S-100 Computer (1)

The S-100 bus, IEEE696-1983 (withdrawn), was an early computer bus designed in 1974 as a part of the Altair 8800, generally considered today to be the first personal computer (or at least the first "microcomputer", insofar as it was designed for hobbyists rather than the general public). The S-100 bus was the first industry standard bus for the microcomputer industry. S-100 computers, consisting of processor and peripheral cards, were produced by a number of manufacturers. The S-100 bus formed the basis for homebrew computers whose builders (e.g., the Homebrew Computer Club) implemented drivers for CP/M and MP/M. These S-100 microcomputers ran the gamut from hobbyist toy to small business workstation and were the zenith of the microcomputer world until the advent of the IBM PC (which some of them outperformed).

The S-100 bus essentially consisted of the pins of the Intel 8080 run out onto the backplane. One early unanticipated shortcoming included shorting problems related to various power lines of differing voltages being located next to each other, resulting in easy shorting. This was addressed in later systems. The system included two unidirectional 8 bit data buses, but only a single bidirectional 16 bit address bus. Power supplies on the bus were unregulated +8 V and ±18 V, designed to be regulated on the cards to +5 V (used by TTL) and ±12 V (typically used on RS-232 lines or disk drive motors).

This unit was  built in to a DEC PDP7 case as can be seen from the pictures. This was very kindly donated by Martyn Holliday

Manufacturer: S-100
Date: 1976

Magazines RELATED to S-100 Computer (1) in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Byte September 1978
INMC News Issue 6 February 1980
Practical Computing - May 1983 May 1983
Personal Computer World - December 1983 December 1983
Byte February 1984 October 1984

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH5174. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

 

S-100 Computer (1)

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