The TOS Family of machines represents those personal computers manufactured by Atari from 1985 to 1992 which used the TOS operating system and GEM graphical user interface. All members of the family were based on the 680x0 family of CPU's, and also shared certain fundamental components of the chipset (sometimes for backward-compatibility), such as the YM2149 and basic video hardware. Different generations of the family were also enhanced with additions to the chipset, such as the blitter in the Mega ST and STE, and the DSP in the Falcon. The ST Family is the major subset of the TOS family.
Generations of the TOS family were compatible with each other to varying degrees. Cleanly written software which used operating system functions and calls as they were described in (sometimes lacking) Atari documentation is very likely to run on all members of the family, and even on newer third party-built TOS clones or heavily modified Atari machines.
Software which directly addresses the hardware (as many programmers did in order to gain speed) with limited dependency on the speed of the components being addressed (ie highly synchronised is also reasonably likely to run on most members of the family.
Programs less likely to run on all members address the hardware at a very low level in a synchronised way, and use features of the chipset exclusive to the machine on which they were developed.
Generations of the TOS family
- ST - 130 ST, 260 ST, 520 ST, 1040 ST
- STF - 520 STF, 1040 STF
- STM - 520 STM, 1040 STM
- STF - 520 STFM, 1040 STFM
- Mega ST - Mega 1, Mega 2, Mega 4
- STE - 520 STE, 1040 STE
- ST Book
- Mega STE
- Falcon 030
- Falcon 040 (prototype)
- ABAQ ATW 800
As well as computers made by Atari, a number of TOS clones were produced by other companies such as Hades, Medusa, or more recently the Firebee Coldfire project.
Family Specification Summary
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|Model||CPU||CPU Speed||Memory||Architecture||OS||Graphic modes||Notable Chipset Features||Year||Comments|
|ST||68000||8mhz||130kb to 512kb (standard)||16 bit||TOS 1.0,GEM ?||320x200x16 colours, 640x200x4 colours, 640x400 monochrome||YM2149,WD1772,MK68901||1985||First model of ST introduced|
|STF/M/FM||68000||8mhz||512kb to 1024kb (standard)||16 bit||TOS 1.2 to TOS 1.4,GEM ?||320x200x16 colours, 640x200x4 colours, 640x400 monochrome||YM2149,WD1772,MK68901||1987||'F' indicates internalised floppy drive, 'M' indicates internal TV modulator|
|STE||68000||8mhz||512 to 1024kb (standard)||16 bit||TOS 1.6 to TOS 1.62,GEM ?||320x200x16 colours, 640x200x4 colours, 640x400 monochrome||Blitter,YM2149,WD1772,MK68901||1989||'E' stands for "enhanced". Features 16bit PCM replay, hardware scrolling, DMA, Blitter|
|TT||68030||16-32mhz||2MB to 4MB ST ram (standard), up to 32 TTram||32 bit||TOS 3.02 to TOS 3.06,GEM ?||ST modes, ??||YM2149,WD1772,MK68901||1989||Aimed at business market. Keyboard external to case, internal hard drive|
|Falcon||68030||16mhz||1MB, 4MB (standard) or 14MB||32bit||TOS 4.01 to 4.04, TOS 4.92 (beta),GEM ?||ST modes, TT mode, High colour mode||DSP,YM2149||1992||Last TOS computer, most multimedia capable|