LGR – Atari ST Computer System Review

The Atari ST was introduced right before the Commodore Amiga in 1985. Popular with gamers, musicians and desktop publishers, the ST earned its right as one of the best 16-bit computers of its day. But is it still worth owning to a current collector of vintage computers?

This is an overview of the history, hardware and software of the ST from the perspective of an American collector. How do the pros and cons stack up, and is it worth getting an ST over similar systems like the Amiga?

Many thanks to Borin81 for the 1040STfm!
http://www.youtube.com/user/Borin81

For lots of great info on the Atari ST and other Atari computers:
http://www.atari.st/
http://www.atari.org/

Download the floppy transfer program:
http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

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This video contains music by The Insider and Kevin MacLeod that is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license for commercial use. Those photos at the beginning are CC images sourced from Wikimedia.

50 Comments

  1. Akcja XD on April 4, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    In late 80’s and early 90’s in Poland we had computer wars between Commodore 64/ Amiga users and Atari users. The fanboys of both computer companies made a lot of jokes and silly sayings about each other. Fun times.

  2. Marco Reynoso on April 4, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    I have a amberstar complete in box anybody know what its worth?

  3. Jeff Davis on April 4, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    Lol..he said funky Ass thetic

  4. John Wright on April 4, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    *In the early 90’s, I was a member of the Amiga true faithful…, and the Atari ST was the false idol of the heretical apostates…*

  5. Don Valette on April 4, 2021 at 11:28 pm

    WOW, 8 year old video. I love it

  6. Evan Scott on April 4, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    Hey I really wanted to get one of these for myself, but since it doesn’t grate cheese, I guess im not interested. I mean really, why do we have to buy BOTH and Atari and a cheese grater. Ugh.

  7. Mike Baas on April 4, 2021 at 11:29 pm

    The cartridge slot is handy for MIDI expansion and dongles.

  8. Max Oakland on April 4, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    Why weren’t there any 4-bit computers?

    Also are there any GUI apps for TOS or is it just a file manager shell?

  9. Jacob on April 4, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    A dozen non-rechargeable C-cell batteries for 15 minutes of use; I can’t imagine why laptops weren’t mainstream for another decade.

  10. Jasper Ted Vidal Tale on April 4, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    Windows OS Doesn’t Need A Mouse As Long You Enable It To Use The Keyboard

  11. 胡嘉君 on April 4, 2021 at 11:33 pm

    The power supply unit is a switching one… ‘switching’ just mean the way of converting the 50/60Hz power input to DC then to high frequency AC then transform it down to low voltage AC and rectify. It doesn’t necessary mean that the power supply unit can work with a large range of voltages. Earlier ‘dumb’ switching power supplies work with a certain voltage.

  12. Russell Spear on April 4, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    I had an Atari ST fm; now I miss it. Do you have a video on the amiga?

  13. Erroll Leggo on April 4, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Atari ST was never a great computer. I owned one and the only great title was dungeonmaster.
    GFA basic was pretty awesome also.

  14. Crusader1089 on April 4, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    You know it’s an early lgr video when he says jean-ray rather than genre

  15. Little Star on April 4, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Kind-of amusing the guy who would have produced a 16-bit Commodore ended up at Atari, while the 16-bit Atari (Lorraine/Amiga) ended up at Commodore.

  16. Allan Fulton on April 4, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    This video is hilarious and informative.

  17. Little Star on April 4, 2021 at 11:38 pm

    I truly never had a problem with the joystick/mouse ports. I think this is something that has just been accepted into folklore.

  18. Fred Dinklemeyer on April 4, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    and this was my first computer… 1040STf with a single sided quad density 3.5" floppy drive…

  19. platypusfrenzy on April 4, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    You’re wrong about the joysticks. The ST actually IS compatible with Atari 8-bit joysticks. It’s the same pinout, also the same pinout as on the C64 and others. It’s the Sega Genesis controller here which is NOT an Atari joystick (putting +5V on pin 5 instead of pin 7). Genesis controllers are known to potentially cause permanent damage if you connect them C64s!

  20. Magnus Inventum on April 4, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    Unfortunately, this machine never evolved into a true desktop publishing workstation, since it really dominated the early Macintosh, yet with a far lower price tag.

  21. TJ Wolf on April 4, 2021 at 11:43 pm

    The Atari ST is great, but I’m more of an Amiga kinda guy

  22. synthesis on April 4, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Is 200 dollars for a used 520st a good value, without a monitor but with the mouse and a few pieces of boring software?

  23. Tetsujin on April 4, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    4:09 – The Jaguar may not have worked out, but it was probably a better plan than persisting with the ST line as the PC platform was on its way to more or less take over computing. Going head-to-head with Nintendo, Sega, and Sony in the console market may have been a hard sell, but I think sticking with ST in a world that was generally becoming all about PC, or alternatively becoming a PC manufacturer and engaging in that race to the bottom among all the PC manufacturers trying to make cheaper multimedia PCs was probably a worse proposition.

  24. Michael Piziak on April 4, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    The Atari lines of computers were very asthetically pleasing. Also, comparing the Atari 800 to the c64, the Atari 800 operating system was superior – especially the disk drive system!

  25. Podkova on April 4, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    Just watched this after your Yamaha CBX-T3 review. It’s cool that a decade later you still like midi!

  26. West Michigan Fishing on April 4, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    1000

  27. Ricardo Martinez on April 4, 2021 at 11:54 pm

    suddenly this appeared on my recommended, and i felt curiosity to see how lgr was made years ago.

  28. Adam Piasecki on April 4, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    I had a 1040 ST … man i miss it … My parents eventually threw it away … i MISS IT so much !!!

  29. Rob Oak on April 4, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    There are simple solutions for connecting any ST to a modern TV without relying on the modulator or an Atari monitor.

  30. Nicholas Bartholomew on April 4, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    "It does not grate cheese" LMFAO. Todays computers can probably manage such a task.

  31. ezContents on April 5, 2021 at 12:00 am

    It’s a great machine. Biggest advantages are the GEM desktop and the MIDI ports.

  32. Mangy_Dog on April 5, 2021 at 12:02 am

    I had a 1040st, and used midi with cubase. The expansion port was used for the big red dongle that runs along the whole side of the computer. That also housed the cubase licence key…… If you owned it that is. :p

  33. Nuka Cola on April 5, 2021 at 12:03 am

    How big of a crap you took this morning killed me

  34. J S on April 5, 2021 at 12:03 am

    I had a 520st and remember writing a lunar lander game in GFA basic. The monochrome monitor I had was very good (I thought) compared to IBM and clone machines. I ran a benchmark program from a magazine and the st was faster than the others listed. I later moved to a clone 286 simply because of the software I needed to use.

  35. rolocz on April 5, 2021 at 12:04 am

    the 1040st power supply IS a switching power supply, and it doesn’t add much weight to the unit.

  36. Graham Smith on April 5, 2021 at 12:05 am

    I was thrilled when I received the my Atari ST for £299.00, It was pretty much the first and last time I was so pleased with a product. And I never had cause to unplug the mouse then as I don’t now on my 5ghz PC which would require me to get on my knee’s with a torch and grope around the back. So I can’t imagine What Mr LGR up to.

  37. Steven Morley on April 5, 2021 at 12:11 am

    Midi Maze over the midi port. Netwirked FPS shooter back in 1993 FTW.

  38. Peter Hagan on April 5, 2021 at 12:14 am

    my 4th computer , vic 20 , zx spectrum 48, spectrum 128 then this one loves it

  39. Ian Hay on April 5, 2021 at 12:15 am

    Still loving Qubert

  40. The Rolling Troll on April 5, 2021 at 12:15 am

    Jeez Clint. These early videos were also excellent!
    "Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters".
    Haven’t heard such a badly alliterating title since
    "Scientist rids the world of the Evil Curse of the Vampires".
    Anyone who played GTA 3 knows about this album. Even if they don’t think they do.

  41. François FritZ on April 5, 2021 at 12:15 am

    my best and sweetest memories on st are turricane, ADS, sherman m4, lemmings, simcity, vroom and all that ive missed!!! st was a great machine at its time in France to upgrade your c64 or your cpc6128. st was a dream for me , but we had a IIGS 1Mo ver. thanks a lot for these memories. take care

  42. StarFox85 on April 5, 2021 at 12:17 am

    13:35 looks fun the vroom f1

  43. Laura Walker on April 5, 2021 at 12:18 am

    I’ve still got mine from Christmas 1991. I was a little kiddie then. The disk drive clicks when I put in a game now. I cannot get it to read the disks. Just looking at it, makes me feel happy and reminds me of my childhood.

  44. Tetsujin on April 5, 2021 at 12:18 am

    13:04 – We gotta install microwave ovens, custom kitchen deliveries
    We gotta move these refrigerators, we gotta move these color TVs…

  45. AndreaLuise Ca. on April 5, 2021 at 12:19 am

    have buyed
    one inkl
    Disketten
    Laufwerk
    ein
    Spiele
    Computer

  46. Tolen Tarpay on April 5, 2021 at 12:20 am

    Dragon droppings? Gems? Dungeon Masters? Sweden? Sounds like Atari went full-on Fantasy RPG man…

  47. Rosauro Bucu on April 5, 2021 at 12:21 am

    I was laughing when i saw the gameplay of Llamatron, wasnt what i was expecting fm the name of the game. Llama aggresion. Hahaha

  48. 10p6 on April 5, 2021 at 12:22 am

    The Joystick / Mouse ports were put underneath to save cost. Adding the 9 pin connectors on to the main PCB would have been cheaper than underneath the keyboard, the problem was the keyboard controller was on the keyboard and only used a few lines from the main PCB (compare that to the Amiga 600 / 1200). If the controller was on the main PCB it would have made connecting the 9 pin ports much easier, but then they would have required a huge cable for all the keyboard lines. With the controller on the keyboard, and if the ports were on the main PCB then another cable (at least 12 pin) would have had to then go back to the main PCB to connect to the controller ports, adding cost for more cables and connectors. Atari could have added another IC to control the 9 pin ports on the PCB, but they would have needed to add another hardware interrupt which would have slowed down the system a little more and added more cost.

  49. Davnar Ragnar on April 5, 2021 at 12:22 am

    Still a fantastic and very useful midi and notation platform.

  50. iulian ispas on April 5, 2021 at 12:23 am

    Atari much better then amiga build quality

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