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Which is better in the long run? A supposedly new Atari 65XE from Mexico or a used Atari 800 XL?

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Posted (edited)

Which is better in the long run? A supposedly new Atari 65XE from Mexico or a used Atari 800 XL?

 

Will the capacitors and power supply in that supposedly new Atari 65 XE still be any good after all these years of sitting in a box?

 

Or would it be better to get the older Atari 800XL and upgrade the capacitors and power supply at greater cost?

 

Or would I have to upgrade the capacitors and power supply of that Atari 65XE anyways cause of their age?

 

Also, with that used Atari 800 XL the keyboard may need to be replaced and some other parts may also be warned and in need of replacing, if not now soon enough.

 

With the Atari 65 XE the cartridge slot is in bad place which can in the long term be a pain and cause problems and the keyboard is from all I've read not all that great.

 

So chime in, which one would you get and why?

Edited by [email protected]

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Don't worry about capacitors , they are a very rare failure on an Atari .

As for PSU, make sure it's not the ingot style one, they can kill an Atari in seconds when they fail.

Xe has poor quality mt ram that will fail and a mylar keyboard that you may or may not like.

Personally I'd go for the XL as I prefer the style and keyboard feel 

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I'm sure for most people it's a preference thing. 

 

 

 

Even though I have to admit my setup is 130XE, not 65xe, I still like buying the supposedly new, because they aren't discolored.   I recently got a TurboFreezer 2011.  That serves two functions, it adds 512K of ram externally, and because it takes a cartridge slot, it also adds a cartridge slot - which is now vertical, not horizontal.

 

Of course, I fully admit my preference is to get fun hardware and go with that.


I like that I could plug in 512k of ram to any computer and not need it upgraded...whether I will ever get another atari  - isn't certain. 

turbof.JPG

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3 hours ago, [email protected] said:

Which is better in the long run? A supposedly new Atari 65XE from Mexico or a used Atari 800 XL?

 

Will the capacitors and power supply in that supposedly new Atari 65 XE still be any good after all these years of sitting in a box?

 

Or would it be better to get the older Atari 800XL and upgrade the capacitors and power supply at greater cost?

 

Or would I have to upgrade the capacitors and power supply of that Atari 65XE anyways cause of their age?

 

Also, with that used Atari 800 XL the keyboard may need to be replaced and some other parts may also be warned and in need of replacing, if not now soon enough.

 

With the Atari 65 XE the cartridge slot is in bad place which can in the long term be a pain and cause problems and the keyboard is from all I've read not all that great.

 

So chime in, which one would you get and why?

The 800XL:

  • It has a PBI
  • There is a chance it is socketed. If not, the motherboard is a lot tougher than the XE versions
  • Capacitors aren't an issue
  • Power supply is easy enough to make with a 2amp USB charger
  • I prefer the 800XL keyboard. 🙂
  • The video is easy to fix
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800XL for the reasons listed above (much easier to work on, might be socketed while the XE won't be...)

But for me, for purely personal choice reasons, the XL just looks better. I never did like the XE styling that tried to copy the new (at the time) ST line. It's not a baby ST, so it shouldn't try to look like one (IMO...YMMV).

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one other thought, the mentioned power supply reasoning (USB to Din7) works on XE in addition to most XL models (exception 1200xl).   

 

 

 

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Is this the 65XE you are thinking of?

 

Atari 65XE COMPUTER 64K RAM NEW NTSC US COMPATIBLE from Atari MEXICO | eBay

 

If you don't plan on upgrading the internals and intend to use the computer as-is then the big deciding factors would be how the keyboard feels and the video quality output.

 

The 65XE probably has a bit of a mushy keyboard compared to the 800XL. If you intend to type journals, develop code, or play lots of text based games then maybe that's a factor ... but, if you're not going to type lots and lots then maybe it doesn't matter. 

 

The 65XE will probably have decently clean S-Video output that you could easily convert to HDMI with an external box. Cleaning up the video in an 800XL is probably "easy" but is that something you are dedicated to doing? I mean, soldering iron and all that?

 

The cartridge slot in the back is not very convenient to use but the top loading 800XL cartridge slot can collect dust if you're not careful. Will you be playing lots of cartridge games or would you consider a drive emulator and load games from ATR files instead? If you go with loading ATR files (I do) then who cares about the cartridge. You'll rarely use it.

 

So, which to get? Depends on those priorities.

 

Keyboard #1? --> 800XL

Video quality #1? --> 65XE

Cartridge port #1? --> 800XL

Cheapest price #1? --> Probably the 800XL will cost less. Look here. 

 

Vintage ATARI 800XL Computer Power Supply Manuals and 25 Disks of Games | eBay 

 

Maybe you'll get lucky and get it for less than $225?

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I won't touch that one cause it's not tested and they don't have screenshot showing that its running. 

 

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I prefer the XL series for all of the reasons mentioned above.

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I agree than the choice comes down to personal preference.  I have always preferred the XL. It was the current machine when I got my first computer in my teens.  The 600XL in particular will always have a special place in my nostalgic memories.  It was my first learning machine.  Upgrading it to 64kb RAM was one of my first soldering experiences.  Build quality was much better with the XL.  If the XE is untested, I would be wary of buying one with bad memory.  Some 65XE models have 8 DRAM chips, later designs use just 2 4464 DRAM for the 64kb.  The 130XEs with defective MT (micron) memory are a known problem.  I'm not sure how many 65XEs are affected or if any were produced with the same sketchy RAM as in the 130XE, but it is a consideration.

 

I won't completely condemn the XE series.  The truth is, I still love them all.  400/800/XL/XE.

 

Aiming to own just one machine?  Getting a good deal on a 800XL would be a safer choice, if you find one gently used or at least well cared for. 

 

 

 

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The bad thing about the 65XE is $$ and no ECI expansion bus, according to the listing.  As an alternative, you might check around here at AA.  People here are typically reputable, and most don't try to gouge when selling surplus hardware. Of course, used equipment is used equipment, and that can end badly.  And it depends on your time horizon. 

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Posted (edited)

As an owner of both an Atari Mexico 65XE (bought through Bruce at B & C ComputerVisions, a.k.a. "myatari" on eBay) and a XEGS I dig them both but the XEGS takes the spot in my home arcade lineup due to its top-loading cartridge port as opposed to the horizontal, rear-loading port of the 65XE, but, the XEGS has issues uploading certain programs on my Ultimate Cart and it sometimes bypasses it straight through to the built-in Missile Command port, most notably on the Glenn The 5200 Man conversion of Centipede, the Tempest Xtreem demo, and a few others, but, also, Asteroids (and some other games with a black backdrop) appear to look a little dark on the 65XE, as I can't make out my ship or its direction it's pointing in on the 65XE as opposed to playing it on the XEGS. The 65XE is a great gaming machine as it incorporates the full keyboard and cartridge port all in ONE unit, despite the fact the cartridge port is rear-mounted as opposed to being a top loader like the XEGS is, in which the keyboard is a separate tool. Also question for @Mark2008, how can I get my hands on a TurboFreezer for my 65XE??? The bonuses of adding 512K of RAM AND also having a top-loading cart port are crucial to me and it offers both.

Edited by BIGHMW

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Considering that a PBI U1MB-type expansion is coming from @candle I'd go for the 800XL. Note that the type 4 and 5 keyboards are IMO worse than the XE's.  The 65XE is still a nice machine. It's lighter and the keyboard is still decent.

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29 minutes ago, BIGHMW said:

The bonuses of adding 512K of RAM AND also having a top-loading cart port are crucial to me and it offers both.

@santosp did a run of Turbo Freezer last year, you could contact him to see if they are still available.

 

The SYSCHECK 2.2 also offers 512K of extended RAM as well as a top loading cartridge port on XE versions.

tf_hh is currently out of stock on both of the XL/XE combo versions but does have 2 of the XL and 2 of the XE specific versions.

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As someone that's done a tonne of research regarding the various Atari 8 bit models, the 600/800XL's seem like the best 'all round' buy to me.

 

The PBI bus expansion on the rear is just a must. The only thing I really don't like is the top mounted cartridge port, it's an awkward location. I by far preferred the side cartridge port of the 1200XL.

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On 3/10/2021 at 7:23 PM, gollumer said:

But for me, for purely personal choice reasons, the XL just looks better. I never did like the XE styling that tried to copy the new (at the time) ST line. It's not a baby ST, so it shouldn't try to look like one (IMO...YMMV).

It's not the XE styling that bothers me, it's how cheap the materials feel.  800XL feels more solid

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Don't forget to factor in how much the 65xe will be devalued once it's used 

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My one complaint about the 800xl is the decision to omit +5V on the PBI (unlike the 600xl).  It's a simple fix to add it back, but I wish it wasn't necessary.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/10/2021 at 3:13 PM, goya said:

Which is better in the long run? A supposedly new Atari 65XE from Mexico or a used Atari 800 XL?

 

Will the capacitors and power supply in that supposedly new Atari 65 XE still be any good after all these years of sitting in a box?

 

Or would it be better to get the older Atari 800XL and upgrade the capacitors and power supply at greater cost?

 

Or would I have to upgrade the capacitors and power supply of that Atari 65XE anyways cause of their age?

 

Also, with that used Atari 800 XL the keyboard may need to be replaced and some other parts may also be warned and in need of replacing, if not now soon enough.

 

With the Atari 65 XE the cartridge slot is in bad place which can in the long term be a pain and cause problems and the keyboard is from all I've read not all that great.

 

So chime in, which one would you get and why?

 

Here's your winning ticket on the 800XL platform:

 

  1. MoBo Rev. C or better (fully socketed, Hong-Kong).
  2. High-quality Type-1 ALPS keyboard (full PCB / mech.). Durable, reliable, and solidly built.
  3. Make SURE unit has been well stored and exposed to low humidity. XL and XE units are very prone to humidity intrusion and will rot shields, and contact-pads / tracks underneath the shields. RF-modulator shield or BLACK spots / stains visible through under-panel vents is a key sign of poor storage.

 

Judging from own experience (NOT sure about others), I would avoid XE build-quality, as much as you can. 

Edited by Faicuai
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Posted (edited)

The problem is: getting a 800xl type I keyboard with the right board is quite difficult and expensive. Instead a new 65xe not that much. 

A good, descend alternative IMO is a Chelco 800xl. Those usually came with type IV keyboard and a black label. If you are lucky it will come with the "white beauty" power supply. 

I was able to a Hong Kong 800xl with type one keyboard at a descent price, but it was in a very poor condition, and it required a big deal of restoration work., and it still looks not that great. 

Another safe bet is a 600xl with type II keyboard. Those usually are socketed. Need to throw in a UAV in the case of ntsc and perform the 3 wires 64kb ram expansion, though. 

 

 

Edited by manterola

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10 hours ago, BIGHMW said:

As an owner of both an Atari Mexico 65XE (bought through Bruce at B & C ComputerVisions, a.k.a. "myatari" on eBay) and a XEGS I dig them both but the XEGS takes the spot in my home arcade lineup due to its top-loading cartridge port as opposed to the horizontal, rear-loading port of the 65XE, but, the XEGS has issues uploading certain programs on my Ultimate Cart and it sometimes bypasses it straight through to the built-in Missile Command port, most notably on the Glenn The 5200 Man conversion of Centipede, the Tempest Xtreem demo, and a few others, but, also, Asteroids (and some other games with a black backdrop) appear to look a little dark on the 65XE, as I can't make out my ship or its direction it's pointing in on the 65XE as opposed to playing it on the XEGS. The 65XE is a great gaming machine as it incorporates the full keyboard and cartridge port all in ONE unit, despite the fact the cartridge port is rear-mounted as opposed to being a top loader like the XEGS is, in which the keyboard is a separate tool. Also question for @Mark2008, how can I get my hands on a TurboFreezer for my 65XE??? The bonuses of adding 512K of RAM AND also having a top-loading cart port are crucial to me and it offers both.

 

I got one off sellmyretro, which often has neat stuff, but not stocked year round, it's kind of catch it when you can.  But the user that sells them is psodas and he offers them for sale on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 

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I generally prefer the XL although with a couple caveats:

 

1) If you get an "ingot" power supply, don't even turn the system on. Replace it immediately before you do. You can fry your computer. It almost happened to me.

 

2) There are something like seven different keyboards in different production runs of these. There's a thread here about it. Some of them are good, some are pretty bad. I've had both myself. (I don't remember which keyboard my current XL has, but it's not one of the better ones.)

 

That said, the XE's keyboard seems to be bad no matter what. But an XL's keyboard only may or may not be better. It's not guaranteed.

 

If I knew exactly what I was getting with the XL, it was all good stuff and the price was the same or lower than the XE, then I'd get the XL. If it was a crapshoot, then I might actually just get the XE, which is at least a known quantity and should be in "new" condition.

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