best atari 8-bit to buy

All discussions about the Atari 8bit range of machines.

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best atari 8-bit to buy

Postby mlynn1974 » Wed Feb 01, 2017 10:39 pm

With the price of old computers increasing at the moment I was wondering which Atari 8-bit would be the best to buy and how much I would expect to pay? On eBay prices are about £80-120 including a tape deck and cables.

I never had an Atari 8-bit but I always liked the look of the 130XE because it looked like a mini ST.
The games I would like include KickStart and 180 by Mastertronic which was always available in Littlewoods and maybe a manual to do some BASIC programming. An emulator is OK but sometimes it's nice to have the real hardware.
Still got, still working: Atari 4Mb STe, 520STFM, 2.5Mb STF.
Hardware: Cumana CSA 354, Ultimate Ripper, Blitz Turbo, Synchro Express II (US and UK Versions).

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Re: best atari 8-bit to buy

Postby AdamK » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:19 am

There is no real diffrence, from the point of view of the user, between XL/XE models. The only change, is extra memory in 130XE, but I'd suggest You to upgrade your 8bit Atari with U1MB extension, which gives you 1MB of memory (current demoscene standard).

There is one caveat in XE models. Depending on date of production it may have or have not the Expansion slot. It is not that important, but some extensions require Expansion slot (but most of them don't, U1MB mentioned above goes inside the computer).
Atari: FireBee, Falcon030 + CT60e + SuperVidel + SvEthlana, TT, 520ST + 4MB ST RAM + 8MB TT RAM + CosmosEx + SC1435, 1040STFM + UltraSatan + SM124, 1040STE 4MB ST RAM + 8MB TT RAM + CosmosEx + NetUSBee + SM144 + SC1224, 65XE + U1MB + VBXE + SIDE2, Jaguar, Lynx II, 2 x Portfolio (HPC-006)

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Re: best atari 8-bit to buy

Postby brenski » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:55 am

here's some pros/cons of each model

800XL - the most common - almost ALL software will work on a 64k XL...some 1990s (and onwards) demos and games require more ram. almost ALL Taiwan 800XLs are soldered - which makes upgrading harder. 50% of Hong Kong 800XLs have socketed ram.

1200XL - the easiest to upgrade, but easier to buy in the USA than europe. most ICs are socketed which makes installing a 256k wizztronics clone, Ultimate 1mb or the newer Antonia 4mb upgrades much easier. almost all 1200XLs will need a clear pic, UAV or similar upgarde to make video reasonable.

65XE - an XL with ST styling - many do not have the ECI port - as mentioned by poster above.

130XE - again, an XL with ST styling, but with 128k ram.

800XE - eastern european crossover from XL to XE range - some (about 30%) of these have a buggy GTIA chip, but if you strike lucky you get a nice "XL" with freddie chip and ECI.

All of XE range are compatible with a 320/576XE ECI slot-in ram upgrade made by Ctriad.

Lastly, most of the software out there is available as XEX (program files) or ATR (disk images) - best way to work with these is either thru an emulator; Atari800win, Rainbow, Xformer, XL-It etc, or better still invest in a real Atari 1050 disk drive and an Atarimax SIO2PC-usb

have fun

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