Thomson TO7

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Thomson TO7
Thomson TO7 computer on display at the Musée Bolo, EPFL, Lausanne
DeveloperThomson SA
TypeHome computer
Release dateFrance: 1 December 1982; 40 years ago (1982-12-01)
Introductory price3750 FF
DiscontinuedMay 1984
Units soldMore than 40000 produced
MediaCassette tape, MEMO7 cartridges
Operating systemBASIC (in cartridge)
CPUMotorola 6809 @ 1 MHz
Memory22 KB RAM, 4KB ROM, 16KB cartridges
Display320 x 200, 8 colours (2 colour constraint for each 8x1 pixels)
GraphicsMotorola MCA1300 gate array on TO7/70[1]
SuccessorThomson TO8, Thomson TO9

The Thomson TO7, also called Thomson 9000[2] is a home computer introduced by Thomson SA in November 1982,[3] with an original retail price of 3750 FF.[4] By 1983 over 40000 units were produced.[4] About 84 games were released for the TO7.[5][6]

The TO7 is built around a 1 MHz Motorola 6809 processor. ROM cartridges, designed as MEMO7, can be introduced through a memory bay. The user interface uses Microsoft BASIC, included in the kit cartridge. The keyboard features a plastic membrane, and further user input is obtained through a lightpen. Cooling is provided by a rear radiator. A standard television can serve as a monitor using a RGB SCART (Peritel) connector, with a resolution of 320x200 (with 2 colors for each 8 x 1 pixels).

The TO7 prototype, called Thomson T9000, was developed in 1980. The differences regarding the production model are a different startup menu and buggier BIOS.[7]


The Thomson TO7 runs on a Motorola 6809 processor clocked at 1 MHz and features 22 KB of RAM (8 KB for the user, 8 KB used as video memory and 8K x 6 bits color memory) and 20KB of ROM (4KB for the monitor and 16KB on MEMO7 cartridges).[8]

As common on home computers designed to be connected to an ordinary TV screen, the 320 x 200 pixels active area doesn't cover the entire screen, and is surrounded by a border.[9] Graphics were limited to 8 colours (generated by combination of RGB primaries) with proximity constraints (2 colors for each 8 x 1 pixel area).[8][3] The video output is RGB on a SCART connector, with the refresh rate being 625-line compatible 50Hz.[8]

Audio featured a single channel sound generator with five octaves. A "game expansion" was capable of four channel, six octaves sound.[2]

The keyboard has 58 keys and includes arrow keys.[2]

Besides cartridges, the machine used cassette tapes for file storage.[2]

Thomson TO7/70[edit]

Thomson TO7-70

An upgraded version, the Thomson TO7/70, was released in 1984[10] with an introductory price of 3590 FF.[11] It was used as an educational tool in French schools under the Computing for All plan, where the TO7/70 could be used as a used a "nano-machine" terminal for the "Nanoréseau" educational network.[10]

Among improvements RAM was increased to 64 KB - "70" on the version name stands for 64+6 (64KB RAM + 6KB ROM).[12] The 6809 processor was replaced by a Motorola 6809E and the color palette was extended from 8 to 16 colors.[13]

Graphics were similar to the Thomson MO5[14] and generated by a Motorola MCA1300 gate array[1] capable of 40×25 text display and a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels with 16 colours (limited by 8 x 1 pixel colour attribute areas).[15][16] The colour palette is 4-bit RGBI, with 8 basic RGB colours and a intensity bit (called P for "Pastel") that controlled saturation ("saturated" or "pastel").[9][17]

Software developed for the TO-7 can be run on the TO-7/70, but the reverse is not possible.[10] At least three games were released for the TO7/70.[18]

See also[edit]

  • Computing for All, a French government plan to introduce computers to the country's pupils


  1. ^ a b "TO7-70 Circuit Diagram".
  2. ^ a b c d "Thomson TO7".
  3. ^ a b Miné, Antoine. "Thomson TO7 Emulation in MESS". Antoine Miné's Web Site.
  4. ^ a b "Thomson TO7". Obsolete Tears. Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  5. ^ "Thomson TO7 video games". Universal Videogame List. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  6. ^ "Listing of all Thomson TO7 games". The Video Games Museum. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  7. ^ Miné, Antoine. "Thomson T9000 Emulation in MESS". Antoine Miné's Web Site.
  8. ^ a b c Oury, Michel (1984). Manuel Technique du TO7 et TO7-70 (PDF). Cedic.
  9. ^ a b Oury, Michel (1985). Manuel Technique du MO5 (PDF). Cedic.
  10. ^ a b c "Thomson TO7/70".
  11. ^ "Thomson TO7/70". Obsolete Tears. Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  12. ^ Le Guide du TO7-70 (PDF). Cedic. 1985.
  13. ^ Miné, Antoine. "Thomson TO7/70 Emulation in MESS". Antoine Miné's Web Site.
  14. ^ "Microton" (PDF). No. 5. March 1986. pp. 12–18.
  15. ^ "Thomson MO5".
  16. ^ "documentations:hardware:mo5 [DON'T PANIC]". Demomaker's guide to Thomson computers.
  17. ^ "documentations:devices:gate.arrays [DON'T PANIC]". Demomaker's guide to Thomson computers.
  18. ^ "Thomson TO7/70 video games". Universal Videogame List. Retrieved 2023-01-01.