of the lawsuit. No word on the status of the chipset, the Lorraine computer system or the team's fate was known. Finally in the fall of 1984 Commodore informed the team that the Lorraine project was active again, the chipset to be improved, the OS developed and the hardware design completed. This delay bought Atari several additional months in 1985 to release Atari STs to Atari User Groups in June 1985 and to go into full retail sales of the Atari 520ST in September of 1985.
In March 1987, the two companies settled the dispute out of court in a closed decision.
This chapter is used on Wikipedia with permission from http://www.atarimuseum.com
With the hardware design nearing completion, the team started looking at solutions for the operating system. An operating system (commonly abbreviated OS and O/S) is the software component of a Computer system that is responsible for the management and coordination Soon after the buyout, Microsoft approached Tramiel with the suggestion that they port Windows to the platform, but the delivery date was out by about two years, far too long for their needs. Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational Computer technology Corporation, which rose to dominate the Home computer Microsoft Windows is a series of Software Operating systems and Graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. Another possibility was Digital Research, who were working on a new GUI-based system then known as Crystal, soon to become GEM. Digital Research Inc (aka DR or DRI; originally Intergalactic Digital Research) was the company created by Dr GEM ( G raphical E nvironment M anager was a Windowing system created by Digital Research Inc Another option was to write a new operating system in-house, but this was eventually rejected due to the risk.
Digital Research was fully committed to the Intel platform, so a team from Atari was sent to the Digital Research headquarters to work with the "Monterey Team" which comprised a mixture of Atari and Digital Research engineers. Atari's Jim Tittsler was Atari key OS engineer overseeing "Project Jason" (aka - The Operating System) for the Atari ST line of computers. The name came from the original designer and developer, Jason Loveman. Tim Oren has a an article describing the history of the project, from his series "Professional GEM. "
CP/M-68K was essentially a direct port of CP/M's original, mature operating system. CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers is an Operating system originally created for Intel 8080 / 85 based Microcomputers by Gary Kildall By 1985, it was becoming increasingly outdated in comparison to MS-DOS 2. 0; for instance, CP/M did not support sub-directories and did not have a hierarchical file system. Digital Research was also in the process of building a new DOS-like operating system specifically for GEM, GEMDOS, and there was some discussion of whether or not a port of GEMDOS could be completed in time for product delivery in June. DOS, short for "Disk Operating System" is a shorthand term for several closely related Operating systems that dominated the IBM PC compatible market The decision was eventually taken to port it, resulting in a GEMDOS file system which became part of TOS (The Operating System). The Operating System ( TOS) is the Operating system of the Atari ST range of computers This was beneficial as it gave the ST a fast, hierarchical file system, essential for hard drive storage disks, plus programmers had function calls similar to the IBM PC DOS.
The Atari 520ST was officially launched at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 1985. The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES is a Trade show held each January in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is sponsored Las Vegas ( Spanish: "The Meadows" is the most populous City in the state of Nevada, the seat of Clark County, and an internationally  Due to its similarities to the original Apple Macintosh, it was quickly nicknamed the "Jackintosh". Macintosh, commonly nicknamed Mac is a Brand name which covers several lines of Personal computers designed developed and marketed by Apple Inc The 520ST shipped during May and June of 1985 to the press and Atari User Groups and then in early July 1985 for general retail sales. The machine had gone from concept to store shelves in a little under a year. Atari had originally intended to release versions with 128 KB and 256 KB of RAM as the 130ST and 260ST respectively. However, with the OS loaded from floppy into RAM, there would be little or no room left over for applications to run. The 260ST did make its way into Europe on a limited basis.
The ST could support a monochrome or color monitor. The monochrome monitor was less expensive and had higher resolution (640x400) than the color monitor (640x200 with 4 colors or 320x200 with 16 colors). The monochrome monitor was better suited to business applications. Color was required by many games.
Early models shipped with TOS on disk, but were designed with ROM sockets to make for easy upgrading to the future ROM based TOS. These became available only a few months later, and were included in all new machines, as well as being available to upgrade older machines. By late 1985 the machines were also upgraded with the addition of an RF modulator (for TV display), a version known as the 520STM. An RF modulator (for Radio frequency Modulator) is a device that takes a Baseband input signal and outputs a Radio frequency -modulated signal
Atari had originally intended to include GEM's GDOS (Graphical Device Operating System), which allowed programs to send GEM VDI (Virtual Device Interface) commands to drivers loaded by GDOS. This allowed developers to send VDI instructions to other devices simply by pointing to it. However, GDOS was not ready at the time the ST started shipping, and was included in software packages and later ST machines. Later versions of GDOS supported vector fonts.
A limited set of GEM fonts were also included within the ROMs. These fonts also featured two additions:
On the plus side, the ST was less expensive than most machines, including the Macintosh Plus, and tended to be faster than most (external link: price comparison). Macintosh, commonly nicknamed Mac is a Brand name which covers several lines of Personal computers designed developed and marketed by Apple Inc Largely as a result of the price/performance factor, the ST would go on to be a fairly popular machine, notably in markets where the foreign exchange rates amplified prices. Indeed, the company's English advertising strapline of the era was "power without the price. " In fact, an Atari ST and terminal emulation software was much cheaper than a Digital VT220 terminal, which was commonly needed by offices with central computers. A terminal emulator, terminal application, term, or tty for short is a program that emulates a "dumb" video terminal within some other Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the Computer industry The VT220 was a terminal produced by Digital Equipment Corporation from 1983 to 1987.
The 520ST was an all-in-one unit, similar to earlier home computers like the Commodore 64. By the time the 520ST reached the market, however, consumers demanded a keyboard with cursor keys and a numeric keypad. For this reason, the 520ST was a fairly large and awkward computer console.
Adding to this problem was the number of large cables needed to connect to the peripherals. This problem was addressed to some degree in the follow-on models which included a built-in floppy disk drive, though this addition resulted in the awkward placement of the mouse and joystick ports to a cramped niche underneath the keyboard.
Early 520ST owners became accustomed to the "Atari Twist" and the "Atari Drop" service procedures. "Atari Twist" seemed to help discharge built-up static electricity (Atari soldered-down the metal shielding to fix the problem) while the "Atari Drop" appeared to help re-seat chips which may have become partially unseated over time.
The case design was created by Ira Valenski - Atari's chief Industrial Designer.  The ST was basically wedge shaped, with a series of grilles cut into the rear for airflow. The majority of the machines had keyboards with soft tactile feedback and with rhomboid-shaped function keys across the top. The original 520ST design used an external floppy drive; the 1040ST-style case featured a built-in floppy drive. The power supply for the early 520ST was a large external brick while the 1040ST's was inside the machine.
The ST featured a large number of ports mounted at the rear of the machine.
Because of its bi-directional design, the Centronics printer port could be used for joystick input and several games made use of available adaptors that plugged into the printer socket, providing two additional 9-pin joystick ports. In Telecommunications, RS-232 (Recommended Standard 232 is a standard for serial binary data signals connecting between a DTE ( Data Terminal Equipment The D-subminiature or D-sub is a common type of Electrical connector used particularly in Computers Calling them "subminiature" was appropriate IEEE 1284 is a standard that defines bi-directional parallel communications between computers and other devices The D-subminiature or D-sub is a common type of Electrical connector used particularly in Computers Calling them "subminiature" was appropriate A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling The D-subminiature or D-sub is a common type of Electrical connector used particularly in Computers Calling them "subminiature" was appropriate MIDI ( Musical Instrument Digital Interface, ˈmɪdi is an industry-standard protocol that enables Electronic musical instruments Computers Two-way communication is a form of Transmission in which both parties involved transmit Information.
Atari initially used single-sided disk drives that could store up to 360 KB. A floppy disk is an increasingly Obsolete data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin flexible ("floppy" Magnetic storage medium encased Later drives were double-sided versions that stored 720 KB. Due to the early sales of so many of the single-sided drives, almost all software would ship on two single-sided disks instead of a single double-sided one, for fear of alienating early adopters. ST magazines wishing to cater to the entire audience while still supplying a large amount of material on a single cover disc had to adopt innovative custom formats to work around this problem. Another sticking point was that while the Atari double-sided drive could read IBM-formatted disks, IBM PCs could not read Atari disks. This was a formatting issue that was later resolved by third-party software formatters and TOS upgrades (1. 4 and higher).
Atari later upgraded the basic design in 1986 with the 1040STF (also written STF). The machine was generally similar to the earlier 520ST, but moved the power supply and a double-sided floppy drive into the rear of the housing of the computer, as opposed to being external. A floppy disk is an increasingly Obsolete data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin flexible ("floppy" Magnetic storage medium encased This added to the size of the machine, but reduced cable clutter in the back. The 1040 shipped with 1 MB of RAM, and the same design was also used for the new 512 KB 520STFM, which replaced the earlier models in the market. The early 'STF' machines lacked the 'M' modulator that allowed a TV to be used and would only work with a monitor.
The 1040ST was the first personal computer shipped with a base RAM configuration of 1 MB, and when the list price was reduced to $999 in the U. S. it became the first computer to break the $1000/megabyte price barrier, and was featured on the cover of Byte Magazine. Byte magazine was an influential Microcomputer magazine in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s because of its wide-ranging editorial coverage However, the ST remained generally the same internally over the majority of its several-year lifespan. The choice of model numbers was inherited from the model numbers of the XE series of the Atari 8-bit family of computers. The Atari 8-bit family is a series of 8-bit Home computers manufactured from 1979 to 1992 A limited number of 1040STFs shipped with a single-sided floppy drive.
Initial sales were strong, especially in Europe where Atari sold 75% of its computers. Germany became Atari's strongest market, with small business users using them for desktop publishing and CAD.
To address this growing market segment, Atari came up with the ST1. First debuted at Comdex, 1986, it was received favorably. Renamed the Mega, this new machine included a detached high-quality keyboard, stronger case (to support the weight of a monitor), and internal bus expansion connector. The upcoming SLM804 laser printer would not come with a processor or memory, reducing costs. A laser printer is a common type of Computer printer that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper It would attach to the Mega through the ST DMA port and have the Mega computer render the pages. Initially equipped with 2 or 4 MB (a 1 MB version, the Mega 1 would later follow), the Mega machines would complement the Atari laser printer for a low-cost desktop publishing package.
A custom blitter co-processor was to be included to speed the performance of some graphics operations on the screen, but due to delays it was eventually released on the Mega 2 and Mega 4 machines. In a Computer system a blitter is a Co-processor or a logic block on a Microprocessor that is dedicated to rapid data transfer within that computer's Developers wanting to use it had to detect for it in their programs because it was not present on all machines. However, properly-written programs using the screen VDI commands could use the blitter seamlessly since GEM API was a higher-level interface to TOS.
For about the first four years, no major design changes in the ST platform took place as Atari focused on manufacturing problems and distribution. In Computing, a platform describes some sort of Hardware architecture or Software framework (including Application frameworks, that allows
In late 1989, Atari released the STE (also written STE), a version of the ST with improvements to the multimedia hardware and operating system. Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. The STE featured an increased colour palette of 4096 colours from the ST's 512 (though the maximum displayable palette of these without programming tricks was still limited to 16 in the lowest 320x200 resolution and even fewer in higher resolutions), Genlock support, and a graphics co-processor chip called Blitter which could quickly move large blocks of data (most particularly, graphics sprites) around in RAM. Genlock (for Gen erator Lock) is a common technique where the Video output of one source or a specific reference signal is used to synchronize In a Computer system a blitter is a Co-processor or a logic block on a Microprocessor that is dedicated to rapid data transfer within that computer's It also included a new 2-channels digital sound chip that could play 8-bit stereo samples in hardware at up to 50 kHz. Two enhanced joystick ports (EJP) were added (two normal joysticks could be plugged into each port with an adaptor), with the new connectors placed in more easily-accessed locations on the side of the case. The enhanced joystick ports were re-used in Atari's Jaguar console, and are compatible. The Atari Jaguar is a Video game console, released by Atari Corporation in. RAM was now much more simply upgradable via SIMMs. A SIMM, or single in-line memory module, is a type of memory module containing Random access memory used in Computers from the early 1980s to the late 1990s Despite all of this, it still ran at 8 MHz, and the enhanced hardware was clearly designed to catch up with the Amiga. The hertz (symbol Hz) is a measure of Frequency, informally defined as the number of events occurring per Second.
The STE models initially had software and hardware conflicts resulting in some applications and games written for the ST line being unstable or even completely unusable (sometimes, this could be solved by expanding the RAM). Application software is a subclass of Computer software that employs the capabilities of a computer directly and thoroughly to a task that the user wishes to perform A personal computer Game (also known as a computer game or simply PC game) is a Video game played on a Personal computer, rather To make matters worse, the built-in floppy disk drives could not read as many tracks on a floppy disk as the built-in floppy disk drives on older models. While this was not a problem for most users, some games used the extra tracks as a crude form of copy protection and as a means of cramming more data onto the disk, and formatting as many as 86 tracks on an "80-track" disk was a common space-expanding option in custom formatting utilities. Furthermore, even having a joystick plugged in would sometimes cause strange behaviour with a few applications (such as First Word Plus).
Very little use was made of the extra features of the STE: STE-enhanced and STE-only software was rare, generally being limited to serious art, CAD or music applications, with very few games taking advantage of the hardware as it was found on so few machines. Quality did, however, seem to substitute for quantity, as the coders who took advantage of the new abilities used them to their fullest.
The last STE machine, the Mega STE, was an STE in a grey Atari TT case that ran at a switchable 16 MHz, dual-bus design (16-bit external, 32-bit internal), optional Motorola 68882 FPU, built-in 3½" floppy disk drive, VME expansion slot, a network port (very similar to that used by Apple's LocalTalk) and an optional built-in 3½" hard drive. The Atari Mega STE was Atari Corporation 's last ST series machine The Atari TT030 is a 32-bit version of the 16/32-bit Atari ST family Motorola 68881 was a Floating-point Coprocessor chip that was utilized in some computer systems that used the 68020 or 68030 A floating point unit (FPU is a part of a Computer system specially designed to carry out operations on Floating point numbers VMEbus is a Computer bus standard originally developed for the Motorola 68000 line of CPUs, but later widely used for many applications and standardized LocalTalk is a particular implementation of the Physical layer of the AppleTalk networking system from Apple Computer. It also shipped with TOS 2. 00 (better support for hard drives, enhanced desktop interface, memory test, 1. 44 MB floppy support, bug fixes). It was marketed as more affordable than a TT but more powerful than an ordinary ST.
In 1990, Atari released the high-end workstation-oriented TT (32 MHz, 68030-based TT030). The Atari TT030 is a 32-bit version of the 16/32-bit Atari ST family Originally planned with a 68020 CPU, the TT included improved graphics and more powerful support chips. The case was a new design with an integrated hard drive enclosure.
The final ST computer was the multimedia Falcon (also 68030-based, operating at 16 MHz, but with improved video modes and extensive custom chip provisions, particularly high-quality audio DSPs). The Atari Falcon was Atari Corporation 's final computer product more specifically named the Atari Falcon030 Computer System. Although 68030 microprocessor was capable of using 32-bit memory, the Falcon used a 16-bit bus which impacted performance, but also served to reduce its cost. In another cost-reduction measure, Atari shipped the Falcon in an inexpensive case much like that of the STE. After-market upgrade kits were available that allowed the Falcon to be put in a desktop or rack-mount case, with the keyboard separate.
Released in 1992, it was cancelled by Atari the following year. In Europe, C-Lab licenced the Falcon design from Atari and released the C-Lab Falcon Mk I (the same as Atari's Falcon except for some slight modifications to the audio circuitry), Mk II (as Mk I but with an internal 500 MB SCSI hard disk) and Mk X (as Mk II but in a desktop case).
In 1993, Atari cancelled development on the ST computers to focus on the Jaguar. The Atari Jaguar is a Video game console, released by Atari Corporation in.
Following the exit of Atari from the computer market, Medusa Computer Systems manufactured some powerful 3rd-party Atari Falcon/TT-compatible machines that used 68040 and 68060 processors, based around multimedia (particularly audio, but also video), CAD and office uses. The Motorola 68060 is a 32-bit Microprocessor from Motorola, released in 1994, and is the successor to the Motorola 68040.
Despite the lack of a hardware supplier, there is a small active community dedicated to keeping the ST platform alive. There have been advancements in the operating system, software emulators (for Windows, Mac & Linux), and some hardware developments. There are accelerator cards, such as the CT60 & CT63, which is a 68060 based accelerator card for the Falcon, and there is the Atari Coldfire Project, which aims at developing an Atari-clone based on the Coldfire processor. The Motorola 68060 is a 32-bit Microprocessor from Motorola, released in 1994, and is the successor to the Motorola 68040. The Atari Coldfire Project ( ACP) is a volunteer project that aims to create a modern Atari computer clone The Freescale ColdFire is a 68k architecture Microprocessor manufactured for Embedded systems development by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Milan Computer of Germany also made 68040 and 68060-based Atari clones that can run either Atari TOS 4. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. 5 or Milan Computer's MultiOS operating system.
The ST was the first home computer with built-in MIDI ports, and there was plenty of MIDI-related software for use professionally in music studios, or by amateur enthusiasts. A home computer was a class of Personal computer entering the market in 1977 and becoming common during the 1980s The popular Windows/Macintosh applications Cubase and Logic Pro originated on the Atari ST (the latter as Notator Logic, preceded by Notator and Notator-SL). Cubase is a computer program for music production/recording The program offers recording producing and mixing of sounds in order to make music production for distribution on CDs or the Logic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer software application for the Mac OS X platform Another popular and powerful ST music sequencer application, Dr. T's KCS, contained a "Multi-Program Environment" that allowed ST users to run other applications, such as the synthesizer patch editing software XoR (now known as Unisyn on the Macintosh), from within the sequencer application.  Even today some people (such as Fatboy Slim) are still using the Atari ST for composing music. Fatboy Slim, also known as Norman Cook, (born Quentin Leo Cook on 31 July 1963 is a British DJ and Big beat musician
Music tracker software was popular on the ST, such as the TCB Tracker, aiding the production of quality music from the Yamaha synthesizer ('chiptunes'). Tracker is the generic term for a class of software Music sequencers which in their purest form allow the user to arrange sound samples stepwise on a timeline across
An innovative music composition program that combined the sample playing abilities of a tracker with conventional music notation (which was usually only found in MIDI software) was called Quartet (after its 4-note polyphonic tracker, which displayed one monophonic stave at a time on colour screens).
Due to the ST having comparatively large amounts of memory for the time, sound sampling packages became a realistic proposition. The Microdeal Replay Professional product featured a sound sampler that cleverly used the ST cartridge port to read in parallel from the cartridge port from the ADC. Replay Professional was a sound sampling product for the Atari ST. An analog-to-digital converter (abbreviated ADC, A/D or A to D) is an electronic integrated circuit which converts continuous signals to For output of digital sound, it used the on-board frequency output, set it to 128 kHz (inaudible) and then modulated the amplitude of that.
Another program that had good success on the ST platform was MasterTracks Pro from Passport Designs, of Half Moon Bay, CA. , that was first put out by Don Williams for the Macintosh. When the ST died, a PC version continued that one could port MIDI to using the generic . MID format. Passport was bought out by GVox, which continues the program along with the other Passport product, the notation program Encore.
In addition to the sound sampling functionalities, the availability of software packages with MIDI support for music composition and efficient sound analysis contributed to make the Atari ST a forerunner of later computer-based all-in-one studios.
The ST's low cost, built-in MIDI ports, and fast, low-latency response times made it a favorite with musicians:
Also popular on the ST was professional desktop publishing software, such as PageStream and Calamus; office tools such as word processors (WordPerfect, WordWriter ST and others), spreadsheets and database programs; and various CAD and CAM tools from amateur hobbyist to professional grade, all being largely targeted or even limited to high resolution monochrome-monitor owners. Desktop publishing (also known as DTP) combines a Personal computer and WYSIWYG page layout Software to create Publication Documents PageStream is a Desktop publishing software package currently available for a variety of operating systems including Windows, Linux, Macintosh Calamus SL is a Desktop publishing application for Atari computer WordPerfect is a proprietary Word processing application At the height of its popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s it was the De facto
Graphics programs such as NEOchrome, Degas & Degas Elite, Canvas, Deluxe Paint, and Cyber Paint featured advanced features such as 3D design, animation. Deluxe Paint ( DPaint) is a Bitmap graphics editor originally created by Dan Silva for Electronic Arts (EA One paint program, Spectrum 512, used palette switching tricks allowing the maximum number of colors to be displayed on-screen at once (up to 46 in each scan line - the STE never had a Spectrum4096, but other more minor applications filled this speciality niche, one even going so far as to trick the shifter into displaying a maximum 19200 colours).
3D computer graphics applications (like The Cyber Studio), brought 3D modelling, sculpting, scripting, and most important, computer animation (using delta-compression) to the desktop. 3D computer graphics (in contrast to 2D computer graphics) are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data that is stored in the computer Computer-generated imagery Computer animation is the art of creating moving images with the use of Computers It is a subfield of Computer graphics Delta encoding is a way of storing or transmitting Data in the form of differences between sequential data rather than complete files Video capture and editing applications using special video capture 'dongles' connected using the cartridge port - low frame rate, mainly silent and monochrome, but progressing to sound and basic colour (in still frames) by the end of the machine's life.
The Atari ST had a wide variety of languages and tools for development. 68000 assemblers (MadMac from Atari Corp, HiSoft's Devpac), Pascal (OSS Personal Pascal), Modula-2, C compilers (like Turbo C (Borland), Alcyon C, Lattice C, Megamax C, Mark Williams C, GNU C, Aztec C), LISP, Prolog, Logo and many others. Hisoft Systems was a software company based in the UK creators of a range of programming tools for microcomputers in 1980s and 1990s Modula-2 is a computer Programming language invented by Niklaus Wirth at ETH, around 1978 as a successor to his intermediate language Modula Due to technical limitations "Turbo C#" redirects here Lattice C (according to its author Lattice Incorporated) was the first C Compiler for MS-DOS on the IBM PC, in 1982 Megamax C was a K&R implementation of C for the Atari ST Apple IIGS and Macintosh computers The GNU Compiler Collection (usually shortened to GCC) is a set of Compilers produced for various Programming languages by the GNU Project Lisp (or LISP) is a family of Computer Programming languages with a long history and a distinctive fully parenthesized syntax Prolog is a Logic programming language It is a general purpose language often associated with Artificial intelligence and Computational linguistics Logo is a Computer programming language used for Functional programming.
The initial development kit from Atari included a computer and manuals. At $5,000, this discouraged many from developing software for the ST. Later, the Atari Developer's Kit consisted of software and manuals (no hardware) for $300. Included with the kit were a resource kit, C compiler (first Alcyon C, then Mark Williams C), debugger, and 68000 assembler (plus the non-disclosure agreement).
The ST came bundled with a system disk that contained ST BASIC, the first BASIC for the ST. Atari ST BASIC (or ST Basic) was the first dialect of BASIC that was produced for the Atari ST line of computers However, due to its poor performance, users favored other BASICs, such as GFA BASIC, FaST BASIC (notable for being one of the few programs to actually be supplied as a ROM cartridge instead of on disc) and the relatively famous STOS, which then inspired and led to the creation of AMOS on the Amiga, and powerful enough that it was used (with a compiler, opposed to its usual runtime interpreter) for the production of at least two commercial titles and an innumerable host of good quality shareware and public domain games. GFA BASIC is a dialect of the BASIC Programming language, by Frank Ostrowski. STOS BASIC is a dialect of the BASIC Programming language implemented on the Atari ST computer
Even novelty tools such as SEUCK were available. Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit (aka SEUCK was a "construction kit" for the Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari ST created by Sensible Software
The ST enjoyed success in gaming due to low cost, fast performance and colorful graphics.
Notable individuals who developed games on the ST include Peter Molyneux, Doug Bell, Jeff Minter, Jez San, James Hutchby, Dimitri Koveos and David Braben. Peter Douglas Molyneux OBE (born 5 May 1959 in Guildford, Surrey, UK) is a Computer game designer Douglas Andrew Bell (born February 24 1961)is a computer game developer active in the industry from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s Jeff 'Yak' Minter (born in Reading, April 22 1962) is a British computer / Video game designer and programmer Jeremy 'Jez' San OBE (born 29 March 1966) is an English Game programmer who founded Argonaut Software as a teenager in the 1980s David John Braben (born 1964 Basford Nottingham) is a British Computer programmer, best known for co-writing Elite, a hugely popular The first real-time 3D role-playing computer game, Dungeon Master, was first developed and released on the ST, and was the best-selling software ever produced for the platform. Dungeon Master is widely considered to be the first 3D realtime action Computer role-playing game, published in 1987 for the Simulation games like Falcon and Flight Simulator II made use of the enhanced graphics found in the ST machines, as did many arcade ports. The Falcon line of computer games is a series of simulations of the F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft Microsoft Flight Simulator (sometimes abbreviated to MSFS or FS) is a Flight simulator program for Microsoft One game, MIDI Maze used the midi ports to connect with other machines for interactive networked play. MIDI Maze was an early First person shooter Video game for the Atari ST developed by Xanth Software F/X, published by Games simultaneously released on the Amiga that had identical graphics and sound were often accused by computer game magazines of simply being ST ports.
Utility software was available to drive hardware add-ons such as video digitisers. Office Productivity and graphics software was also bundled with the ST (HyperPaint II by Dimitri Koveos, HyperDraw by David Farmborough, 3D-Calc spreadsheet by Frank Schoonjans, and several others commissioned by Bob Katz, later of Electronic Arts). 3D-Calc is a 3-dimensional Spreadsheet program for the Atari ST Computer. For the plane crash survivor see Delta Air Lines Flight 191 --------------Bob Katz is an audio mastering engineer who is known for his influential
There was a thriving output of public domain and shareware software which was distributed by, in the days long before public internet access, public domain software libraries that advertised in magazines and on popular dial-up Bulletin Board Systems. The public domain is a range of abstract materials &ndash commonly referred to as Intellectual property &ndash which are not owned or controlled by anyone The term shareware, popularized by Bob Wallace, refers to Copyrighted commercial Software that is Distributed without payment on a trial
Remarkably, a modest core fanbase for the system, supporting a dwindling number of good quality print magazines, survived to the mid 90s and the birth of the modern, publicly accessible internet as we know it. Despite the limited graphics, memory, and temporary hard storage capabilities of the system, several email, FTP, telnet, IRC, and even full-blown graphical world wide web browser applications are available and usable on the ST.
|GEM (Desktop)||Neochrome||1st Word||STZip|
|Atari/Digital Research (1985)||Dave Staugas (1985)||GST (1985)||Vincent Pomey (1994)|
|Dungeon Master||MIDI Maze||Populous||Xenon 2 Megablast|
|Mirrorsoft/FTL (1987)||Hybrid Arts (1987)||EA/Bullfrog (1989)||Bitmap Brothers (1989)|
More screenshots can be found on the Atari ST Games page. GEM ( G raphical E nvironment M anager was a Windowing system created by Digital Research Inc Atari is a corporate and brand name owned by several entities since its inception in 1972. Digital Research Inc (aka DR or DRI; originally Intergalactic Digital Research) was the company created by Dr Dungeon Master is widely considered to be the first 3D realtime action Computer role-playing game, published in 1987 for the MIDI Maze was an early First person shooter Video game for the Atari ST developed by Xanth Software F/X, published by Populous is a computer game developed by Bullfrog in 1989 and is regarded by many as being the seminal God game. Xenon 2 Megablast is a Computer game originally produced for the Amiga and Atari ST, and later converted to the PC, Sega Mirrorsoft was a game software publisher in the United Kingdom, owned by Mirror Group Newspapers. FTL Games (Faster Than Light was the video game development division of Software Heaven Inc Bullfrog Productions was a UK computer game developer that was founded in 1987 by Les Edgar and Peter Molyneux. The following is a List of Atari ST games. Game development on the Atari ST was popular because of its advanced sound and graphics capabilities though its power
All STs were made up of both custom and commercial chips:
As originally released in the 520ST:
Very early machines included the OS on a floppy disk due to it not being ready to be burned to ROM (Like the Amiga 1000 had) This early version of TOS was bootstrapped from a very small core boot ROM, but this was quickly replaced with (expanded capacity) ROM versions of TOS 1. GEM ( G raphical E nvironment M anager was a Windowing system created by Digital Research Inc The A1000, or Commodore Amiga 1000 was Commodore's initial Amiga Personal computer, introduced on July 24, 1985 at the 0 when it was ready. (This change was also greatly welcomed as older ST machines with memory below 512 KB suffered, as GEM loaded its entire 192 KB code into RAM when booting the desktop). Having the OS loaded from disk was due to Atari (and Commodore) trying to rush the machines to market without ironing out all the bugs in the OS. Soon after this change, most production models became STFs, with an integrated single- (520STF/512 KB RAM) or double-sided (1040STF/1024 KB RAM) double density drive built-in, but no other changes. The next later models used an upgraded version of TOS - 1. 02 (also known as TOS 1. 2). Another early addition (after about 6 months) was an RF Modulator that allowed the machine to be hooked to a colour TV when run in its low or medium resolution (525/625 line 60/50 Hz interlace, even on RGB monitors) modes, greatly enhancing the machine's saleability and perceived value (no need to buy a prohibitively expensive, even if exceptionally crisp and clear, monitor). An RF modulator (for Radio frequency Modulator) is a device that takes a Baseband input signal and outputs a Radio frequency -modulated signal These models were known as the 520STM (or 520STM). Later F and FM models of the 520 had a built in double-sided disk drive instead of a single-sided one.
As originally released in the 520STE/1040STE:
A number of machines were released in the ST family. A Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier (PLCC is a four-sided “J”-leaded plastic Integrated circuit package with pin spacings of 0 The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor Here they are, in rough chronological order after the original 520ST:
There were also some unreleased prototypes: Falcon 040 (based on a Motorola 68040, new case and slots), ST Pad (A4 (Letter paper) sized pen-operated portable ST computer, handheld and with an unlit monochrome LCD screen derived from the ST Book, forerunner of modern tablet PCs), and the STylus (Apple Newton-style palmtop). The Motorola 68040 is a Microprocessor from Motorola, released in 1990.
(there are also commercial emulators)