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Atari Xl Laptop: 8-Bit Computing Goes Portable [Casemod]

by Paul Strauss

As one of the first PCs I ever owned, 8-bit Atari computers really bring back fond memories for me. So I was delighted when I came across this cool modern take on one of the later models in the line, the Atari 600XL. Drawing inspiration from Ben Heck’s Atari 800 XE Laptop, a German modder named Beetle created this great portable Atari system.

Atari 600XL Laptop by Beetle

Atari XL Laptop by Beetle

He’s named his creation the Atari 1500XL, which sounds a lot like one of those vaporware systems that Jack Tramiel would announce, yet never release.

Atari 600XL Laptop by Beetle

Beetle really did an amazing job integrating the design of the original 600XL into the laptop case. It really does look like a system that Atari themselves might have designed, had the technology been available back in the mid-1980s. Be sure to check out this video clip of the laptop in action:

While it doesn’t look cobbled together, the laptop is actually quite a Frankenstein’s Monster. To complete the look, Beetle had to scrounge together parts from a no less than three Atari computers (a 600XL and two 800XLs), a matching 1050 disk drive, a 1027 dot matrix printer, a 1010 cassette player, and a dead PC keyboard among other items from the scrap heap.

Atari XL Laptop by Beetle

Who really needs Halo 3, GTA 4 and BioShock when you could have Miner 2049er, Caverns of Mars and Ballblazer?

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Comments (8):

  1. bob e says:

    OMG that looks awesome! I had an 800XL, 1050 Floppy and 1027 back then and was so proud! I still have a few floppy games laying around somewhere too.

  2. Plutosoft says:

    Fantastic, looks like it came straight of Atari, very nice job, what kind of memory are you using, 64,128 or 256kb and are you using a hard drive, or memory card. I use an interface for ide harddrive, it resides in de memorycard slot.
    However, its nice to see there are more Atari lovers around, mine 130XE, is also still running. Great gadget!

  3. Numa Torres says:

    hi. where can I buy it?.

  4. technabob says:

    Sorry, I don’t think it’s for sale — it was a custom one-of-a-kind mod.

  5. AtarianOfAmerica says:

    I WOULD BUY THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Especially if it has built-in network card and allowed use of network or internet connection!

  6. rsely74 says:

    I want one of these. 130XE compatibility would be perfect. Add a USB port so a hard drive or thumb drive could be connected with ATR files or real Atari file, I’d be in heaven. I actually have recently introduced Atari 8-bit games to me grandson (age 4 as of 8/2010). He loves them.
    Please let me know if these become commercially (or what ever) available for purchase. I want one… Bad!!!

  7. DP says:

    I grew up with an 800XL being my first computer… learned to use it when I was just 3-4 years old. Probably the reason I can read. This project brings to life dreams I had of this system being portable. You are amazing for building this!

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