Torch Computers

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Torch Computers Ltd was a computer hardware company formed in 1982 in Great Shelford, near Cambridge, UK and became well known for its computer peripherals for the BBC Micro. Torch produced several second processor units for the BBC Micro with integrated floppy disk or hard disk drives, including the Z80 Disc Pack (ZDP), Graduate and Unicorn, with Z80, 8088 and 68000 processors respectively. The ZDP ran the CPN operating system, a clone of CP/M, the Graduate, MS-DOS 2.11 and the Unicorn UNIX.

Torch also sold the Communicator, a system based on the BBC Micro with a Z80 second processor and integral modem, intended as a viewdata terminal.

Torch later developed the Triple X workstation, based on the Motorola 68010 processor running Uniplus+ Unix System V. Launched in 1986, a number of these were sold but never reached critical mass, and the Triple X was overshadowed in the market by other vendors such as Sun Microsystems.

Torch later developed an upgraded system, the Quad X, based around the 68020, but few were sold.

In 1989 Torch were developing a further enhancement, codenamed Quad Y, based on the 68030, but ran out of money and went into receivership. In 1990, parts of the company were sold to various buyers, including Unipalm and Control Universal Ltd. In 1991, Control Universal also went into receivership, and its Torch assets were bought by Worldmark Computers Ltd, which then started to trade under the name Torch Computers, changing its name to Torch Computers Ltd. in 1999.

Some Quad X boards obtained by Worldmark were sold but the company concentrated on PC technology and began to specialise in small form-factor computers. The main emphasis is now on enclosure products and large LCD displays for digital signage and art installations.

The Torch 300 series featured in the episode Wheelman of the British TV detective series Dempsey and Makepeace.[1]

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