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At the heart of the Atari 2600 was the TIA video chip, designed by Jay Miner, well known for his later work on the chips for the Atari 400/800 and the Amiga.

Who manufactured the TIA? As an in-house custom design, it couldn't be simply purchased off the shelf; I haven't seen any mention of Atari owning a chip fab, and hiring such wasn't as routine then as it became in later decades. Did they make a special arrangement with a chip company?

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The TIA chips were manufactured by a number of different companies, in a number of revisions over the years; the Atari Compendium’s page on the topic lists:

  • American MicroSystems (“AMI” marking on the TIA)
  • IMP
  • Intersil
  • MA (it’s not clear which manufacturer this is)
  • Motorola
  • National Semiconductor
  • OKI Semiconductor
  • Synertek
  • TSU
  • United Microelectronics Corp
  • UN
  • VTI

plus some others with no markings. (See the detailed photographs on the Atari Compendium.)

Not all of these chips were manufactured under contract with Atari; some of them were used in third-party clones, such as the Coleco Gemini (the VTI chips were all used in Coleco systems).

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There were 12 different versions of the TIA, and it was manufactured by a whole host of different manufacturers, some of which are well-known. The manufactures included AMI, Synertek, Motorola, and National Semiconductor.

This article has lots of details, including pictures of the many versions of the TIA IC with many different manufacturers' stamps.

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