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Portables Hardware

Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron 253

Bill Kendrick writes "My first computer was the short-lived 1200XL model of the Atari 8-bit computer line. I finally got ahold of one again, after having to settle with a lesser Atari system. My immediate reaction was: 'Damn, it's as big as my Dell Inspiron laptop!', and I couldn't resist doing one of those side-by-side comparisons, complete with photos of one system sitting atop the other. (I also put the 1983 storage and speeds in 2009 terms, for the benefit of the youngin's out there.) While in many ways the Atari pales in comparison to the latest technology they cram into laptops, I do get to benefit from SD storage media. It also still boots way faster than Ubuntu on the Dell, has a far more ergonomic keyboard, and is much more toddler-proof."
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Atari 1200XL Stacked Up Against a Dell Inspiron

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  • 1KB != 1B (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mprx ( 82435 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @04:23PM (#28627803)
    Some of the "In 1980s terms" calculations are out by a factor of 1024. I'd love to have a laptop with 2TB ram, but I don't think they exist yet.
  • Re:Hm. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Aliotroph ( 1297659 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @05:46PM (#28628825)

    The closest thing it might run with sufficient hacker dedication would seem to be LUnix [].

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Wednesday July 08, 2009 @06:32PM (#28629339) Homepage

    A pal of mine had an Atari XEGS. It looked awesome and futuristic, but was a bit of an oddball considering Atari already had the cheaper 2600 and superior 7800 out on the market.

    Atari's problem seemed to be that they tried to do too many things at once and lacked focus.

    Bill himself has already mentioned [] the Warner-era [] 5200, which was a previous attempt at building a console derived from the 400/800 8-bit computer hardware. From what I know, internally the hardware was virtually identical to the 400/800, but for some reason they changed round the location of a few registers in memory and removed some of the OS. They also changed the cartridge interface.

    Therefore, despite the hardware and most of the system being identical, the 5200 couldn't directly run 400/800 games (*1) and vice versa, even if you could get it to load them.

    AFAIK, they launched the 5200 around the same time that the 400/800 was replaced with the XL line. The XL was backwards-compatible (*2), so it ran (most) 400/800 games and hardware, and it *wasn't* compatible with the 5200.

    Why did Atari do this? Was it a cynical attempt at marketing? Or were the divisions within Atari just more concerned at scoring points off each other? It happens.

    Anyway, the 5200 flopped, not least (I heard) because the joysticks were horrible.

    Re: the XEGS. This was launched later on, circa 1987, during the Tramiel era []. I heard that Atari were originally planning on releasing the 7800 in Europe then changed their mind and launched the XEGS instead. Since the XEGS was (unlike the 5200) fully compatible with the 400/800/XL/XE line, it was probably a quick and easy way of exploiting existing hardware that had a lot of pre-existing software.

    Thing is though, I later saw the 7800 for sale in Europe (more specifically, through Argos in the UK) and I think they sold the XEGS in the US anyway. So I'm not sure what the story was. I don't think Atari did either.

    Then during the early-1990s there was the launch of the ST's successor, the Falcon 030. The ST had been quite successful in Europe, but was later overtaken by the Amiga 500 when the price of that came down. I *knew* that regardless of whether it was a nice machine or not, the Falcon 030 was going to flop because (a) Even then the ST market was seriously declining with no obvious likelihood of things getting better and the PC compatibles were taking over, (b) Atari probably didn't have the budget to do it justice and (c) Atari couldn't market ****.

    The Falcon 030 flopped.

    It was withdrawn after just a year or so, I seem to remember so that Atari could commit to the Jaguar console, but that was a relative flop as well. If they'd launched it properly, it might have done some business before the far superior PlayStation came out and wiped the floor with it, but they didn't.

    Oh yeah, and the technically-brilliant-for-its-time Lynx was a flop as well, even though it should have done well.

    Atari sucked.

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0