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which Atari 8 bit model?


cubelindo
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I'm a Commodore 64 guy but I'm thinking about buying an Atari 8 bit computer to try some of the games that were not released on the C64

 

I have absolutely no idea about the 8bit Atari models. There are many and I feel a little lost

 

Which model is "more popular"? I'd like to have a computer to play most, if not all, of the released games if it is possible. Maybe using the Atari equivalent to 1541 Ultimate II or Easyflash

I was thinking about an Atari 800XL (or maybe XE). I'd love to have a recommendation about which model suits me best.

 

Also, I might be able to get NTSC or PAL models (PAL is easier for me). Is there any advantage of the NTSC model over its PAL counterpart?

 

Thanks!

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First of all, welcome to the Atari world!

 

As a Commodore person, you won't be feeling any nostalgia towards any one particular model, therefore I recommend the Atari 130XE.

 

The reason being, it will play more Atari software than any other Atari does and also has an extra 64K memory more than any other model.

 

You will also need this: http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=23

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Get an Atari 800XL ($40-$50) and an SIO2PC-USB (you can make one for ~$5).

 

Then use you computer as a disk drive for the computer, or as I do, use an old laptop. Mine is a 512MB Thinkpad with XP. I set it to not sleep when the lid is closed, and stuffed it under the monitor. To access the Thinkpad, I use Remote Desktop. Makes a nice and tidy drive.

 

You can use your Commodore monitor (I have a 1701 myself) and your Commodore joystick on the Atari.

 

Don't worry about the extra memory, very few games use it.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Awesome! Welcome to the A8! Of course emulating is cheaper and easier and more flexible. I'd say the XE's are the most popular (guessing). That said I'd recommend an 800XL, but stay away from the 800xl's with the membrane keyboard (the big font on keycaps) if you are going to type on it much. Look for the brown PCB behind the keys for the better XL keyboards. Also suggest you do the simple video fix mod for clearer picture and s-video or luma/chroma to a commodore monitor. The NTSC machines play faster than PAL but I think you can get PAL machines cheaper. If you aren't planning on typing a lot then an XE is fine, even if the overall build quality is not as good as the XL. Of course a great condition XE may last longer than a heavily used XL. Stock XE's do have sharper video than the XL so there's that. The XL's have easier access to the cartridge port. Many subtle pros and cons of each but you can't lose with either. Good luck and enjoy!

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Cubeline, i see that you are from Spain. Maybe it is easier to order hardware from ABBUC (Germany) or from http://www.rewindgames.eu/opencart/

(rewindgames is in the Netherlands). Mail postage is faster and its all in Euros. If you become member of ABBUC, they can build the U1MB upgrade in your Atari if you want. Lotharek is in Poland and has also a lot of hardware.

 

For somebody in Europe, it is better to order things in Europe, because of cost of shipping from the USA.

 

Just and idea. no offense against our American Atarian friends of course.

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One consideration is that there are still NIB XE's available on Ebay. For someone with no experience or built-in preference one way or another, I'd probably recommend getting something new if possible because it's likely to be more reliable.

Well he says he wants to 'try some' games so I believe a new-in-box machine is overkill. I still think emulating is the best way to just try some games in a more casual sense. It's free and fits his criteria of being able to play all games.

Edited by Sugarland
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First of all, welcome to the Atari world!

 

As a Commodore person, you won't be feeling any nostalgia towards any one particular model, therefore I recommend the Atari 130XE.

 

The reason being, it will play more Atari software than any other Atari does and also has an extra 64K memory more than any other model.

 

You will also need this: http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=23

 

I wasn't aware the 130XE could run more games than an 800XL? If there any games that use the extra 64KB, they must not be many. In any event, the 800XLs are easily upgraded for memory (and a lot more) and are built of better quality components than any XE.

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I've owned more than a few 800xl's, and never managed to get one in the wild that didn't need something fixed. Not once.

 

I'd take any XE over any XL, anyday.

 

Sometimes, I think people just repeat stuff. Reading these boards you'd think XLs are fail proof tanks and XEs are made of crackers. My experience has been opposite.

 

Maybe I should find an XE with MT RAM chips, use an ingot power supply, and run DOS 3. ?

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I've owned more than a few 800xl's, and never managed to get one in the wild that didn't need something fixed. Not once.

 

 

 

 

I agree. All of mine are wonky in one way or another except the one I bought refurbished from Best. The one that I use as my daily driver actually has several keyboard keys that flat out don't work but I almost never need to type so I haven't bothered taking it apart to see what is up haha.

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I've owned more than a few 800xl's, and never managed to get one in the wild that didn't need something fixed. Not once.

 

I'd take any XE over any XL, anyday.

 

Sometimes, I think people just repeat stuff. Reading these boards you'd think XLs are fail proof tanks and XEs are made of crackers. My experience has been opposite.

 

Maybe I should find an XE with MT RAM chips, use an ingot power supply, and run DOS 3.

 

I can't speak for others, but I wasn't just repeating stuff. People that are versed in electronics can readily tell the difference. The XL line had a number of cost saving corners cut compared to the 800, and the XE line took it even further. Some cost reduction measures did not reduce quality while others did. For example, I find it a desirable feature to have socketed ICs.

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On an 800XL you need socked chips for the frequent repairs and to catch it up to the 130. Upgrade/replace basic, add RAM, enable s-video. IF these are important to you. They are to me. Top that with never having experienced a malfunction on 130XE in decades ...

 

At the end of the day personal experience beats popular opinion on the internet.

 

I could have 1000 mechanics tell a Ford is superior to GM and my next car will still be a GM. Why? Because I've owned both ?

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Not all 800XLs have socketed ICs, and the keyboards are of hugely variable quality. A nice socketed 800XL with an Alps keyboard is a lovely thing providing the keyboard ribbon isn't totally shot.

 

True, but the all the keyboards on the XEs are absolutely icky, and no XEs have socketed ICs. Also, I prefer a real cartridge port plus PBI vs. the XE's Frankenstein port.

Edited by fujidude
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Since the OP was talking specifically about games and using flash carts. I would suggest getting an XEGS, toss the stock piece of crap keyboard, get a TK-II-XEGS-S and a PS/2 keyboard of your choice. And BAM you got yourself a nice little game machine.

 

Of course I'm a bit biased ;)

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols
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True, but the all the keyboards on the XEs are absolutely icky, and no XEs have socketed ICs.

It's a matter of opinion regarding the XE keyboards. Some are very bad and some perfectly good, but the worst version of the 800XL keyboard is such a hopeless piece of shit, you have to strike the keys at exactly ninety degrees lest they jam solid on the way down. :)

 

That said, I prefer good XLs.

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It's a matter of opinion regarding the XE keyboards. Some are very bad and some perfectly good, but the worst version of the 800XL keyboard is such a hopeless piece of shit, you have to strike the keys at exactly ninety degrees lest they jam solid on the way down. :)

 

That said, I prefer good XLs.

 

I have two XEGS's and compared to all the other Atari's I own (got at least one of every model) they have got to be the mushiest keyboards I have ever used. Although it appears to be a similar looking keyboard as what is in my 65 and 130XE, comparatively speaking the difference is like night and day. Now perhaps I just got the luck of the draw when it came to my XEGS machines, and ended up with perhaps the worse version (correction unlucky might be the better term). But out of all the A8's, the XEGS is also the best one for using an alternative keyboard since it is the only one that came with a detachable keyboard from the factory. So unless you absolutely must have or need the stock one, I would go with the alternative approach on this particular A8 model. But that's just me :grin:

 

- Michael

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