Atari ST

What Does Atari ST Mean?

The Atari ST was an early personal computer from the Atari
Corporation, first released in 1985 as the Atari 520ST. It competed with the
Commodore Amiga and Apple II GS. The Atari ST had a 16-bit external bus
and a 32-bit internal system, hence the initials ST in the model name. Like other machines of its time, the Atari ST contained the Motorola 68000 CPU.


Techopedia Explains Atari ST

The release of the first Atari 520ST followed months of work after Atari was bought by Jack Tramiel. The company had been losing money with its consumer products, including video game consoles. In the first year, the Atari ST sold many thousands of units, and in the estimations of many, saved the company.

The Atari 520ST and subsequent 1040ST model pioneered a color GUI and offered internal MIDI ports for music software. Popular software for the Atari ST also included early desktop publishing and database programs.

The development of the Atari ST led to other STF and STFM models, including a model called “Stacy” that shipped with a trackball in the keyboard. Various peripherals including fax machines and printers were also available. These computers also utilized floppy disk drives; in fact, in the initial release, some computers had to be shipped with the operating system on floppy disk, until it was built into ROMs.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.