Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

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Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

No BUS expansion slot
39
26%
Keyboard design
9
6%
Usage of FAT (MS DOS) filesystem
1
1%
TOS
1
1%
ACSI port
19
13%
Video subsystem
42
28%
YM chip for audio
20
14%
Other
17
11%
 
Total votes: 148

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Rat boy » Wed May 21, 2008 1:02 am

earx wrote:an a500 in 1985 rotfl. with 1.44 MB RAM (?!) boot disk. what the fup is that? bootable ram? you had flash in 1985 too? ;))

someone wrote about the spongy ST keyboard. idd, many 8 bit machine keyboards felt a bit tougher. but it didn't withhold programmers to make a few million strokes ;)

SCSI could have been added. after all, it came standard on amega in 1985 ;) (i just can't stop, sorry).


You talk like a maniac earx! MY Amigo in 1974 had an Athlon x86 triple processor, 10x scsi in raid 9 array, attached to a plasma 3d holographic screen(!) cheapskate! :roll:

*And* back to reality. I'm with you fella! (earx) :D

Now - was the Amiga 1000 an 800 or 880k drive? constant disk detect, Kickstart loaded via floppy, until Kickstart 1.2 (which I had, on an A500), hdisk upgradeable either via the bus, or via the expansion ST506 stylee+fastRAM (I had one), the Amiga 1000 quickly being binned in favour of the A2000, then the A600, A1200 etc etc...

Biggest flaw in Atari ST design? hacked software killed it.

ppera

Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby ppera » Wed May 21, 2008 9:03 am

Rat boy wrote:...
Biggest flaw in Atari ST design? hacked software killed it.


Hacked SW ? New name for piracy ??? Certainly one of the reasons. Maybe to open new thread about, Mr Rat boy ?

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby beastie » Wed May 21, 2008 10:04 am

ppera wrote:
Rat boy wrote:...
Biggest flaw in Atari ST design? hacked software killed it.


Hacked SW ? New name for piracy ??? Certainly one of the reasons. Maybe to open new thread about, Mr Rat boy ?


I always thought that: hacking is hacking, like explained here:

http://catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html

(So, partially, a big bunch of this forum readers are "hacking" something more or less)

And cracking is just "breaking the securities", which is a required activity for further - "piracy", which means generally "breaking the law" in sense of SW - "copyrights".

But your point of view is very interesting! I guess, by "hacked SW" you mean "piracy". Any braves to discuss this subject in dedicated thread ?? :D

ppera

Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby ppera » Wed May 21, 2008 10:20 am

Actually, I'm not sure what Rat boy meant... Because 'hacked software killed...' has no sense.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Womble » Wed May 21, 2008 10:38 am

The main problem was it was too cheap when it was brand new. As its been said "cheap" is a double edged sword, it got the ST out in the market place but it hamstrung it with features that would not age well. The YM chip and the SS floppy drive being the worst contenders.

The Amiga on the other hand was focking expensive when it was launched, but its feature set lasted a lot longer in the market. As time passed the price of all things fell and the Amigas got more reasonable, they all had higher density disks, and far better sound, so they made the ST look silly.

Atari fought back and released the STE, which was too little, too late, so many bog standard STs were out there that the STE extra features were ignored as software houses released for the masses, not for the STE niche.

If the STE was released in 1986 then perhaps it would have all been different, but then the machine may not have sold well due to the price.

Who can tell.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby beastie » Wed May 21, 2008 11:15 am

ppera wrote:Actually, I'm not sure what Rat boy meant... Because 'hacked software killed...' has no sense.


Although it's far away from hardware thing we are discussing here... Without pirates and their releases I would be nothing today, in sense of computers. They just gave me an opportunity to learn about computers and gave me a lot of fun playing games (nice childhood) - as in the late 80's you could forget about buying the original software in my country (1 game = 1 salary?) :-). Strange times... Although, this situation has changed somewhere in the first half of the 90's (copyrights).

And another flaw in Atari ST design - hidden mouse/joystick ports in the STF/STFM/STE series.

And in fact - no expansion bus. Such thing would enable us to use sound and graphic cards and other expansions of course.

ppera

Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby ppera » Wed May 28, 2008 9:05 am

Seeking reason for Atari's fail, falling constantly appears in thread. But it was not my exact intention. I mean, no perfect machine, device. Poll was made to see what people mostly missed or considered as bad design by Atari ST serie.

Interesting is that nobody mentions Motorola as one of reasons of fail (and their CPUs were in Amiga serie too). I think that it is one of main factors: CPUs were expensive, especially in 90-es, development was slow. Motorola just lost war with Intel (and AMD). Btw. 68000 was considered as CPU for IBM PC at development start, but was buggy in that time. Because bugs were not removed fast, less sophisticated CPU, Intel 8088 was choosen. Finally, not long time ago, Motorola lost his best consumer, Apple :(

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby earx » Wed May 28, 2008 11:39 am

Finally, not long time ago, Motorola lost his best consumer, Apple :(

and has powerpc cores in all 3 major console platforms.

</wiseguy>

i still don't know what hacked software means. i hope our ratboy is not ratboy/elite. did you do that magic pockets crack long ago? i started the disk editor, checked the bootsector, and then i read "what are you looking at fartface? this game was cracked by ratboy!" or something along those lines ;)

piracy is theft, but without theft there would be nobody to see games and apps at all, especially with the piss-poor distribution in ye olde days. still, the move of action games to consoles were a clear sign that piracy did in fact kill the games market on amiga and st.

if 'hacked' would refer to a certain level of amateurism: yeah, the st had plenty of that. but amiga or msx where much much worse.

anyway, my atari MegaSTE8+ back in 1979 didn't have all these problems.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Rat boy » Fri May 30, 2008 3:37 am

earx wrote:
Finally, not long time ago, Motorola lost his best consumer, Apple :(

and has powerpc cores in all 3 major console platforms.

</wiseguy>

i still don't know what hacked software means. i hope our ratboy is not ratboy/elite. did you do that magic pockets crack long ago? i started the disk editor, checked the bootsector, and then i read "what are you looking at fartface? this game was cracked by ratboy!" or something along those lines ;)

piracy is theft, but without theft there would be nobody to see games and apps at all, especially with the piss-poor distribution in ye olde days. still, the move of action games to consoles were a clear sign that piracy did in fact kill the games market on amiga and st.

if 'hacked' would refer to a certain level of amateurism: yeah, the st had plenty of that. but amiga or msx where much much worse.

anyway, my atari MegaSTE8+ back in 1979 didn't have all these problems.


For why? Didn't it work? Bummer! :lol:

You only had a Megaste8+ in 1979, jeez! My PC/Mac hybrid was running a P3 QUAD core back then! AND Athlon branded...amateur! The valve PSU got a little hot however..

I guess 'irony' don't work here Mr Earx ?

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby dlfrsilver » Fri May 30, 2008 5:30 am

ppera wrote:Seeking reason for Atari's fail, falling constantly appears in thread. But it was not my exact intention. I mean, no perfect machine, device. Poll was made to see what people mostly missed or considered as bad design by Atari ST serie.

Interesting is that nobody mentions Motorola as one of reasons of fail (and their CPUs were in Amiga serie too). I think that it is one of main factors: CPUs were expensive, especially in 90-es, development was slow. Motorola just lost war with Intel (and AMD). Btw. 68000 was considered as CPU for IBM PC at development start, but was buggy in that time. Because bugs were not removed fast, less sophisticated CPU, Intel 8088 was choosen. Finally, not long time ago, Motorola lost his best consumer, Apple :(


I would like to talk a bit about what you said about the 68000, saying it has bugs..... In aeronautics, intel processors are BANNED !
because they doesn't meet the security criteria required. the 68k series were heavily used in avionics, and today, planes are using PowerPC,
like airbus A3XX :). The 68k series are less buggy than any intel 8XXX processor !
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby ppera » Fri May 30, 2008 8:13 am

dlfrsilver wrote:I would like to talk a bit about what you said about the 68000, saying it has bugs..... In aeronautics, intel processors are BANNED !
because they doesn't meet the security criteria required. the 68k series were heavily used in avionics, and today, planes are using PowerPC,
like airbus A3XX :). The 68k series are less buggy than any intel 8XXX processor !


We are not some fans on football game. But you try to act like... I like more 68000 than Intel x86 serie. But later won, no doubt. Every CPU has bugs in early stage. It was so with Intel 8086/88 too. But they fixed bugs fast.
Some Intel CPUs were used by Nasa, for example. Your last sentence is just pathetic. Obviously did not read what I wrote carefully.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby earx » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:42 am

in fact, space shuttles use the 80186. yes, that thing is about as rare as the 68010 or maybe even more so ;) NASA still ordered a *new* batch of 80186 quite recently. costs a shitload of money for technology which was outdated in 1990 already.

ratboy: the magic pockets crack worked great. even till the end. :)

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby earx » Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:56 am

seems i was wrong.. space shuttle uses 8086 or 80386 later on. these special radiation hardened versions, which do cost alot.

sorry for all the offtopic.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby ijor » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:42 pm

I read different stories about why the 8088 (and not the 68000) was used on the original IBM PC. I don't know which is the true one, but I don't think I ever read that it was because the 68000 (at that time) was buggy.

As I recall, I read that it was cheaper, that IBM had some partial rights over the 808X. But the two ones that make most sense are: that there were too few 68000 peripherals available then, and that the 8088 with an 8-bit data bus made the overall cost much lower (the 68008 was released a couple of years later).

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Greenious » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:54 pm

Well, IBM never thought the PC would take off they way it did.

They needed a new machine, fast, to hold their marketshare until their next generation would be ready.

So the first PC was a a mishmash of cheap solutions, or the solutions that was easy/quick to use.

That's why MS-DOS was chosen as a OS instead of CP/M.

And since the machine wasn't really that good, they didn't think releasing the blueprints would do any harm...

But suddenly a defacto standard was born.

And had Motorola/digital research (I believe it was), been more cooperative, things would have looked way different today...

That's how I recall it. :wink:
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Greenious » Thu Jun 05, 2008 9:17 pm

ppera wrote:Seeking reason for Atari's fail, falling constantly appears in thread. But it was not my exact intention. I mean, no perfect machine, device. Poll was made to see what people mostly missed or considered as bad design by Atari ST serie.


In hindsight, it is always easy to spot the technologies that Atari should have persued. However, imho, development outran Atari more than anything else.

At the time Atari did the best they could, you can't really complain about the ACSI port, or other things they added, they believed it was the right thing to do at the time, and they got it more right than you'd think. Had it been done differently, the machine would have been different, more expensive, or some other thing that may, or may not, have affected things in a good or bad direction.

But to returning to the question at hand, I've always believed atari was too slow releasing new hardware, and once the ST was a success, they kind of got stuck in the same limited original design flaw trap as PC. otoh, plaforms with a more rigid goal of a clear upgrade path, with more thought into hardware design, was no successes at all...

so... development killed atari, F030 was to late, and too far behind Mac/PC to really compete.

Maybe they got too caught up in the consoles (lynx/jaguar), maybe they wasted too much resources there, or with the atari line of PCs...

Who knows. What is past is behind us anyway.
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Nyh » Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:34 pm

ijor wrote:As I recall, I read that it was cheaper, that IBM had some partial rights over the 808X. But the two ones that make most sense are: that there were too few 68000 peripherals available then, and that the 8088 with an 8-bit data bus made the overall cost much lower (the 68008 was released a couple of years later).

AFAIK the main reason for not using the 68000 was it being too expensive. The 64 pin DIL, the 16 bit bus and the 24 bit address bus made it all too expensive. Using the 8088 was simpler. It came in a 40 pin DIL and was cheaper to build. The engineers didn't expect this toy product would live very long.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Rat boy » Fri Jun 06, 2008 12:39 am

Good fair points Greenious. I suppose you could chuck the MSX, 3DO and CDi into that argument too. Great computers. Hindsight however is a wonderful thing!

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby bullis1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:27 pm

Rat boy wrote:Good fair points Greenious. I suppose you could chuck the MSX, 3DO and CDi into that argument too. Great computers. Hindsight however is a wonderful thing!


I wouldn't say that the 3DO was a computer at all. It was definitely a video game console, which tend not to be upgradeable (there are one or two exceptions of course). I don't think anybody used the 3DO for "computing."
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby sh3-rg » Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:09 pm

Rat boy wrote:Hindsight however is a wonderful thing!


Foresight is better. Atari lacked it.

bullis1 wrote:I wouldn't say that the 3DO was a computer at all. It was definitely a video game console, which tend not to be upgradeable (there are one or two exceptions of course). I don't think anybody used the 3DO for "computing."


Same for the CDi, and they were both poo.

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby bullis1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 5:14 pm

sh3-rg wrote:
bullis1 wrote:I wouldn't say that the 3DO was a computer at all. It was definitely a video game console, which tend not to be upgradeable (there are one or two exceptions of course). I don't think anybody used the 3DO for "computing."


Same for the CDi, and they were both poo.


Well, I wasn't saying they were poo (although the CDi certainly was poo. 3DO had its moments).
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby Desty » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:11 pm

bullis1 wrote:I wouldn't say that the 3DO was a computer at all. It was definitely a video game console, which tend not to be upgradeable (there are one or two exceptions of course). I don't think anybody used the 3DO for "computing."

Apparently the 3DO didn't come with any copy protection or region-locking crap built in like we see today, so at least it'd be straightforward(ish) to develop for it without needing to buy a ton of poo/licenses.
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby bullis1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:18 pm

Desty wrote:
bullis1 wrote:I wouldn't say that the 3DO was a computer at all. It was definitely a video game console, which tend not to be upgradeable (there are one or two exceptions of course). I don't think anybody used the 3DO for "computing."

Apparently the 3DO didn't come with any copy protection or region-locking crap built in like we see today, so at least it'd be straightforward(ish) to develop for it without needing to buy a ton of poo/licenses.


While the 3DO did not have any region lock-outs, the games were encrypted to prevent people publishing unauthorized games for the system, and to help prevent piracy. I'm not 100% sure but in order to develop for 3DO I think you needed to go through the 3DO company in order to get the encryption. The encryption was broken within the last 5 years however and finally some homebrew/retropublishing was possible on 3DO.
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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby nativ » Fri Jun 06, 2008 6:54 pm

Surely the Falcon was the answer to these 'flaws' in the ST?
A re-appraisal of the original ST, adding to it's feature's all round.

Not forgetting the market split between Consoles and computers, I'm sure there are many console owner's who until recently had little more than a Microsoft Office experience of the computer world...
As for you're
Cdi/3do/Cd32/Mega Cd/ Neogeo Cd/(even Jaguar Cd)
How many games really have used that format and the hardware to there full potential? Not to mention that (again) until a couple of years ago CD readers were expensive! Let alone the Cd writers.
Meaning that independent Cd Game development was limited.
Sorry to go slighty off topic there.
Why are there no ST/e CD games? (And yes I'd like to think I'd make one one day!)

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Re: Biggest flaw in Atari ST's design

Postby bullis1 » Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:17 pm

nativ wrote:Why are there no ST/e CD games? (And yes I'd like to think I'd make one one day!)


Atari never produced a consumer-level CD-ROM drive. They made the CDAR504 which was very expensive and never revised it or marketed it properly. Also, CD-ROM gaming on computers didn't really take off until 94/95 and that was too late for ST. Falcon had a couple CD games from Silmarils though.

Also, Atari's only CD-ROM drive, the CDAR504, was not capable of reading dual-mode (data and audio) CDs, which is a major drawback since many CD-ROM games used CD-audio.

I also hope that a CD-ROM game for Atari ST will someday come to fruition. I'm sure everyone will complain that they aren't able to play it though (due to not attaching an ASCI or SCSI CD drive to their ST).
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