The Atari Falcon is a computer that was developed by Atari Corporation and released in 1992. Focus was on multimedia capabilites (24-bit graphics, significant sound replay and recording capabilities). It was the last member of the TOS Family of computers manufactured by Atari.
|CPU:||Motorola MC68030 32-bit microprocessor @ 16MHz w/ 32-bit bus|
|FPU:||Motorola 68881/68882 @ 16MHz (optional)|
|DSP:||Motorola 56001 Digital Signal Processor (DSP) running in parallel @ 32MHz w/ 32kWords (24-bit) of local zero wait state static RAM|
|RAM:||1, 4 or 16MB(14MB usable) on daughterboard (RAM is 32-bit wide)|
|Expansion bus:||Internal 'Processor-Direct' slot for 386SX emulation or other co-processors/etc or CT60/63|
|Video:||(See below for specific video modes/resolutions.) |
16-bit BLiTTER @ 16MHz (also handles hard drive access)
external video sync to allow high quality genlocking
|Audio:||Stereo 16-bit Analog-to-Digital DMA input|
Stereo 16-bit Digital-to-Analog DMA output
Eight 16-bit audio DMA record/playback channels
SDMA sound/DMA co-processor
|Ports:||128kB cartridge port|
2 9-pin mouse/joystick ports
2 15-pin STe enhanced analog/digital controller ports
MIDI IN, OUT/THRU
Bi-directional parallel port
RS232C serial port
SCSI II w/ DMA
Analog RGB/VGA/composite video connector
Stereo headphone out (1/8" mini-jack)
Stereo microphone in (1/8" mini-jack)
DSP port (up to 1MHz data transfer rate)
RF modulator for TV hookup
Localtalk compatible LAN (up to 250kbaud transfer rate)
|Storage:||Internal 1.44MB 3.5" HD floppy|
Internal IDE 2.5" hard drive (optional)
|OS :||Pre-emptive mulitasking OS (MultiTOS) w/ adaptive prioritization and inter-process communication (also 68040 compatible)|
|Clock:||Realtime clock and battery backed up RAM|
|Chassis:||1040ST-style case w/ internal fan|
|Price (1993):||1MB/no HD - $799 list|
4MB/65MB - $1399 list
- Other notable features
- Packaged in STE case. Distinguished from STE models by dark grey keyboard keys, "rainbow" logo
- Falcon 040 models developed, prototypes, never released (add link to old computer museum)
Written by John Townsend
This document may be re-printed again and again as long as the Atari copyright remains intact.
A couple of notes: Unlike previous machines, there are just too many resolutions to give each resolution a name. Therefore, I will do my best to describe what the resolution is and which monitor it is on.
NOTE: TV and a Color Monitor are the same.. by Color Monitor, I am talking about the standard SC1224. By VGA, I mean a standard VGA Monitor.
40 column modes ( "column" means the number of x pixels divided by 8)
4 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, TV: 320x200, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, TV: 320x200, true color 4 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, interlace, TV: 320x400, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, interlace, TV: 320x400, true color 4 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, VGA: 320x480, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, VGA: 320x480, true color 4 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, line-doubling, VGA: 320x240, true color
80 column modes
2 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 2 colors, 1 plane 4 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, TV: 640x200, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, normal, TV: 640x200, true color 4 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, interlace, TV: 640x400, 256 colors, 8 planes True color, interlace, TV: 640x400, true color 2 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 2 colors, 1 plane 4 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, normal, VGA: 640x480, 256 colors, 8 planes 4 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 4 colors, 2 planes 16 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 16 colors, 4 planes 256 color, line-doubling, VGA: 640x240, 256 colors, 8 planes
and lastly.. there are compatibility modes for ST Low, ST Medium, and ST High on both VGA monitors and SC1224 monitors. (On a color monitor, ST High is achieved by using the interlace mode).
Also, the ST Monochrome monitor (the SM124) will work with Falcon030 as well. However, it only supports one resolution: ST High Resolution.
All modes on a TV can be overscanned. This means multiplying the X and Y resolution by 1.2. For example, modes with 320 pixels of horizontal resolution (X res) will become 384 pixels across, and modes with 640 pixels will become 768 across. Overscanning is done in the X and Y resolution. You can't do them independently. Special Note: On a VGA monitor, overscan is "faked".. since the video hardware doesn't have the capability to do overscan on a VGA monitor, we made it so that if a overscan mode is set on a VGA monitor, you still see the normal size screen, but the screen is a window onto the bigger overscanned image. Make sense? We did this for compatibility. This way if a game that has an overscanned starup picture can use the same pic on both the VGA monitor and the TV monitor. Pretty cool, eh? <grin>
BTW.. Overscan can NOT be set from the desktop. The AES and Desktop will work just fine with it, but because you can't see the parts of the screen, we thought that that option shouldn't be available from the desktop. We don't want to confuse people. However, Overscan can be set using a new XBIOS call (Vsetmode()).. so it is still available.
To enable overscan you should edit and set overscan flag in newdesk.inf. More information at http://cd.textfiles.com/atarilibrary/atari_cd10/DISKS/AC10DISK/ATOZBOOK/N.TXT ("The Atari A to Z" by Mark S Baines)
- The VIDEL takes care of the video functions of the system including overscan, overlay mode and true color graphics
- The COMBEL is the system manager of the Atari Falcon030. This chip controls all system functions. Also the BLITTER is built in in this chip.
- The SDMA is the Sound DMA and controls the sound part. We have built in a unique matrix switch function in this chip (more details in the second part)
- The keyboard processor has been improved and is now also suitable for high resolution mice.
Besides the above custom chips the Atari Falcon030 has a number of standard chips like the Motorola 68030 and 56001 DSP. Another important chip is the CODEC in which the 16 bit AD and DA converters are located.
Atari Falcon 030
The Falcon keyboard is a darker grey version of the same design as the ST keyboard. It is therefore possible to use an ST keyboard on a Falcon machine and vice-versa.
- Keyboard key swap - Discussion on the pros and cons of swapping keys on different language keyboards
- Falcon 030 registers
- Overclocking, DSP overclocks etc
- See a more comprehensive list of accelerators here
- ST Format, issue 41, p106-109
- ST Format, issue 72, p30-31 (C-Lab Falcon Mk2 Review)
- Atari ST Review, issue 5, p6-7
- Atari ST Review, issue 8, p30-33
- Atari ST User, issue 83, p18-19 (Advert)
- Atari ST User, issue 85, p60-62 (Article)
- Atari Falcon demos on [Pouet.net]
- Wikipedia entry for [Atari Falcon]
- Photos of the development prototype Sparrow FX-1.