The Atari 130-XE was first shown at the Winter Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show in 1985 (with the Atari 130 ST), it has the same characteristics as the Atari 800 XL except its added memory (128 KB instead of 64 KB for the 800 XL).
The extended memory can be used as a RAM disk, or can be accessed by bank switching routines.
It was an attempt to extend the life of the old XL series, but Atari abandoned it pretty quickly to concentrate on promoting the ST series, which uses the same case style.
Several XE machines were also produced :
- the Atari 65-XE (which is exactly like the 800 XL, except for the rear parallel connector, which it doesn't have),
- the Atari XE Game Console (1987) which is a 65-XE with an optional detachable keyboard. It was Atari Corp.'s attempt to do what they felt the 5200 should have been.
- the 65-XEM (a computer with a special custom sound chip called "Amy"). Reports stated that the Amy chip sounded better than the Commodore 64's SID chip (!). This machine would never be released,
- the 65-XEP (Atari's answer to the Commodore SX-64, it would never be released either),
- and a modified 65XE was sold in Europe as the 800XE.
The Atari 65-XE and 130-XE will have a very short life due to the 16 bit home computer competition.
The XEGS differed from the 65XE in another way: It had the game Missile Command built in. If you held Select key down (maybe it was Start or Option) when turning on the machine, Missile Command would start.
The 800XE was actually a 130XE with half the RAM, and not a modified 65XE. The 130XE and 800XE both used the same motherboard with the ECI port next to the cartridge slot. The 65XE did not have this expansion port so it is not the same machine as the 800XE.
Thursday 16th January 2014
A cousin owned one of these, with the Amy chip, and I have to agree that this chip did sound better, but not by too much.
Also, there were ROM and other hardware differences which made it incompatible with some games and other software on diskette, necessitating the use of a special DOS patch.
Still, this was an interesting and fun system to program and use.