Retrohomage: Amiga 1000

Let’s consider the contemporaneous competition.  Apple had the Macintosh launched in 1984.  Atari had the ST launched in Summer 1985, just before the Amiga 1000.  The history of the Amiga and ST is utterly gripping, and the ST was developed in an unbelievably short period of time following Amiga Corp’s rescue by Commodore: given the time constraints, the machine is deserving of high praise.

Compared to the Apple Macintosh, the Amiga was fast, colourful, musical, with a proper pre-emptive multitasking OS for $1295, and a colour monitor with stereo speakers was $300….  The 128Kb Macintosh with its integrated monochrome monitor and single channel digital audio was $2,500.  It’s difficult to think of any single advantage the Macintosh had.

The Atari ST was a different beast for a different market, and Jack Tramiel was playing his ace card of setting a price that he thought no-one else could compete at: $799.  For that outlay, you got 512Kb, colour graphics, decent sound and – crucially – midi ports.  The OS was GEM in name, but not in use: it was not as sophisticated as the Macintosh OS, and nowhere near the Amiga’s Workbench.  But that price made the Atari tempting, and it was a success despite being rushed and not having the graphical power of the Amiga.  Max resolution was 640×480 in monochrome, compared to the Amiga’s 720×568 at 16 Colours…

Of course, the 500 was born to take the fight to the ST: but that’s another article!

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