Micro Machines: Atari Mega STE

Micro Machines: Atari Mega STE

Atari MEGA STE was the successor to the MEGA ST and had the unfortunate honour of being Atari's final entry into their ST line of personal computers.

MEGA STE hit the stores in early 1991 and was marketed as a jack of all trades, suitable for everything from graphic design to publishing to audio production, and even school work.

The hardware was an interesting hybrid; inside the Atari, the TT chassis was a beefed-up STE with late-model Motorola 68000 and an assortment of TT features, like the option for math coprocessor, the inclusion of two additional RS232 ports, and a 1.44 MB HD floppy disk drive in the later MEGA STE versions.

Similar to the TT, the system had a VMEbus slot for external expansion cards, such as powerful graphics or audio processing cards. VMEbus even gave the option to upgrade the system memory to 8 MB.

The systematic design and integration of all components make the Mega STE one of the unforgettable computer events of the 90s (picture: original flyer by Atari Corp.).

The MEGA STE had also better backward compatibility compared to TT. Unique to the MEGA STE was the possibility of switching CPU speed between 16 and 8 MHz, which ensured smoother support for older software as they could run at their original clock speeds.

All this should have made MEGA STE an enticing package for consumers. However, for most the high price became the main issue, and in the end, the system did not become a huge success. Together with the TT, the system was particularly popular among medium-sized companies and agencies, musicians as well as small publishers.

Atari followed MEGA STE with the Falcon, before ending their computer business.

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