What isAtari ST

Discover the incredible computer that is now largely forgotten – the Atari ST. Released in 1984 by the then-new Atari Corporation under Jack Tramiel, the ST was the first personal computer to offer a bitmap graphical user interface, just after Apple’s Macintosh. It was also the first computer to offer 1 megabyte of memory for less than $1,000.

The ST was powered by a then state-of-the-art 8-MHz Motorola CPU and featured a mouse, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, and either a color or high-resolution monochrome monitor. Some later models even had an additional DSP chip for digital audio, built-in hardware scrolling, faster processors, and a variety of hard disk drives.

The system was developed by a small team led by Shiraz Shivji and officially stands for “Sixteen/Thirty-two,” referring to the Motorola 68000’s external 16-bit bus and 32-bit internals. Along with the Macintosh, the Amiga, the Apple IIGS, and the Acorn Archimedes, the ST belongs to a generation of computers with 16- or 32-bit processors, 256 KB or more of memory, and mouse-driven graphical user interfaces in the mid-1980s.

The ST was sold with either Atari’s color monitor or the less expensive monochrome monitor and was popular in some markets, especially in Germany, in CAD and desktop publishing. It was also well-known for its built-in MIDI ports, making it popular with amateur and professional musicians for music sequencing and as a controller for musical instruments.

FAQ:

What does “ST” stand for in Atari ST?

“ST” officially stands for “Sixteen/Thirty-two”, referring to the Motorola 68000’s external 16-bit bus and 32-bit internals.

What made the Atari ST unique?

The Atari ST was unique because it was the first personal computer to offer a bitmap graphical user interface and also the first computer to offer 1 megabyte of memory for less than $1,000. It was also equipped with a mouse, a 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, and either a color or high-resolution monochrome monitor, making it a pioneer in computing history.

What was the Atari ST’s role in the music industry?

The Atari ST’s built-in MIDI ports made it popular with amateur and professional musicians for music sequencing and as a controller for musical instruments.

Final Thoughts:

Despite its obscurity today, the Atari ST was an incredible computer that paved the way for graphical user interfaces, modern memory storage, and music sequencing for generations to come.

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