View Full Version : Atari Falcon 030 vs Amiga 1200

October 9th, 2005, 04:45 PM
Inspired by the thread in Items Wanted (http://vintage-computer.com/vcforum/viewtopic.php?t=2267), I looked up the Atari Falcon a bit.

Also the unit, well it was a disappointment in appearance too, Atari just had to go and use the same tired old 1040ST case and not something with a detachable keyboard and a better visual look...

I have a Swedish computer magazine from May 1993 which features a brief review of the Falcon 030 at arrival. They mention that the Swedish Atari agent (thus not Atari themselves) half promised a desktop version with separate keyboard, but maybe it never sold well enough to make it happen.

A reader at Old-Computers mentions that C-Lab licensed the Falcon and released a few variations of their own, ending with Mk X which was a pizza box with Mega STe keyboard.


In the same magazine as mentioned above, there was an Atari dealer who offered a Falcon 030 w/ 65 MB HDD for 15990 SEK (roughly $2300). I don't know if the resale price dropped much below that, but the launch list price was 16900 SEK, covering taxes, localization of documentation and software.

Maybe I was exaggerating a bit when I wrote that you could get two Amiga 1200 for the price of one Atari Falcon 030, since they differ a bit in specs. Depending on one's needs, it may even be pointless to compare the two, but I'm sure more people than me did back then. As far as I understand, these are the basic specs:

Falcon 030: 16 MHz 68030, 4 MB RAM, IDE and SCSI interfaces, DSP, LocalTalk and MIDI (as previous STs)
Amiga 1200: 14 MHz 68EC020, 2 MB RAM, IDE interface

It appears like the colour resolution and palette are identical on Falcon and AGA Amigas, but the latter seem to offer higher resolution modes? Not sure if the sound output is comparable.

After checking advertisments from those weeks, it seems you could get a vanilla 1200 w/ 63 MB HDD for 7700-7900 SEK, thus half the Falcon price. For another 8000 SEK, we could add a 40 MHz '030 accelerator + matching FPU, 4 MB extra RAM and a MIDI interface. That Amiga would still lack SCSI and of course DSP, but have a CPU roughly more than twice as fast as the Atari and slightly more memory. So maybe the Falcon was not really overpriced, although one would assume that a factory built machine with these specs should not be as expensive as one made up by 3rd party expansions.

For 13000 SEK, you could also get an Amiga 4000 w/ 25 MHz '030 + FPU, 4 MB RAM and 80 MB HDD. I suppose SCSI was an add-on. A few Amiga dealers also sold PCs and equipment. One could get a 33 MHz 486DX w/ 4 MB RAM, 120 MB HDD, SVGA and MS-DOS 5 for 12500 SEK incl. taxes. I'm not sure which would be a better buy.

One Amiga dealer even advertised a '040 accelerator for the 1200 for the same price as a '030 one, but I believe it was a typo at that time.. :shock:

It is interesting to browse through the old magazines.

It could be interesting to check 2nd hand prices today for these systems. I would assume that the PC isn't worth half as much as the Amiga, due to the vast amount of such PCs, and as mentioned by Curt, the Atari Falcon (and other Ataris?) still is a collectable item.