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A > ATARI  > 600 / 800 XL


This mini forum is intended to provide a simple means of discussion about the Atari  600 / 800 XL computer. If you want to share your own experience or memories, or add relevant information about this system: post a message!

  Click Here to add a message in the forum


Friday 2nd October 2020
Petr Hajek  (Czech Republic)

I had Atari 800XL with memory extended to 320kB (original 64 + additional 256). I did the "upgrade" by myself by some manual I found in computer magazine (sorry, cannot remember the magazine name). New memory chips was mounted over originals.
It worked, but not natively - special programing for memory bank switching was required.
As an external accessories I had:
- "Alfigraf" - a plotter like printer created mainly from Meccano (in czech language, sorry)$cLFLjMeJW64
- BT100 printer - an one-dot printer$9$v$0cwn8_0KPTo

and cassette palyer with Turbo2000 system

Wednesday 21st June 2017
Joe Jones

does anyone have a picture of the jumper installation for the Rambo 256 installed in an Atari 1200XL

Wednesday 21st June 2017
Joe Jones (USA)

Does anyone have a picture of the US doubler chips for the Atari 1050 disk drive?

Thursday 2nd February 2017
Bartimaus (U.S.A.)

Would you reccomend buying the Atari 800, the 1200XL, or the 600?

Saturday 3rd September 2016

As an owner of the Atari 800XL, 2 disk drives, 850 interface, 1030 modem and an Epson RX printer, I have to say out of my classic collection this is one of the best overall machines I have ever owned!!! I sometimes wish Atari had accepted Nintendo''s offer to sell the NES under its name, it would have allowed Atari to continue and who knows what they could have developed being at the top of the game and computer world!!!

Tuesday 5th February 2013
Eric Rousseau (Canada)

The Atari 6502 CPU was a custom made and incorporated "74LS245" that allowed it to disconnect from address and data bus. This allowed the Antic CPU (Display processor) to access video memory while 6502 waits. I think a HALT pin was added for this purpose or something similar.

Friday 1st February 2013

Yes, the CPU is called the 6502C. The letter isn''t a speed bump designator like the A or B, it''s just a 6502 with a custom pinout. I don''t think it was ever used elsewhere and I think all they did was add a HALT PIN.

Wednesday 30th January 2013
Dean ( United Kingdom)

I don''t believe the prossesor was a 6502C, the 6502 was 1MHz, the 6502A was 2MHz so an A variant would have been enough to run at 1.79MHz and I remember as a kid opening the computer I was looking for the 6502 processor and there is no chip inside with the part number 6502 $ the chip wasn''t numbered 6502 it had a different part number because I believe it was a modified 6502. from what I remember I don''t think there ever was a 6502C, a manufacturer did produce an 65C02 which was a lower power CMOS version but I am fairly sure didn''t come until some time later and was not used in the Atari computers.

Wednesday 30th January 2013
Dean ( United Kingdom)

I don''t believe the prossesor was a 6502C, the 6502 was 1MHz, the 6502A was 2MHz so an A variant would have been enough to run at 1.79MHz and I remember as a kid opening the computer I was looking for the 6502 processor and there is no chip inside with the part number 6502 $ the chip wasn''t numbered 6502 it had a different part number because I believe it was a modified 6502. from what I remember I don''t think there ever was a 6502C, a manufacturer did produce an 65C02 which was a lower power CMOS version but I am fairly sure didn''t come until some time later and was not used in the Atari computers.

Saturday 4th August 2012

The 800XL was a solid little 8 bit that was a capable gaming system (what a surprise!) that handled productivity apps as well.

The thing I remember was the availability of affordable peripherals, including this unique ''letter quality'' printer that had the characters rotating on a sort of a cylindrical cam arrangement. This left the sentences and words looking a little bit wavy, but the letters themselves were eminently readable.
The Five and a Quad disk drive on mine came with the 3.0 dos that was a piece of crap, but my cousin with an 800 gave me a copy of 2.5 that worked much better.

The 800XL and the 64 were the best composite 8 bit home computers of that time, and just about kissing cousins. This was the case to the point that some disk software such as my copy of Broderbund''s Paper Clip word processor included versions for both in the same box.
That being said, the Apple II trumped them in serious productive software and open architecture.

Friday 27th April 2012
roz smith (UK)

I have a very large collection for sale. Includes consols, games and extras........
If anyone is interested please feel free to contact me for futher details.

Sunday 26th February 2012

The C64 fanboys are just making the system look bad for the rest of us who like both of them.

Saturday 23rd April 2011

Yea, I love how commodore 64 people feel the need to post comments about how great their 16 colored, 1 mhz, low priced, made outta recycled Vic 20 computers, are. The facts are this, Atari was faster (1.79 mhz). had way more colors to pick from. Using display lists could show all of these colors at the sametime, and the Atari 8 bit games just look better. Want proof?, go play Shamus on both emulators, C64 and Atari 800.
Oh and I own almost every book ever made on the Atari''s, plenty of documentation to go around. (wouldnt have been able to make Midas Maze without them).
Maybe its just C64 people know the only reason the C64 out sold Atari''s is because it was low priced and Atari''s 2600 division tried to play down the 8-bit computers in fear it would cost them their jobs. nuff said. Oh and to the guy about the Amiga ,(it had displaylists too),. It was the son of Atari 8 bits , made by Jay Miner and team, same guy that did some of Atari''s custom graphic chips. The commodore 64 had no influence on the Amiga what so ever. Atari didnt wanna pay what they wanted for the Amiga so Commodore ended up with it. Stupid Atari corp.

Friday 23rd April 2010
R6502A (London, England)

To David2200,

Why do you C64 fanboys always have to junk Atari on Atari forums? There are many undocumented features of the Atari, and a host of other computers, that have been exploited to enhance graphics and sound. This sort of discovery is not unique to the C64. Take a look at YouTube for demos using HIP, TIP ans RIP software driven graphics modes.

Sunday 28th March 2010

Atari 600/800XL had faster CPU, and initially (at technical level) better graphics. But the problem with Atari was that a lot of advanced functions on their graphic hardware was undocumented$ Only some companies had that information for use in gaming software. On the other way all the Commodore hardware was excellently documented and totally available to all people. So anyone programmer or company had all the inforamtion for the Commodore but not for the Atari.

Other fact was that Commodore was much cheaper and it sold very well: much more machines means much more games/Software.

Finally, over time people discovered bugs in the VIC chip wich allowed to do things that even weren''t considered while designing the chip. Some were incredible effects.

As a programmer (amateur or not) a would prefer C64 over Atari, becasuse I had all the information, and more things were discovered later (outside chip specifications).

As a gamer: it is clear wich machine has much better game libray.

Of course I like Atari 800XL very much, an it is the Amiga precursor, but if I had to chooes a machine over the two I''d go with a C64 (or a C128).

Sunday 3rd January 2010
Sign Of Rain (PA USA)

Due to losing my job at the end of the year I have come to terms that I must sell off my Atari 800XL ENTIRE collection. It is now available on eBay. Feel free to e-mail me if you need additional photos of the games, etc. Thanks so much for being nice and sending this along to anyone who may have an interest. Item $160391970886 - Collectable Atari 800XL Home Computer w all accessories$item$160391970886

Saturday 12th April 2008
Randy Todhunter (Arkansas, USA)

I have a used 800XL that I am interested in selling. It has a 1050 disk drive and NES monitor and an Okidata 182 dot matrix printer that would go with it. I bought it new, I think in 1984, but it has been boxed up for 20 years or so. I got it out today and hooked it up and everything still seems to work. The monitor begins to fade a little after its one for 30 minutes, but otherwise everything seems okay. I am trying to find the best venue for selling it, so please accept my apologies if this is not appropriate for this site. I would appreciate any suggestions that anyone would have of other sites where interested buyers could be found. Anyone have any idea what it would be workth? I have Visi-Calc and Speedscript that would go with it.

Tuesday 22nd May 2007
Maarten Jongkind (Netherlands)

I bougth my atari 600XL together wit a memmory expension box in order to get from 16K to 64K, the same spec's as the 800XL byt according to my fellow atari users it made it a better machine than the 800XL wich had a sligtly differens os.
Because I was only 14 at the time I simply could only affort me a cassete drive for loading and saving programs, that cassettedrive was truly rubbisch, after a while using it, the knobs just broke off which I then repaired by replacing it by any of the other good knobs. After a while there were simply no knobs left.

In those day's I went to a technical school where the use and the programming experience of the atari gave me a big advantage compared to the school wich still used Exody sorseres computers. I also remembered that the computer nerds at school were divided in Commodore 64 (50%) Atari (45%) and the rest, vic20 sinclair, TI and so on (5%) we constantly compared the capacity and spec's to eachother and the Atari alway came out on top. More colours, better imaging and a superiour soundchip. The problem however was that the marketing of the commodore was much better together with its availability of software and hardware excesories.

The lesson than is repeated today looking at Microsft for example, Better is not a garantee of success.

Sunday 25th February 2007
Daniel Clohesy (Melbourne, Australia)

I have an Atari 600 computer with heaps of peripherals and games/software that I picked up at a garage sale for peanuts. Problem is, it lacks a transformer! I bought it anyway thinking that I might be able to pick one up later on (seeing as all this stuff only cost me $5!). So anyway, could anyone help me by telling me what sort of transformer I need or if anyone's got one to sell I'd be interested. I'm DYING to have a go on the machine and it would be a real shame if the system only served as a display piece. Thanks, mates!

Sunday 21st January 2007
Stormtrooper of Death (Neo-Tokyo)

Concerning the 1050 diskdrive: It could be upgraded by several turbo-boards, like the US-Doubler or the Happy-board. In the past, I had a 1050 with Happy-turbo-upgrade, led-screen that showed tracks, and switch built to make disk protection on/off
The Atari 1050 diskdrive, was a very special diskdrive, that had the ability to have its rom re-programmed so, it could read MS-DOS disks or Apple disks.

Also the XEP-80 add-on was a nice thing. You could do some 640x200 graphics, and the printer-interface of the XEP-80 could also be used for a modem or other serial devices (with the appropriate drivers, though)

When using the Diamons OS, you could attach a normal Atari ST mouse to the XL/XE system, and could use it.

If you soldered a second Pokey music chip on top of the on that was already on the motherboard, you could get 8 channels stereo-sound

The original GTIA chip could display 4096 colors at screen by using interlace techniques.

Greetings from Stormtrooper of Death, former member of the High Tech Team

Thursday 15th June 2006
Olivier (France)

No, it will not.

You can only use cartridge compatible with Atari 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL and XE gaming system (and all other XE & XL family systems).

Atari 2600 was a completely different hardware

Thursday 15th June 2006
Chopper (UK)

Hi All

I've just found a 600 XL in good condition in my attic at home, but it only has the Missle Command game. My question is, do you know if the carts from a Atari 2600 will run in the 600?


Wednesday 31st May 2006
Martijn Scherjon (Holland)

Of course there is no real competition between C64 and Atari 800XL, C64 is obviously a superior machine in all aspects (besides a few tech specs perhaps). I dont know why atari die hards want to footlight these machines so much.. Anyway, the 800XL was the computer that started my gaming frenzy which by now has been lasting over 20 years... My brother had a 600XL with an addon to make it a 800XL. Those days were the pioneering days of many a IT specialist. I remember my brother programming in basic, doing lengthy syntaxes and I was asking him "can't you just type "move left" and "move right" to make the sprite move ?".

River Raid, Pitfall and Caverns of Mars were my old favos back then. Of course I bought myself a Commodore 64 a little bit later to be able to do some serious gaming...

Wednesday 10th May 2006
Jon N. (Los Angeles, CA)

This was my third computer, and probably the most used computer I ever had in the 80's. I bought it with a floppy drive (1050 I think), and had to drive all the way to Irvine, CA to get the other drive. I hooked up a Star Micronics Dot matrix printer to it. My first home office machine. I remember that I once had to replace the keyboard, and that was a real hassle. By then, Atari was switching to the SE line, and I sold the unit. This was the last of the commercial retail computers that I ever purchased. I then went on to a IBM XT Clone, that I assembled myself.

Tuesday 31st January 2006
Kroah (France)
Reverse engineering and decompilation page of MULE


If you are a fan of MULE, have a look to my decompilation and reverse engineering page of this wonderful game. You'll find a lot of informations about the hidden rules used and secrets .

Friday 2nd December 2005
Richard (Rio Rancho)

Woah, looks like that $20 600XL of mine was more of a deal than I thought; it's a prototype/mockup unit! Contact me if you have questions, this thing is sure interesting...

Saturday 8th October 2005
m chorley (derby, england)

olde retro: the 800xl and 600xl machines are a little different as the 600xl has less memory and is cosmetically smaller. its is harder to find 600xl's as i recall they were produced in a smaller quantity.
Frank(pennsylvania): the only games i can remember of this kind were the following: star raiders & star raiders II, Universe by a company called Omnitrend, there was a public domain game made in a similar vain to the Star Trek simulator, but I can't recall the name of it.

Thursday 2nd June 2005
Antonio (Peru)

Hi, i also really started computing with the 800XL after getting my 2600 VCS, i got a 1020XE tape drive and many games in cassettes and some cartridges , the Atari computer was really something in programming and gaming of course , some years ago i had the luck to get more computers ,i already got 3 800XLs ,the 1020XE tape drive and a damaged 1027 printer , i'd like to know if anyone know how to do a network of these systems,or if someone wishes i could sell one.
Good luck!

Wednesday 25th May 2005
olde retroe (usa)

Is a 600xl a good computer? it's not really slow (as compared to others of it's time) is it? If I would get one, should I get 600xl or 800xl?

Wednesday 20th April 2005
Frank (Pennsylvania)

What was the name of the game for the Atari 800XL system that was similar to Star Trek, you had to plot a course, use energy, fight with phasers and torpedoes, and find and destroy all the bad guys (their names began with a K and a Z). I think you needed a disk drive. I wonder where I can find one of thiese games? Thanks.

Monday 17th January 2005
adamofevil (usa)
Atari MULE Online

I am sure that a lot of you Atari users once had an Atari 8-Bit computer back in the day. Maybe you still do. You might remember a classic game called M.U.L.E. A game that you wish would have been ported over to the PC but never was.

If you are a M.U.L.E. fan like I am, you probably used to have hordes of your friends over your house to play the best 4-man multi-player game ever written! After playing this game for hours upon hours, days upon days, years upon years, finally everyone grew up or grew apart and stopped getting together to play.

If you are a M.U.L.E. fan like I am, you probably have done a bit of M.U.L.E. re-searching on the internet, in hopes for one day someone to create an internet capable version of this great classic.

Well, I have some very good news for you. If you run Windows (98/XP) operating system, THE WAIT IS OVER!!!

Thanks to the authors of the Atari800WinPlus ( and Kaillera (, you can now play the greatest multiplayer game ever made with 4 players OVER THE INTERNET! This is not a clone, it is the ORIGINAL M.U.L.E. un-modified! Same graphics, same sound, same game! The only difference is that it looks a lot better on your computer than it did on your TV back in the day!

If this interests you, please hop on over to where M.U.L.E. fans from around the world have been gathering and playing online!

Some of our members include the authors of the most popular M.U.L.E. web sites such as World of Mule ( and Extreme MULEing ( and M.U.L.E. Fans ( Even the creator of the recent M.U.L.E. clone game Space HoRSE ( has joined up with us!

Ahh, the feeling of playing with 4 human players again is quite exhilirating! SO, what are you waiting for? Join us now!!

See you there!


Sunday 2nd January 2005
Riki (Slovakia)

If you have ATARI 800 XL emulator for Symbian UIQ please tell mi about it. Thank you.

Thursday 30th December 2004
Richard (Rio Rancho, New Mexico)

I bought one of these (600XL) from an old game store called Noble for $20, in surprisingly mint condition. It's my first truly retro computer, and a pretty sweet one at that. From what I've heard, the 600XL model has dropped off the face of the planet, too. Now, I am on a quest to get more old computers!

Thursday 5th August 2004
eitan (israel)

my first computer was the atari 800 XL, all my way started whith this computer.
today i have avery big hi-tec company whith 700 employee.
i search alot for atari 800 XL in good condition, but i not found any. if somone want to sale i'll be hapy to buy.

Thursday 8th April 2004

I used to own an 800XL from around 1985 to 1990, this debate about which computer was better between the 800xl & C64 was still raging back then. In my opinion the only thing that the c64 had over the 800xl was the bigger software support and the fact that most of the games made use of the memory onboard, whereas the 800xl games only normally utilized around the 48k region so that the games could be used on older atari macines such as the 800. So far as programing friendliness,graphics capability and sometimes sound (you could get some interesting sounds out of the pokey chip and the fact that it 1 more sound channel than the c64) the 800xl has the advantage over the c64. The best set up i had was the 800xl and a modified 1050disk drive fitted with a Happy Chip which made programs load in seconds rather than minutes, The Standard Atari Basic was a joy to use & then came along turbo basic which made things run a hell of alot faster. Friends that owned C64's could never seem to get to grips with the BASIC that came with C64 and only tended to use the computer as a games machine, whereas Atari owners could do both. Sadly I sold my old 8-bit back in 1990 due to the increasing domination of 16-bits( shame Atari Didn't secure the rights of the Amiga Architecture rather than the poorer ST architecture), As i may of continued buying Atari products. But alas the firm went bust but the name still lives on.

Monday 8th March 2004
de.valdi (Germany)

For me it all started with a used 800XL with an 'XE-generation' tape-drive and a lot of cassettes to feed it. At that time the ST-series already existed and in other countries my system wouldn't have been especially interesting, but I was living in Eastern Germany (=the GDR) and there it was a spectacular thing!
Now the GDR doesn't exist anymore, I'm a software developer and when I think back to the 'good old XL', I remember that GHz isn't everything :)

Thursday 26th February 2004
Lucius (Ontario Canada)

The Atari 800XL was my first computer. Ah those lost hours playing Moon Patrol. I also had a 4 pen mini-plotter. About the coolest thing it did was Spirographs on cash register paper...But hey, this was the 80's.

Saturday 17th January 2004
Peter  (Australia)

Hi, I'm looking for the worlds BEST picture for the Atari 800XL 64k system. If you think you have one please email it to me. So which one is better Atari800XL or Commodore64 ?

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