HARD DISKS FOR ATARI
Why you'll want one!
These deceptively blank-looking metal shoeboxes are, of course, hard disks-peripherals that open up a whole new world of power, speed and convenience for the serious Atari user.
For example, it's now a lot easier for the Antic Technical Staff to answer readers' I/O questions about programs from our early issues. Every 8-bit program ever published in the magazine is stored on our SupraDrive 8-bit hard disk and can be immediately accessed by a few keystrokes. And we still have almost seven million bytes of the 10-megabyte (10Mb) hard disk left to work with.
Probably the most involved hard disk user at Antic is Marketing Director Gary Yost, who is in charge of the Antic Catalog. He has filled up 16 megabytes of his 20Mb Atari ST Hard Disk with every ST program from the catalog, all the early versions of each program, all his correspondence with the software authors and all the Tim Oren ANTIC ONLINE professional ST programming articles. Gary clicks his mouse through onscreen arrays of folders, files and menus with virtuoso speed.
So far, the most widespread use of hard disks by Antic readers seems to be for operating bulletin boards. Supra says that the bulk of their sales of 8-bit SupraDrives is to BBS sysops. It's clear that hard disks are the ideal tool for sysops to make their large data libraries quickly accessible to online users.
Among the other early major purchasers are professional Atari software developers, who can compile their code a lot more quickly on hard disks. Power users who run businesses with Ataris or do a lot of work at home are also early hard disk enthusiasts.
Do you need a hard disk? Not if you're a casual Atari user who just plays a few games and writes a few letters on your computer. But if you regularly work with a large amount of data in many files, a hard disk will make your life substantially easier.
To help you decide if a hard disk is for you, the following articles provide a detailed comparison of all hard disks available for Atari 8-bits and STs at this writing. You will get a good idea of what it's like to do your daily computing with a hard disk system. Other stories explain how hard disks work and how they were developed.
Sure, it can be aggravating to learn a new set of computing habits in order to operate a hard disk system. But so far, we haven't heard of many new hard disk owners who are eager to go back to using floppy disks exclusively.