Atari has benefited enormously from the video game boom and was known to built the first arcade game machine game "Pong". In 1977, the Atari 2600 home console was introduced, which should be one of the most successful consoles. But in 1984 nobody bought game consoles anymore because there were a lot of cheap and more powerful home computers available ("video game crash") and Atari wrote losses. The Warner Bros. company was sold to Commodore founder Jack Tramiel and after that they concentrated on computers from now on. The Atari ST was competing with the Amiga computers from Commodore.
Atari ModelsVCS-2600 (1977)
VCS stands for Video Computer System and it was the first successful programmable game console. It sold from 1977 technically unchanged until 1991. The Atari VCS 2600 has sold about 30 million times and is therefore considered one of the most successful consoles.
400 und 800 (1979)
Based on the 6502-CPU there was an entry-level model Atari 400 with a membrane keyboard (in the beginning, only 8 KB of RAM, then 16 KB) and the better Atari 800 (up to 48 KB of RAM) with a typewriter keyboard. Both had four ports for joysticks. The Ataris were clocked higher than competing products, and had special chips by Jay Miner, who later also developed the Amiga.
800 XL und 600 XL (1982)
The XL-series consists of more advanced Atari 400/800 models in new cases. First came the Atari 1200XL, but it was incompatible, and replaced by the models 600XL (16 KB RAM) and 800XL (64 KB RAM). BASIC is now installed in a ROM chip and there is a Parallel Bus Interface (PBI). They only have two joystick ports. Still largely compatible with its predecessors.
Technically, the console is nearly identical with the home computers from Atari but with special joystick ports and a different module port. It was incompatible with the popular VCS-2600 and was sold only briefly in the U.S..
The XE-series is widely compatible with 400/800 and the XL-series, but now has a modern case, which is similar to that of the ST series. The 65XE and 800X has 64 KB and the 130XE now has 128 KB of RAM. The parallel bus has been modified and the keyboard has poor quality.
520 ST (1985)
The ST is a completely new 16 bit computers based on the Motorola CPU 68000. The first ST had 512 KB of RAM and similar to 8-bit computers at that time an external floppy drive.
Technically, the console was already outdated, but better than the VCS 5200. There are thow normal joystick ports, and it was compatible with the popular VCS-2600. Nevertheless, the VCS-7800 was no great success and could not replace the VCS-2600.
1040 ST (1986)
An improved 520 ST now with 1 MB of RAM and built-in floppy disk drive (STF). The STfm also has a built-in TV modulator.
Mega ST (1987)
A 1040 ST in the desktop case and deposed keyboard. 1, 2 or 4 MB of RAM.
1040 STE (1989)
An extended 1040 ST with enhanced color and sound qualities. Even a blitter is now installed. New TOS and easy memory expansion possible up to 4 MB
Atari bought this console from Epyx and developed this to an end. A special feature was the built-in color screen, which could represent 16 out of a palette of 4096 colors. Unfortunately, the device was heavy, big and needed a lot of batteries. So he could not prevail against the Nintendo Game Boy. Even a smaller model did not help.
The Atari TT030 had a Motorola 68030 CPU and is a 32 bit computer. It was designed for professional use, and worked at 32 MHz (CPU, rest 16 MHz).
Mega STE (1991)
The Atari MEGA STE is an advanced desktop version of the Atari 1040 STE. He replaced the Mega ST and should close the gap between the 1040 STE and the expensive high-end model TT030.
Falcon 030 (1992)
The Falcon had a 16-MHz Motorola CPU clocked 68030. He should replace the 1040 STE, had at the time, however, but could not assert against more powerful and cheaper computers. It was Atari's last home computer.
The jaguar is fitted with 64 bit graphics and 32-bit sound chip . There were many special chips, like for example Tom and Jerry. The console modules used, but later a CD-extension was released. Even a 3-D helmet was planned, but never appeared. Since the expected sales could not be achieved, production of the Jaguar ended soon. It was Atari's final product.
SalesUnfortunately, there is very little information about the sales of Atari products:
|VCS 2600:||25.000.000 - 30.000.000|
|ST Book:||1000* **|
* = Estimates, precise numbers not known
** = one of the rarest Laptops