Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

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Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:33 pm

I have been Atari ST owner for many years, i have owned Amiga too. Many people seems to have missunderstand what Atari ST was about.

I have seen so many clips on YouTube, sites or threads in forums where people compare Amiga to Atari ST. Then they say, look, Amiga has better graphics, Amiga has better sound. This game was better on Amiga. Those people don't seems to have understand what Atari ST was about.

From the beginning Atari ST was created to battle MAC as a "serious computer", that's why ST used a similar GUI (GEM), so similar that Apple actually sued Atari for using it. ST also used a monochrome screen for high resolution (no scanlines) and 70 Hz refresh rate that made Atari ST perfect for serious use. In fact, the screen to Atari ST was even better then the MAC screen itself. Besides that ST contained everything in ROM. Just boot the computer and everything was ready to run. Not even that, ST contained built in MIDI ports as well.

For MIDI ST was so well constructed that not even todays computers can match it for low latency times. ST was tight down to one millisecond, that's more precise then even todays computers can handle.
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2010/03/10/atari-ste/

For gaming ST was more limited then Amiga because the lack of custom chips. While ST just used a simple frame buffer and software generated sprites Amiga contained Jay Miner's custom chips. The only area that ST could battle Amiga in gaming was in pure vector games where ST had a bit faster processor, else Amiga was (for the most) better for gaming.

But there's off course games that where better on ST, and in some cases it was simply a matter of bad ports for Amiga. But looking at many games the difference is'n that big between the two computers, it's when you use the Amiga hardware to the full that ST has a hard time to follow.

MAC was the computer for serious use while Amiga was the computer for games, graphics and demos while Atari ST was something in between, a computer that could handle both. The serious computer that could be used for playing games as well. And by some clever programming ST even manage to raise the eybrows of many Amiga owners.

So, when people just compare the computers for colour graphics and sound, or gaming, it isn't a fair comparison because ST was THE allround computer made to battle MAC from the beginning and a far better allround computer then both Amiga and MAC for it's time that could handle serious business applications on a high quality high res monitor and in the next time being used as a games machine hooked up to any TV or colour monitor.

Even Amiga was from the beginning a computer that Commodore wanted to advertise as a all-purpose business machine, but very soon Amiga became something else as we all know.

Many people who bought Atari ST was kind of surprised, including me. Atari was supposed to be about Jay Miner and gaming, but not this time. In fact Amiga was way more similar to Atari 8bit then ST ever was.

This is Atari ST when showing it's real strength. In fact, Atari managed to create a very competent allround computer. Far more allround then Amiga or MAC ever was and the high res monitor was a bless to use for serious work.

Image

The only thing that not many Atari or Amiga fans want to hear is...

Jack Tramiel once started a company called Commodore. In the beginning it was about manufacturing typewriters and cheap office furniture. Then Commodore bought a company who manufactured computer chips.

From now on, Commodore was about making computers.

Many years later Jack Tramiel got frustrated over his partner and left Commodore. He didn't left Commodore alone, a whole bunch of people left Commodore together with Tramiel. Then Jack Tramiel bought the rival company Atari. He sacked most Atari employees and replaced them by ex Commodore people.

Shiraz Shivji, one of the designers behind C64 became the father and lead designer of Atari ST while Commodore used the service of an ex Atari employee, Jay Miner.

The result

Amiga became more similar to Atari 8bit then Atari ST ever was. Atari ST was designed and marketed by ex Commodore people.

In that case, it's lots of Atari in Amiga and lots of Commodore in Atari ST?
Last edited by Retrogamer_ST on Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby ryan » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:39 pm

AFAIK Apple never sued Atari over GEM, they sued Digital Research.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:43 pm

ryan wrote:AFAIK Apple never sued Atari over GEM, they sued Digital Research.


That's correct.

But it says a lot of how similar ST was to MAC at that time.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:01 pm

I would say like this.

Compare games, compare colurs, sprites, just name it, but don't forget to compare the serious side as well if you want to do a fair comparison between Atari ST and Amiga.

Amiga won't even get close to the sheer quality of the SM-124 monochrome screen. A pin sharp rock steady display, no scanlines and 70hz refresh rate. That's why Atari ST was so good for serious use.

Amiga might win for games but it won't even touch ST for serious use.

It's a tie

Just pick the one who suits your needs best.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Atari74user » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:27 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Just pick the one who suits your needs best.

Well I tend to agree with the above sentiment, people as consumers like to re-assure themselves that the products they have chosen are 'the best' or 'coolest' at what it does. I do the same, but as you say, the fact is we have choices, and fair enough, some products may very well be better than others, but most of our choices depend on our needs. Function, design, cost.... The same can be applied to many situations in life, as well as consumer products, what do I want, what are the pros, what are the cons.

To be honest, I don't get why people are still obsessed with the Amiga v Atari ST topic, it's done already, but each to their own of course. I appreciate indulging in the topic, but really, regurgitating year upon year, it's not as relevant as it once was in the playground when I was growing up, and when it was indeed the latest technology. However I appreciate sometimes we like to involve ourselves in what once was, perhaps even in bragging rights, the 'I am considerably more richer than you' syndrome:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8Kum8OUTuk :lol:

When I was a boy I had an Atari 800XL, I wanted a C64, but happily ended up with an 800XL as this is what my parents could affored. I happened to move onto the Atari ST. It wasn't about facts or figures, just what was at the time perhaps the natural choice as I had an 8-bit Atari. Ever since I have enjoyed Atari, and now it has become nostalgia. I couldn't care less if the Amiga was better at this, or that, just doesn't have the nostalgia for me. Of course for other people who had Commodores, the same may be true, they perhaps don't care for Atari.

Sometimes, just sometimes new does not necessarily mean better, and I am still content to utilise my Ataris for MIDI purposes! To come full circle, like most things in life, you make a choice, a choice based on your needs and some kind of rationale personal to you, sometimes it works out, sometimes not, but every now and then something comes along that really captures the imagination, perhaps even hearts. For me Atari is simply one of those brands that has captured my imagination. Does it mean Commodore is cow dung, no it doesn't, Atari misunderstood, maybe it was, but rivals they were. Of course without both companies co-exisitng at the same time in direct competition, the ST and Amiga may not have evolved as they did. Ali v Frazier anyone, Hagler v Hearns, Ward v Gatti, Barrera v Morales, Benn v Eubank, even Prost v Senna...and perhaps Atari v Commodore! A healthy rivalry, until their demise as we knew them! :shrug:

Cheers to both :cheers:
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Frank B » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:44 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:I would say like this.

Compare games, compare colurs, sprites, just name it, but don't forget to compare the serious side as well if you want to do a fair comparison between Atari ST and Amiga.

Amiga won't even get close to the sheer quality of the SM-124 monochrome screen. A pin sharp rock steady display, no scanlines and 70hz refresh rate. That's why Atari ST was so good for serious use.

Amiga might win for games but it won't even touch ST for serious use.

It's a tie

Just pick the one who suits your needs best.


I think the ST was a hell of a lot cheaper than the Amiga or the Mac.
My ST was 269 pounds. The a500 was 399. Even in 1990 the ST was fantastic value for money.
We won't see another machine like the Amiga, ST/Falcon/STe or Archimedes any more. :(

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby dlfrsilver » Wed Aug 19, 2015 11:29 pm

The publishers were the 1st at fault. They made this artificial opposition or concurrence between the Amiga and the ST.

They wanted the whole thing, suck down money from the ST owners, but also from the amiga owner. On Amiga our games were more expensive than the ones on the ST (what a crook thing, most games were transcoded from the ST, without using the custom chips at all).

But the truth was that the use of ST in gaming seriously stopped the Amiga to be correctly coded by programmers. Because most knew that when used as required, the games would have been almost impossible to port to ST.

But the Amiga machine number was insufficiant for that. Publishers couldn't make enough money for leaving with it alone. Games had to be done also on ST, and for the sake of compatibility, most of them used only 16 colors, when 32 or 64 could have been possible.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:28 am

I think that's because ST got a head start. It was cheeper and faster to just port the games then to develop them especially to use Amigas hardware. Else you would have seen very few games released on Amiga in the 80's and plenty of "ST only" titles. There's already a big list of games that never were released on Amiga. Just check Amiga CD32, it was mostly about showelware, straight ports from A500 and A1200.

But games is only one side of Atari ST and if you think it was a case of many bad ports, don't even mention the serious side where most appz never got released for Amiga mostly thanks to lack of a real work screen. To use Cubase with scanlines and 50hz, i'll pass.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:34 am

Frank B wrote:I think the ST was a hell of a lot cheaper than the Amiga or the Mac.
My ST was 269 pounds. The a500 was 399. Even in 1990 the ST was fantastic value for money.
We won't see another machine like the Amiga, ST/Falcon/STe or Archimedes any more. :(


"Power without the price"

Jack Tramiel was the guy who forced Atari to lower it's prices when selling cheap C64's. He did the same thing when he was boss at Atari. Thanks to Tramiel even i could afford Atari 8bit. I agreed, ST was excellent value for money.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:09 am

Atari74user wrote:To be honest, I don't get why people are still obsessed with the Amiga v Atari ST topic, it's done already, but each to their own of course.


It was not a thread about ST vs Amiga. :)

It was a thread about that most people seems to have missunderstand what Atari ST is. Then they compare the computers very unfair. It's like comparing SNES to Amiga and then say, look, SNES have better graphics and more sound channels. Then they forget that Amiga has a keyboard and runs serious appz as well.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby rabindranath72 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:39 am

When I got an ST, only the Amiga 1000 was around. I (well, my family; I was a kid back then) simply could not afford it. And for a much lower price, I got a second disk drive, and the monochrome monitor. I never cared much about graphics and sound; the games I loved didn't really need all the bells and whistles of the Amiga (Sierra and SSI games, mostly). But the monochrome monitor, the OS in ROM (which simplified day to day operation A LOT; everyone who has tried to work on an Amiga with only one floppy drive knows that even trivial things can be a royal pain in the ass!) and the huge amount of RAM meant that it was a very flexible machine.
I used it well within the university years, until the need for a PC became insurmountable.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby spudisgood » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:50 am

I have used both machines over many years and I can honestly say I still can't pick a favourite, though when pushed, I would say I find the ST a lot more fun.

It is the little things that I find more charming with the ST.

I think the case for example, is much nicer than the Amiga 500 and seems much better made. I always found Amiga cases quite low quality plastics, would stain yellow very easily, compare the amount of yellowed ST's to the amount of yellowed Amigas for example..

The sound of the disk drive, the quirky but friendly TOS, I prefer the operating system booting from ROM than off a floppy disk...

I have owned many ST's and Amigas over the years and have always found the ST's to be more reliable and of a better build quality.

In terms of sheer hardware and software, I can't really argue with the points already made regarding the Amiga being better for gaming, one place where the ST really suffers in gaming is the sound chip - no comparison to the stereo sound on the Amiga games.

Graphically, there isn't much difference between the ST games and Amiga 500 games IMO, the Amiga being better.

The ST was definitely a more serious machine, and a better all-rounder than the Amiga.

I think there is a level amount of pros and cons for both machines, which makes it so difficult for me to choose a favourite, which is why I have alternated between using the two platforms over the years and own both machines.

What is quite tragic IMO is the Falcon - which was by all accounts a far superior machine to the Amiga 1200, and really should have been much more successful. It would have possibly even meant that Atari would still be in the home computer market today.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:03 am

rabindranath72 wrote:When I got an ST, only the Amiga 1000 was around. I (well, my family; I was a kid back then) simply could not afford it. And for a much lower price, I got a second disk drive, and the monochrome monitor. I never cared much about graphics and sound; the games I loved didn't really need all the bells and whistles of the Amiga (Sierra and SSI games, mostly). But the monochrome monitor, the OS in ROM (which simplified day to day operation A LOT; everyone who has tried to work on an Amiga with only one floppy drive knows that even trivial things can be a royal pain in the ass!) and the huge amount of RAM meant that it was a very flexible machine.
I used it well within the university years, until the need for a PC became insurmountable.


That's one of the best things about ST. It was a very straighforward and easy computer to use. You could play games using your regular TV or perform serious work on a high quality monochrome screen. The midi ports was another big bonus when buying Atari ST.

I bought my very first Atari ST in 1988 and used it for serious work until 2002 when i got my first PC. In the meantime i bought plenty of gaming machines such SNES, Sega Genesis, Amiga CD32, Sony Playstation, Sega Saturn and Nintendo 64. Still my ST was vital for serious use.

In 1996 i rediscovered my ST as the gaming machine i loved so much in the 80's and early 90's. Gaming on Atari ST was fun again and even if i bought 3 games for my Sony Playstation that day late 1996, i went into the bedroom playing Llamatron, Pac-Mania and Sensible Soccer. ;)

Gaming is still fun on Atari ST and most of the work i created in front of ST and the monochrome screen was imported to my PC thanks to Atari for choosing a standard disk drive.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby AtariZoll » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:03 am

I don't think that Atari ST is really misunderstood . It's just that we now see lot of silly comparisons, YouTube videos showing how Amiga is better. Of course, that new generations have no clue about details, and I don't think that most even cares at all.
Prices in Germany, 1987 spring were close: Amiga 500 about 1300 DEM, and Atari 520 with DS floppy 1200 DEM . I guess that Commodore went with aggressive pricing with new machine then .

As I see things now (as general sees battle later) is that price of hardware, chips in first place determined most of things: they launched Atari 520 and Amiga 1000 in same year (30 ago from now), but Amiga was just too expensive for average user. So, even case was designed as professional. To keep prices low, both companies used compromises. Most important is that target users were different - will not go in that, was said here already.
Key year is mentioned 1987 - when Amiga 500 is launched at affordable price for some Western kid. And even that Atari still sold better in that year, it was start of losing battle against Commodore. Atari should do STE in that year, or enhancing anything in HW, but they did only new case with integrated floppy and new TOS version. In 2 years until STE arrived programmers learned how to code for Amiga, and it gradually took over gaming market.
Video market was never Atari's target, and I'm sure that it was not big in that time.
Interesting is what one developer of Son Shu Shi - game from 1991 said: "Amiga is much better machine ..." I would say, just another one sided view, from gamer's perspective. Son Shu Shi is good example in many ways: if you can check both versions will see that Atari version is close, and sound is what is significantly worse. They solved scrolling on Atari ST well. STE was in shops in that year, but they started development much earlier for sure.
Most funny in all is that only Atari version is what seen shops :D

My conclusion is that Atari made really power for low price, but it was not much future proof design. Fast DMA port was great achievement for 1985, but we don't see it in Falcon - because IDE disks prevailed over SCSI . Some more opened architecture would allow easier updates, but Atari made different expansion bus in almost every later model - Mega ST, Mega STE=TT, Falcon .
In any case, it was lost battle at moment that cheap PC clones with custom chips arrived. For both.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:09 am

AtariZoll wrote:I don't think that Atari ST is really misunderstood . It's just that we now see lot of silly comparisons, YouTube videos showing how Amiga is better. Of course, that new generations have no clue about details, and I don't think that most even cares at all.


In fact, many of the people who compare the computers isn't even aware of the monochrome screen. And when you point it out, they are as confused as they are surprised. Atari ST a serious computer, as PC and MAC? A business machine?

Right, that's what Atari ST was built do to and the competitor was MAC.

Try running Cubase on Amiga and you will soon find out who's the serious machine...

The difference will be far greater then ANY game you can compare.

(saying that to all people who just compare games) ;) :)

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:14 am

spudisgood wrote:I have used both machines over many years and I can honestly say I still can't pick a favourite, though when pushed, I would say I find the ST a lot more fun.

It is the little things that I find more charming with the ST.

I think the case for example, is much nicer than the Amiga 500 and seems much better made. I always found Amiga cases quite low quality plastics, would stain yellow very easily, compare the amount of yellowed ST's to the amount of yellowed Amigas for example..

The sound of the disk drive, the quirky but friendly TOS, I prefer the operating system booting from ROM than off a floppy disk...

I have owned many ST's and Amigas over the years and have always found the ST's to be more reliable and of a better build quality.

In terms of sheer hardware and software, I can't really argue with the points already made regarding the Amiga being better for gaming, one place where the ST really suffers in gaming is the sound chip - no comparison to the stereo sound on the Amiga games.

Graphically, there isn't much difference between the ST games and Amiga 500 games IMO, the Amiga being better.

The ST was definitely a more serious machine, and a better all-rounder than the Amiga.

I think there is a level amount of pros and cons for both machines, which makes it so difficult for me to choose a favourite, which is why I have alternated between using the two platforms over the years and own both machines.

What is quite tragic IMO is the Falcon - which was by all accounts a far superior machine to the Amiga 1200, and really should have been much more successful. It would have possibly even meant that Atari would still be in the home computer market today.


Agreed in most of what you say. Another thing to point out is that even if Falcon and Jaguar wasn't the success Atari hoped for, at least they tried something new unlike Commodore who just repeated the same Amiga concept over and over again. CD32 was nothing else then a repacked Amiga 1200.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby rabindranath72 » Thu Aug 20, 2015 8:47 am

An Italian computer journal MCmicrocomputer published an article (in March 1987) in which they compared the Amiga 1000, Atari 1040 and Apple IIgs. Overall, they concluded that while the ST looked like the "less exciting" of the three machines (noting that Amiga had the better graphics and the IIgs the better sound) it was an interesting machine in a completely different context, i.e. in comparison to a Macintosh.
This shows that even back then, observers did realise that the ST was more interesting for business than creative/entertainment use.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby calimero » Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:52 am

Retrogamer_ST wrote:
AtariZoll wrote:I don't think that Atari ST is really misunderstood . It's just that we now see lot of silly comparisons, YouTube videos showing how Amiga is better. Of course, that new generations have no clue about details, and I don't think that most even cares at all.


In fact, many of the people who compare the computers isn't even aware of the monochrome screen. And when you point it out, they are as confused as they are surprised. Atari ST a serious computer, as PC and MAC? A business machine?

than we should make video that will show and compare e.g. "how to make A4 page of New York Times" on Atari ST, Mac, PC and Amiga
than how to make 3D scene and animation; how to compose with MIDI, how to mix text and spreadsheet table... I have all four computers from 80s and I hope I will made such video in future (I need separate room for this) but I would help anyone right now if someone want to do it.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby calimero » Thu Aug 20, 2015 10:02 am

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Agreed in most of what you say. Another thing to point out is that even if Falcon and Jaguar wasn't the success Atari hoped for, at least they tried something new unlike Commodore who just repeated the same Amiga concept over and over again. CD32 was nothing else then a repacked Amiga 1200.

Amiga 2000 had a Zorro slots. Amiga 3000+ should have DSP and AAA chipset (just type "Amiga Dave Hayne" in google, he is full of stories about advanced, never finished, Amiga projects; something that we do not have from Atari side - no one ever speak about e.g. Falcon040 - there are just few photos and that is it :().

But yes, Commodore mainly make evolution of Amiga 1000 design over 10 years - ECS expand OSC, AGA expand everything at 32 bits (plus Zorro slots, SCSI, PCMCIA, IDE)... nothing like graphics chunk mode, DSP or 16 audio channels like in Falcon. It is amazing how Richard Miller manage expand ST to Falcon. TT also add Fast RAM as novelty to ST architecture (beside SCSI, VMA...).
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:17 pm

Okey, Amiga CD32 was a repacked Amiga 1200, but even worse was all the showelware, repacked A500 and A1200 games over and over again. Commodore would have needed something new for a change. CD32 was a looong way from true 32 bit gaming, most games felt like standard 16 bit gaming and while Commodore released another repacked 2D platformer Sony released Ridge Racer, Tekken and Wipeout.

Atari didn't had the money for developing games or even advertise Jaguar properly, all money went to develop the hardware.

Both Atari and Commodore was out of the game when Sega and Sony released their consoles the next year. Then it would take many years before an american console could battle the japanese consoles.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Atari74user » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:36 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:It was not a thread about ST vs Amiga. :)

It was a thread about that most people seems to have missunderstand what Atari ST is. Then they compare the computers very unfair. It's like comparing SNES to Amiga and then say, look, SNES have better graphics and more sound channels. Then they forget that Amiga has a keyboard and runs serious appz as well.


Oh indeed, I wasn't criticising this thread, only over the years where I have seen Atari ST v Amiga on various forums, where people have slated the Atari ST, or Amiga just for pure 'one-upmanship' :angel:

I agree, the Atari ST was marketed as a low cost version to that of the Mac, indeed as the 'power without the price' slogan indicated, or even the nickname 'Jackintiosh' suggested. Nevertheless the market dictated the comparison between the Amiga and ST due to being both Atari and Commodore, and 16-Bit machines, it was perhaps inevitable, as much as maybe Atari and Jack wanted not to promote that. I mean we even had the magazine ST / Amiga Format here in the UK, before the magazine was separated into ST Format and Amiga Format respectively.

The way I always thought of it, you had the Mac on one side, the Amiga on the other, and the computer betwwen the two, slap bang in the middle was the Atari ST, it was perhaps the perfect compromise at the time, as subjective as that may be.
Last edited by Atari74user on Thu Aug 20, 2015 9:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:56 pm

Computer wars can be fun even if it's hard to compare such different machines, but when people compare the same thing over and over again because it's the only thing that could be compared, it's unfair.

This is a fair comparison between two completly different computers created for different things.

Amiga has more on screen colours
Well, ST has built in MIDI
Amiga has custom chips for graphics
Well, ST has a high resolution monochrome screen
Amiga has Monkey Island II
Well, ST has Cubase and Notator

Who's the winner? ;)

It depends of what you want to do.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby dlfrsilver » Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:45 am

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Computer wars can be fun even if it's hard to compare such different machines, but when people compare the same thing over and over again because it's the only thing that could be compared, it's unfair.

This is a fair comparison between two completly different computers created for different things.

Amiga has more on screen colours
Well, ST has built in MIDI
Amiga has custom chips for graphics
Well, ST has a high resolution monochrome screen
Amiga has Monkey Island II
Well, ST has Cubase and Notator

Who's the winner? ;)

It depends of what you want to do.


Well, if someone really wanted to use the Amiga as a workstation, it was not only possible, but it went higher than the ST.

A standard Amiga 2000 with a multisync monitor can perfectly use for productivity use a resolution of 1280x512 which is far superior to what even the high res ST monochrome screen can do. Of course, in this configuration the screen flickering doesn't apply.

It's also not the same price. It's better but more expensive :roll:

And the Amiga was the rolls in many country for public panel displays, as well as the hollywood rolls for video effects (video toaster).

Clearly out of the MIDI and the PAO, the ST was not the computer somebody needed to have. It was better elsewhere.
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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Fri Aug 21, 2015 10:51 am

We're talking Amiga 500, right?

Else you have to compare to Falcon.

ST was THE midi computer for it's time, in fact Atari ST was so good that not even todays computers can match it's performance.

ST was tight down to one millisecond. No of todays MAC or PC would even touch that.
http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2010/03/10/atari-ste/

Not even that, Steinberg created a great multitasking system for Atari ST, MROS.

QUESTION

“Are you seriously trying to tell us that Steinburg did what Atari themselves couldn’t and hardly anyone else ever did, and coded up some proper operating-system level multitasking on a machine which otherwise never saw any software co-operation above the level of a Desk Accessory? ”


ANSWER

That’s exactly what they did. Steinberg created MROS or ‘music realtime operating system’. This was a true real time OS that could run multiple MROS compatible programs simultaneously, while giving the highest priority to midi timing. Hence the GUI could slow down, but your midi timing never suffered.

MROS was revolutionary at the time, and allowed other useful features such as sharing device drivers between software and could be updated independently from the software it ran.

The reason you don’t hear about it much is that the cracked versions of the Steinberg Atari products generally broke MROS enough to prevent mutiple programs, the MROS Switcher, and other useful features from working. Those of us with a handful of dongles and a MIDEX however had a rather powerful system.

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Re: Atari ST, the missunderstood computer

Postby calimero » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:37 pm

dlfrsilver wrote:A standard Amiga 2000 with a multisync monitor can perfectly use for productivity use a resolution of 1280x512 which is far superior to what even the high res ST monochrome screen can do. Of course, in this configuration the screen flickering doesn't apply.

how so?

MultiSync monitor means that it will display 15KHz horizontal resolution and 15KHz is not enough for rock stable picture like on e.g. SM124 but it is enough for 60Hz vertical refresh rate.

even worse, 512 lines is interlaced mod, right?
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