Atari 520 STFM

The 520ST was an all-in-one unit, similar to earlier home computers like the Commodore 64. By the time the 520ST reached the market, however, consumers demanded a keyboard with cursor keys and a numeric keypad. For this reason, the 520ST was a fairly large and awkward computer console.

Adding to this problem was the number of large cables needed to connect to the peripherals. This problem was addressed to some degree in the follow-on models which included a built-in floppy disk, though this addition resulted in the awkward placement of the mouse and joystick ports to a cramped niche underneath the keyboard.

Early 520ST owners became accustomed to the "Atari Twist" and the "Atari Drop" service procedures. "Atari Twist" seemed to help discharge built-up static electricity (Atari soldered-down the metal shielding to fix the problem) while the "Atari Drop" appeared to help re-seat chips which may have become partially unseated over time.

The case design was created by Ira Valenski - Atari's chief Industrial Designer. The ST was basically wedge shaped, with a series of grilles cut into the rear for airflow. The majority of the machines had keyboards with soft tactile feedback resulting in a "cheap" feel, with rhomboid function keys across the top edge. The original 520ST design used an external floppy drive; the 1040ST-style case featured a built-in floppy drive. The power supply for the early 520ST was a large external brick while the 1040ST's was inside the machine.
 
Specification of the 520st:
 
CPU: Motorola 68000 @ 8 MHz. 16-bit data/24-bit address bus. RAM: 512 KB or 1 Megabyte, Display modes (60 Hz NTSC, 50 Hz PAL, 71.2 Hz monochrome):

Low resolution - 320×200 (16 color), palette of 512 colors , Medium resolution - 640×200 (4 color), palette of 512 colors, High resolution - 640×400 (mono), monochrome

Sound: Yamaha YM2149 3-voice squarewave plus 1-voice white noise mono Programmable Sound Generator

Drive: Single-sided 3½" floppy disk drive, 360 KB capacity when formatted to standard 9 sector, 80 track layout.

Ports: TV out (on ST-M and ST-FM models, NTSC or PAL standard RF modulated), MIDI in/out (with 'out-thru'), RS-232 serial, Centronics parallel (printer), monitor (RGB or Composite Video colour and mono, 13-pin DIN), extra disk drive port (15-pin DIN), DMA port (ACSI port, Atari Computer System Interface) for hard disks and Atari Laser Printer (sharing RAM with computer system), joystick and mouse ports (9-pin MSX standard)

Operating System TOS v1.00 (The Operating System) with the Graphical Environment Manager (GEM) WiMP (Windows, Mouse, Pointer) GUI.

Manufacturer: Atari
Date: 1985

Atari 520 STFM Manuals:

Item Manufacturer Date
Atari ST Computer Owners Mnaual Atari 1986
Atari ST Basic Sourcebook & Tutorial Atari 1986
Atari ST Engineering Hardware Specification Atari 07-01-1986
AMOS The Creator User Guide Mandarin 1990
AMOS 3D User Guide Mandarin 1990
AMOS Compiler User Guide Mandarin 1991

Magazines RELATED to Atari 520 STFM in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Practical Computing - September 1988
Practical Computing - June 1988
Computer Shopper April 1986 April 1986
Personal Computer World - September 1986 01-09-1986
Your Computer - November 1986 November 1986
Personal Computer World - January 1987 01-01-1987
Personal Computer World - February 1987 01-02-1987
Personal Computer World - June 1987 01-06-1987
Practical Computing - August 1987 August 1987
Personal Computer World - October 1987 01-10-1987
Personal Computer World - November 1987 November 1987
PC World Focus March 1989 Number 1 March 1989
Personal Computer World - May 1989 01-05-1989
Personal Computer World - June 1989 01-06-1989
Personal Computer World - July 1989 July 1989
Personal Computer World - August 1989 01-08-1989
Personal Computer World - October 1989 October 1989
Personal Computer World - November 1989 01-11-1989
Personal Computer World - December 1989 01-12-1989
Personal Computer World - February 1990 01-02-1990
Personal Computer World - January 1995 January 1995
Acorn User - November 1988 27-05-2009
Acorn User - February 1989 27-05-2009

Other Systems Related To Atari 520 STFM:

Item Manufacturer Date
Atari 800 Atari November 1979
Atari 400 Atari November 1979
Atari 400 with Aftermarket Keyboard Atari November 1979
Atari 1200XL Atari 1982
Atari 800XL Atari 1983
Atari 600XL Atari June 1983
Atari 65XE Atari 1985
Atari 520ST (boxed) + External hard drive + software Atari 1985
Atari 520 STM Atari 1st January 1985
Atari 1040 STE Atari 1986
Atari 520 STM Atari 12th September 1986
Atari Mega ST 2 Atari 1987
Atari ST Mega 1040 Tower Power Atari 1988
Atari Portfolio Atari 1989
Atari 520 STE Atari 1989
Atari 1040STF Atari 1989
Atari Stacy 2 Atari 9th December 1989
Atari TT030 Atari 1990
Atari Falcon Atari 1990
Atari Mega/STE Atari 1991

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH2578. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

Atari 520 STFM

  Book Archive   [28]
  Games Archive   [155]
  Software Archive   [44]
  Peripherals   [15]

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