Personal Computer News - 095
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Magnificent seven lead out by Atari
When the wreckage was cleared away and the bodies removed, the score at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was Atari 5, Commodore 2.
'Business is War,' says Atari boss Jack Tramiel, and his new-look corporation went for every jugular in sight, as its multiple product launch stopped the show. Commodore hit back, but was beaten for panache, scope, and sheer nerve. The rest were nowhere.
The Atari slogan at Las Vegas was 'Power without the Price'. When the dust settles and the machines get the chance to prove themselves, we'll know about the power; but the prices are amazing. On paper Atari has killed off the Macintosh, the QL and any number of mid-range micros in one fell swoop.
That's on paper. Coleco made a splash along the same lines at the same show two years ago, and in the end it couldn't deliver. Atari's machines look far more ambitious, but with Tramiel involved anything could happen.
As he'd promised before Christmas, Atari had complete families on show at Las Vegas. The XE line of 8-bit systems are direct descendants of the 800XL; the ST twins break new ground for Atari with Motorola 68000 processors. For good measure there were also new peripherals and some startling software. Members of the Tramiel family were also in evidence.
From the bottom: the 65XE is an 800XL with a face-lift, but the differences aren't all superficial. The XE range has re-jigged circuitry, with the result that they are visibly faster than the 800XL and reputedly more reliable. The 65XE will cost about $120.
The 65XEM adds a music synthesiser to the basic design - its price will be under $160. The 65XEP is a luggable version of the 65XE, with a built-in 3.5in floppy drive and a 5in monochrome monitor, for about $400.
At the top of the XE range is the 130XE, with 128K to the 64K of the others. This machine will reach US shops later this year with a price tag of about $200. Like the others, it's driven by a 6502 with a new version of Atari DOS. Owners of the 800XL are promised an upgrade from their DOS 3.0 to the new version, and Atari is claiming compatibility with all 800XL software for the new systems.
The XE range looked good in its own right, but it turned out to be just an appetiser before the main course - the 130ST and the 520ST. Both machines run a 68000 processor with a proprietary operating system that is still called TOS (Tramiel Operating System). Anybody who thought that this might be a temporary name while something more suitable was devised looks like being disappointed. Tramiel seems to be making a bid for immortality in more ways than one.
Issue 95 - January 19th 1985

Apologies to faithful followers of the Next Week panel on the Quit page. In recent weeks we have constantly been overtaken by events - this issue is no exception.

Those of you eagerly looking forward to our reviews of home robot systems will have to contain yourselves. We decided to hold that for a while in view of the momentous events in Las Vegas. Watch out for robots (and other missing features) in coming issues.
SPECTRUM toolkit 12
Make programming easier with this collection of utilities.
QL magic 16
A handful of routines that will solve some of those mindbending problems.
64 Sprites 18
Super fast sprites at your fingertips - machine code is the key.
Bruce to the rescue Pt II 20
The concluding part of this animated game for Commodore owners.
BBC Lander 22
Forget the Superbowl - these are the touchdowns that matter.
CANON's contender 24
A long, hard look at the latest of the MSX masses.
SPECTRUM teletex 30
Keep in touch with OEL's communications adaptor.
Acorn ROM routines 33
Two new ways to expand your BBC Micro.
The Beeb makes music 42
Roll over Beethoven, Island Logic rolls out The Music System.
IBM writes. . . 44
How close is Samna III to the ultimate word processor? We take a look.
Monitor 3
Currah lost and found, page 3; Hewlett-Packard puts Unix on the hoof, page 4; Home Front assesses Christmas sales figures, page 5.
PCN Charts 5
Who's up, who's down in the computer business.
Random Access 7
Get letters before your name - and a chance at £15 into the bargain.
Routine Enquiries 9
Wit, wisdom and answers to your most perplexing questions.
Microwaves 10
Handy hints and a batch of useful routines from our readers.
Dungeon 28
An adventure that will have you climbing the walls - Spider-Man from the old master, Scott Adams.
Gameplay 38
Billboard 40
Dozens of bargain buys and swaps.
Quit 48
Now that you've read the good buys, read our goodbyes.
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