Atari 1040ST

23 days ago
60 in retrocomputing


The Atari ST was one of the computers that was a competitor in the 16-bit era. The other main competitors were the Amiga, and the Apple IIgs. The Macintosh and of course the PC were also around but for the most part they weren't competing for the same market. The most popular computers before these came around were 8-bit in nature (Commodore 64, Apple II, Atari 400/800, TRS-80, etc.). Both the Amiga and the Atari ST and even the IIgs were known as superior games machines but while the Amiga's niche was video, the Atari ST's was music (particuarly anything to do with MIDI). The IIgs, while powerful enough in its own right never seemed to penetrate the home market as much. The Amiga was a technically superior machine in many regards but the Atari ST gave you more power for the price. They were based on the same CPU so it was really a matter of the custom chips that were used and the Amiga had some powerful custom chips, particularly when it came to graphics.

Pictured above is the Atari 1040ST. There were a number of models over the years, but the most well known, at least in North America, were probably the 520ST and 1040ST. They were largely the same except that the 1040ST came with 1MB memory instead of 512Kb and had a built-in 3.5" disk drive while the 520ST relied on an external drive.

The history of Atari and Commodore, particuarly at this time period, is quite interesting. But that's another story and too long to tell here. Whole books have been written about the subject and the Wikipedia article on the Atari ST has a good summary if you are curious (

I had a Commodore 64 and went straight to a PC (a 486 DX2-66 when I went to college) but I had always lusted after an ST (an acquaintance in middle school had one) or especially an Amiga. I seriously considered buying an Amiga 4000 instead of a PC when I went to college.

Thanks for stopping by and check out some of my other recent retrocomputing posts below!

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  ·  22 days ago

Interesting post. Followed and resteemed. Thank you! :-)

  ·  22 days ago

I had and Atari 520 STE in the 90's. It was basically the same as 1040, but with half the memory, so I got it cheaper. I ended upgrading it to 4 megabytes of RAM. :) Good times.

  ·  22 days ago

Sometimes I wish Commodore and Atari won the computer wars instead of PC and Mac. Then again, I like open architecture and building my own computers...