The Atari STE – my new (old) computer!

Though I do already have an Atari STFM in my retro computer collection there are a couple of limitations with that model that made upgrades less appealing and I REALLY wanted to finally start tinkering around one. Memory upgrades need soldering in early STs, the operating system (known as TOS) is older making it less compatible with newer hardware and finally, the majority of homebrew work being done now target the enhanced STE features meaning not everything works.

So I was lucky to find on eBay an STE model that not only had the maximum memory installed (a massive 4 megabytes!) but one of the last OS versions too (TOS 2.06). The saving I made not having to buy those components separately made it an easy choice for me. Once it arrived by mail I couldn’t help myself and had to set it up and test some games! 🙂

I did notice one issue with it in that the reset button – used for a “soft reboot” of the computer – wasn’t working so that’ll be one of the first things I look at getting fixed. As you can see from the screenshot I had to take cover off and have a look inside! While I find a means to repair the reset I’ll also take a look at some mass storage options such as the popular GoTek drives, that replace the internal floppy disk drive with one that runs off a USB stick, or the Ultra Satan that connects to the ST’s ACSI port and acts as a massive hard disk through the use of SD cards. Both make it easy to get software onto these machines as that it’s harder to find original floppy disks of the era that still work. The Ultra Satan works much better with TOS 2.06 too which is a nice bonus.

Once a choice is made on the storage side I’ll be jumping into a lot more of the games again, especially the enhanced ones. I’m keen to finally try out the enhanced version of Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge on real hardware as it really demonstrates the difference between my old ST and the new one. But until I can get that to run on this (not as straightforward to transfer without the storage) I can still load up some of my old games on floppy disk and have a little bit of fun, see below! 🙂

I’m hoping this will be my little “retro project” for the year and I will see if I can get a couple of things together that make it easy to start up and play on a whim. Having an original monitor, a massive 12 inches in size, really helps set the right mood too. I spent a long time drawing pics using NeoChrome and Deluxe Paint in front of that very screen…

UPDATE: Thanks to a tip from Weird And Retro, I found that later TOS versions (like on this machine) supported the Ctrl-Alt-Del key combo for a soft reset. So even if I can’t get the rear switch to work there is an alternative which is great news! 🙂

Categories: Gaming, Technology

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