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Atari Painter Case

During an interview in 1993 about the Jaguar, Sam Tramiel intimated that the Jaguar could be used as the basis for new computer models and that Atari was still "interested" in the computer market.  While no more was ever heard publicly about future Atari computer products, plans were being drawn up for a new home computer based on the Jaguar architecture.

As early as August 1992, the Atari R&D team headed by Richard Miller were sketching out plans for a new computer codenamed "Painter".  What was left of the Atari TOS group (the internal team responsible for the Atari OS and Computer division) were being asked to produce a wishlist of components based around a core computing architecture which had already being decided on, the Jaguar.

With the Jaguar system already being readied for launch as Atari's new gaming platform, the proposed computer would utilise the development of the Jaguar technology and build a powerful RISC based home computer.  Not only would Atari be optimising their R&D spend on Jaguar by its dual use, they could relaunch the brand back into the computer market, something many within Atari were pushing to see happen.

There is no doubt that a home computer which could integrate the Jaguar specification in 1993 would be powerful, but would it be practical or even viable?  The overall system would be a highbred computer aimed at the home, but advanced enough to be used by professionals, especially in the music industry.  It would cater for families and "ease of use" was part of the model, and ship with as many "standard" applications as possible. Games would be CD based and existing Jaguar titles could be ported directly to the new machine.  The inclusion of advanced audio would be advantageous to musicians and continue Atari's tradition as a leader in the music market.

While there is no confirmation if any actual working prototype existed, the case was made ready based on a final specification.  Richard Miller told us recently that the project was ill conceived from the start and it wasn't going anywhere due to changes within the company and its direct focus on the gaming platform.  Many "ideas" were developed at Atari, and as with any R&D department, especially those based in the consumer electronics market, its prudent to have products ready to turn on when required, unfortunately the "Painter" wasn't one of them.

We have uncovered some internal specification sheets on the project which you can read below.


Painter Doc 1

Painter Doc 2

Painter Doc 3


Painter Doc 4

Painter Doc 5

Painter Doc 6



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