This section goes into a bit more detail about the variety and relative capabilities of the Atari ST family for emulating other systems. These computers were built around succeeding generations of the Motorola MC68000 processor.
TYPE AND VIABILITY OF THE VARIOUS TOS PLATFORMS:
68000 based - (from 1985):
Atari ST - 8 Mhz:
Mega STe - 16 Mhz:The ST was the founder member of this family. This category includes the STFM, STe, Mega ST, Stacey luggable, and ST Book. The 8mhz 68000 was a pretty good cpu for its time (1985), especially when compared with contemporary Intel efforts, but it doesn't provide a lot of power for fast emulation of other platforms. Nevertheless, most emulations will run on this, even if it is at a crawl. The Mega STe differs from the rest by having a 16mhz 68000, doubling up in raw power from the base level.
68030 based - (from 1990):
Atari TT - 32 Mhz:
Atari Falcon - 16 Mhz:
Accelerated Falcon (various from 24 to 50 Mhz:)There were no 68020-based Atari machines made, so the next big step up was the 68030 based TT. At the time (1990) this was very much a uber-machine for the great and good of the Atari world. The Falcon '030 came along later in 1993, and was designed as a 'multimedia' machine. The Falcon valiantly tried, but is still too underpowered for fast emulations, the TT was better with a full 32mhz cpu and fastram. There were several people who decided to abhor the power vacuum, and several accelerator solutions for Falcon, ranging from 24 to 50mhz speeds came along. Some had fastram as well. A typical top-end '030 accelerated Falcon, like the Centurbo 2 would be able to handle the simpler 8-bit emulators and optimised asm code such as the gameboy emulator Godboy with cpu cycles to spare.
68040 based - (from 1994):
Milan '040 - 25 Mhz:
Falcon Afterburner - 25 or 32 Mhz:Atari Corp did not get involved at this stage, as they had quit manufacturing new computers after the Falcon. Third party solutions, such as the TOS-compatible Milan computer came along instead. This is based around a 68040, and was touted as an upgrade from a base ST rather than as a successor to the Falcon. The Afterburner board was the ultimate upgrade for the Falcon for a long while. The Atari 800 emulator was largely developed on one of these. The power level of an '040 for emulation would be more than adequate for the simple or optimised emulations produced to date. There is a possible risk of some non-compatibility with the '040 processor itself though? (based on '060 experience)
68060 based (from mid-nineties onward)
Milan '060 - 60 Mhz:
Hades - 50-60 Mhz:Falcon CT60 - 66 to 100 Mhz: The 68060 was the end of line for the MC68K series, and only a select few top end machines made by third party clone builders saw it at first. The Hades was everyone's dream machine, but remained a minority interest due to the high price. Milan Computer Gmbh attempted to build a reasonably priced "people's 060" in the form of the Milan 2, but this got canned at the last minute. Upgrade boards for the '040 Milan did trickle out though. Finally, the ultimate (for now) Falcon extension, the CT60, has been doing the rounds and has just finished production. For all of these machines some pretty decent emulation is possible, even with things like SDL ports. The Atari 800 emulator runs at full speed at last. But there seems to be a compatibility downside with some of the older emulators out there which don't like the '060 for different reasons.
Note:- The CT60 also refers to the CT63, a later version of that accelerator.