As I'm writing this, Atari just announced prices on Atari's new Mega Computers. A monochrome Mega 2 is $1699; a monochrome Mega 4 is $2399. For color systems, add $200 to these prices.
Surprised? Apparently some other people were, too. In September there was a flurry of agitation on CompuServe over (rumored) Mega prices. Some accused Atari of abandoning its "Power Without The Price" motto when word got out that the Megas might cost over $2000.
What were these people expecting? That Atari would lower the prices of the STs to those of the XEs, and then release Megas at slightly more than the old ST prices? Some seemed to believe Atari owed them a 1040 price for a four-megabyte computer. They'd been waiting for months to buy a shiny new Mega and toss out their 520s and 1040s. Apparently they believed the release of the Mega somehow invalidated their original purchase; suddenly, mysteriously transforming all existing STs into large grey VIC-20s.
That's wrong, of course. Your existing ST sustained you this long, and it's still a fine computer. If you do have a specific use for a Mega, it may seem expensive, but instead of reeling over its price, compare how much it would cost you to buy a comparable system-a four-megabyte Macintosh, Mac II or IBM PS/2. Then count your blessings. As memory chip prices fall, so will the prices of the Megas.
For New Owners
As our letter from Neil Rouse indicates (see "More Hand Holding" in the Dialog Box section of START), not all of our readers are techno-whizzes who can debug assembly language source code in their sleep. Many of our readers chose the ST as their first computer system. This issue we begin "Getting Started," a new owners column for the neophyte ST owner. If you've just bought your ST and need some help, turn to page 21 and let START Senior Editor Frank Hayes explain to you all about the GEM Desktop.
START in '88
The START Atari ST Buyer's Guide has been on newsstands and in subscribers' hands for the last month or so. It contains listings and short reviews of over 200 ST products, both hardware and software. We think you'll find it invaluable in picking out the finest products for your ST.
If you don't have a copy, then you've already missed the first of START's Special Issues. That's right- next year we'll be publishing more than four issues of START. But if you subscribe now, you'll get the regular four issues of START, with disk and our special issues covering specific themes-graphics, music, home and business productivity, and of course, next year's Buyer's Guide.
Yes, there's more START to come, and we'll continue to maintain the high standards of quality that have made START the #1 guide to the Atari ST.
Jon A. Bell
START, The ST Quarterly