Atari -  Atari Falcon 030

Atari Falcon 16 bit computer

The Atari Falcon 030 is the final computer released by Atari in 1992. It is the last in the line of ST computers and features the Motorola 68030 CPU at 16MHz and a Motorola 56001 digital signal processor running at 32MHz.

Graphics are upgraded as well, the new VIDEL programmable Video Controller has an 18-bit palette of 262,144 colors; there are bitplane modes with 2 to 256 colors, and a 16-bit true-color mode. Most of the new features though are not accessible through the TOS operating system, and require the use of alternate utilities.

Audio is capable of 16-bit input and output up to 50kHz on 8 stereo channels, the Falcon still has the Yamaha Y3439-F 3 channel PSG (similar to the MSX and CPC computers) for backwards compatibility.

The falcon came with 1, 4, or 14MByte of RAM, and has 512KByte of ROM.

Atari ST - Brief History

At the Winter Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show of 1985, the Atari 130ST was introduced. ST stands for Sixteen bit data-bus and Thirty-two address-bus. Atari, after it was bought by Jack Tramiel, originally had contracted the Amiga Corporation to manufacture a 16-bit computer, but the contract was dissolved due to legal issues. Atari then rushed to get a machine out to compete with the release of the Comodore Amiga.

The Atari ST line came with many new features over previous Atari computers:

  • 16 bit processor, 68000 CPU
  • Midi Interface
  • Graphical User Interface OS
  • High graphics resulution in color

The new ST systems came with several dedicated coprocessors that enabled enhanced sound, graphics and memory management:

  • MFP 68901 - Interrupt handler
  • Yamaha YM 2149 - Programable Sound Generator (AY-3-8910 compatible)
  • Shifter - Custom video processor
  • GLUE - Custom Memory Manager (MMU)

The Atari130 was a demonstration only prototype, and never released. Due to it's small memory size, the OS did not function properly and the machine was quickly replaced with the Atari 260ST. This computer came with 512KByte of memory, but due to the large need of the OS (192KByte) and the memory need of the enhanced graphics, only 64KByte of free RAM was left.

The new operating system was called TOS, the Tramiel Operating System. The OS was basically a port of CP/M for the 68000 processor. Also interesting is that the high level TOS calls, called GemDOS, were all compatible with the DOS calls for the PC (DOS INT21h calls).

The GUI was called GEM, which stands for Graphical Environment Mamnager. The OS was provided on disk for the early ST models, which limited the free RAM left, and later it was baked into 6 32KByte ROM chips when the OS was fully finished.

By Atari CPU Motorola 68030 @16MHz Memory 1MB RAM, 14MB Max Sound 16-bit input/output @50kHz. 8 Stereo Channels, 3 Channel PSG (ST Compatibility) Sprites Software Display 640x480 true color (16-bit). Higher resolutions using alternate OS. Display Chip VIDEL Sound Chip Motorola 56001 @32MHz, Yamaha Y3439-F CPU Class 68000 Developed by Atari
Related Systems
Atari 8-bit
Atari ST
Atari  Falcon 030
Atari PC
Books & Publications
Programming and other books for the 8-bit Atari line (400/800/XL/XE) of computers.
Books for the Atari ST computers
Magazines & Serials
A.N.A.L.O.G. Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games
Antic Software and merchandise Catalog, later rebranded to just The Catalog
Antic was a magazine devoted to the Atari 8-bit family of home computers and the 16-bit Atari ST.
Manuals & Catalogs
A collection of technical and service manuals for the Atari 5200 game system.
Software Catalogs for the Atari computers
Software & Game Manuals
A collection of Game Manuals for the Atari 5200 game system.
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