Atari st??

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Atari st??

Post by Old Skool Gamer » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:16 pm

Want to buy a atari st, are there different ones? which is the best to go for, what are the differences, any help would be great :D
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sscott
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Post by sscott » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:45 pm

My favourite ever machine, you will have chosen wisely...
Go for the Atari 520 ST - the claasic, no RAM upgrades or nothing.
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In my school (I'm a teacher) they had a stock cupboard with about 30 STs 3/4 years ago - Took 1 and the rest went in a skip!
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Re: Atari st??

Post by will2097 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:52 pm

Old Skool Gamer wrote:Want to buy a atari st, are there different ones? which is the best to go for, what are the differences, any help would be great :D
EDIT: For an entirely different opinion: (isn't the Internet great?)

They are all pretty much of a much-ness. They are all basically the same essentially

ST F, ST FM & ST E (you might also consider the Mega ST)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_st

The STe had some compatibility issues (I think?) but is the highest spec'd ST. Not counting the Falcon, which is nearly a different computer altogether anyway. The STe came with a higher colour palette and a blitter chip in an attempt to challenge the Amiga.

Just get one with the most RAM. It's not worth getting a hard drive in my honest opinion - after years of searching for one, i found a megafile DMA hard drive to my delight, but I was disappointed with the support it recieved. A second floppy drive is money better spent and RAM, RAM, RAM. (upto 4Mb)

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Last edited by will2097 on Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:54 pm

You want either:
A STFM with at least 1Mb memory
or
An STE with at least 1Mb memory

STFM was the 'standard' ST and will run just about everything with 1Mb on board. 512k is ok, but there are some games that are 1Mb only or have enhancements with 1Mb.

The STE is the enhanced later model, with features that bring it very close to Amiga spec, including DMA chip for sampled sound playback in hardware, stereo sound and hardware scrolling. Its a far better machine than the stock STFM, but there are some compatibility issues with a few older games. On the upside, there are a few STE only games that have been designed with the new features in mind.

STFM memory upgrades require a bit of fiddling with chips, while STE uses standard SIMMS.

An external floppy drive can be handy.

A hard drive might be practical now - I never owned one at the time due to cost.

Personally, I'd be tempted to get the STE as is the better machine and easier to upgrade, then if I found any games that wouldn't run I'd look into getting an STFM for them.

I owned both, having the STFM for a couple of years before picking up the STE, which remained in service as my main PC for around 4 years.

Or you could emulate first to establish your needs.
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Post by will2097 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:56 pm

So it's 2:1 to the xxxxx2097's. STe with loads of RAM. :D

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Post by sscott » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:00 pm

After 2 yrs in the '80s I swapped my ST for an Amiga, needed 1 meg of RAM to run Dungeon Master! Realised that apart from some improved sound samples there wasn't much difference (until maybe Shadow of The Beast etc...)
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Post by TMR » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:04 pm

One thing to watch out for is that the earliest 520STF and STFM machines don't always come equipped with a double sided disk drive and the bulk of software will be expecting one - i had to get my 520STFM upgraded, a slightly tortuous process involving a generic DS/DD drive mechanism and a hacksaw to modify the case!

Personally, if i were buying now i'd go for a 520STE or 1040STE - there are some compatibility issues with original software, but not all that many with the popular titles that i remember and getting the cracks and fixes available online over to a real machine is, if memory serves, relatively easy, having the STE guarantees the machine to have a DS/DD drive and games from ST specialist companies like Thalion can usually take advantage of all that extra power the E adds.

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Post by FatTrucker » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:23 pm

Atari 1040STFM. I used to own one and never found anything that didn't work with it.
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Post by oli_lar » Wed Dec 05, 2007 2:29 pm

Agreed in that they're all relatively similar. A 520 will be about half as cheap as a 1040 though if not less.

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Post by revgiblet » Wed Dec 05, 2007 5:39 pm

TMR wrote:One thing to watch out for is that the earliest 520STF and STFM machines don't always come equipped with a double sided disk drive and the bulk of software will be expecting one.
This is important. I had an STF with an external single-sided drive. It was a pain until I got a double-sided drive. As my primary drive was external it was easy to sort out. As a bonus, for single-sided games, I then had two drives which made a massive difference to disk swapping. For any 16-bit computer I'd always recommend getting an extra drive now.
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Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 6:00 pm

If you whack 4Mb of SIMMS into an STE, you can run a lot of stuff from RAM disc which dramatically speeds up load times after the initial load from floppy. There are custom RAM discs for it that allow you to preconfigure them to be bootable straight from startup - insert floppy, it loads your config, from there on its flying.
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Post by will2097 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:40 am

My 4Mb (made up of 1Mb simms) cost me £2.50

:)

RAM disks were all the rage once.

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Post by Antiriad2097 » Thu Dec 06, 2007 7:07 am

will2097 wrote:My 4Mb (made up of 1Mb simms) cost me £2.50

:)

RAM disks were all the rage once.
My 4Mb cost me about £80 iirc. After that I was determined I'd make use of it, so RAM discs ahoy ;)

Old Skool Gamer, you might want to get in quick here:
http://www.retrogamer.net/forum/viewtop ... 611#148611
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Post by Heavy Stylus » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:58 am

I've got an Atari STE, 4MB RAM, TOS 2.06, an external SCSI hard disk and PS2 mouse adapter. Can't really get much better than that! :) All in all it cost me around £100 (last month) - I decided to buy it as a birthday present for myself due to becoming fed up of relying on STEEM for Atari gaming.

If you're interested in 16/32 bit Ataris, check www.atari-forum.com. Loads of helpful people there. Also, www.atarilegend.com is a great database of games (although not on par with lemonamiga), and www.dbug-automation.co.uk are an active hacking/craking group that are currently fixing loads of ST(E) games to work from HD on all TOS versions *and* the underated Falcon/TT machines too.

Some new atari games can be found at paradize.final-memory.org.

Some of the articles in the forthcoming RGCD04 were even written on the old STE for extra retro flava. ;)
http://www.rgcd.co.uk
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Post by blakespot » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:44 pm

I recomment the base Atari 520ST. I went with one recently.

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More pix:
http://pix.blakespot.com/view/computers/atari_520ST/

Associated article:
http://www.bytecellar.com/archives/000109.php

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