[Action Retro] got here into an vintage Sol-20 pc and argues that it was the primary completely built-in pc geared toward shoppers that didn’t require you to purchase or construct some sort of terminal. These are pretty uncommon, so we appreciated the peek inside you can see within the video under.
Positive, the Sol-20 wasn’t the very first pc on the market out there. It was, nevertheless, one of many first ones that didn’t want something extra unique than a monitor to have a useful system (and the monitor was included). There have been options comparable to a Xerox Alto or a Wang 2200, however these had worth tags that didn’t land them in your house. Even Apple, which might turn out to be well-known for a turnkey system, was solely producing the Apple I at the moment. Because the video factors out, it was full so long as you can construct your personal energy provide and knew find out how to interface a keyboard — maintaining in thoughts that keyboards had been all wildly totally different in these days.
Whereas the Sol-20 was the primary to the market, everybody “knew” this kind of type issue was crucial. The important thing was to get the worth down. Even the Sol-20 offered for $2,100 with a monochrome monitor, BASIC, 8K of reminiscence, and cassette tape mass storage. Keep in mind, although, that $2,100 in 1976 is price about $6,260 right this moment. You possibly can purchase a motherboard equipment ($575) or the bottom machine assembled ($745). Including the case, keyboard, and energy provide would add $300 to $500 to that worth. In fact, until you ponied up the entire $2,100, you needed to supply your personal bits like cassette decks, reminiscence boards, and the like.
The pc didn’t boot up instantly, however biking the ability a number of instances made it perform a little higher. The S-100 bus connectors take up fairly a little bit of actual property inside, and an enormous linear energy provide was fairly frequent for computer systems of the interval. The keyboard was past assist and required some main renovation and cleansing. It wasn’t completely fastened by the top of the video, however you’ll be able to see he’s getting there.
The corporate had made inroads into the fledgling pc shops of the day and had promised enhancements, together with a floppy drive and a colour video card. Vendor issues delayed the floppy disk launch after which got here related and cheaper computer systems from Radio Shack, Apple, and Commodore. Processor Expertise — the corporate that made the SOL — had authorized troubles, too. The corporate they paid to jot down the SOL’s BASIC was promoting the software program to others, however the courts sided with the opposite firm. The corporate additionally refused to maneuver to CP/M, utilizing a proprietary working system that was reportedly buggy, leading to a lawsuit in opposition to the corporate. The final straw was 32K and 64K dynamic reminiscence boards that had been offered after which failed steadily. The corporate went bankrupt in 1979, ending the three-year run of the SOL.
We suspect this machine will probably be completely operate quickly sufficient. If you’d like one in every of these however can’t afford or discover one, you can do a copy. Or, emulate a pc from the identical 12 months — the Apple I.