Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Ohio Scientific Superboard II - The Arrival of Affordable Single Board Computing

OSI Challenger 1P

Early microcomputers like the IMSAI 8080 used a backplane system in which cards are plugged into a motherboard. This design made sense: machines could be easily upgraded and modified without extensive rewiring. The downside of this approach was that it required multiple circuit boards and was expensive to manufacture. To lower costs, manufacturers started integrating as much as they could onto a single board: CPU, memory, video circuitry, cassette interface and keyboard. The result was a new breed of incredibly affordable home computer.

One of the first successful single board micros was the Ohio Scientifc Superboard II. In 1978, this machine shipped with a 6502 processor, 4K or memory and was expandable to quite respectable 8K. The video system displayed 24 lines of 24 characters on a monochrome composite monitor and a system monitor and 8K Microsoft BASIC was supplied in ROM. All you had to do was add your own case, power supply, display, and a cassette recorder for saving/loading programs. The price? An astoundingly affordable $279. They also offered basically the same system as the Challenger IP with case and power supply for $349, and a fully expanded system with 16K memory and a 5 1/4-inch floppy drive wentfor $1190. OSI sold a considerable number of these machines to hobbyists because the 1P was extremely good value.

Ohio Scientific found it difficult to compete with the popularity of the Apple II, which offered a color display and inexpensive floppy drive system. Their unique solution: the company started incorporating multiple processors monster systems. Their Challenger III machine offered 6502, 6800 and Z-80 processors along with 32K RAM and dual 8-inch floppies. Unfortunately, it cost over $3500 and wasn't enough to save OSI from the affordable onslaught of capable micros in the early 1980s.

If you'd like to try out this classic machine, drop by DoubleBit software where you can download a copy of the Virtual Challenger 1P (for Windows) by Jeff Parsons.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...