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A > ATARI  > 520 / 1040 STf / STfm

520 / 1040 STf / STfm

About the ST case, by Taneli Lukka:
Probably the worst feature of the new case introduced with these machines and used with the rest of the ST-series and the Falcon are the joystick/mouse ports. Even Amiga's ports which are mounted on the back of the case can be a real pain in the butt when different games/programs use different ports, but the ST's design is really a creation of the devil: the ports are in a slot under the machine just about where the numerical keypad is. Plugging controllers can be very annoying especially if there are lots of peripherals mounted on the machine and you have to turn it over. The connectors are also up-sidedown which doesn't make the job easier at all. These ports were usually the first connectors on the machine to fail. Using a mouse can also be difficult because the wire comes out from the front of the machine.

Atari also made a pretty bad decision early in the machines life. They decided to use single sided 360kb disk drives because DS drives were quite expensive at the time. This meant that long after the introduction of the DS drives games and programs were still released on two single sided disks instead of one double sided one so that even the owners of the first machines could buy them.

From Edd Scorpio:
A number of Juno & Grammy Award winning songs were produced on Atari's - and used by artists like Madonna, Tangerine Dream, Phillip Glass... and most recording studios. Ontario Hydro used to use STes in their Nuclear Power Plants, and Toronto Hydro used them in their accounting offices.

John Craker reports to us:
I sold these retail in the late 80's. Awesome machine in it's day!
There was a ROM pack you could get for it that turned it into a Mac! Used an actual Mac ROM in the pack, so with the 68000, you in effect had a real Mac! There was also a PC emulator pack, but it was pathetic. I wouldn't even try to sell one to anybody I knew.

Trey Yancy adds:
The ST had a set of expansion ports on the left side, including MIDI ports and an EEPROM slot. Along with accepting standard EEPROMs, a variety of dongles were created by third-parties, a strandard size being approximately 2.5" x 7" with pass-throughs for additional huge dongles.
Among them were C-Lab's (now Emagic) Creator and Notator sequencers and UNITOR SMPTE/EBU sync unit, and an equally large expansion dongle for inserting multiple standard EEPROMS. A full set of such dongles could add 50% to the width of the ST!

Emulator package, by Mikael Sundstr÷m:
I used an emulator package made by a company called Gadgets by Small, which turned the 1040 into a Mac. As the Atari was quite a bit cheaper, and actually became 25 % faster than the comparable Macintosh at the time, it was good value for money, and worked like a charm.
I always wondered what happened to that company: they sent out a funny little newsletter to their family of customers, which was always an interesting read.

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