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Atari ST

Atari ST
NameAtari ST (family)
TypePersonal computer
ProcessorMotorola 680x0 @ 8 MHz & higher
Memory512 kilobytes (512×210 bytes) to 4 megabytes (4×220 bytes)
OSDigital Research's GEM run via Atari TOS

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The Atari ST is a home/personal computer that was released by Atari Corporation in 1985 and commercially available from that summer into the early 1990s. The "ST" officially stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", which referred to the Motorola 68000's 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals. Due to its graphical user inferface, it was known as the “Jackintosh”, a reference to Jack Tramiel.

The Atari ST was part of the 16/32 bit generation of home computers, based on the Motorola 68000 CPU, with 512 KB of RAM or more, and 3½" double-sided double-density floppy disks as storage (nominally 720 KB). It was similar to other contemporary machines which used the Motorola 68000, the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga. Preceding the Amiga's commercial release by almost two months, the Atari ST was the first computer to come with a fully bit-mapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released that February.

The ST was primarily a competitor to the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga systems. This platform rivalry was often reflected by the owners and was most prominent in the Demo Scene. Where the Amiga had custom processors which gave it the edge in the games and video market, the ST was generally cheaper, had the CPU slightly faster clocked, and had a high-resolution monochrome display mode, ideal for business and CAD. In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and Desktop publishing work. The Atari ST also enjoyed some market popularity in Canada.

The ST was also the first home computer with integrated MIDI support. Thanks to its built-in MIDI, it enjoyed success for running music-sequencer software and as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and professionals alike, being used in concert by bands such as Madonna, Tangerine Dream, Fatboy Slim, and 1990s UK dance act 808 State, as well as naming German digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot.

The ST was later superseded by the Atari TT, Atari MEGA STE and Falcon computers.

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