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. Little Star on May 13, 2021 at 12:53 am

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

  2. Nuka Cola on May 13, 2021 at 12:54 am

    How big of a crap you took this morning killed me

  3. Magnus Inventum on May 13, 2021 at 12:55 am

    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.

  4. Laura Walker on May 13, 2021 at 12:59 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.

  5. Marco Reynoso on May 13, 2021 at 12:59 am

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

  6. ezContents on May 13, 2021 at 1:00 am

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

  7. Michael Piziak on May 13, 2021 at 1:03 am

    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!

  8. Tetsujin on May 13, 2021 at 1:03 am

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

  9. Peter Hagan on May 13, 2021 at 1:03 am

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

  10. platypusfrenzy on May 13, 2021 at 1:05 am

    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!

  11. Nicholas Bartholomew on May 13, 2021 at 1:05 am

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

  12. François FritZ on May 13, 2021 at 1:07 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

  13. Crusader1089 on May 13, 2021 at 1:07 am

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

  14. Tetsujin on May 13, 2021 at 1:08 am

    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.

  15. Jeff Davis on May 13, 2021 at 1:09 am

    Lol..he said funky Ass thetic

  16. Rosauro Bucu on May 13, 2021 at 1:11 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

  17. Allan Fulton on May 13, 2021 at 1:12 am

    This video is hilarious and informative.

  18. iulian ispas on May 13, 2021 at 1:15 am

    Atari much better then amiga build quality

  19. Russell Spear on May 13, 2021 at 1:17 am

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

  20. AndreaLuise Ca. on May 13, 2021 at 1:19 am

    have buyed
    one inkl
    Disketten
    Laufwerk
    ein
    Spiele
    Computer

  21. Evan Scott on May 13, 2021 at 1:19 am

    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.

  22. Davnar Ragnar on May 13, 2021 at 1:19 am

    Still a fantastic and very useful midi and notation platform.

  23. 胡嘉君 on May 13, 2021 at 1:21 am

    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.

  24. Akcja XD on May 13, 2021 at 1:22 am

    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.

  25. StarFox85 on May 13, 2021 at 1:25 am

    13:35 looks fun the vroom f1

  26. Rob Oak on May 13, 2021 at 1:27 am

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

  27. Ian Hay on May 13, 2021 at 1:27 am

    Still loving Qubert

  28. Erroll Leggo on May 13, 2021 at 1:27 am

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

  29. Mark Ashton on May 13, 2021 at 1:28 am

    Ah Dragons Breath… You’d eggs have failed to hatch…! Skystrike was Brill, as was Xenon!

  30. Fred Dinklemeyer on May 13, 2021 at 1:31 am

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

  31. J S on May 13, 2021 at 1:31 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.

  32. Mike Baas on May 13, 2021 at 1:32 am

    The cartridge slot is handy for MIDI expansion and dongles.

  33. Mangy_Dog on May 13, 2021 at 1:32 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

  34. TJ Wolf on May 13, 2021 at 1:33 am

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

  35. Max Oakland on May 13, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Why weren’t there any 4-bit computers?

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

  36. RevelRomp on May 13, 2021 at 1:34 am

    "It’s like watching adult entertainment instead of having a real girl"

    So basically emulation is cheaper, less responsibility, does not require as much time or emotional investment, but will never give you a hug.

    I think I know which option I’d pick.

  37. Jasper Ted Vidal Tale on May 13, 2021 at 1:36 am

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

  38. John Wright on May 13, 2021 at 1:37 am

    *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…*

  39. Steven Morley on May 13, 2021 at 1:37 am

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

  40. Graham Smith on May 13, 2021 at 1:41 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.

  41. Podkova on May 13, 2021 at 1:41 am

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

  42. 10p6 on May 13, 2021 at 1:41 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.

  43. Little Star on May 13, 2021 at 1:41 am

    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.

  44. Adam Piasecki on May 13, 2021 at 1:44 am

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

  45. West Michigan Fishing on May 13, 2021 at 1:47 am

    1000

  46. Tolen Tarpay on May 13, 2021 at 1:48 am

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

  47. Ricardo Martinez on May 13, 2021 at 1:49 am

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

  48. Don Valette on May 13, 2021 at 1:49 am

    WOW, 8 year old video. I love it

  49. Doppler Dog on May 13, 2021 at 1:50 am

    That’s one ugly looking desktop. Into the papperskorg it goes.

  50. synthesis on May 13, 2021 at 1:53 am

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

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