The Atari Lynx is a handheld console that has two form factors over its lifetime. The Lynx I and II models have a different casing and internal layout, but hold nearly exact same electronic hardware. The main difference is lower power consumption and stereo sound (but less loud) for the Lynx II incarnation.
Atari Lynx I and II handhelds
The Lynx had two processors running nicknamed Mikey and Suzy. Mikey, a custom 65SC02 chip, supported the sound engine and the video driver, the system interrupts and timers, ComLynx support and ran at 4 MHz. Mikey was also responsible for loading the games with the 512 bytes of ROM it had for that function. Suzy supported the graphics engine and a math co-processor and ran at 16 MHz. Game cards support up to 2 MB of ROM, but most contain either 128K or 256K, with only 3 games supporting 512K.
The various chips inside the machine are:
- U1: (Mikey, see below)
- U2: (Suzy, see below)
- U3 and U4:
Lynx I – HM-50464-12
Lynx II – HY53C464LS-10 (Two 256 KB DRAM chips (64K X 4 nMOS general purpose Dynamic RAM, page-mode operation DIP-18, 256 cycles/4 msec)
- U5: LM386 (Low voltage audio power amplifier)
- U6: 4069 (CMOS Hex Buffer)
- U7: 74HC04 (Hex inverter, used multiple times)
- U8: 74HC4040 (12-stage binary ripple counter; generates cartridge addresses A0-A10)
- U9: 74HC164 (8-bit serial-in, parallel-out shift register; generates cartridge addresses A12-A19)
- U10: S-8054 (Voltage detector)
- U11: 74HC74 (High Speed CMOS Logic Dual Positive-Edge-Triggered D-Type Flip-Flops with Set and Reset; controls backlight on/off)
- U12: NJM2073 (Dual low voltage range power amplifier; stereo sound output)
U10, U11 and U12 are on Lynx II only.
8-bit custom CMOS chip running at 4MHz
|MOS 65SC02||Processor running at up to 4MHz (~3.6MHz average) 8-bit CPU, 16-bit address space|
|Sound engine||4 channel sound 8-bit DAC for each channel (4 channels x 8-bits/channel = 32 bits commonly quoted)
Lynx II has panning support
Atari reports the range is “100Hz to above the range of human hearing”; spectrum analysis shows the range may go as low as 32Hz.
Stereo with panning (mono for original Lynx)
|Video DMA driver||Video DMA driver for LCD display
4096 color (12-bit) palette
16 simultaneous colors (4 bits) from palette per scanline (more than 16 colors can be displayed by changing palettes after each scanline)
|System timers||8 System timers (2 reserved for LCD timing, one for UART)|
|UART (for ComLynx)||Universal Asynchronous Receive/Transmit
Fixed framing format 8E1 (meaning an 8-way connection between two “users”)
Baud rate up to 62500Bd
|512 bytes ROM||Bootstrap and game-card loading ROM|
16-bit custom CMOS chip running at 16MHz
|Blitter unit||Bit-map block transfer unit|
|Graphics engine||Hardware drawing support
Unlimited number of high-speed sprites with collision detection
Hardware high-speed sprite scaling, distortion, and tilting effects
Hardware decoding of compressed sprite data
Hardware clipping and multi-directional scrolling
Variable frame rate (up to 75 frames/second)
160 x 102 “triad” standard resolution (16,320 addressable pixels) (A triad is three LCD elements: red, green, and blue)
Capability of 480 x 102 artificially high resolution
|Math co-processor||Hardware 16-bit multiply and divide
16-bit × 16-bit → 32-bit multiply with optional accumulation;
32-bit ÷ 16-bit → 16-bit divide
Parallel processing of CPU and single multiply or divide instruction
|Controller Input||Handles input from joypad, pause, option and fire buttons|
Parts of the Mikey and Suzy information was taken from the Atari Lynx FAQ, which has more detailed information on all physical aspects of the Atari Lynx.
Bastian Schick has the electronic schematics up on his website (in a single ZIP file, but with two images of board split in left and right side). He also has a file listing the pin layout of the cartridge port.