I read the other day in an online mag about a person who bought an IBM. He made some comparisons to the TT. He bought a 386. Great! He paid only $2100 (US I presume) for his 25mhz system. That includes a mouse, HD, 2 serial ports, a parallel port, and VGA. Did I miss anything? Oh yea, that includes an operating system. He also bought (for $100) Windows. OK, lets compare.
The TT lists for around $3200 US for a 4 meg model. Perhaps street price will go as low as $2800 (its anyone’s guess) and a monitor for $600. Now just what does that include. A 68030 processor running at 32mhz. Now to be fair, that is only the processor speed, all the other I.O. is limited to 16mhz, however, you still get 32mhz through the processor. Also, the Motorola chip is a bit more efficient than an Intel chip *(see below)- ... check it out for yourself, don’t take my word for it. So in all reason, we can say the TT is 7mhz faster than the 386.
OK, lets add 2 serial ports, a mouse (lets see is that a serial mouse or a bus mouse?), VGA color, a HD, a parallel port, and an operating system. How much does that add to the price? WHAT you mean its included? And you don’t have to guess what type of mouse? KOOL! Ok, but I’m a musician so I will need to add Midi to my system, and yea lets add a game port, you know, for joysticks. And, by the way, how about stereo sound? And maybe I will need to hook up to a LAN. So how much extra will that cost? WHAT!!!! THAT’S INCLUDED TOO!!!!! Gee on my IBM, it would have now cost me at least an additional $800 (game port 25, midi 200, stereo sound 175, Apple Talk [if you can get it] 400).
GREAT! Now lets add the math co-processor (the 386 didn’t have one). What does that add? INCLUDED?!!! WOW, on the IBM it costs $550 for a 25mhz math co- processor!
Ok, now I want that new operating interface, yea Windows. How much now? FREE! ITS BUILT IN! ALL PROGRAMS RUN WITH IT? But that’s not like the IBM. Windows doesn’t work with lots of programs. And even if the programs runs within Windows many don’t use the windows interface. Most Atari software already works with the „windows“ interface.
OK, enough of the drama...the TT also has a VME bus and a SCSI port and that’s all included. IS there a VME available for IBM? The SCSI will cost around 200 (subtract the floppy/hard controller -70) so its cost is actually 130. And lets add a cartridge port for some spectacular programing feats like Spectre GCR not to mention the speed of the Migraph hand scanner. The IBM? No cartridge port. So it doesn’t matter how much you spend...you can’t get it.
Oh, but there is a problem! Aha! Most of the programs that run on the ST haven’t be recompiled for a TT version so they only run about 4-8 times faster. (An actual test using a 16mzh TT ran 4 times faster than the ST: This was a print test using Calamus to print to a Linotronic Imagesetter at 1270 dpi. The page was 20 inches wide so it had to be rotated then printed. On the ST it took a little over an hour, on a 16mhz TT without the new OS it took 16 minutes). BUT, soon the recompiled versions will be out allowing for faster operation.
The 386 doesn’t have a onboard instruction cache, the TT does. So a 486 (which does have an onboard instruction cache) will run you about $3600 for a clone, plus add all the extras will put you over $4500.
OK...The 386 (clone) costs $3700 and the Atari costs $3400 (remember its a guess). AND the Atari is still faster. As a matter of fact I soon hope to have bench marks available comparing it to a 33mhz 386 and 486.
Compatibilities: Most applications, and about 1/2 the game software (including Time Bandits, Pac Man, Kid Glove, The Spy Who Loved Me). Availabilities: Check with Atari.
Now some may say that I haven’t been fair. The 386 has a monitor that is 800+ by 600+ resolution with 256 colors. OK, the TT only has 320 x 480. That resolution is not available, YET. Wait for some of the VME cards to come out allowing these increased resolutions. I have no idea what the cost will be.
(*) A test performed by a local dealer used a 33mhz 386 and a regular Mega ST to print the test document from Ultrascript. Both machines used the same printer for fairness (when using the SLM 804 instead the Atari beat the IBM by almost half). On the 386 it took 5 minutes, on the ST it took 5 1/2 minutes. AND that’s a 8mhz ST against a 33mhz IBM. Talk about processor efficiency.
I support the revolution!