Compucolor II

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Compucolor II
Manufacturer Intelligent Systems Corp.
Release date 1977
Retail availability 1977-1993
Operating system Compucolor OS
CPU Intel 8080A
Memory KB (up to 32 KB)

The Compucolor II was an early home computer introduced in 1977 by Intelligent Systems Corporation. It was a lower-cost version of the Compucolor, which is credited with being the first home computer system with built-in color graphics, designed to hit the home computer price points.[1] Unlike its predecessor, it was an "all-in-one" computer, meaning that mainboard, monitor and floppy disk drive were integrated into one case.

To lower costs, the original Compucolor's custom monitor and housing was re-packaged into a standard GE 13" color television set, from which the TV-tuner controls section was removed. The machine was based on the Intel 8080 and used an SMC-supplied graphics chip (CRT5027) that provided 128 by 128 in 8 colors. The system was sold with as little as 8 KB of RAM, expandable up to 32 KB, and offered with one of three keyboards, which attached to the computer with a ribbon cable. A ROM-based BASIC was also included (apparently a knock-off, but improved version of Microsoft BASIC).

The original Compucolor used an 8-track tape for storage, but this proved unreliable. In the Compucolor II, it was replaced with a 50 KB 5.25" floppy disk drive, which was placed on the right side of the screen instead of the TV-tuner controls section. The file system drivers were not changed, which resulted in the Operating System continuing to think it was interfacing with a tape drive: When a file was deleted, the files beyond that point on the disk were moved to fill the empty space, using the 4 KB portion of RAM dedicated to the video as a buffer.

Most software for this computer was written by hobbyists, with some software written by third parties. Intelligent Systems Corporation created a few software titles of their of own. The most important title for the Compucolor II was probably a game called "Startrek". The predecessor Compucolor was advertised with the screen showing the game running from the 8-track tape.

Compucolor II computer with Centronics 737 printer (Zagreb, 1980)


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