grilled piece of wood. NorthStar Horizon




# Fiction | grilled piece of wood. NorthStar Horizon March 13, 2013

NorthStar Horizon 1977

Computer firm made ​​its debut in 1976 under the name of «Kentucky Fried Computers» («Kentucky Fried Computers”). But manufacturers Kentucky fried chickens («Kentucky Fried Chicken!») Were unhappy and had to change his name to «NorthStar». Their first product was a mathematical board for floating-point operations to computers based on the S-100. But in November 1977, the company has introduced a full-fledged computer NorthStar Horizon. He was the first computer with a built-in floppy drives in the history of our civilization.

So “Horizon” lit up “North Star.” NorthStar Horizon based on the Z-80 processor with a clock frequency of 4 megahertz. Memory was rather big for its time: 16 KB or more. Extension provides a connector for S-100 compatible cards.

Data carrier acted miracle of the day: 5.25-inch floppy disk (floppy disks) , each of which was placed 90 kilobytes of information. Ports: a couple of serial and one parallel. Operating systems: CP / M and NorthStar DOS.

But back to the mathematical board. With her math operations to 50 times faster than without it. But on one condition: to calculate should have used a special type of BASIC: NorthStar BASIC.

At NorthStar did not stop there and developed a cheap floppy drives. Thus was born NorthStar Horizon, happy users who can hold it on a cassette tape and diskettes. I must say that this computer was not cheap. In the form of a kit to build it cost 1000 U.S. $ 599. As a final computer it can be purchased for 1000 $ 899 U.S..

These prices apply to the model, equipped with only one floppy drive. If the board were two of them, the build kit NorthStar Horizon treated buyer already in 1000 U.S. $ 999, and the finished, assembled by computer – in 2000 $ 349 U.S..

NorthStar Horizon 1977 года

In addition to the integrated floppy drive, NorthStar Horizon is notable for one detail: he was one of a number of computers shipped in a wooden case. It so happened that the tree was not included (along with metal and plastic) in the number of traditional materials used in the computer industry.

The reason for this is clear to everyone. The tree belongs to the flammable material and its application in computers is in conflict with safety requirements and … common sense.

Connectors to the left were the twelve S-100 cards. This made it possible to equip the NorthStar Horizon incredible days in his memory. Seven modules of 64 kilobytes add up to 448 kilobytes. Compare this to a typical computer memory in 1977 and feel, first how the current technology have gone ahead in comparison with those recently, and secondly the extent to which we are considering today NorthStar Horizon surpassed their electronic peers

NorthStar Horizon 1977 года

Most computers on the basis of S-100 is just a motherboard, which should expand the functionality of additional modules. But NorthStar Horizon was not like that. Its component base was enough to work without adding additional circuits.

In standard configuration, NorthStar Horizon had a connector for a video terminal, parallel and two serial ports. But the stories are known model, complete with an additional eight serial ports.

NorthStar Horizon 1977 года

Perhaps it is not quite accurate observation, but it is very likely that the NorthStar Horizon was the first computer resembling modern desktops. A kind of prototype that is relevant to this day, in spite of the changing and growing characteristics.

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