Retro Computers - Atari 600XL - Retro computer

Atari 600XL
Atari 600 XL
Everyone say ta.

The Atari 600XL was released in 1983. It was Atari's low end replacement for the now discontinued Atari 400 personal computer.

Like other 1983'ers it came with an inbuilt 16KB of memory, it's own version of BASIC and it also had a PBI Parallel Bus Interface on the rear of the unit to acomodate Parallel Bus expansion devices. Devices such as the Atari 1064 64K memory module and the Atari 1090XL Expansion System. You could go upgrade crazy if you wanted to.

The Atari 600XL like it's younger brother the Atari 400 lacked a composite video output port. Atari Home Computer Division engineers revealed that originally the Atari 600XL was going to have composite video, but it was cut from the final design to reduce costs.

A good range of games was released (many by Atari as you might imagine!) for the Atari machines, but developers began to favour the 800XL when it was released as it had more memory in the shape of 64KB. Machines with 16KB never really stood the test of time (look at what happened to the 16KB Spectrum and the 16KB Oric 1), with many users upgrading them where possible or buying a newer model.

The Atari 600XL looked slightly smaller in dimensions than the 800XL. In fact, the 800XL was actually a similar machine, it had more memory (64KB as we have established) and the all important composite video. All peripherals were compatibe with both machines, which is always a smart move. But then Atari always did know what they were doing.

The machine was capable or decent graphics (it had a range of 256 colours each with 16 levels of 'intensity'), and could also produce good sound effects and music. These were always important factors where games developers were concerned. There were plenty of games released on the machine that had that 'Atari feel'. Nice.

The BASIC built in was pretty good, comparable to other 8-bit machines of the era. It had no major issues or problems and users could knock up quick basic programs if they wanted to.

The machine itself looked quite cool, the black case with the white top outline and silver function keys down the right hand side certainly made it more handsome than most other rivals.

Folks, toast Atari and remember the days when they were a major player in the hardware sector. A fine Retro computer.

We recommend trying to pick up one of these machines.
Look at computers for sale online or even locally.

If you don't want to get hold of the real hardware then try and download an emulator and download those classic games. Alternatively you could try and play them online.

MANUFACTURER: Atari Corporation
MACHINE TYPE: Home 8-Bit micro (classic games machine)
END OF PRODUCTION: January 1985?
KEYBOARD: QWERTY mechanical keyboard
CPU: MOS 6502C
SPEED: 1.79 MHz (NTSC) or 1.77 MHz (PAL)
CO-PROCESSOR: GTIA (video), POKEY (sound, I/O), ANTIC (video)
RAM: 16 KB (600 XL expandable up to 64 KB) / 64 KB (800 XL expandable to 128 KB)
ROM: 24 KB
TEXT MODES: five text modes, max: 40 x 24, min: 20 x 12
GRAPHIC MODES: 16 graphic modes, maximum : 320 x 192
COLORS: 256 (16 colors with 16 intensities)
SOUND: 4 voices, 3.5 octaves
I/O PORTS: Composite video output, cartridge slot, peripheral port (SIO), parallel bus, two joystick ports
POWER SUPPLY: External power supply unit

Retro Computers and Classic Games is what we are all about...


Anonymous said...

Ahh happy days. My 1st computer.

I had pole position and a few others, all tape games, no cartridges.

This was actually a very well build machine, although nowhere near as powerful and as my ZX48, +2, +3 I would say the build quality was superior, Atari did manufacture stuff well.

Basic compiler was good and you could do some pretty nice graphical effects considering the infancy of the technology, I guess Atari were ahead of opposition R&D wise through their expertise in arcade hardware.

Everything worked as it should, My 1st and probably most happiest experience of a computer, as my PC struggles to bring up windows explorer with a 3Ghz CPU and 2GB ram you marvel at what a little computer with 16k of ram could do :-)