Archive for the ‘IBP 190ST’ Category


May 17, 2015

In Germany, the Atari ST was very popular among users of “serious” applications such as text processing, CAD, and equipment controlling. This stemmed not least from the fact of the early availability of an affordable high framerate (70 Hz), high resolution (640×400) black-and-white monitor, the SM124 (and its successors).

Now, the Atari was conceived as a game machine (and Atari was initially really surprised by the demand of the SM124), later on morphed into the form factor of a business machine (Mega ST), but, of course, never had the form factor suited for industrial, 19″ rack-capable usage.

That’s where two German companies, IBP and Rhotron, saw a market. They converted Atari STs into modules that could be fitted into 19″ racks and added standard bus interfaces and measurement modules that could be used by the STs.

This is one of these models, the 190ST from IBP.

IBP presented the first version of this family in 1988. It was a licensed Mega ST design that has been re-designed to fit on three Eurocards. These were packed into a 19″ module with most interfaces, using industry-grade connectors at the front.
The 190ST was offered with one of three possible bus options:

  • ECB-Bus
  • VMEbus

Additionally (and in contrast to the original Mega ST), the 190ST also provided a socket for a 68881 mathematical co-processor. Other additional, built-in goodies included:

  • 1 Watt audio amplifier
  • battery-buffered realtime clock
  • buffered DMA interface
  • Midi with up to 126kps (gilded 9-pin Sub-D connector)
  • keyboard via V24 interface (Sub-D)
  • Watchdog that can be software-controlled
  • application software sockets can use either ROMs or  battery-buffered RAMs

Funnily, there was no mouse nor joystick interface on a 190ST. But you could add both using a special keyboard from IBP that was connected via V24…

Later on, the 190STV30 was added to the family. It featured an additional V30 CPU (8 MHz) in order to allow MSDOS compatibility.

Finally, the 190ST020 offered a Motorola 68020@16 MHz processor. It was introduced in 1991 and started from 5330 DM. As the 68020 was only used as a 68000 replacement, the bus width was unchanged (i.e. 16bit).

I always wanted such a machine, partly because it is a real Atari ST clone, not only a re-packaged one, partly because my first job as a student worker was to implement some software on such a machine. And, of course it is a rare computer made in Germany. Therefore, I was really surprised to find one in the US, from a commercial used factory equipment provider. It is the most basic model (68000, GemDOS, 512 KB RAM), but nevertheless 🙂

Technical Data

  • CPU: Motorola 68000@8 MHz or 68020@16 MHz, V30@8MHz as an option
  • RAM: 0.5, 2, or 4 MB
  • HDD: internally none, but can be added externally (e.g. as another module)
  • Graphics: Standard Atari ST graphics
  • Interfaces: Centronics, DMA, keyboard, Midi, RS232, video, floppy disk
  • Released: May 1989
  • Number of produced machines: 700 (hearsay)
  • Initial price: 1500$