Tuesday, September 01


Daily News Stuff 1 September 2020

Flying Purple You-Know-What Edition

Tech News

  • The RTX 3000 beans have been well and truly spilled.  (Tom's Hardware)

    Yes, the 3090 really does come with 24GB of DDR6X memory, moving at just short of 1TB per second.  It's going to cost significantly more than my current PC, which also happens to have 24GB of RAM.

  • This is the Sharp X1, from 1982.


    I was looking up details of the X68000 and saw this mentioned as its predecessor, so I dug around a bit more.  While it's certainly striking in appearance, it's not remarkable inside: A 4MHz Z80, 64k of RAM, 6k of ROM, and 4k of video RAM.  (Apparently that last was upgradeable, though I haven't found specifics.)

    That 6k of ROM wasn't enough to hold a Basic interpreter, and it didn't try - you had to load it from tape.  The reason it looks like a fancy cassette deck is because that's exactly what it was.

    This guy actually has one - though not that model - with 48k of video RAM.  (VintageCPU)

    He also has not one but two X68000 models, and some computers I've never even heard of, like the Fujitsu FM New 7 from 1984, with 64k of RAM, 44k of ROM, 48k of video RAM, and two Motorola 6809 CPUs.


    1984 is the year I smashed my piggy bank and bought my first computer - the Tandy Colour Computer was going at something like half-price at just A$250 for the advanced model.  16k each of ROM and RAM.  Upgradeable to 64k in theory but I never had the money for that, after saving up for my own B&W TV set, and then a little thermal printer.  And the editor/assembler ROM cartridge.  And the joystick, which was rather nice.

    Anyway, the FM New 7 was basically the Colour Computer squared and cubed.  Instead of 256x192 2-colour graphics, it had 640x200 in 8 colours.  It had a proper 3-voice sound chip.  It could run OS-9, a Unix-like multi-tasking operating system that also ran on the CoCo, and is still around today.  It had three expansion slots, somehow, including one that could take a Z80 for a total of three CPUs.

    I saw several mentions of its densely-packed motherboard, and then found an actual photo.  


    Yeah, that's a lot of chips.  You can see the sockets for the three expansion cards.  This thing must have run pretty warm when fully equipped.

    This is amazingly close to what I've been thinking about for the Imagine, only it was real.  Oh, and bank-switched, of course, so you only had about 32k of the 64k RAM available for your Basic code.  And it was only a minor update over the original FM7 from 1982.  And that was a cost-reduced version of the FM8 from 1981.  (IPSJ Computer Museum)

    Just look at this in all its early 80s glory.


    It was so 80s it even supported bubble memory.

    The New7 was followed by the FM77 with up to 256k of RAM and a built-in 320k floppy drive, then by a whole family of FM77AV models.


    By the late 80s these were clearly eclipsed technically by the Amiga and Atari ST, not to mention Sharp's X68000.  But - bank switching aside - my dream computer actually existed.

Disclaimer: Not much news today, but plenty of olds.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 11:55 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 It's interesting to see all these oddball computers.  I wonder how many of these things sold, I certainly don't recognize any of them. I got my start with a Morrow machine around 1984, which had a Zilog Z80A and I think 64kb of ram and ran CP/M. Sound was modulated beeps and graphics consisted of oddly shaped character sets. The lab at school had TRS-80s and Apple IIs, and it was a big deal when we started upgrading them to 128kb in 1986 or so.

Posted by: David at Wednesday, September 02 2020 04:01 AM (ZVBMd)

2 Japanese computers in the 80s were their own separate world.  They had high-resolution graphics much earlier because of the need to display kanji.  And systems like the Apple II, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum which sold in huge quantities in the US and Europe, but could not display kanji, were much less successful there.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, September 02 2020 10:04 AM (PiXy!)

3 I had completely missed the "Japanese" part.  Yep, that explains why I never heard of any of these.

Posted by: David at Wednesday, September 02 2020 04:25 PM (ZVBMd)

4 I had a TRS-80 Model III with a cassette drive.  I'm very glad I don't anymore.

Posted by: Wonderduck at Thursday, September 03 2020 07:39 PM (D9Okp)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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