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Atari 8 bit Computer Hardware

 

Atari 400

Atari 400 (1979 - 1983)

Released along with the 800 in 1979, the 400 was the low-end model of the two. The only 8-bit Atari with a membrane keyboard rather than a full-stroke keyboard.  One of the few 8-bit Ataris lacking a composite monitor port. Originally released with just 8K RAM, but most were sold with 16K RAM. Atari sold the Atari 400 48K RAM Expansion Kit, which required a little soldering to dealers only.

Only the 400 and 800 8-bit Atari models have four controller (joystick) ports. Early 400 units include the CTIA chip; later units include the GTIA chip, also present in all later 8-bit Ataris. The 1982 Atari catalog calls the 400 "The Basic Computer." The 400 was discontinued in 1983. During development the 400 was known internally as "Candy."

Atari 800

 

Atari 800 (1979 - 1983)

Released along with the 400 in 1979, the 800 was the high-end model of the two.  The 800 is the only 8-bit Atari with a Right Cartridge slot, in addition to the Left Cartridge slot as present on all 8-bit Ataris.  Originally released with just 8K RAM, many were sold with 16K, later on 48K was standard.

The 800 is also the only 8-bit Atari with a four-slot modular design, where the first slot holds the CX801 (CX801-P for PAL machines) 10K ROM module, and the other three slots hold combinations of CX852 8K or CX853 16K RAM modules.

Only the 400 and 800 8-bit Atari models have four controller (joystick) ports. Early 800 units include the CTIA chip; later units include the GTIA chip, also present in all later 8-bit Ataris. The 800 was discontinued in 1983. During development the 800 was known internally as "Colleen."

Atari 1200XL

Atari 1200XL (1982 - 1983)

Released as a big brother to the 400/800 in 1982, the 1200XL now uses Atari's slightly customized 6502C microprocessor, and includes a full 64K RAM.  The 1200XL was the first 8-bit Atari with just 2 controller ports.  In addition, the 1200XL includes 4 programmable Function keys and a Help key, 4 LEDs, built-in diagnostic and graphics demonstration programs, and probably the favorite keyboard of any 8-bit Atari computer.  Clicks previously outputted through the built-in speaker are now heard from the television or monitor's speaker.  The revised 16K Operating System offers many new features, including an alternate International Character Set.

The 1200XL was the biggest single step forward in development of the 8-bit Atari platform, but the corresponding software compatibility problems hurt its popularity.

The 1200XL lacks separate chroma video signal, and also lacks the +5 Volts power on pin 10 of the SIO port. There is no PAL (European) version of the 1200XL. The 1200XL was discontinued in 1983.

Atari 600XL

Atari 600XL (1983 - 1985)

Released in 1983 as a replacement for the 400, the 600XL is the low-end version of the 800XL. The 600XL/800XL include most of the features of the 1200XL minus the Function keys and the demo program.  But both the 800XL and 600XL have the Atari BASIC language built-in.  In addition, these two systems offer the Parallel Bus Interface (PBI), providing fast parallel access to the heart of the computer.  The 600XL has 16K RAM.

The 600XL can be expanded from 16K to 64K with the Atari 1064 Memory Module. Rarely, some late-model 600XLs were sold with 64K RAM.  These may have only appeared in Canada.  The box had a round gold foil sticker reading: "64k Memory -- Now with a full 64k of memory built-in."

Normally boots with Atari BASIC (Revision B) enabled; Hold down [Option] on startup to boot without BASIC.

The North American/NTSC 600XL does not include a composite monitor port; The European/PAL 600XL includes the monitor port, but this lacks the chroma video signal. The 600XL was discontinued in 1985.

Atari 800XL

Atari 800XL (1983 - 1985)

Released in 1983 as a replacement for the 800 and 1200XL, the 800XL is the high-end version of the 600XL. The 600XL/800XL include most of the features of the 1200XL minus the Function keys and the demo program.  But both the 800XL and 600XL have the Atari BASIC language built-in.  In addition, these two systems offer the Parallel Bus Interface (PBI), providing fast parallel access to the heart of the computer.  The 800XL contains 64K RAM.

Normally boots with Atari BASIC (Rev. B, or late models with Rev. C) enabled; Hold down [Option] on startup to boot without BASIC.

The 800XL lacks separate chroma video signal however there was a late version of the 800XL in Europe, called 800XLF.  The 800XLF includes a redesigned motherboard (the XE design) and contains FREDDIE for memory management and has chroma output.  BASIC is Revision C.

Though Atari never disclosed sales figures, the 800XL was likely the most-sold of all 8-bit Atari computer models. The 800XL was discontinued in 1985.
 

Atari 65XE

Atari 65XE (1985 - 1992)

Released in 1985 as a replacement for the 600XL, the 65XE is the low-end version of the 130XE.  The 65XE is nearly identical to the 800XL in features, minus the PBI.  Many European (PAL) 65XE's include the ECI port, but no North American (NTSC) 65XE's include the ECI port.  All XE computers also include the FREDDIE memory management chip.

Normally boots with Atari BASIC (Revision C) enabled; Hold down [Option] on startup to boot without BASIC. The 65XE was discontinued in 1992.

Atari 130XE

Atari 130XE (1985 - 1992)

Released in 1985 as a replacement for the 800XL, the 130XE is the high-end version of the 65XE.  The 130XE offers 128K RAM, plus the FREDDIE memory management chip, supporting the unique (but rarely used) ability for the 6502 and the ANTIC to independently access RAM banks.  In addition, the 130XE replaces the PBI port with the Enhanced Cartridge Interface (ECI), continuing the powerful feature of a fast parallel port.

Normally boots with Atari BASIC (Revision C) enabled; Hold down [Option] on startup to boot without BASIC. The 130XE was discontinued in 1992.

Atari 800XE

Atari 800XE (1985 - 1992)

Unseen and unknown in North America, the 800XE was sold in eastern Europe. The 800XE is identical in features to the European version of the 65XE, including the ECI port.  The 800XE could also be described as a 64K version of the 130XE.

Normally boots with Atari BASIC (Revision C) enabled; Hold down [Option] on startup to boot without BASIC. The 800XE was discontinued in 1992.

 

Atari 8 bit Peripheral Hardware

 

Atari 410

Atari 1010

Atari XC12

Atari 410, 1010, XC11, and XC12 Program
Recorders

The Atari Program Recorders provide storage and retrieval of programs
and data on cassette tape.  In addition to the digital track that stores
computer data, a second audio track is provided to play music or voice
as the program runs.

Data transmission rate: 600 bits per second.
Data storage capacity: 100,000 bytes per 60-minute cassette.
Track configuration: 4 track, 2 channel (digital data and audio track)

410 Program Recorder      
- early Japan version had a carrying handle
- most versions made in Hong Kong
- 410a--Taiwan version
- built-in SIO cable - must end SIO daisy chain
- power - plugs directly into wall (most versions)
- "410P" version (rare). 
 
1010 Program Recorder
- Chelco version has Stop/Eject, then Pause buttons
- Sanyo version has Pause, then Stop/Eject buttons
- two SIO ports

XC11 Program Recorder
- has a built-in SIO cable and one SIO port

XC12 Program Recorder
- built-in SIO cable - must end SIO daisy chain
- Turbo 6000 Baud Interface and Chaos Loader:

Atari 810
 

Atari 815

 

Atari 1050

 

Atari XF551

Atari 810, 815, 1050, and XF551 Disk Drives

The Atari Disk Drives provide storage and retrieval of programs
and data on 5.25" floppy disks.

==> Atari 810  ---  a 5.25" floppy disk drive
The least common denominator for the Atari.  One mode of operation:
1) Single-Sided, Single-Density--  FM   40 tracks  x  18 sectors/track  x  128 byte/sector  =  90K capacity. 19.2Kbps transfer rate.  288RPM. 
The 810 includes a 6507 microprocessor. Shipped with DOS 1 (very early) or DOS 2.0S earlier MPI version- push button door opening for disk access. Later Tandon version- lift door, like a garage door disk access. Two SIO ports.

==> Atari 815 Dual Disk Drive  ---  dual 5.25" floppy disk drives in one unit.
Were produced (all hand-built), but are very rare due to Atari stopping production and canceling the model early due to problems.  One mode of operation.
1) Single-Sided, Double-Density--
  MFM  40 tracks  x  18 sectors/track  x  256 bytes/sector  =  180K capacity 19.2Kbps transfer rate.  288RPM.  The 815 includes a 6507 microprocessor. Shipped with DOS 2.0D.

==> Atari 1050  ---  a 5.25" floppy disk drive
Same as the 810, plus Dual-Density capability.  Two modes of operation:
1) Single-Sided, Single-Density, 90K, 810 compatible
2) Single-Sided, Dual-Density, otherwise known as "Enhanced Density" because it is not true double-density-- MFM  40 tracks  x  26 sectors/track  x  128 bytes/sector  =  128K capacity 19.2Kbps transfer rate.  288RPM. The 1050 includes a 6507 microprocessor.
Shipped with DOS 2.0S, DOS 3, or DOS 2.5.

==> Atari XF551  ---  a 5.25" floppy disk drive.  Four modes of operation:
1) Single-Sided, Single-Density, 90K, 810 compatible
2) Single-Sided, Enhanced-Density, 128K, 1050 compatible
3) Single-Sided, Double-Density, 180K, Percom & other 3rd parties compatible
4) Double-Sided, Double-Density--
  MFM  80 tracks  x  18 sectors/track  x  256 bytes/sector  =  360K capacity. Writes "backwards" to the second side of the disk, when compared to a two sided "flippy" disk with SSDD 180K format on each side. High speed 38400 bps burst mode usable only with SpartaDOS X, SuperDOS 5.1, TurboDOS, DOS XE, and patched SpartaDOS 3.2.
Rotation rate: 300RPM. 

Atari 820

Atari 822

Atari 825

Atari 820, 822, and 825 Printers

The following printers were produced by Atari and styled to match the 400/800 computers.

Atari 820 Printer:
- 40-column impact printer
- 5x7 dot matrix
- 40 characters per line, upper & lower case alpha
- horizontal and vertical alphanumeric characters
- 6507 microprocessor, 6532 RAM I/O chip, 2K ROM
- 40 characters per second
- uses Standard Roll Paper/adding machine paper

Atari 822 Thermal Printer:   ( = Trendcom Model 100 )
- 37 characters per second
- 10 characters per inch
- 40 characters per line, upper/lower case and point graphics
- 5x7 dot matrix

Atari 825 80-Column Printer      ( = Centronics 737 )
- 3 character sets:
    monospaced 7x8 dot matrix at 10 characters per inch
    monospaced condensed at 16.7 cpi
    proportionately spaced Nx9 dot matrix at avg of 14 cpi (N=6..18)
- all characters can be elongated (printer double width)
- characters per line: 80 at 10 cpi; 132 at 16.7 cpi
- speed: 50 cps at 10 cpi; 83 cps at 16.7 cpi; 79 cps avg. proportional
- print buffer: 1200 dot columns
- paper: roll, fanfold, or cut sheets
- requires Atari 850 Interface Module or equivalent

Atari 1020

 

Atari 1025

 

Atari 1027

 

Atari 1029

Atari 1020, 1025, 1027, and 1029 Printers

The following printers were produced by Atari and styled to match the XL series computers.

Atari 1020 Color Printer:
( = Commodore 1520 / Oric MCP40 / Tandy/Radio Shack CGP-115 /..; made by ALPS)
- 4-color graphics: (black, red, blue, green). optional 8-pen rainbow package
- alphanumberics and X,Y plotting capability
- 10 cps (40-column mode)
- 20, 40 and 80-column modes
- horizontal and vertical alphanumerics, English and International chr sets
- water soluble ink pen technology
- 4-pen barrel print head
- microprocessor
- paper: standard roll paper (40 column width)
- AtariGraphics cassette software included

Atari 1025 80-Column Printer:   ( = Okidata ML80 )
- 40 cps (80-column 10 cpi mode)
- 5 cpi expanded (40 col), 10 cpi (80 col), 16.7 cpi condensed (132-col)
- 5x7 character dot matrix
- buffer: 132 chrs at 16.7 cpi, 80 chrs at 10 cpi
- paper: roll,fanfold,single sheets. optional:roll paper holder, tractor feed

Atari 1027 Letter Quality Printer:  ( = Mannesmann Tally Riteman LQ.)
- fully formed characters, prestige elite 12)
- 12 characters per inch (80 columns)
- 20 characters per second
- single sheets or roll paper

Atari 1029 Programmable Printer    ( by Seikosha)
- 7-pin dot matrix, same as Commodore MPS-801
- Released for Europe & Canada (not USA)

 

Atari XMM801 and XDM121 Printers

The following printers were produced by Atari and styled to match the XE series computers.

Atari XMM801 Printer:    ( = SHINWA CP80 )
- 80 columns, dot matrix
- friction feed or pin feed
- pica 10 cpi, double width pica 5 cpi, elite 12 cpi,double width elite 6 cpi,
  condensed 16.5 cpi, double width condensed 8.25 cpi
- Ribbon: Commodore 1526 and the Mannesman-Tally Spirit 80

Atari XDM121 Printer:
- 80 column, daisy wheel--letter quality
- underlining, subscripts, superscripts
- friction feed paper
- Ribbon: Silver Reed CF130, Olivetti ET201,ET221,Nu-Kote NK136

Atari 830 modem

Atari 835 modem

Atari 830, 835, 1030, XM301, and SX212 Modems

A MODulator/DEModulator translates digital information from your computer into acoustic tones that can be sent and received, from modem to modem, via standard telephone lines.

Atari produced several modems for use with the 8-bit Atari computers:

Atari 830 Acoustic Modem:    ( = Novation 'CAT' )
- a stand-alone, acoustically coupled, frequency shift keying (FSK) modem
- up to 300 bits per second
- Bell 103/113 modem compatible
- requires Atari 850 Interface Module or equivalent

Atari 835 Direct Connect Modem:
- 300 bps
- Bell 103/113 modem compatible

Atari 1030 Direct Connect Modem:
- 300 bps
- Bell 103/113 modem compatible
- built-in ModemLink software.
- 2 SIO ports

Atari XM301 Modem:
- 300 bps
- Bell 103/113 modem compatible
- with XE Term disk software
- permanent SIO cable, must be at end of SIO chain
- draws its power from the computer via SIO

Atari SX212 Modem:
- SIO & DB25 RS232 serial ports, must be at end of SIO chain
- 1200 baud
- Bell 103/113/212A modem compatible
- rarely with SX-Express! disk software.

Atari 850 Interface

Atari 850 Interface
(Early black version)

Atari 850 Interface Module

While the Atari's SIO and controller ports did not conform to established
industry standards, Atari produced the 850 Interface Module to address this issue.  The 850 connects to the SIO port on the Atari, and provides:

- four 9-pin serial EIA RS232C ports
- One 15-pin 8-bit parallel Centronics-type port

Many "industry standard" (of the time) printers, modems, and various other devices can be used with the Atari computer in combination with an 850 Interface Module.

Early 850's are in an all metal (black) case, but most are in a plastic beige case matching the 400/800 computers.  Other features:
- programmable baud rate on any port, including:
  75, 110, 134.5, 150, 300, 600, 1200, 1800, 2400, 4800, and 9600 bps;
  baudot speeds of 60, 66, 75, 100 words per minute
- uses standard ASCII. Baudot support for radio-teletype (RTTY).

Atari XEP80

Atari XEP80 Interface Module

Since the development of the Atari 8-bit line of computers in 1979, users
wanted better text displays than the default 40x24. The Atari XEP80 Interface Module is Atari's entry to the 80 column field. It lets a XL, XE, 400 or 800 computer system display a full 80 columns across
your monitor screen. The XEP80 provides a 256-character wide by 25-line display window. Up to 80 characters are displayed horizontally at once, and you can scroll horizontally all the way to the 256th character, depending on the application you're running. The XEP80 is connected to your system via a joystick port.

Atari Numerical Keypad

Atari Light Pen

Other Atari Accessories

This should be a complete list of Atari "CX" accessories, two or three digit numbers, marketed for use with the 8-bit computers.

CX30-04 Paddle Controller Pair
CX40-04 Joystick Controller Pair
CX40 Single Joystick Controller
CX41 Joystick Repair Kit
CX22 Trak-Ball Controller
CX23 Kid's Controller
CX24 Pro-Line Joystick
CX42 Remote Control Wireless Joysticks
CX50 Keyboard Controller Pair
CX70 Light Pen (beige; the original Atari light pen)
CX75 Light Pen (+ Atarigraphics cartridge)
CX77 Touch Tablet ( + AtariArtist cartridge)
CX78 Joypad (shipped with the 7800 in Europe)
CX80 Trak-Ball
CX81 I/O Data Cord (5 ft)
CX82 Monitor Cable (Black and White Monitor)
CX85 Numerical Keypad ( + software Handler on diskette)
CX86 Printer Cable (included with 825 Printer)
CX87 Interface/Modem Cable (included with 830 Acoustic Modem)
CX88 Interface/Terminal Cable (null modem)
CX89 Monitor Cable (Color Monitor)
CX418 The Home Manager Kit (Personal Financial Management, Home Filing Manager -or-   Family Finances, The Home Filing Manager)
CX419 The Bookkeeper Kit/Atari Accountant (The Bookkeeper disk, CX85 keypad)
CX481 The Entertainer (Star Raiders, (Missile Command or Pac-Man),2 joysticks)
CX482 The Educator (410, BASIC cart., States & Capitals cassette)
CX483 The Programmer (BASIC, BASIC Ref. Manual, BASIC Self-Teaching Guide)
CX484 The Communicator (850, 830, TeleLink I cart.)
CX488 The Communicator II (835, TeleLink II cart.)
????? The Arcade Champ (Pac-Man, Qix, 2 joysticks, cartridge storage case)
????? The BASIC Tutor I (Inside Atari BASIC bk,Invitation to Programming 2&3)
CX852 8K RAM Memory Module (for 800 computer)
CX853 16K RAM Memory Module (for 800 computer)
XG-1 Light Gun (+ Bug Hunt cart.)

 

Atari 8 bit Prototypes and Vaporware

 

Atari 1200 concept

Atari 600 prototype

Atari 1200XLS prototype
 

Atari 1400 prototype

Atari 1450XLD prototype

Atari Prototypes and Vaporware

Atari was a HUGE company, dominating Silicon Valley, and included a massive research and development department which famously designed many, many products that never saw the light of day.  Here is a brief listing of many Atari hardware model designations known to have existed internally to the company, but which were never sold and are extremely rare (if they ever existed at all).  For definitive information on unreleased Atari products,see:

Atari Historical Society, http://www.atari-history.com/ (Curt Vendel)

Atari 8-bit vaporware computers: (note some are more vaporous than others)
800D     (Developers Bus System)
1000     Sweet 16 Project, lower end model.  Became the 1200XL
1000-X   Sweet 16 Project, higher end model.  Became the 1200XL
1200     1200XL internally, many slight cosmetic differences
1200XLS  1200XL Show prototype, top-mounted cartridge slot
600      early 600XL, all black case, joyports on the left, missing PBI
600XL brown prototype with coloured buttons (ala 800 style)
800XL    brown prototype
800XLD   low-cost 1450XLD,no modem&speech,incl disk drive controller&FREDDIE
800XLCR  Cost Reduced, with CGIA chip ("Keri"), which is a combined GTIA&ANTIC
900XLF   early name for 65XE
1250XLD  Earlier name for the 1450XLD
1400XL   brown prototype
1400XL   800XL plus modem, speech synth.(looks like a 1200XL)
1450XL   1400XL plus room for 2 internal 5.25" drives (controller not included)
1450XLD  1400XL plus 5.25" floppy drive (Epson SD521 360K disk drives)
1600XL   Amiga/Amiga-like. Now appears that 1850XLD was the model name for this
1650XLD  to use 1450XLD case and 1200XL keyboard
1850XLD  "Mickey" Atari clone of the Amiga Lorraine
65XEP    65XE plus 3.5" floppy drive, 5" green monitor
65XEM    65XE plus AMY sound chip

Atari 8-bit vaporware peripherals: (note some are more vaporous than others)
1027 PLUS               -daisy-wheel, 80 columns
1053                    -looks like a 1050, but supports DS/DD 360K format
1055                    -a 1050 (SS/ED) with a 3.5" mechanism
1060 CP/M Add-On Module -"SweetPea" Z-80 CPU, 64K RAM, CP/M 2.2, 80col display
1090 XL Expansion System-5 PBI slots, CP/M/MS-DOS/Apple II compatible
XM128                   -12" green monitor w/ built-in 80-column card
XC1411                  -composite 14" color monitor (Goldstar)
XF521                   -5.25" floppy drive - 1050 compatible, in XE style
XF351                   -a 3.5" drive. 
XC35                    -an XF551 with a 3.5" mechanism
XTM201                  -non-impact printer
XTC201                  -XE Thermal Color Printer
 

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