The Atari ST is a home computer released by Atari Corporation in June 1985. Development machines were distributed around May 1985 and it was available commercially from that summer into the early 1990s. The "ST" officially stands for "Sixteen/Thirty-two", which referred to the Motorola 68000's 16-bit external bus and 32-bit internals. Due to its graphical user inferface, it was known as the "Jackintosh", a reference to Jack Tramiel.
The Atari ST was part of the 16/32 bit generation of home computers, based on the Motorola 68000 CPU noted for 128 kB of RAM or more, a graphical user interface, and 3½" microfloppy disks as storage. It was similar to the Apple Macintosh and its simple design allowed the ST to precede the Commodore Amiga's commercial release by almost two months. The Atari ST was also the first personal computer to come with a bit-mapped color GUI, using a version of Digital Research's GEM released that February.
The ST was primarily a competitor to the Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga systems. Where the Amiga had a graphics accelerator and wavetable synthesis, the ST had a simple frame buffer and a 3 voice synthesizer chip but with a CPU faster clocked, and had a high-resolution monochrome display mode, ideal for business and CAD. In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and Desktop publishing work. The Atari ST also enjoyed some market popularity in Canada.
The ST was also the first home computer with integrated MIDI support. Thanks to its built-in MIDI, it enjoyed success for running music-sequencer software and as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and professionals alike, being used in concert by bands and performers such as Jean Michel Jarre, Madonna, Eurythmics, Tangerine Dream, Fatboy Slim, and 1990s UK dance act 808 State, as well as naming German digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot.
The ST was later superseded by the Atari STE, Atari TT, Atari MEGA STE and Falcon computers.
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