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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The NASCOM-1


NASCOM-1

Manufacturer

NASCO Microcomputers (UK)
(Later Lucas Logic Systems)

Model

NASCOM-1

Date Launched

27 November 1977

Price

£197.50
Power supply £24.50 extra
Additional RAM £97 for 8 kilobytes

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80 @ 2 MHz

ROM size

1, later 2, kilobytes

Standard RAM

2 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

64 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Good quality typewriter style

Supplied language

No programming language as standard, just a simple command-line monitor for modifying memory contents and loading/saving to tape.
Later a version of BASIC became available either on ROM or tape.

Text resolution

48 x 16 characters

Graphics resolution

No graphics

Colours available

Monochrome

Example Screenshot

NASCOM 1 display
The game of Galaxians on the NASCOM's text display.

Sound

None without extra hardware

Cassette load speed

300 baud

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

Keyboard 300 x 155 x 25 approx.
Main board 305 x 190 x 20 approx.
Weight not known

Special features

Designed to interface with external hardware.

Good points

One of the cheapest proper computers in 1977.
Unlike most hobbyist systems of the time it included a full QWERTY keyboard.
A wide range of extra hardware could be connected to the NASCOM-1, including floppy disk drives and sound boards.
A considerable amount of software was also written for it, covering various programming languages (Pascal, Forth) and applications (simple wordprocessing, chess).

Bad points

Supplied as a kit which took a reasonable degree of expertise to assemble.
Price did not include a case.
Extra hardware (e.g. more RAM, an input/output board) were needed before the NASCOM-1 could do anything really useful.

How successful?

Over 12,000 were sold, a considerable number for an early computer.

Comments

The NASCOM-1 was designed to appeal to the home electronics enthusiast and was potentially a much more capable machine than other early 'computer trainers' such as the Acorn System 1 or Science of Cambridge MK14.
The follow-up model, the NASCOM-2 of 1979, had slow sales initially and cashflow problems resulted in the business being sold to Lucas Logic Systems, who introduced the final model in the range, the NASCOM-3.
Read a review of the NASCOM range.



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