Four models based around the 800XL in a
re-styled case with a new keyboard and re-sited 'function' keys making
a more compact unit. The inside has been redesigned for economy of
production using fewer chips and moving parts giving a smoother
running and faster computer.
The basic model in the range is much
the same as the 800XL As far as is known there are no improvements
except for the addition of the graphics symbols on the keyboard. The
peripheral bus on the 800XL has now however been dropped.
The basic 65XE with added full music
synthesiser features which can be hooked up to a hi-fi system. Eight
voices giving rich music giving the following features.
sample rate in excess of 30kHz. Over 60dB dynamic range.
Frequency Range of 4.8Hz to 7.8kHz -10 2/3 octaves.
Frequency Resolution of 1/64 semitones.
control of harmonic amplitudes. 64 harmonics.
No news of a music keyboard for this
although one would assume that a keyboard can be interfaced to the
128k of memory in two 64k switchable
blocks allowing something like 48k of user RAM and 64k of storage
which can be instantly interchanged with the RAM in use. The ideal
application is for word processing and databases but there may well be
adaptations of multiple disk adventures and the like from third party
The whole lot in one. The basic 65XE
with built in (added?) 5" monochrome monitor and 3½" disk
drive to enable you to keep computing wherever you are. No details are
available yet on size but it may not be quite so compact as other
All XE models are 100% compatible with
the 400, 800, 600XL and 800XL meaning that the majority of existing
software and all peripherals will run on the new models and software
developed for the 65XE will run on the older models.
All the new peripherals for the XE
range are compatible with the 400, 800, 600XL and 800XL.
The basic disk drive for the XE range
will continue to be the 1050 5¼" floppy disk drive although the
casing may be restyled to match the new designs.
A 14" composite colour monitor and
a 12" monochrome, 80 column monitor have been announced. Does
this mean that software is being developed for the XE range to allow
true 80 column applications?
XTM201 thermal dot-matrix running at 20
cps. XTC201 thermal dot-matrix in colour. XDM 121 Daisy Wheel letter
quality at 12cps and the XMM801 dot matrix at 80cps.
Much will depend on the price of these
for Atari has never produced a printer to equal those available from
dedicated manufacturers but if the prices are low then these may well
succeed where previous models have failed.
U.S. prices are reported as $120 for
the 65XE, $160 for the 65XEM, $200 for the 130XE and $400 for the
65XEP. Printers are said to be from as low as $50 up to $200.
Both new ranges will be 'colour coded'
with all boxes for the XE range and peripherals in red and the ST
range in blue so that the consumer will know whether a particular
peripheral is suited to his machine. Why? Because Atari will continue
to sell through multiple stores and recognises that very few store
staff will have sufficient knowledge of the product. Support will be
given to stores in the form of charts and reference guides but the
onus will be on the consumer to display more knowledge than the
salesman. A shrewd move with greater benefit than might at first be
ATARIWRITER+ is an enhanced version of
the existing program with built in proof reader (American
INFINITY, which has received rave
reviews from those who saw it at CES, is an integrated spreadsheet,
word processor and relational database all on one disk. The program
uses windows and has "incredible graphics hitherto thought only
possible on 16-bit machines".. One report says that it puts to
shame anything available for the Macintosh including programs like
SILENT BUTLER. A domestic accounts
Also ... ATARI PROOFREADER... MUSIC
PAINTER ... TRACK AND FIELD ... CRYSTAL CASTLES and MARIO BROS.
At the time of writing Atari Corp. (U.
K.) had not decided which items would be made available and at what
prices. Certain peripherals may not make it over here (can the market
really support seven printers?).
The ST range is destined to break new
ground for personal computers bringing an amazing 16-bit machine into
the grasp of almost any individual.
There are two models which differ only
in the amount of RAM. The 130ST has 128k of RAM and the 520ST has 512k
Both have an additional 192k ROM Operating System which includes the
GEM applications package. The ROM is expandable to 320k with a plug in
cartridge although it has not been disclosed what this add-on will
Incredible colour graphics on a 32k
bit-mapped screen with 3 Graphics modes.
Resolution - 320 x 200 pixels (equivalent to Graphics 8) in 16
Resolution - 640 x 200 pixels in 4 colours.
High Resolution - 640 x 400 pixels in monochrome.
512 colours are available and as the
computer has interrupts, these can presumably be mixed outside of the
standard Graphics modes.
Built-in interfaces include a
high-speed hard disk interface, integrated floppy disk controller,
Centronics parallel interface, RS232C serial modem interface, two
joystick ports with one configured for use with a mouse and MIDI music
Four video ports are provided for
standard television, low resolution composite video. medium resolution
RGB and high resolution monochrome. A suitable monitor will of course
be required to operate all 3 graphics modes but the basic computer can
be run in Low Resolution mode on a standard TV.
The ST machines will feature an
"enhanced" ATARI BASIC or be available with LOGO as an
SOUND & MUSIC
Proving that these are not just
business machines but all-round entertainment and serious computers
(for the first time in one machine), there are 3 sound channels with
wave shaping sound, separate frequency and volume control, dynamic
envelope controls and frequency from 30Hz to above audible range.
The MIDI interface will allow connection
to external keyboards and synthesisers.
The Operating System is TOS™
developed jointly with Digital Research to enable the best use of the
GEM software. GEM is very similar to Apple's LISA and the Macintosh
and features windows, drop down menus, icons, a calculator and clock
all of which can be controlled by a mouse. For those who don't know
about a mouse, it is a hand controlled device which is run over a
smooth surface and moves a pointer about the screen. Incredibly easy
to use, it allows full control over the screen and applications
without having to look away from the screen. The GEM system has been
extensively reviewed in Personal Computer World magazine February 1985
and elsewhere for those who require further in-depth details. It is a
very powerful system that is implemented on several major (expensive)
machines in monochrome. The ST brings you the GEM system in full
colour for the first time.
The computer. is run by a 16/32-bit
Motorola 68000 microprocessor with 8 32-bit data registers, 8 32-bit
address registers, 16-bit data bus, 24-bit address bus, 7 levels of
interrupts, 56 instructions, 14 addressing modes and 5 data types.
3½" disk drive with 500k storage.
3½" hard disk drive with 10MB storage.
12" monochrome high-resolution monitor.
12" RGB monitor.
thermal dot-matrix in colour.
daisy wheel letter quality.
Prices are not yet available for these
but have been reported as starting from an incredible $100 for the
3½" disk drive.
Up to now you could expect to pay in
excess of £2,000 for a good 16-bit system but the 130ST is to retail
at $399 and the 520ST at $599. A full system including 3½ disk drive
and monitor is expected to be available for around £700 - £800.
There is none at present although the GEM system
allows easy adaptation of any software package to any machine running
GEM. Take a look at any software running on most 16-bit machines such
as Wordstar, Lotus 1-2-3 etc. and it should be relatively easy to
convert it to the ST. All Atari have to do is persuade the software
houses that the ST is worth writing for and this should not be too
difficult. In the past, development of software for a particular
16-bit machine has been costly and Atari might not have been able to
persuade producers to take the risk. Now with over 75 computer
manufacturers licensing GEM for their machines and nearly all of the
major software producers interested, software should become available
The major problem might be price for many business
packages cost £400 - £500 at present, which is not too bad when you
have paid £2500 for the computer, but will ST owners be willing to
pay more than the cost of the machine to get one software