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[Ben Z] He loves the Sphere pc, a really early entry into the private pc growth of the mid-Seventies. The 6800 CPU was distinctive in its day in that it was a whole system, at the least in principle. If I might afford the entire system, I would have a pleasant case with a reminiscence mapped keyboard and show board. You possibly can see an amazing video tour of the system under the break.

The Sphere suffered from a number of issues, none of which have been simply foreseeable by its designer. First, the 6800 did not get the traction that 8080-derived CPUs had. Second, the S-100 bus would show standard, however that just about at all times meant an 8080-type processor in apply. Third, whereas an all-in-one system was the appropriate thought, on the time it was costly, and many individuals would go for one thing cheaper, even when it had much less capability. Individuals additionally wished to reap the benefits of the {hardware} they already had. It was simpler to think about connecting a surplus TeleType, say, to a extra typical pc than a Sphere anticipating its personal show and keyboard {hardware}.

A CPU board for Sphere was $522 in package kind; the entire pc was $860 or $1,400 in the event you wished it assembled. In case you wished a modem and cassette interface, you’d spend about $100 extra. For $2,250 you could possibly get a pc assembled with 20K of reminiscence together with the modem/cassette. A floppy disk and printer system value $8,000, and for some motive the corporate’s advertisements say you could possibly spend as much as $11,300, however do not say what.

In contrast to many comparable computer systems that used a card-edge connector, Sphere used ribbon cables to attach the boards. In accordance with the video, this was a typical level of failure for the Sphere. The mini assembler was fairly bizarre, little question so it would slot in the slender ROM. It used hexadecimal codes, however might deal with labels and addresses to make writing machine code a bit simpler.

The pc was roughly up to date with the SOL 20, one other considerably comparable all-in-one. Whereas the Sphere was a bit earlier, it was made in 1977. The SOL 20 appeared quickly after, however continued by way of 1979. The 12,000 SOL-20s bought dwarfed the Sphere’s gross sales, which might have been round 1,300 items. Nevertheless, the IBM PC would come alongside and kill all these machines. If you would like to see extra in regards to the Sphere, there’s an hour-long video from the Classic Pc Federation that includes [Ben Z] speaking in regards to the pc. You possibly can watch that video, under.

Everybody “knew” that the work station was coming, however we did not know precisely how. Whereas the SOL-20 might need been a number of months behind the Sphere, there have been earlier industrial all-in-ones just like the MCM/70 that value practically $10,000 and the IBM 5100 ($9,000).

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A Love Letter To The Sphere Computer

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