Atari ST

HomePage | Recent changes | View source | Discuss this page | Page history | Log in |

Printable version | Disclaimers | Privacy policy

The Atari ST was a computer system released by Atari in 1985.

The ST allegedly stood for "Sixteen/Thirty-two bit" which refered to the 16 bit processor with 32 bit registers. Other theories exist that ST stood for "Sam Tramiel" one of owners of the Atari corporation.

The Atari ST was a competitor to the Commodore Amiga systems. This platform rivalry was often relflected by the owners and was most prominent in the Demo Scene.

Where the Amiga had custom hardware which gave it the edge in the games market the ST was generally cheaper and thanks to its built-in MIDI ports enjoyed success as a sequencer and controller of musicial instruments. In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and Desktop publishing work.

Tech Specs

  • Processor: 8Mhz Motorola 68000
  • RAM: 128Kb (130ST), 256kB(260ST), 512kB (520 STFM the most common version)
  • Drive: on the STFM a built in single sided 3.5" floppy drive, later models had double sided drives (upto 720k!)
  • Ports: TV out (on FM models), MIDI In/Out, RS232, Printer, Monitor (RGB and Mono), Extra Disk drive port, Joystick and Mouse ports
  • Operating System: TOS (The Operating System) with the GEM (Graphic Enviroment Manager) GUI
  • Display modes: 320x200 (16 colour), 640x200 (4 colour), 640x400 (mono)

Later models included:

  • 1040ST (with 1 MB of RAM)
  • The Mega ST (with a detached keyboard and 2 or 4 MB RAM), processor running at 16 Mhz, also have blitter chip
  • The STe (with enhanced sound and graphics capabilites), with blitter chip, colors palette extended to 4096 colors
  • The TT (based on a Motorola 68030 processor running at 32 Mhz)
  • The Falcon 030 (based on a Motorola 68030 running at 16 Mhz, with greatly enhanced graphics and sound, including a Motorola 56000 DSP)
  • STacey (a portable atari)
  • ST Book (later version of portable atari)

There was also some unrelased prototypes: Falcon 040 (based on a Motorola 68040), and STylus (palmptop)

Since Atari pulled out of the computer market (?and got bought by Hasbro?) there has been a market for powerful TOS based machines (clones). Like most retro computers the Atari enjoys support in the emulator scene.