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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The Exidy Sorcerer


Exidy Sorcerer with display unit

Manufacturer

Exidy Incorporated (US)
UK dealer was EMG Microcomputers

Model

Sorcerer

Date Launched

August 1978

Price

£850
A matching 12 inch display and twin floppy disc drive unit cost £1890

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80 @ 2.106 MHz

ROM size

4 kilobytes for monitor

Standard RAM

8, 16 or 32 kilobytes
Later 48 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

48 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Good quality typewriter style with numeric pad

Supplied language

Microsoft BASIC on cartridge

Text resolution

64 x 30 characters

Graphics resolution

Pseudo 512 x 240 pixel graphics by redefining up to 128 characters. The display was not fully bit-mapped so there were limitations on what could be displayed.

Colours available

Monochrome

Sound

None, but an external speech synthesiser was available.

Cassette load speed

1200 baud
Supported two cassette decks for transfer of data

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

483 x 328 x 97 (keyboard unit)
Not known

Special features

High graphics resolution for the period.
Had 128 user-definable characters.
The first computer to use ROM cartridges (housed in 8-track stereo cases).
Allowed single key entry of BASIC commands.

Good points

With a disk drive expansion box it could run the CP/M operating system.
Large memory capacity for 1978.

Bad points

Very expensive with disc drives.
The display was not sufficiently clear when using a domestic TV – it really needed a proper computer monitor.

How successful?

Too expensive for the home market and not as popular as it could have been in business.
Exidy Inc withdrew the machine from the market in 1980 and closed down completely on 26th March 1982.
The Sorcerer did however sell well in Holland and the Dutch firm of CompuData continued to manufacture it under licence until 1983.

Comments

The Exidy Sorcerer was clearly designed as a top of the range (for its time) business and 'serious' computer.
Software for word processing and accountancy was available.
The hardware was very powerful by 1978 standards but the Sorcerer was probably a bit too expensive.



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