View Full Version : Great deal on an Atari STE

3rd September 2009, 16:51
I've been after an Atari STE for some time, since I obtained a free STFM (which was the same as one I used to own) and it made me want to then get hold of the later STE which I never owned back in the day.

However ST's seem to be getting quite rare these days. No STE's have appeared on Amibay to date, and they were all selling for quite a lot on ebay. More than I was prepared to pay.

Then the other day an Atari 520 STE appeared on ebay that looked quite nice. From the pictures the case wasn't too yellowed, it looked in good cared for clean condition, and it was one of the only ones I've seen lately being sold in its original box with all inserts and manuals present! It also came with one of the software bundles they were sold with called TURBO, which included a load of pretty good games and some productivity software.

The seller hadn't given any details about its working condition or spec, so I assumed it was a working standard 520STE.

However as I'd seen unboxed worse condition 520STE's go for quite a lot of money on ebay I wasn't expecting to get this one as I was sure a boxed good condition STE would fetch quite a high price. I therefore just put the initial bid price in and left it, thinking it would go for much more. How wrong. I won it with the first bid! :)

I had ideally wanted a 1040STE, but as all STE's are identical other than this label because they have the ram in 4x 30pin SIMM sockets, so it wasn't too much of a problem. I could just upgrade a 520STE to 4MB with some SIMMS. And someone on Amibay was kind enough to send me 4x 1MB 30pin SIMMS ready for when I finally did get an STE. So I had the ram ready and waiting.

The ST arrived today and I'm really please with it, plus there was a nice surprise I hadn't expected.

It was well packaged and the original box is in great condition. The 520STE itself looks in very good condition, with just some slight yellowing to the front edge of the case. Other than that is is quite original in colour.

So I connected it all up and booted it up and all worked perfectly. The floppy drive isn't as quiet as the one in my STFM, but I think later STEs used PC floppy drives that were not as quiet. The drive seems to work fine so that is good.

Next to upgrade the ram from 512KB to 4MB using the ram I had ready to install. So I opened the case up, removed the shielding hiding the ram sockets, and had a surprise. All 4 sockets were filled with ram! A 520STE would only have 2 of the ram sockets filled with 256KB SIMMS. So the previous owner had already upgraded it! No writing on the SIMMS so I wasn't sure what size they were. It might therefore already have 1MB total ram, or maybe more. So I downloaded a program that tells you what the setup of an ST is, loaded it up and guess what. 4MB installed! :D So I didn't need the extra ram after all. How great was that!

Now if the seller had stated that this 520STE had been upgraded to 4MB the system would easily have sold for over 40, not the 13 I got it for, Nice. I've even seen 4MB STE going for over 60 recently.

Finally before closing up the case I removed the floppy drive to check the TOS rom chips and the DMA chip version. Some early STE's didn't have socketed TOS chips and so required them to be de-soldered and rom sockets fitted to upgrade the TOS version. Luckily this STE does have TOS rom sockets and is currently fitted with 1.06 Rainbow TOS roms.

And I have some TOS 2.06 roms on their way from a nice Amibay user, so those will be easy to fit once they arrive.

Finally the DMA chip version. I've read that earlier DMA chips in the STFM and early STEs are faulty and cannot be used properly with Harddrives, causing them to corrupt their file systems randomly. Luckily after checking the version in this STE it is the later 1990 good version.

So all in all this is a great Atari STE and I couldn't really have asked for a better one. Full 4MB of ram installed. The later DMA chip, socketed TOS roms for easy upgrade to 2.06 once it arrives and in good condition, with original box and manuals. I'm very happy.

Once the roms arrive the only thing left for me to do is find a way to add a harddrive so I can try the later MultiTOS and Magic roms.

Now to try out some of the later STE only demos and games, especially those that needed more ram. Finally I can see what the STE could do.

3rd September 2009, 17:00
but where do you put the simms? In any expantion board?

3rd September 2009, 17:21
No, on the STE the 4 simm sockets are built into the motherboard. When you open an STE up there is a large metal shield at the back covering the internal PSU. Unscrewing that and removing it also gains access to the 4 SIMM sockets. They are located roughly in the middle at the back of the ST.

It isn't too hard to get to them, but I don't quite understand why they needed to be hidden under the shield. The same with the TOS rom sockets. You need to unscrew and remove the floppy disk drive to access them. Why they could have been located under the keyboard via a hole in the shielding, like the A1200.

3rd September 2009, 17:36
and what CPU does it have? 68000 ? 020? can you expand it?

3rd September 2009, 17:46
All STFM's and STE's have the same 68000 as the Amiga A500/A600/A2000. They cannot easily be expanded as the ST didn't have a side expansion slot like the Amiga or a trapdoor slot like the A1200. Some third party hardware makers did make accelerators for them, but they are not standard to fit and require soldering and other hacking to work.

Larger big box Atari STs also existed though, called Mega ST that had expansion slots and HDDs and could be upgraded easier. And the final big box ST was the Atari TT which had more advanced hardware and a 68030 processor. A bit like the leap the Amiga saw from the A2000 to the A3000.

And there is also the final system in the ST range, the Atari Falcon. This was quite a powerful system, more powerful than the A1200 and its overall specs beat the AGA chipset Amigas with superior sound and graphics. But they were expensive, very rare and are very hard to find these days. They sell for over 200 easily now.

4th September 2009, 09:44
Pics please? :D

4th September 2009, 13:53
Once I have the ST to monitor cable made up I will post a couple of pictures of the ST running.

I did download a couple of STE demos yesterday and got them running on the system and they were more impressive than the older STFM only ones I've seen. However they were still not on a par with Amiga demos. The frame around ST screenmodes (much like the one from 8bit systems) still bugs me compared to the Amiga with its overscan allowing for the whole screen to be used.

5th September 2009, 04:10
So are you going to look up Atari ST games that never appeared on the Amiga?

Also, I have been trying to find out what games only appeared on the Atari Falcon, anyone who knows of a site with such information?

This is what I have so far.


(this one unfortunately is in French)

I believe this person has been making material for the Falcon as well


5th September 2009, 05:30
I already created an extensive list of ST only games elsewhere on the forum. And there were a few on the list I never played when I originally own an STFM in the 80's so I will definitely be trying them out.

There was also another thread I started a while back about games that were better on the ST rather than the Amiga. These were often due to being written on the ST and ported to the Amiga, and generally are earlier titles. Some like Captain Blood even had better audio than the Amiga version. I hope to try and do some direct comparisons between the same games running on both systems side by side to really see the differences. Will be interesting to set such a test up, and I will try to rig it up so I can record the direct video feeds from both systems and create some comparison videos showing both running side by side. I hope they will be of interest to some of you.

As for the Atari Falcon, I'm not sure where you could find a full list of Falcon specific games. A lot of ST software runs on the Falcon I think, although I could be wrong. I do know that the classic Amiga game Pinball Dreams was ported to the Falcon by its original author and is free to download from here (http://www.fatal-design.com/pinball/).

I also found a great little site that details STE only software, games and demos, and I've been using it to find and run stuff on my STE that I never had chance to before. You can find it here (http://atari-ste.anvil-soft.com/index.htm). It also lists games that work on the Falcon.

Also another quite cool site I found is called The Joy of Sticks (http://thejoyofsticks.wordpress.com/). It is an ST orientated blog and was originally started to host "The Grat Atari ST Game Survey", which you can find on the site listing in detail, with screenshots and text, a definitive Atari ST top 50 games of all time survey results. It is well put together and interesting to look through. Many games familiar to Amiga users are there, as well as some that were never released for the Amiga.

That survey has made me really want to get the Top 100 Amiga game survey I started a long time ago moving forward again with the next stage. I will try and do that this coming week, so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement in the coming week. ;)