Tatung Einstein

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Tatung Einstein TC-01
TypePersonal computer
Release date1984; 40 years ago (1984)
Introductory price£499 (equivalent to £2,030 in 2023)
Media3-inch floppy disk
Operating systemMOS (Machine Operating System); Xtal DOS (CP/M-compatible); Xtal BASIC (BASIC)
CPUZilog Z80A @ 4 MHz
Memory64 KB RAM, 16 KB VRAM, 8 KB - 32 KB ROM
Storage3-inch floppy drive (1770 FDC)
Display256 × 192, 16 colours
Input51-key keyboard, joystick
Dimensions43.5 × 51.5 × 11.5 cm
SuccessorTatung Einstein 256

The Tatung Einstein[1] is an eight-bit home/personal computer produced by Taiwanese[2] corporation Tatung,[3] designed in Bradford, England at Tatung's research laboratories and assembled in Bridgnorth and Telford, England. It was aimed primarily at small businesses.


The Tatung Einstein TC-01 was released in the United Kingdom in the summer of 1984,[1] and 5,000 were exported to Taipei later that year. A Tatung monitor (monochrome or colour) and dot matrix printer were also available as options, plus external disc drives and an 80 column display card. It was also capable of running ZX Spectrum software with the "Speculator" addon.[4][5]

More expensive than most of its rivals, the Einstein was popular with contemporary programmers as a development machine[6][7] but was commercially unsuccessful.[8][9]

A later revised version, called the Tatung Einstein 256 and released in 1985,[10][11] suffered a similar fate.


The machine was physically large, with an option for one or two built-in three-inch floppy disk drives manufactured by Hitachi.[12] At the time, most home computers in the UK used ordinary tape recorders for storage. Another unusual feature of the Einstein was that on start-up the computer entered a simple machine code monitor, called MOS (Machine Operating System).

A variety of software could then be loaded from disk, including a CP/M-compatible operating system[13] called Xtal DOS (pronounced 'Crystal DOS', created by Crystal Computers in Torquay), and a BASIC interpreter (Xtal BASIC). More than 400 software titles were released for the system, including about 120 games.[14] Versions of popular software like DBase or WordStar were available.[15]

Thanks to the reliability of the machine, and ample memory, the machine proved useful by many software houses to use for programming, and then porting the code to the machines they were made for, namely the Spectrum 48k, Amstrad CPC, and Commodore 64.[6][7] Eventually, it was superseded by the PC and Atari ST as the development systems of choice.

The follow on machine, the Einstein 256, basically was the same as the original, with improved video (Yamaha V9938) and a more slimline black case.

Technical specifications[edit]

The machines were quite similar.

Tatung Einstein TC-01[edit]

The Tatung Einstein TC-01 specifications are similar the MSX standard.

Tatung Einstein 256[edit]

The Tatung Einstein 256 was similar to the original with improved video (Yamaha V9938) and more RAM.[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tatung Einstein TC-01 - Computer - Computing History". www.computinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  2. ^ Horizonte asiático (in Spanish). APACL. 1986.
  3. ^ An Introduction to Tatung Co., 1984. Tatung Company. 1984.
  4. ^ "Tatung Einstein Speculator". www.tatungeinstein.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-12-22.
  5. ^ "Speculator Spectrum Emulator". www.tatungeinstein.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-12-22.
  6. ^ a b McAlpine, Kenneth B. (2018-11-09). Bits and Pieces: A History of Chiptunes. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-049611-1.
  7. ^ a b Bolton, David (2019-01-17). "Blast from the Past: Retrieving Old Game Source Code". Dice Insights. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  8. ^ "EINSTEIN TC-01 Tatung". www.old-computers.com.
  9. ^ Sharpe, Michael (2011-12-13). Family Matters: A History of Genealogy. Casemate Publishers. ISBN 978-1-84468-650-6.
  10. ^ a b "Tatung Einstein 256 - Computer - Computing History". www.computinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  11. ^ a b "Tatung Einstein 256". www.tatungeinstein.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  12. ^ Joshi, Rajmohan (April 2006). Introduction To Computers. Gyan Publishing House. ISBN 978-81-8205-379-3.
  13. ^ Investors Chronicle. Financial Times Business Pub. 1984.
  14. ^ "Tatung Einstein Complete Software List". www.tatungeinstein.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-12-22.
  15. ^ "Tatung Einstein business software". www.tatungeinstein.co.uk. Retrieved 2022-12-22.
  16. ^ Joshi, Rajmohan (April 2006). Introduction To Computers. Gyan Publishing House. p. 73. ISBN 978-81-8205-379-3.

External links[edit]