[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Altos Computer Systems

December 31st, 2012 by Benj Edwards

Altos Computer Systems ACS8000-6 and Sun-Series ad - 1979“The first business computer system that will not instantly crush your secretary.”

Happy New Year from Vintage Computing and Gaming!

[ From BYTE, November 1979, p.21 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Quick! Name your favorite computer, calculator, or console with a Z80 CPU.

10 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Altos Computer Systems”

  1. John Says:


  2. Kouban Says:

    While looking up Zilog’s main contribution to computing history, I found this ad on Wikipedia: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Zilog_Z-80_Microprocessor_ad_May_1976.jpg Clearly, someone wanted to write off their miniatures as a business expense.

  3. Stan Says:

    Coleco Adam!

    It’s a pretty goofy system, but I got a lot of mileage out of it thanks to its AppleSoft-compatible BASIC (except the screen was only 32 chars wide instead of 40) and a truly amazing version of Logo designed to take full advantage of the TMS9928a graphics chip. I had a lot of fun putting those 32 sprites through their paces, and the Logo language was surprisingly powerful. One of the bundled demos included a recursive routine for drawing fractles, of all things.

    But that tape drive was absolute torture.

  4. Zoyous Says:

    The Sega Master System. Pretty awesome console, and I’ve been enjoying getting back into its games this year.

  5. Jaybee Says:

    Mmmm…. so many choices…
    I’ll throw in the MSX2. Weird japanese computers make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  6. Asterisk Says:

    It’s interesting how the ad on Wikipedia describes the clock speeds in terms of (I assume) the amount of time a single cycle takes instead of the now-standard reverse; 500 ns should be 2 MHz and 400 ns should be 2.5 MHz. Was this common practice in the ’70s, or specific to Zilog’s literature?

  7. Dennis Says:

    By far, the GameBoy would be my favorite (not quite) Z-80 based machine, followed by the TI-82 graphing calculator. I spent quite a bit of time with both of those devices in high school. I also had a TS 1000 at the time, but it never got anywhere near the attention as the other two.

  8. Marcelo Motta Says:

    The ZX-Spectrum, very popular in Brazil (my home country) in the 80’s. Actually, I had a Spectrum locally produced clone called TK-90x.

  9. Ed Says:

    The Sinclar ZX-80. Tiny little thing with few chips beyond the Z80A. The design did ‘bend’ the rules a bit on how some of the components were used.

  10. Ed Says:

    BTW – I have a Zilog Z80 Assembly Language Manual (white cover) and Zilog Z80 Databook (Hardware Manual, black cover) that I used extensively while working for TRIAD Systems (CA, USA) in the 80’s – 90’s, who used the Z80, Z80A, Z80B, Z80H, and Z280 extensively as main processors, communications boards, disk/tape controller boards, and many other intelligent peripherals.

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