PC Pioneers: The Forgotten World of S-100 Bus Computers

During an era when the standard “small pc” with accessories may want to without problems fill half of a room and value tens of hundreds of greenbacks, an engineer named Ed Roberts (at his company MITS) designed a laptop microprocessor-based totally computer known as the Altair 8800, which hobbyists could build themselves for numerous hundred greenbacks. It created the first de facto personal computer popular, though few communicate about it nowadays. The Altair 8800 debuted on the duvet of the January 1975 problem of Popular Electronics, which reached a huge audience of engineers and professional electronics hobbyists. Other businesses quickly commenced imitating the Altair right all the way down to its 100-pin growth bus, which let users plug in unique peripheral cards to make bigger or alter the pics abilities.

This bus, later dubbed S-100 (for neutrality’s sake), has become the idea of the primary non-public laptop hardware trendy—one who regularly used Zilog Z80 CPUs and ran Digital Research’s CP/M operating machine. With a common structure amongst machines, more than one corporation started providing plug-in CPU, memory, video, disk controller, and different peripheral cards for several S-a hundred-based systems.

The PC market grew hastily, and within some years, the industry moved far away from hobbyist kits and into complete systems. Lower-price budget and home private computer systems such as the TRS-eighty and Commodore PET entered the market, pushing S-100 companies into the higher give up of the PC marketplace wherein earnings had been relaxed, and in which business clients seemed enough customization options of S-a hundred machines to be an advantage.

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