|Manufacturer||Zenith Data Systems|
|Release date||June 1982|
|Operating system||Available with CP/M and Z-DOS (non-IBM compatible MS-DOS variant)|
|CPU||Dual processors: 8085 and 8088|
|Memory||Base 128 KB RAM, expandable to 192 KB on board, to 768 KB with S-100 cards. (Video RAM was paged into the 64 KB block above 768 KB).|
|Storage||Two 320 KB 40-track double-sided 5.25-inch Floppy disk drives. Socket enabled direct plug-in of external 8-inch floppies.|
|Display||25 lines × 80 characters|
|Graphics||640×225 bitmap display. 8-color (low-profile model), or monochrome upgradable to 8-level greyscale (all-in-one).|
|Input||2× serial ports (2661 UART), one Centronics printer port (discrete TTL chips), light pen port|
The Zenith Data Systems Z-100 is a pre-assembled version of the Heathkit H100 electronic kit. Configured as a family (Z-120 is an all-in-one model, with self-contained monitor), the Z-110 (called the low profile model) is similar in size to the cabinet of an IBM PC, XT, or AT, but a bit shorter, and configured with a raised cabinet molding on the top surface within which one placed one's display monitor, designed to keep it from sliding off to either side or back. Both models have a built-in keyboard that was tactilely and in appearance modeled on an IBM Selectric typewriter.
- Dual processors: 8085 and 8088.
- Available with CP/M and Z-DOS (non-IBM compatible MS-DOS variant).
- Five S-100 expansion slots.
- Two 320 KB 40-track double-sided 5.25-inch floppy disk drives. Socket enabled direct plug-in of external 8-inch floppies.
- 2× serial ports (2661 UART), one Centronics printer port (discrete TTL chips), light pen port.
- 640×225 bitmap display. 8 colors (low-profile model), or monochrome upgradable to 8 greyscales (all-in-one).
- Base 128 KB RAM, expandable to 192 KB on board, to 768 KB with S-100 cards. (Video RAM was paged into the 64 KB block above 768 KB).
The Z-100 is partially compatible with the IBM PC, using standard floppy drives. It runs a non-IBM version of MS-DOS, so generic MS-DOS programs run, but most commercial PC software use IBM BIOS extensions and do not run, including Lotus 1-2-3. Several companies offered software or hardware solutions to permit unmodified PC programs to work on the Z-100.
The Z-100 has unusually good graphics for its era, superior to the contemporary CGA (640×200 monochrome bitmap or 320×200 4-color), IBM Monochrome Display Adapter (MDA) (80×25 text-only), and on par with the Hercules Graphics Card (720×348 monochrome). Early versions of AutoCAD were released for the Z-100 because of these advanced graphics.
Aftermarket vendors also released modifications to upgrade mainboard memory and permit installation of an Intel 8087 math coprocessor.
In 1983, Clarkson College of Technology (now Clarkson University) became the first college in the nation to give each incoming freshman a personal computer. The model issued to them was the Z-100.
Jerry Pournelle in 1983 praised the Z-100's keyboard, and wrote that it "had the best color graphics I've seen on a small machine". Although forced to buy a real IBM PC because of the Z-100 and other computers' incomplete PC compatibility, he reported in December 1983 that a friend who was inexperienced with electronic kits was able to assemble a H100 in a day, with only the disk controller needing soldering.
- Zenith Challenges IBM's share of micro market, By Paul Freiberger, Page 35, InfoWorld, 13 Sep 1982
- Pournelle, Jerry (December 1983). "Buddy, Can You Spare a Door Latch?". BYTE. p. 59. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Pournelle, Jerry (June 1983). "Zenith Z-100, Epson QX-10, Software Licensing, and the Software Piracy Problem". BYTE. p. 411. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Pournelle, Jerry (September 1983). "Eagles, Text Editors, New Compilers, and Much More". BYTE. p. 307. Retrieved 2019-04-07.
- One Company's CAD Success Story, InfoWorld, 3 December 1984, retrieved 19 July 2014
- "Computers to Come With Books at Drexel U." New York Times. October 28, 1982. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- "Supershorts". Computer World. August 15, 1983. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
- "Clarkson College to Issue Computers to Student Body" (PDF). Silicon Gulch Gazette. February 1983. Retrieved 9 November 2011.