What are the really unusual or weird computers?

Jim Battle frustum at pacbell.net
Fri Jun 29 20:53:12 CDT 2007


...
>>  And...what was the first computer *any* to have a
>> rom-BASIC
> 
> HP9830? (end of 1972). Maybe some Wang machine?

The first Wang machine with BASIC in ROM was the 2200.  Wang had a 
history of preannouncing products, so it is a bit unclear what date to 
use, but spring 1973 seems to be when they were really shipping units.

The 2200 used about 200 TTL parts for the main CPU, plus a lot of low 
density ROMS and DRAM for the BASIC ROM and program memories, another 80 
chips or so to generate video out.  All of it fit into a small metal 
"suitcase."

I'd be curious to know how fast the 9830 was in comparison.  This small 
program:

	10 T=0
	20 FOR I=1 TO 10000
	30 T=T+I
	40 NEXT I
	50 PRINT T
	60 END

takes about 90 seconds to run on the 2200T (btw, everything is double 
precision BCD).  You can see more detailed timing on each BASIC 
operation here:

	http://www.wang2200.org/performance.html

The 2200 was preceded by the 3300.  Wang started accepting orders for it 
in 1970, but machines didn't ship until sometime in 1971.  The 3300 
loaded BASIC from paper tape, and later cassette.  I believe they 
eventually offered a ROM BASIC for the 3300, but it was too late to do 
any good.




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