The Amiga VS Atari battle was probably one of the most intense in computing history. But none the less, the Atari Falcon030 deserves a standing ovation when it comes to innovation in the early 90’s. It was the last official computer from Atari and was available from August 1992 until late 1993. The Atari Falcon030 looks almost exactly like one of its predecesors, the 1040STE. The Falcon030 was available in four variations: 1 meg of RAM and no hard drive, 4 meg of RAM and no hard drive, 4 meg of RAM and an 80 meg hard drive, and 14 meg of RAM and an 80 meg hard drive. The Retail prices ranged from $799 to $1899. ($1687 and $4010 adjusted inflation rate) Unlike the Amiga, the Falcon has no specific video (Chip) RAM. All memory can be used as either system or Chip memory. There is no true “Fast RAM” in the Falcon. In fact, the Falcon’s memory bandwidth is only 16-bit. But to make up for it, the CPU can fetch twice as much memory per cycle, so in effect, there is no loss of speed. The DSP is the Falcon’s greatest asset. The Amiga and Atari have been similar in that the’re niche machines. The Amiga’s niche is animation and video. The ST has always been a music machine, primarilty due to its built-in MIDI ports. Now, with the addition of a Motorola 56001 DSP, many music studios used the computer system for editing and manipulation of music tracks. Aside from the DSP, the Falcon had two other sound systems. The Falcon was released with Atari Works a really nice integrated business package featuring a word processor and spreadsheet, probably the best thing to ever come out of Atari in terms of software. The Falcon was a really powerfull computer system, and a natural evolution of the ST line. Sadly enough a little to late to save this unique computer platform.

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