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View Full Version : What is the reason behind different Atari ST TOS desktop background colors?



punchy71
July 6th, 2014, 01:50 PM
Excuse my ignorance, but, how come some screenshots I see of the Atari ST TOS operating system are in grayscale (black and white) and others show a bright, lime green desktop background and still others show a pale, subdued green desktop background?

Thanks

amadama
July 6th, 2014, 02:06 PM
Some Atari's were sold with a monochrome monitor. For a bit more money you could get the color one.
The mono monitor has higher resolution that the color one.
Mono: 640x400
Color: 320x200x16 colors or 640x200x4 colors

More info here:
http://info-coach.fr/atari/documents/myFAQ.php

PeterNC
July 6th, 2014, 05:32 PM
A lot of people had a mono monitor and a color TV. A color TV was cheaper and worked fine for games. My best childhood friend had a 1040 ST setup like that.

SiriusHardware
July 7th, 2014, 10:12 AM
Excuse my ignorance, but, how come some screenshots I see of the Atari ST TOS operating system are in grayscale (black and white) and others show a bright, lime green desktop background and still others show a pale, subdued green desktop background?

Thanks

As others have said, it depends entirely on the screen.

The ST's high resolution screen mode - which could not be handled by a standard definition TV or video monitor - was monochrome, and at the time you needed a specific atari high frame-rate high-res monitor such as the SM124 to use that mode. Various types of PC monitor which came along very shortly afterwards can actually handle the ST's high resolution mode frame rate, so it should be possible to buy or make a cable which will allow you to use a standard PC monitor with an ST running in high resolution mode.

For the low and medium resolution modes, the ST puts out a standard definition TV / video signal and so could be viewed on most TVs and video monitors at the time.

With a composite video or RF modulated signal connection to a TV, or with a composite video connection to a monitor, the 'Color' (Colour) control on the TV/Monitor would allow you to vary the colour intensity all the way from very vivid to no colour at all, depending on your personal taste.

Using RGB + sync connections, the 'colour' control (on CRT TVs and monitors) is usually disabled and the range of control over the picture (using brightness and contrast only) is more limited, but since the picture using RGB is normally orders of magnitude better anyway, the lack of control is not really a problem.

The images you've seen will just be from a mixture of these different display methods.

geoffm3
July 14th, 2014, 10:56 AM
A lot of people had a mono monitor and a color TV. A color TV was cheaper and worked fine for games. My best childhood friend had a 1040 ST setup like that.

I could see that. For productivity apps it seemed like the ST was mostly useless unless you had a monochrome monitor, and 320x200 color would look fine on a TV.

vwestlife
July 14th, 2014, 12:08 PM
The ST's 640x400 monochrome mode is close enough to VGA specs (even though it was invented two years before VGA!) that with a simple cable adapter, it will work fine with most VGA monitors.

The monochrome mode also allowed the ST to work quite well as a Macintosh clone. All you needed was a plug-in cartridge containing the Mac ROMs (not illegally copied, of course! ;) ).

KC9UDX
July 14th, 2014, 01:00 PM
The monochrome mode also allowed the ST to work quite well as a Macintosh clone. All you needed was a plug-in cartridge containing the Mac ROMs (not illegally copied, of course! ;) ).

How much faster does it run than a real Mac?

I don't know how much, but an Amiga running MacOS is very noticeably faster than a real Mac. I assume an ST might be even faster.

geoffm3
July 14th, 2014, 01:48 PM
How much faster does it run than a real Mac?

I don't know how much, but an Amiga running MacOS is very noticeably faster than a real Mac. I assume an ST might be even faster.

I used to use SpectreGCR on a regular basis. It was pretty snappy, and having a much larger display than a Plus was nice. I'd say speedwise it was on par with an SE.