Atari 2600 Console


The Atari 2600 Console was the first video gaming system that brought video games from the arcade into the home. If you were a kid in the early 1980s you just had to have a 2600 and the latest games.


Atari 2600 Console



  • CPU 6507 – 8bit, 1.19MHz
  • TIA 1A – Television Interface Adaptor Model 1A (Video, Audio, Input Ports)
  • PIA 6532 – (128 bytes RAM, I/O Ports, Timer)

CPU and Memory

  • CPU: 6507, 8bit, 1.19MHz (cutdown 6502 with only 8K address space)
  • RAM: 128 Bytes (additional 128 or 256 bytes in some cartridges)
  • VRAM: None (Picture controlled by I/O Ports only)
  • ROM: External Game Cartridge (usually 2KB or 4KB, or banked 2x4KB)


  • Output: Line-by-line (Registers must be updated each scanline)
  • Resolution: 160×192 pixels (NTSC 60Hz), 160×228 pixels (PAL 50Hz)
  • Playfield: 40 dots horizontal resolution (rows of 4 pixels per dot)
  • Colors: 4 colors at once (one color per object)
  • Palette: 128 colors (NTSC), 104 colors (PAL), 8 colors (SECAM)
  • Sprites: 2 sprites of 8pix width, 3 sprites of 1pix width

Input/Output Ports, Audio, Timer

  • I/O: Two 8bit I/O ports, six 1bit Input ports
  • Timer: One 8bit Timer (with prescaler; 1,8,64,1024 machine cycles)
  • Audio: Two sound channels (with Frequency, Volume, Noise control)

Console Switches

  • Switches: Color/Mono Switch (PAL/NTSC only), and two Difficulty Switches
  • Buttons: Select Button, Reset Button (or Switches in older consoles)
  • Hardware: Power Switch, TV Channel Select Switch (not software controlled)
Atari 2600 Console

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