[ Retro Scan of the Week ] SWTPC 6800

August 10th, 2015 by Benj Edwards

STWPC 6800 Motorola 6800 computer advertisement - 1977When taking apart your PC was required

I recently inherited a SWTPC 6800 and a fair number of accessories and peripheral cards from a late friend of my father’s. The 6800 was one of the first personal computers, released in 1975, which makes my unit the oldest computer in my collection. The SWTPC 6800 takes its name from its CPU, the Motorola 6800, which was one of the earliest microprocessors, and it refreshingly utilizes a non-S-100 bus. In fact, it created its own minor bus standard called SS-50 that manufacturers like Smoke Signal Broadcasting incorporated into compatible machines.

The 6800 is really neat machine — I cleaned up all the boards, but I can’t get it to boot so far. I’ll have to give it a shot again at a later date.

[ From BYTE Magazine, March 1977, inside front cover]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Do you own any computer released prior to 1977? Tell us about it.

6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] SWTPC 6800”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Can’t say that I do. The oldest computers that I still have are a TRS-80 model 100 portable and a Commodore 64C, both from the early 80s.

  2. Alexander Says:

    Just one: an Intel Single Computer 80/10 from 1975. I’ve never found enough documentation to figure out how to interface with it correctly, so I’ve never powered it up.

  3. Bill S Says:

    Hmm…a megabyte of RAM for a mere $32000! 🙂

  4. David Says:

    And thank goodness for the Tic Tac Toe listing! 😀

  5. BDD Says:

    This is the same 6800 system that Atari used to develop their early microprocessor coin-ops. Owen Rubin programmed his first coin-op (Cannonball, unreleased) using this system, by hand-assembling opcodes rather than writing out the assembly and handing it off to the PDP-1 operators to type it in and run it for him. Funny stuff.

  6. Benj Edwards Says:

    Very cool info, BDD. I did not know any of that. It’s neat to see how the early computer industry and Atari were related.

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