Tatung Einstein 256
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The Tatung Einstein 256 was released in 1985, and was the successor to the Einstein TC01. It is much smaller in size and is complete with a purpose built 14-inch high definition colour monitor.
The processor is Z80A running at 4MHz. It has a 16K ROM, which could be upgraded to 32K. As its name suggests, it has 256K of RAM, this is not just a boost of memory over the last machine, it was to make the computer very graphics heavy, as 192K was dedicated to video RAM, 64K therefore was available to the CPU.
To add to this 32 Sprites could be on screen, making the machine on paper excellent for entertainment software, when not in use for video, some of the RAM could be used for other purposes. The graphics chip is the Yamaha V9938 MSX 2.
Sound is provided by the same chip as the original machine, which was also found in the Amstrad and MSX machines.
A 3-inch disc drive unit is mounted on the top of the machine, and is the same type as used by Sinclair and Amstrad machines, unlike its predecessor it cannot have a second drive installed, and an external one was designed for use with the 256.
This machine borrows a few ideas from the other contemporary machines of the era, for instance the keyboard action is similar to a BBC, as are the expansion connectors and power supply, the same moulded mains plug, and a similar strip above the function keys, there is also a separate block of cursor keys as found on the Commodore Plus 4 and MSX Computers. The computer is powered by the monitor like an Amstrad, and the display also has speakers for sound.
There are a good amount of connections on the machine, such as an RS232C, a printer port, two for joysticks, the serial can drive either serial or parallel, depending on a dip switch inside. There is also RGB, composite, and mono audio outputs for the separately supplied TV monitor, for those who would want to use a different display, such as a normal TV. There is also the so called VAMP socket, which is for Video Mouse and Light pen, there is also a socket for headphones.
The Disk Operating System is provided by the new EDOS, which is a development of the one from the original Einstein, and works alongside EBASIC, which is an entirely rewritten, and has a vast array of commands and functions.
The Master Disc supplied with the machine contains the BASIC, DOS and Utilities, five game titles and utilities, that amongst others allow the user to read only from tape.
The machine today is considered rare, despite its excellent specifications, It did not receive the support of the software houses of the day, and it was expensive to buy, like it’s predecessor, was not a commercial success.
Our model is in excellent condition and is complete with the original box and manual. The model number is TCS-256 with a serial number of 151005.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH10531. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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