Atari 520ST
Released:January 1985
Price :US $599
CPU:Motorola 68000 @ 8MHz
Display:320 X 200 - 16 colors
640 X 200 - 4 colors
640 X 400 - monochrome
Ports:RGB, cartridge, parallel, serial, HD
floppy drive, MIDI (2), joystick, mouse
Storage:external SSDD 360K floppy drive

The Atari 520ST was introduced at the Winter CES in January of 1985, 6 months before the Commodore Amiga. Atari did take some shortcuts, though, as the Operating System did not yet exist in ROM, and had to be loaded from floppy-disk when powered on (but then again, so did the Amiga). The 520ST also had no internal floppy drive, but later versions included it.

Bundled with an external 360K single sided 3.5 inch floppy drive, mouse and monochrome monitor, it costs $799.

Both Amiga and 520ST are based on the Motorola 68000 CPU, which has a 16-bit external bus, and 32-bit internal, thus the 520'ST' means 'sixteen / thirty two'. The Operating System is 'TOS', or 'Tramiel Operating System'.

The 520ST (and Amiga) have a graphical operating system, or GUI, similar to the Apple Macintosh, which was released one year earlier. The 520ST utilized Digital Research's GEM GUI, although it is not nearly as nice as the Macintosh or Amiga.

One thing that IS very nice is the built-in VT52 emulation. The 520ST can act as a dumb terminal, communicating through its serial port to another system.

There was a huge rivalry between Amiga and Atari users, each positive that their computer system was superior, or at least hoping it was.

In addition to the 520ST, Atari release the 1040ST, with built-in floppy drive, and 1Meg of RAM (the 520ST has 512K). Four years later in 1989, the portable ST computer appeared, the Stacy.

Related Links

  • 520ST review from Classic Computer Magazine Archive
  • 520ST from ""
  • Get your Atari parts and accessories from Best Electronics
  • 520ST from Wikipedia

  • Partial History of the Atari Computers

    • 196?: As an engineering student at the University of Utah, Nolan Bushnell liked to sneak into the computer labs late at night to play computer games on the university's $7 million mainframes.
    • 1972: Bushnell founded Atari with $250 of his own money and another $250 from business partner Ted Dabney. They then created and commercialized the world's first commercial video game, Pong. Bushnell was 27 years old.
    • 1976: Warner Communications buys Atari from Bushnell for $28 million.
    • 1977: Atari introduces the Atari Video Computer System (VCS), later renamed the Atari 2600
    • 1978: December - Atari announces the Atari 400 and 800 personal computers.
    • 1979: October - Atari begins shipping the Atari 400 and Atari 800 personal computers.
    • 1979: December - Atari produces the first coin-operated Asteroids game machine.
    • 1981: May - Atari announces the 8KB Atari 400 is being discontinued.
    • 1982: January - Atari begins shipping all Atari 800 units with GTIA graphics chips, allowing three more graphics modes than previously.
    • 1982: December - Atari issues a US$55 rebate on the Atari 400, dropping its retail price to under US$200.
    • 1983: January - Atari introduces the 1200XL home computer.
    • 1983: May - Atari offers a US$100 rebate on the Atari 800, bringing its retail price to below US$400.
    • 1983: June - Atari introduces the Atari 600 XL.
    • 1983: June - Atari introduces the Atari 800 XL, with 64 KB RAM.
    • 1983: June - Atari introduces the Atari 1450 XL, with built-in 300 bps modem.
    • 1983: June - Atari introduces the Atari 1450 XLD, with built-in 300 bps modem and disk drive.
    • 1983: October - Atari begins shipping its XL computers.
    • 1983: - Atari cancels production of the Atari 1200XL, due to compatibility and other problems.
    • 1984: July - Jack Tramiel, President of Commodore International, leaves Commodore in January and buys Atari.
    • 1984: - Atari introduces the Atari 7800 ProSystem.
    • 1985: January - Atari introduces the 65XE, for US$120.
    • 1985: Atari introduces the 130XE, with 128KB RAM.
    • 1985: Atari introduces the 130ST for US$400.
    • 1985: Atari introduces the 520ST for US$600.
    • 1987: January - At the Winter CES, Atari announces a US$1500 laser printer.
    • 1988: September - Atari introduces the Atari TT.
    • 1989: - Atari Computer introduces the Portfolio, a 1-pound DOS-based PC, which runs on three AA batteries. Price: US$400
      Source: Chronology of Events in the History of Microcomputers

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