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.
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.
Tuesday 27th March 2012
Kelly R. (Kenai, Alaska USA)
I spent my youth on atari & commodore. Started on Atari 2600, had commodore 64 for a while and when that died I had an 800xl which I soon upgraded to a 130XE which I still have. Now I've been using Atari computers for 20 years straight and have a decent collection now. I still have the same 130XE and it's still used alongside its 600XL and 800 brothers. And I'd like to say Hello to any members of TAF (Toronto Atari Federation) who happen to visit this page.
The 65XEM machine did have the AMY chip, but nobody at Atari knew how to program the Amy soundchip, so the machine was abandoned before it was released. The specs of the chip were indeed very interesting. It was very powerfull, with several polyphonic channels and also the ability to play samples, without slowing down the main 6502C CPU.