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Author Topic: Atari ST computer (june 1985)  (Read 1962 times)

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Online chrisNova777

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Atari ST computer (june 1985)
« on: August 25, 2016, 09:36:31 AM »

The ubiquitous Atari ST personal computer is probably the widest used music computer ever in history, taking dominance at a time when IBM & MAC computers were mere playthings in comparison. Even today with the rise to prominance of PC's & Mac's the humble ST in it's tow common guises of 520 & 1040 configurations is widely used with many users swearing by it's stable working ability & rock-solid clock. The original ST's were announced in 1985 as the 130ST and the 520ST. They had a Windows driven interface powered by an Atari implementation of DR's GEM (Digital Research's General Environment Manager) - They came with a standard mouse, 16 colour and high-res monochrome displays' and a range of add-on's such as the external disk drive and printers. Eventualy due to the low RAM, the 130ST wasn't actualy launched - instead Atari released the 520ST with 512Kb RAM in the 3rd half of 1985. Atari next released the 1040STF, which had the external floppy disk drive of the original 520ST built-in the main package - later 520's came with the disk built in and to all intents and purposes are 1040's with half the RAM.

The 1040 is the one most people use, unless it's an upgraded 520 (512kb RAM) - The original Steinberg Pro24 ran on a 512, but Steinbergs Cubase & Logic's Notator & Creator require the 1024kb of RAM that is in the 1040 series or above, (ram upgrades, mega-st, falcon etc) As a bit of history, the faithful 1040 was the first computer ever to launch with 1mb of RAM for under a $1000.00 !! - heh heh... put's things in perspective eh ?!!... 1040's can be had as low as £10 quid in London now, although a higher price of £100 - £150 with screen and some s/w is the norm' for a good clean machine that's been well looked after - Also Atari was the first computer company to utilise the 3.5" standard disk and drive apparently..

There are a few models, and i'm not 100% sure about this but if i remember right, the STFM's was where the 'FM' stood for 'frequency modulation' and they could drive a standard TV set for a screen, the STE was a later model 520 with a different board - STE's can be upgraded to 1024 of RAM quite easily & cheaply but the others (ST, STFM etc) But the other have to have some extra board fitted or something and cost alot more.

I even beleive 1040's can be now upgraded to 16mb - I do know they can be bumped to 4mb like a 'MEGA-ST' quite easily tho by a qualified Atari engineer. (the MEGA-ST was a later release with a wopping 4mb RAM !! - if you see one they are the ones to get)

The 520/1040 uses a 16-bit Motorola powered cpu which I'm pretty sure runs at 8mhz !! - This seems ludicrous compared to the stuff we use now... but these machine are superb and their secret is the built-in midi I/O ports on the end !! - Because they have a dedicated midi bus inside they offer rock solid sequencing !! - (you can or could also get an additional plug-in extention to turn one of the rear ports into another midi port as well as various multi-out midi devices that plugged into the 'business-end' of the ST such as Steinbergs multi-out MIDEX unit etc etc...

Due to these included MIDI ports, music s/w writers and companies attacked the 1040 with a vengence and it gave rise to the classic's we all know today from the likes of Emagic, MOTU and Steinberg etc as well as various now redundant almost-classic's like the LYNEX sampler ...

Yup !! - You could get stereo audio editor recorders for the 1040 - I personally have two 16 bit LYNEX sampler racks (8 outs each + stereo) that use the atari as a host controller interface & drive system with an extention box which plugs into the dongle port and they are SUPERB!

Well... there it is, a total classic - they are rock solid and pretty bombproof - I've done long 8 hour sets from generators outdoors with the old 1040 and would never sell mine... user comments please - or add some useful atari resource links !!...