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Atari 8bit is superior to the ST


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Poll: Atari 8bit is superior to the ST (179 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you agree?

  1. Yes; Atari 8bit is superior to ST in all ways (24 votes [13.41%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 13.41%

  2. Yes; Atari 8bit is superior to ST in most ways (46 votes [25.70%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 25.70%

  3. NO; Atari ST is superior to 8bit in all ways (18 votes [10.06%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 10.06%

  4. NO; Atari ST is superior to 8bit in most ways (23 votes [12.85%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 12.85%

  5. NO; Both systems are cool on their own. (68 votes [37.99%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 37.99%

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#51 oky2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:51 AM

The 800 is an 8-bit Amiga


Without the blitter and incredibly versatile and hackable 4 channel 8bit digital to analogue converter sound hardware....which are the saving grace of an otherwise mediocre machine, the Amiga is nothing special though. Sprites are weak and CPU is neither the slowest nor the fastest (QL/8086 PC is slower ST/MAC/Sharp X68000 is faster).

Bitplanes on Amiga = Bad.
Sprites on Amiga = Bad.
CPU slower than ST or Mac = WEAK.

Blitter + 4 channel do-whatever-you-want DACs = WIN.

I will give you an example, the Sharp X68000 is another 10mhz 68000 based computer sold only in Japan in 1987--> and they went the opposite way of the Amiga and went for very specific custom hardware in the style of the C64 (this is the closest any 16bit computer comes to being a spiritual successor to the C64 by the way) it has massively powerful but fixed sound hardware....massively powerful sprite engine....massively powerful screen controls. However that poor machine hasn't got a hope in hell of even producing a better version of Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 or Batman on the Amiga....no blitter you see? And the instruments for the music all sound a bit samey and PC general midi Roland LAPC-1 style...or like a SNES console if you like. So no decent way of doing anything like Outrun or Chase HQ on it and no music will ever beat Agony or Shadow of the Beast soundtrack on Amiga. X68000 is great for Alien Syndrome or Gradius though.

Now back to the ST vs A8.....my $0.02 worth is...

Bad points
==========
Weaker sound, the ST sound chip IS horrible and probably the worst sound chip Yamaha ever made.

No pixel scroll hardware...this is a massive mistake for a games machine. Oh how we loathed the Atari designers when playing an otherwise incredible Gauntlet 1 when we scrolled left/right.

No sprites or anything like it (ie blitter) in hardware, were they kidding?

Worse keyboard than Atari 800 and 800XL (but better than 65/130XE keyboard)


Good points
===========
Clean design and good screen memory map.

Very nice CPU, the best that was available at the time compared to other 16bit chips (well it's 32bit but 16bit databus etc)

Lovely friendly GUI

Basically the ST is a 16bit version of the Amstrad CPC simple as that. Fast CPU, lots of colours and good colour resolution levels but zilch hardware and it's all done via the CPU. So clearly in its day the A8 was the superior technology as a games machine for sure....but Starglider on A8 would look crap next to the ST version so it is not a slamdunk either way. The ST is basically a colour Mac...nothing more nothing less. Had it been a Commodore machine old PET customers (and there were lots, Commodore were very well respected worldwide by corporate customers even in the mid 80s) it would have sold by the bucketload.

Now the STE...that IS better than the A8 in every department except the keyboards (which got worse after the original TOS on disk 520ST and the later 520STM) compared to the 800/800XL keyboard.....same as the XE machines in fact.

Styling wise I dunno...the 1040STF/520STFM/STE looks a bit bulky but the 520ST/STM looks beautiful. The Atari 800 also looks great too though but the 800XL is just OK and the XE range looks a bit small and suits the ST's size and design better I think.

#52 oky2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:00 AM

130XE on the other hand gets used almost as much as my 8-bit Commies and I voted that A8 is superior (a helluva lot more productive anyway) than the ST line.


More productive how?

Degas/Neochrome are awesome pixel art packages.
ST GEM + Mono monitor = superior machine to PC/Mac for general use.
ST Midi + Synths = Fantastic machine for music production.
ST + SLM804 = Amazing price/performance solution for DTP work.
ST + Megafile via DMA port = Fantastic database setup.

I can't think of a single example where in non games use a 40 column 8bit CPU'd colour restricted (no colours ANYWHERE on screen flexibility) machine using a command line DOS is better hmmmm

For games I can understand yes, although Flight Simulator II, Virus, Dungeon Master, The Pawn/Guild of Thieves and Gauntlet 1 are superior gaming experiences impossible to replicate anywhere near that level of quality on the A8 still but many rubbish shooters and platform games too due to lack of sprites/scrolling/decent soundchip before the STE (which was not coded for much either).

#53 Mr.Amiga500 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:02 PM

The Atari 800 also looks great too though but the 800XL is just OK ...


The 800XL is "just OK"?? Are you crazy? The 800XL is probably the most beautiful home computer ever made. (followed by the TI-99/4A)

The XE and ST look like garbage in comparison.

#54 Thorsten Günther OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:17 PM

The Atari 800 also looks great too though but the 800XL is just OK ...


The 800XL is "just OK"?? Are you crazy? The 800XL is probably the most beautiful home computer ever made. (followed by the TI-99/4A)


May I assume then that you do not know too many home computers? There were really awesome-looking ones like the Oric Atmos, Sinclair Spectrum+/QL, Enterpreise 64/128, ACT Apricot F1, Memotech MTX512, Triumph Adler Alphatronic PC, Sharp X68000, SMT Goupil 2, etc.. Compared with these, the 800XL is a rather square design.

Thorsten

#55 falcon_ OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:26 PM

Hi folks - I'll chip in my 2 pennies..

In many ways I really agree with others' comments here. I admire that people see the Amiga as the more heart-felt
2nd generation Atari, as do I. But I immediately fell in love with the Amiga when I learned of it. I bought all the
first year or two of AmigaWorld. Loved that magazine. I was 15 at the time, and it was through AmigaWorld that
I first learned anything about Andy Warhol! The C language! And raytracing!

The 800XL is the 8bit that I had. And I was fortunate enough to get one with a 1200 keyboard. But I had no
understanding of that at the time. Not till years later did I understand almost every other XL I saw had
that taller XL kb, while I had the lower profile, easier to type on 1200 kb. (I think it was socketed mb too)
I programmed a lot on that unit too until the early 90s.

I loved playing some of the games on the ST when it was fresh. In the first year or two, all the best games
had been made IMHO. And that is partly my point - After two years, the ST had effectively seen its 'best'.
It excelled at MIDI of course, and became hot in DTP work for a while. I would say the ST was good, but
not great. While I think the 8bits were great - albeit they were functionally different kinds of computers
of course. I still like the 8bits, as they seem to have 'something fun' in them. A kind of 'heart' or 'style'
that was missing more in the ST line. And the 8bits are more fun to push past the limits of the machine.

... The ST's potential seems to have been unlocked and exhausted in a way that the 8-bit's hasn't been to this day. I agree that it's all about working within the limitations of the technology. The fact I've been thinking about the feasability of gutting an ST and building an XE inside the case says it all, I think.


I'm intrigued with your comment above. In what way(s) do you mean the 8bits are not exhausted??? I'm very curious.
I happen to agree that 8bit computers *could* be more useful than they were/are. But it's kind of a meaningless
sentiment, since we have giga-banjos, and google-flippies all around.... Is everyone else as dizzy with technology as I am?
(gigahertz & gigaflops, for anyone missing the joke)

*peace*
falcon_

#56 DarkLord OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:18 PM

To me the ST is just a bad Amiga copy, which again is the evolution of the A8. Yes, A8 is superiour. At the time of release the A8 was unbeatable, just like the Amiga when it came out.


Everything except price that is....this poor country boy couldn't afford an Amiga! :(

The ST gave me much of what the Amiga offered, at a price I could affort. If I had
waited for an affordable Amiga, I would have probably wound up going down the PC
path instead. (ugh!!!!!)

Thank goodness for the "Power Without The Price" philosophy! :)

PS and IIRC, the Atari ST was released before the Amiga, so I'm not so sure about
the bad copy thing. (yes, I know Lorraine was in planning for a long time)

#57 DarkLord OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:21 PM

The Atari 800 also looks great too though but the 800XL is just OK ...


The 800XL is "just OK"?? Are you crazy? The 800XL is probably the most beautiful home computer ever made. (followed by the TI-99/4A)

The XE and ST look like garbage in comparison.


Have to differ (although I think my 800XL is gorgeous too), I think the Mega ST and Mega STe
are awesome in looks.

#58 Mr.Amiga500 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:29 PM


The Atari 800 also looks great too though but the 800XL is just OK ...


The 800XL is "just OK"?? Are you crazy? The 800XL is probably the most beautiful home computer ever made. (followed by the TI-99/4A)


May I assume then that you do not know too many home computers? There were really awesome-looking ones like the Oric Atmos, Sinclair Spectrum+/QL, Enterpreise 64/128, ACT Apricot F1, Memotech MTX512, Triumph Adler Alphatronic PC, Sharp X68000, SMT Goupil 2, etc.. Compared with these, the 800XL is a rather square design.

Thorsten


Apparently, your assumption was correct. I didn't know most of the ones you listed - mainly because not one of those was ever sold in North America.

Now that I do know what they look like, I can change my statement to:
"The 800XL is probably the most beautiful home computer ever made."

Most of the computers you listed are frigging ugly.

Edited by Mr.Amiga500, Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:29 PM.


#59 Mr.Amiga500 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:00 PM

Actually, I overreacted a bit there. That Memotech MTX512 does look pretty amazing... and the Spectrum QL too. (I wonder if they look as good in real life... or if they're just flimsy cheapo plastic)

But the Oric Atmos and Enterprise make me sick.

#60 candle OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:13 PM

well.. it looks like a poo to me...
1200xl has it charm because of enormous size, 600xl is cute because its small, 800xl looks like a poo

and on top of it - you can't really discuss personal tastes, can you?
is there somewhere an oracle to say what is art and what is crap? don't think so... perhaps then would be better not to make any 01 statements?

ps. if someone would like to poit out that i'm making such statement - there is magic word in mine, that those above lack - it is "me"

ps2. i see there is an update ;) okay :) but i can't take it back ;)

Edited by candle, Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:14 PM.


#61 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:47 AM

Without the blitter and incredibly versatile and hackable 4 channel 8bit digital to analogue converter sound hardware....

Don't forget one note ont eh sound hardware: it's DMA driven, meaning relatively little CPU resuouse is needed for its use. (compared to bare DACs being entirely controlled by software, like the Sega Genesis or the ST's tweaked 8-bit sample playback via the YM2149)

I will give you an example, the Sharp X68000 is another 10mhz 68000 based computer sold only in Japan in 1987--> and they went the opposite way of the Amiga and went for very specific custom hardware in the style of the C64 (this is the closest any 16bit computer comes to being a spiritual successor to the C64 by the way) it has massively powerful but fixed sound hardware....massively powerful sprite engine....massively powerful screen controls. However that poor machine hasn't got a hope in hell of even producing a better version of Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 or Batman on the Amiga....no blitter you see? And the instruments for the music all sound a bit samey and PC general midi Roland LAPC-1 style...or like a SNES console if you like. So no decent way of doing anything like Outrun or Chase HQ on it and no music will ever beat Agony or Shadow of the Beast soundtrack on Amiga. X68000 is great for Alien Syndrome or Gradius though.


Umm, I'd immagine the X68000 would be one of the best (if not absolute best) in terms of sound hardware for ports of Out Run and Chase HQ as it's got the same sound chip as the arcade. (not positive about HQ, but it's more than likely given how popular the YM2151 was in contemorary arcade games)
It is a matter of taste, but I think pan pipes are overused on the amiga... and while I do like a variety of synth/chiptune music (including SID/analog synth which some dislike), I do prefer some of the FM synthesis renditions of Shadow of the Beast on Sega Genesis over the Amiga original. (not all the tracks, just a few)
But FM sysnthesis is kind of a personal taste issue as well (like SID), with wavetable/sample synth music being more popular in general (though I know people who much prefer the Genesis's FM synth to much of the SNES's sample based music). Also note that the YM2151 (and 2612 in genesis) are 4-operator FM synth chips, not 2-op like Adlib/Soundblaster cards, so a good deal more capable.


Weaker sound, the ST sound chip IS horrible and probably the worst sound chip Yamaha ever made.

I agree it's weak, but I wouldn't say horible, very simple for sure, but not inherantly crappy. (rather like the Sega Master System, although it's arguably superior to the SMS/CV's SN6489) Also, that chip is just a clone of the AY-3-8910 used in the intellivision, vectrex, Amstrad CPC, ZX Spectrum 128, and MSX computers among others. (though Yamaha did integrate the same sound hardware into a couple FM synthesis chips, namely the OPN sires, specifically YM2203,2608, and 2610)

As I've expressed before, I do think they could at least have put a basic FM synthesis chip in there as well, like the super low-cost YM2413 (or YM3526 if the 2413 wasn't avaiable in '85). The aformentioned YM2203 would have been great though, as it should have allowed the 2149 to be dropped as well (it retained the I/O functionality of that chip and was in a 40-pin DIP, so same size as the 2149), a nice sound chip: 3 channel "SSG" (square wave with hardware envelopes), 3-channel 4-op FM, or even better: the YM2608 which adds 3 more 4-op FM channels and an ADPCM channel for sample playback of up to 16 kHz. (don't know if the 2608 was available in '85 though, but the 2203 definitely was, used in the PC8801)

No pixel scroll hardware...this is a massive mistake for a games machine. Oh how we loathed the Atari designers when playing an otherwise incredible Gauntlet 1 when we scrolled left/right.
No sprites or anything like it (ie blitter) in hardware, were they kidding?

The ST (or TTL's RBP earlier in development) wasn't designed with gaming as a key feature, more as a low-cost general purpose home/buisness computer from what I understand. (obviouslty they'd have considdered some games to be on it, just as there were for PC and such, but not emphesized as a gaming machine in general)

The planar bitmap arrangement didn't help either, PC games were all CPU driven too (and at the time, generally weaker CPUs than the ST), but at least they had chunky-pixel displays. Not really sure why they wetn with bitplanes for the ST shifter though, why not a chunky pixel display with 2-bit and 4-bit pixel modes? (actually, a 160 pixel wide 8-bpp mode might have been a good inclusion as well, kind of like the 16-color 1/2 res mode with GTIA) I mean it's not like with the Amiga, where bitplanes came in handy with 5-bit per pixel 32-color display and such.

Very nice CPU, the best that was available at the time compared to other 16bit chips (well it's 32bit but 16bit databus etc)

Isn't the usual deciding factor the ALU, with the 68k having 32-bit internal registers (and 32-bit memory model even though only 24 address pins were mapped), but only a 16-bit ALU, unlike the 386SX by comparison, which is a "full" 32-bit processor stuck to a 16-bit external data bus. (or 68030 in falcon, SH2s in Sega 32x, etc)

Edited by kool kitty89, Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:55 AM.


#62 ProWizard OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:09 AM

Never expected, but this thread starts to be a very interesting one.

Thanks for all the contributions so far.

And I'm still very excited about the poll results. However most people vote for both computers are cool (I voted that myself too), I find the score for atari 8bit in this poll also remarkable.

There are more +8bit votes than +ST votes... so far.

Greetz
Marius

#63 Heaven/TQA OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:15 AM

oh... what ST & A8 have in common... switch on, OS is there... ;) no workbench loading etc...

cool stuff... I should try and see if my 1040ste+hard disc still boots...and then I am suprised how quick the system is there compared to W7 & OSX & Linux (when not being in power save mode).

#64 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:27 AM

You know, I used to get pissed off when I crashed my Atari and had to reboot...

But, even a standard 1050 disk drive will usually load DOS and DUP, then be sitting there ready for you to use... all in less time than it takes the average PC from initial turnon until it shows the Windows loading screen (and even then you're usually in for another 20 seconds, plus the minute or three it farts around with all the Startup rubbish and hardware detection)

#65 oky2000 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:09 AM

@Kool Kitty

All I can say is the 386 was at least on a technological par with the 020 not th 68k so that's an unfair comparison, the 286 is probably a better comparison for the period 1985-86 that the QL, ST, Mac and Amiga chose them.

Sound is subjective sure, I kind of meant that the music sounds a bit samey on X68000 games....a bit like SNES games if you get my drift, the quality certainly is fantastic and technically higher quality I know...but after compiling a 12Gb archive of MODs from demos and games I came to the conclusion that the Japs are rubbish at game music with a severe bias to orchestral type soundtracks....not my cup of tea :)

As for looks (rest is not directed @ kool kitty btw) that is all subjective but for me the 800 is the nicest looking of the lot and has a fantastic keyboard. The original ST/STM not STF/STFM/STE was lovely too and so was the Mega ST (not STE though as it's too boxy like the TT for me). As for Commodore the worst looking Amiga is the A500...bluergh...looks like a Commodore 128 melted in a fire LOL the A1000 and A3000 on the other hand are beautiful as was the C64C slimline...simple clean pure Commodore. The rest are OK and the A500 and Plus/4 are just nothing special at all. Of course everyone has their own tastes in design :) Although I wouldn't want to type on a 400 it still looks funky with those Tron Desk style keyboards....I wonder if anyone has hacked one to make a backlit version...now that would be cool!

And I am glad to see that the largest number of us have voted that both the A8 and ST have their own unique merits, which I think is right. Like I said it was a Mac killr in colour which played games better in 1986 than either the PC or black and white Mac....whether it was a true gaming machine doesn't matter, at the time people wanted an ever more sophisticated home computer and bar the Amiga 1000 the ST was the only real alternative...and half the price too...and even better 60% cheaper than the Mac....you can't argue with that kind of value for money! :)

#66 Lazarus OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:39 AM

The ST (or TTL's RBP earlier in development) wasn't designed with gaming as a key feature, more as a low-cost general purpose home/buisness computer from what I understand. (obviouslty they'd have considdered some games to be on it, just as there were for PC and such, but not emphesized as a gaming machine in general)

That's a bit 80's thinking. "If gfx/sound sucks, it's a business machine". I think gaming was a key feature for all those home computers, some were just better at it than others.

The planar bitmap arrangement didn't help either, PC games were all CPU driven too (and at the time, generally weaker CPUs than the ST), but at least they had chunky-pixel displays. Not really sure why they wetn with bitplanes for the ST shifter though, why not a chunky pixel display with 2-bit and 4-bit pixel modes? (actually, a 160 pixel wide 8-bpp mode might have been a good inclusion as well, kind of like the 16-color 1/2 res mode with GTIA) I mean it's not like with the Amiga, where bitplanes came in handy with 5-bit per pixel 32-color display and such.

Yeah the storing the gfx as seperated bitplanes was a big mistake and basically killed the Amiga later on. My idea would be: Have two playfield channels for chunky data, one being 1, 2 or 4 bits and the other 1 or 2 bits. You would get the same flexibility on Amiga (dual playfield, different modulo for half of the bitplanes etc etc) but without that bitplane horror.

Very nice CPU, the best that was available at the time compared to other 16bit chips (well it's 32bit but 16bit databus etc)

Isn't the usual deciding factor the ALU, with the 68k having 32-bit internal registers (and 32-bit memory model even though only 24 address pins were mapped), but only a 16-bit ALU, unlike the 386SX by comparison, which is a "full" 32-bit processor stuck to a 16-bit external data bus. (or 68030 in falcon, SH2s in Sega 32x, etc)

The 68000 has 16 bit ALU and 16 bit internal datapaths. Only the registers store 32 bit. It's a 16 bit CPU.

#67 atariksi OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:15 PM


The ST (or TTL's RBP earlier in development) wasn't designed with gaming as a key feature, more as a low-cost general purpose home/buisness computer from what I understand. (obviouslty they'd have considdered some games to be on it, just as there were for PC and such, but not emphesized as a gaming machine in general)

That's a bit 80's thinking. "If gfx/sound sucks, it's a business machine". I think gaming was a key feature for all those home computers, some were just better at it than others.
...

From manufacturer's point of view, gaming wasn't a key feature for Atari ST; they didn't bother putting sprites in nor other blitter-type enhancements to ANTIC. However, they did know consoles like A7800 needed sprites.

The planar bitmap arrangement didn't help either, PC games were all CPU driven too (and at the time, generally weaker CPUs than the ST), but at least they had chunky-pixel displays. Not really sure why they wetn with bitplanes for the ST shifter though, why not a chunky pixel display with 2-bit and 4-bit pixel modes? (actually, a 160 pixel wide 8-bpp mode might have been a good inclusion as well, kind of like the 16-color 1/2 res mode with GTIA) I mean it's not like with the Amiga, where bitplanes came in handy with 5-bit per pixel 32-color display and such.

Yeah the storing the gfx as seperated bitplanes was a big mistake and basically killed the Amiga later on. My idea would be: Have two playfield channels for chunky data, one being 1, 2 or 4 bits and the other 1 or 2 bits. You would get the same flexibility on Amiga (dual playfield, different modulo for half of the bitplanes etc etc) but without that bitplane horror.
...

Utter rubbish. You made same invalid point before in another thread. Your idea sucks. It's more expensive to implement, it's planar and chunky and would require more instructions to implement depending on mode and more hardware to implement. EGA was prominent at the time and it used planar to save memory and allow easy upgrading to higher color depths. Standard VGA also used planar in 640*480*16. You don't see them die out because of planar mode. There are also some advantages of planar which you forgot about. Using your idea Amiga would have died earlier. Well, actually I think Amiga is still alive.

Very nice CPU, the best that was available at the time compared to other 16bit chips (well it's 32bit but 16bit databus etc)

Isn't the usual deciding factor the ALU, with the 68k having 32-bit internal registers (and 32-bit memory model even though only 24 address pins were mapped), but only a 16-bit ALU, unlike the 386SX by comparison, which is a "full" 32-bit processor stuck to a 16-bit external data bus. (or 68030 in falcon, SH2s in Sega 32x, etc)

The 68000 has 16 bit ALU and 16 bit internal datapaths. Only the registers store 32 bit. It's a 16 bit CPU.


It's not TRUE 32-bit, some operations are 32-bit including ALU like ADDQ.l D0,3. But even 6502 has a PC register that's 16-bit and updates in one shot. Most of the time instructions require memory including fetching the opcodes/arguments so it's mostly 16-bit processing using literal definition of 16-bit processor (one that processes 16-bits at a time).

#68 ProWizard OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:52 PM

cool stuff... I should try and see if my 1040ste+hard disc still boots...and then I am suprised how quick the system is there compared to W7 & OSX & Linux (when not being in power save mode).


My Hackintosh boots from cold to operational with speed of light. It is amazing how fast that boots. But I understand what you mean.

Greetz.
M.

#69 atariksi OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:20 PM

...


... The ST's potential seems to have been unlocked and exhausted in a way that the 8-bit's hasn't been to this day. I agree that it's all about working within the limitations of the technology. The fact I've been thinking about the feasability of gutting an ST and building an XE inside the case says it all, I think.


I'm intrigued with your comment above. In what way(s) do you mean the 8bits are not exhausted??? I'm very curious.
I happen to agree that 8bit computers *could* be more useful than they were/are. But it's kind of a meaningless
sentiment, since we have giga-banjos, and google-flippies all around.... Is everyone else as dizzy with technology as I am?
(gigahertz & gigaflops, for anyone missing the joke)

*peace*
falcon_


Gigahertz ang gigaflops is just the CPU. There are other things to consider besides CPU. Surely, you agree that writing to a few HPOS registers on 8-bit is faster than repainting the same area on ST (or even PC). More custom hardware a machine has, the more combinations there are to discover especially if they are undocumented like switching GTIA to nonGTIA in ANTIC mode F after 27 cycles during hblanking creates a 5-color linear graphics mode that uses PF0..PF3 for the colors and BAK for the background color. Or interlacing Gr.10/11 causes a 5-bit shaded mode. Any tricks like that being discovered on ST?

On another note, is there some document of cycle by cycle analysis of each scanline like A8 has like 114 cycles/scanline, 29868 cycles/frame on NTSC, etc.?

#70 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 2:58 PM

Utter rubbish. You made same invalid point before in another thread. Your idea sucks. It's more expensive to implement, it's planar and chunky and would require more instructions to implement depending on mode and more hardware to implement. EGA was prominent at the time and it used planar to save memory and allow easy upgrading to higher color depths. Standard VGA also used planar in 640*480*16. You don't see them die out because of planar mode. There are also some advantages of planar which you forgot about. Using your idea Amiga would have died earlier. Well, actually I think Amiga is still alive.


CGA and EGA both have chunky pixel modes though, right?
And how does using a planar bitmap system save memory compared to a chunky framebuffer with similar bits per pixel. 2-bpp will still use 1 byte per 4 pixels in either case, right, 4-bit bing 2 pixels per byte and 8-bit pixles each using a single byte of memoty. (assuming we're talking about packed pixels, not umpacked ones each stored in a single byte in spite of being less than 8-bpp)

#71 atarian63 OFFLINE  

atarian63

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:04 PM

To me the ST is just a bad Amiga copy, which again is the evolution of the A8. Yes, A8 is superiour. At the time of release the A8 was unbeatable, just like the Amiga when it came out.

How is that when the ST came out first? Amiga upon release did not sell well and was full of problems, this went on for at least the 1st 6months or so.
They are different machines completely. Neither is a copy.

#72 Lazarus OFFLINE  

Lazarus

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 5:42 PM


That's a bit 80's thinking. "If gfx/sound sucks, it's a business machine". I think gaming was a key feature for all those home computers, some were just better at it than others.
...

From manufacturer's point of view, gaming wasn't a key feature for Atari ST; they didn't bother putting sprites in nor other blitter-type enhancements to ANTIC. However, they did know consoles like A7800 needed sprites.

That might be contributed to the requirement that they had to release the ST earlier than the Amiga.

Utter rubbish. You made same invalid point before in another thread. Your idea sucks. It's more expensive to implement, it's planar and chunky and would require more instructions to implement depending on mode and more hardware to implement. EGA was prominent at the time and it used planar to save memory and allow easy upgrading to higher color depths. Standard VGA also used planar in 640*480*16. You don't see them die out because of planar mode.

It uses exactly the same memory, it does save several bitplane pointer registers and the bitplane DMA becomes less complicated because you don't have to care for the different bitplanes and their use of different DMA cycles.

There are also some advantages of planar which you forgot about.

There are no advantages.

#73 landondyer OFFLINE  

landondyer

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:30 PM

I liked the 8 bit for hacking games, but you *had* to program in assembly, and after a while that got to be really tiresome. (You could write stuff games in Basic -- in fact, I had a roommate who excelled at making *fun* games with primitive graphics that were ready to got in an afternoon). But ultimately the miserable I/O of the 8-bit era and the cramped address space made things less than enjoyable.

The ST had its own problems, but it was a lot more fun to actually write programs on. (Wish it had had a real operating system. Oh well). However, the sound chip was pathetic, and you had to do all the blitting by hand. The ST was better for doing systems-like work.

#74 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

kool kitty89

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:10 PM

There are also some advantages of planar which you forgot about.

There are no advantages.


In the context of the ST that would seem so (with 1, 2, and 4 bpp display modes), but in the Amiga's case, it facilitated the 32-color (5bpp) mode, plus the 64-color halfbrite mode and HAM I think. (unless I misunderstand the nature of HAM and it's not 4,096 colors per scanline, but palette swapping every scaline like the Apple IIgs does and atari ST and consoles like Mega Drive can do as well -with software at least)


To me the ST is just a bad Amiga copy, which again is the evolution of the A8. Yes, A8 is superiour. At the time of release the A8 was unbeatable, just like the Amiga when it came out.

How is that when the ST came out first? Amiga upon release did not sell well and was full of problems, this went on for at least the 1st 6months or so.
They are different machines completely. Neither is a copy.


Yeah, they really were in development at the same time, Amiga may have started develop earlier (it was in the works for a good while), but that doesn't mean it contributed to the the ST's design. (if anything the Macintosh would have been more of an influence; the STE otoh seems more of a response to the Amiga's capabilities -by which point both platforms were falling behind some advancements of PC and MAC platforms)

I will give you an example, the Sharp X68000 is another 10mhz 68000 based computer sold only in Japan in 1987--> and they went the opposite way of the Amiga and went for very specific custom hardware in the style of the C64 (this is the closest any 16bit computer comes to being a spiritual successor to the C64 by the way) it has massively powerful but fixed sound hardware....massively powerful sprite engine....massively powerful screen controls. However that poor machine hasn't got a hope in hell of even producing a better version of Lotus Turbo Challenge 2 or Batman on the Amiga....no blitter you see? And the instruments for the music all sound a bit samey and PC general midi Roland LAPC-1 style...or like a SNES console if you like.

Sound is subjective sure, I kind of meant that the music sounds a bit samey on X68000 games....a bit like SNES games if you get my drift, the quality certainly is fantastic and technically higher quality I know...


A couple more comments on these points: Firstly games like outrun and Lotus could be done well without a blitter (or custom scaling hardware as in the arcade -arguable falling into the blitter category as well in some cases), but with sprite+tilemap displays like x68000 or Sega Genesis, such games could still be done pretty well. (and in the Genesis's case at least, many of the raster effects the Amiga could do, it could do as well)
Interestingly, I find that the Atari ST version of Space harrier with its software scaling is one of the best looking home ports from the time, it may not be full screen, but it looks better than the Amiga version of "Space Harrier II" on the Genesis.

As for the sound, this has come up between us before, but I have to disagree about the Roland MT-32/100/LAPPC-I and SNTS compared to Paula. All 3 have some distinctive characteristics and in the MT-32's case is an acutal synthesizer as well as sampler (and could use user definine samples as well), I personally find most MT-32 music better sounding than most similarly composed music on SNES of Amiga (there are certainly better compositions in general, but that's more the composer and not the hardware). I will agree that most MT-32 compositions for games do tend to have a similar sound to them, but that may be mostly due to user prefrence; I definitely wouldn't compare it to general midi though, which is limited to hardcoded samples and is completle wavetable based. (and some compositions do break from this as well) In the case of Fm synth chips like the YM2151, the "samey" sapect is a bit greater due tot he nature of the chips, and in that case it's even more up to programmers/composer to get the best from it with their own sound engines, and indeed many do break free from the more stereotypical FM synth music tendancies. (the same could be said for SID music, but moreso IMO)

As to SNES's and Amiga comparison, they're very similar in the sense that they're both entirely sample based (with some exceptions of software generated waveforms and such) and user-defined (no hard coded samples available), in the SNES's case it has 64 kB of SRAM for storing 16-bit ADPCM samples, with the Amiga using 8-bit signed linear two's complement samples (stored in chipram iirc). The Amiga's 4 8-bit DACs being DMA driven outputting 4 channels with 8-bit waveforms at up to 28.87 KHz, while the SNES has a dedicaded 2.048 MHz SPC700 (custom Sony 650x derivative) controlling a 16-bit 24.576 MHz DSP outputting 8 channels of 16-bit waveforms at up to 32 kHz sampling rate. Both use various filters as well (in some cases creating mufled sounds, sometimes critisized, particularly in the SNES's case) The Amiga is stuck with 2 voices hardware to each left and right audio outputs, or paired to give 2 stereo channels with full panning, while the SNES had 8-channels, each supporting hard panning (left-center-right) or pairing for true panning stereo. (hard panning used more often)

However, this contributes little to the main point, "sameyness" which, if true, is due entirely to developers using standard instrument sets provided with the dev kits, although I recall a good deal of distinctive music deviating from this. (for example, Capcom's disney games tend to use their on fiarly distinctive instrument set, same for Argonaut Super FX games -Star Fox, Vortex, Stunt Racer FX), the same could be said for the many Games developed for Genesis using the rather poor GEMS engine.

but after compiling a 12Gb archive of MODs from demos and games I came to the conclusion that the Japs are rubbish at game music with a severe bias to orchestral type soundtracks....not my cup of tea :)


Huh??? Tha't a gross overgenralization if anything, there're plenty of Japanese developed games that don't get into the "orchestral" stuff, SNES kind of catered to that due to the sample based audio, though even there, there are a fair number of non-orchestral sounding games. (SMW or Mario Kart for example; plus quite a few western dvelopers went the orchestral route for that as well) In th e8-bit era that was true to an even lesser extent, and on top of that, lots of Japanese arcade games had rock/pop/jazy music, look at varios SHMUPS, fighting games, etc, plus look at Sega's games (arcade and home).

Your observation really seems unfounded to me...

Edited by kool kitty89, Fri Nov 27, 2009 7:23 PM.


#75 atariksi OFFLINE  

atariksi

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:22 PM


Utter rubbish. You made same invalid point before in another thread. Your idea sucks. It's more expensive to implement, it's planar and chunky and would require more instructions to implement depending on mode and more hardware to implement. EGA was prominent at the time and it used planar to save memory and allow easy upgrading to higher color depths. Standard VGA also used planar in 640*480*16. You don't see them die out because of planar mode. There are also some advantages of planar which you forgot about. Using your idea Amiga would have died earlier. Well, actually I think Amiga is still alive.


CGA and EGA both have chunky pixel modes though, right?
And how does using a planar bitmap system save memory compared to a chunky framebuffer with similar bits per pixel. 2-bpp will still use 1 byte per 4 pixels in either case, right, 4-bit bing 2 pixels per byte and 8-bit pixles each using a single byte of memoty. (assuming we're talking about packed pixels, not umpacked ones each stored in a single byte in spite of being less than 8-bpp)


CGA only has 640*200 mono and 320*200 chunky (4 colors so 4 pixels per byte). EGA is planar at 640*350 a bit worse than Amiga's planar mode though. However, the EGA RAM can be upgraded from 32K -> 64K -> 128K so the 640*350 mono can use up to 4 planes without having to modify the hardware in addition to being able to disable planes you don't need. On the Amiga side, the planar helps in the ability to squeeze planes wherever in memory by using bitplane pointers.




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