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leech

The New Atari 1200xl!

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https://archive.org/details/1983-05-compute-magazine/page/n23/mode/2up (Page 24/25)

407491100_Screenshotfrom2021-04-1219-25-14.thumb.png.f73509de4bb5da1a82ddfe02d820299a.png

 

I love this ad, especially as it touts "8 programmable function keys controlling 16 functions in a 64K computer.  (That's twice as many as the Commodore 64)." as if "I have more function keys than you do Nah nah! :P is such a selling point.

Though I'm curious, has anyone ever used the other stuff, like locking / unlocking the keyboard, disabling screen DMA for faster processing time, generating European language or graphics characters... I mean turning off keyboard sound is sweet.  Not sure what 'one-touch cursor control' is. 

 

1200xl is a beautiful machine though.  I should get back to updating the OS on mine...

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@leech I totally agree with you but with a twist. The 1200XL can be the nearly perfect Atari workstation with a little bit of help. Upgrade the video to clean it up and replace R63 with a 0 Ohm device to enable some SIO devices. Done! :) 

 

The design of the machine is beautiful. Perfect width, depth, and  height ratio. The keyboard is tappity slick. Sometimes the cartridge port feels a little awkward but I use it so rarely that it’s kind of a “don’t care” for me.

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22 minutes ago, 1200XL M.U.L.E. said:

@leech I totally agree with you but with a twist. The 1200XL can be the nearly perfect Atari workstation with a little bit of help. Upgrade the video to clean it up and replace R63 with a 0 Ohm device to enable some SIO devices. Done! :) 

 

The design of the machine is beautiful. Perfect width, depth, and  height ratio. The keyboard is tappity slick. Sometimes the cartridge port feels a little awkward but I use it so rarely that it’s kind of a “don’t care” for me.

Yeah, I did the Super Video 2.1 mod on mine. And the SIO patch was already done when I got it, along with a memory upgrade to 256kb.  I only wanted the slightly newer ROM for it, but burned it to a wrong chip the first time.  Bob was going to test something and let me know.  I should ping that thread again...

But for sure, the 1200xl is my favorite 8bit.  Only other thing missing is the PBI.  But don't have many reasons for that.

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9 hours ago, leech said:

Though I'm curious, has anyone ever used the other stuff, like locking / unlocking the keyboard, disabling screen DMA for faster processing time, generating European language or graphics characters... I mean turning off keyboard sound is sweet. 

In BASIC on all A8s, disabling DMA is a simple POKE. 

 

The XLs' RAM under ROM is a nice way to patch the OS, but where do you put the new code? Over the international character set, of course.

 

In my 800 I added a pot to the speaker so I could type late at night without waking the neighborhood.

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"In my 800 I added a pot to the speaker so I could type late at night without waking the neighborhood."

 

It always struck me odd at how much variation there is in the XL series Key Click and SIO sounds.  My 1200XL's have a very loud key clicks and quite soft SIO.  If I set the SIO sound to a nice level, then the key click is jarring.  Don't remember much about my 800, but I'm sure @ClausB  has it right.

 

An interesting little tidbit -- the the 1200XL is apx. 12(1/2)" deep; the 800XL is apx. 8(3/4)" deep; and the 600XL is apx. 6(3/4)" deep.  I've never seen anything written that indicates that those dimensions had anything to do with the names, but if a coincidence, it is an interesting one.

 

The 1200XL is a nice Atari, but takes up a lot of desk space, IMO.

 

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11 hours ago, leech said:

https://archive.org/details/1983-05-compute-magazine/page/n23/mode/2up (Page 24/25)

407491100_Screenshotfrom2021-04-1219-25-14.thumb.png.f73509de4bb5da1a82ddfe02d820299a.png

 

I love this ad, especially as it touts "8 programmable function keys controlling 16 functions in a 64K computer.  (That's twice as many as the Commodore 64)." as if "I have more function keys than you do Nah nah! :P is such a selling point.

Though I'm curious, has anyone ever used the other stuff, like locking / unlocking the keyboard, disabling screen DMA for faster processing time, generating European language or graphics characters... I mean turning off keyboard sound is sweet.  Not sure what 'one-touch cursor control' is. 

 

1200xl is a beautiful machine though.  I should get back to updating the OS on mine...

And it's got more graphics modes!   (Doesn't matter that some of them aren't very useful!)

 

Back then they used to take anything they could as a differentiator and use it for marketing.   Nobody really knew what mattered when selling computers,  and customers didn't really know what they wanted.

 

So you'd see comparisons charts showing "a few more keys" here,  we have 20K ROM, they only have 16K ROM, etc.   Things that didn't really matter much, but we didn't know it then.

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1200Xls are a thing of beauty.  Even today, no one can argue that the designer was way a head of his time on that design.  So much so that Atari Warner carried it forward in the other XLs and peripherals.  As for the cart accessibility, that's been address/fixe with Dropcheck's cart extender.  Parallel bus not exposed, some have modded even that.  I too saw very little need for it, even back in the day.  As for the programmable function buttons, I have no need for them.  But, it's good to know there there for folks that might have used them back then.  I picked up my beauty for $35 at a thrift store many years ago in Alamogordo, NM.  I didn't need it, but there she sit, boxed and everything complete.  No longer.  

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, zzip said:

Back then they used to take anything they could as a differentiator and use it for marketing.   Nobody really knew what mattered when selling computers,  and customers didn't really know what they wanted.

Eh, it's not much different now. Ads and blurbs are full of mumbo-jumbo which is often obfuscating and/or of not much revelance.

 

  

4 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

1200Xls are a thing of beauty.  Even today, no one can argue that the designer was way a head of his time on that design. 

Maybe for real Atari fans, especially after the earlier models. This template leaves me cold though: the wonky function keys, too much plastic on the sides and in the back...nah. The first Atari design I really liked was the 65XE/ST look.

 

Edited by youxia

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Posted (edited)

When I saw the 1200XL for the first time, back in my early-youth sales days, it was beautiful from anywhere you looked at ir. We used to sell all major personal computer brands, and the 1200XL was on par with IBM and Apple aesthetics, to the point of making look other contemporary products as half-assed attempts.

 

But all that came at a cost, which we soon realized. Most notably, its architecture, which (monitor-port aside) was inexplicably reduced to the 400's own closedness, minus two joystick ports. Next to the 800's open-spirit, plus SW and HW incompatibilities,  made it really hard to consider it as a real substitute. That part was a bit painful, because the 1200XL was love at first sight.

 

The good news is that its spirit lives on, and (believe it or not) most of its OS-code for handling its extended-functions keyboard still remains INTACT on XL / XE and XEGS loads (!) Leveraging these assets, I decided to recover most of the functionality with cycle-exact re-mappings on the OS keyboard manager. With aid of unused key-strokes. we now have access to International Character. Keyboard lock/unlock, Keyboard click on.off and (most importantly) 1200XL's on-the-fly DMA control for significantly boosting CPU performance whenever needed, plus other key improvements:

 

 

(Separate XE03 and XE04 loads for Incognito and Ultimate-1MB are included in \HARDWARE folder)

 

A gift from the 1200XL we can all enjoy today!

Edited by Faicuai
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35 minutes ago, youxia said:

Eh, it's not much different now. Ads and blurbs are full of mumbo-jumbo which is often obfuscating and/or of not much revelance.

 

  

Maybe for real Atari fans, especially after the earlier models. This template leaves me cold though: the wonky function keys, too much plastic on the sides and in the back...nah. The first Atari design I really liked was the 65XE/ST look.

 

The 65XE/ST is ALL plastic, even on the sides and in the back..  Hummmm.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, gilsaluki said:

The 65XE/ST is ALL plastic, even on the sides and in the back..  Hummmm.

Pfft!!!

 

Of course, the 65XE looks like a joke next to the 1200XL, and there is little that can be done about it! (let us not even talk about buld-quality, since everything XE means "Tramielized" standards (eg. decline of the business, unfortunately).

 

I had a 1040STf before moving finally to PC/Dos/Windows... Got plenty out of it, but one day I had to open it, for repair, and then noticed the cheap, tab-twisting I had to go through allover to remove the flimsy shields and get access to the system board... It never felt good...

Edited by Faicuai

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3 hours ago, Larry said:

An interesting little tidbit -- the the 1200XL is apx. 12(1/2)" deep; the 800XL is apx. 8(3/4)" deep; and the 600XL is apx. 6(3/4)" deep.  I've never seen anything written that indicates that those dimensions had anything to do with the names, but if a coincidence, it is an interesting one.

This is my favorite new Atari trivia!  Also, the XL line of computers is the most beautiful computer design ever.  Fight me if you disagree!  :P

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16 minutes ago, Faicuai said:

 the 65XE looks like a joke next to the 1200XL

Haha. If you guys feel like arguing about taste, go ahead. I'll sit and watch :)

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4 minutes ago, youxia said:

Haha. If you guys feel like arguing about taste, go ahead. I'll sit and watch :)

You post a provocative comment and then follow up with this? GTFO with that kind of trolling. :)

 

 

BF6E863A-D7E2-453A-827B-BE0ED123034E.jpeg

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3 hours ago, Larry said:

An interesting little tidbit -- the the 1200XL is apx. 12(1/2)" deep; the 800XL is apx. 8(3/4)" deep; and the 600XL is apx. 6(3/4)" deep.  I've never seen anything written that indicates that those dimensions had anything to do with the names, but if a coincidence, it is an interesting one.

Interesting..   But I'm not sure that was planned,    as far as I could tell,  the 1400XL was going to use the same or very similar case as the 1200XL...   or was it 2 inches deeper?

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3 hours ago, Larry said:

It always struck me odd at how much variation there is in the XL series Key Click and SIO sounds.

In the 400 and 800 the key clicks and cassette beep come from an internal speaker, not the TV audio. Great for the 400 though as it provided some tactile feedback.

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2 hours ago, youxia said:

Maybe for real Atari fans, especially after the earlier models. This template leaves me cold though: the wonky function keys, too much plastic on the sides and in the back...nah. The first Atari design I really liked was the 65XE/ST look.

The XE looks nice, but it feels really cheaply made if you ever used an XL or especially an 800.   The XL look really stood out in '83,  and I don't think it's aged that badly.   The only Atari computer design I don't like is the 400.   Oh and those pastel buttons on the XEGS clash with the rest of the design IMO,  apart from that, I think it was an attractive line

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11 minutes ago, Stephen said:

tenor.gif

 

 

He's going to need a much bigger PopCorn jar...

 

Buckle-up... 😜😎

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22 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

You post a provocative comment and then follow up with this? GTFO with that kind of trolling. :)

 

 

BF6E863A-D7E2-453A-827B-BE0ED123034E.jpeg

I should put my two 1200xls in a room together and see if they can make me a third... or do they have to grow up after being born as a 600xl?

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19 minutes ago, zzip said:

The XE looks nice, but it feels really cheaply made if you ever used an XL or especially an 800.   The XL look really stood out in '83,  and I don't think it's aged that badly.   The only Atari computer design I don't like is the 400.   Oh and those pastel buttons on the XEGS clash with the rest of the design IMO,  apart from that, I think it was an attractive line

I should make some STLs of the buttons and see about swapping them out with some different colored ones with my 3D printer.    I understand the 'why' they did it that way (game systems seemed to use various 'cutesy' colors).

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, zzip said:

Oh and those pastel buttons on the XEGS clash with the rest of the design IMO,

 

Absolutely. They look totally out of place, BUT designed to look kid-friendly, inviting... (less abstract).

Edited by Faicuai

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11 minutes ago, leech said:

I understand the 'why' they did it that way (game systems seemed to use various 'cutesy' colors).

yeah makes sense, but if they really wanted a cutesy/kid-friendly design, they should have extended the design throughout the console, and not just  they should have extended the design thoughout the console,  and not just those buttons.   The way it is it clashes and feels like those buttons were a last-minute addition.

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

yeah makes sense, but if they really wanted a cutesy/kid-friendly design, they should have extended the design throughout the console, and not just  they should have extended the design thoughout the console,  and not just those buttons.   The way it is it clashes and feels like those buttons were a last-minute addition.

Yeah, I'm not exactly a design expert, so can't really decide what I would have done different while keeping the pastel colors and made it more kid-like.  I mean I always preferred the aesthetics of Sega's consoles over Nintendo's, which I think is what Atari was shooting for as their competition, when they designed the XEGS.  Tried to figure out why the pastel colors, as it seems more like what the SNES had going for it, vs what was on the original NES, but the XEGS came out in 1987, the NES in 1983, and the SNES in 1990.  So not sure what else was out around '87 for them to think 'yeah, pastel colors would be awesome on the gray.'

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17 hours ago, leech said:

I love this ad, especially as it touts "8 programmable function keys controlling 16 functions in a 64K computer.  (That's twice as many as the Commodore 64)." as if "I have more function keys than you do Nah nah! :P is such a selling point.

 

Function keys rule!

 

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