Atari 65XE Computer System  











Atari 65XE
Personal Computer System

Release Date: February 1985 

Codename: N/A

 Introduced at the 1985 CES in Las Vegas.The Atari 65XE was part of a cost reduction plan and would be the replacement for the Atari 800XLF Personal Computer introduced in August of 1984.    Price at $99.99 the 65XE was 100% compatible with all of the Atari 400/800, and XL software (some programs required the use of a "Translator" disk before use) and all peripherals.    The 65XE computer had 64K of memory like the Atari 800XL and all of the same custom chips as well.  The XE series computers would also use the  FREDDIE chip from the 800XLF (originally used in the Atari 1400XL and 1450XLD computers.)   This was memory address multiplexing chip.   When combined with the Atari C061618 MMU chip (Memory Management Unit)  the system could handle memory swapping and larger amounts of memory more efficiently, but most important was that the ANTIC could now independently access memory and not have to share it with the CPU.


The 65XE would come in a low cost, 2 piece utilitarian gray case.  The more expensive and more stylish XL case designs were abandoned  The Atari 65XE while having the advantage FREDDIE and MMU chips had a major shortcoming over the Atari 800XLF which it had replaced.   The US versions did NOT have an external expansion bus (the Atari XL computers had a PBI connector (Parallel Bus Interface) while the European Atari 65XE's (also called Atari 800XE's) and Atari 130XE's (both US and European) all had an ECI (Enhanced Cartridge Interface) which was functionally equivalent to the previous Atari XL PBI and allowed devices such as SCSI hard drive controllers, parallel/serial controllers and many other powerful devices to be attached to the XE system.   While Atari itself never sold any ECI devices, several 3rd Party companies such an ICD, CSS and Supra sold expansion peripherals for use with the ECI/PBI ports.

  Atari XL Product Line Memo: September 9, 1984


With only a tiny time frame to work within from July 1984 until January 1985 Atari engineers took the existing Atari 800XL design as well as the 800XLF design and created new PCB's to fit into their lower cost cases with lower cost keyboards. The 2 piece cases greatly reduced the cost of the product, though their design was rather drab and unappealing compared to the more stylish, yet more expensive XL case designs.   The keyboards were another shortcoming of the design.   They were mushy and lacked solid tactile rebound to them and this was a major complaint for many users.

  Early runs of the 65XE had motherboards still retained the products original model number: the Atari 900XLF.    








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